What Could Have Happened to the Missing Malaysian Plane?

On Saturday, March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 took off at 12:41 AM, and disappeared 45 minutes into a trip to Beijing, China. Now, the entire world is wondering, what happened to the missing Malaysian Plane?

Air traffic control lost contact with the pilots of flight 370 around 1:30 AM, right before the plane moved from Malaysian to Vietnamese air space. Radar signals were lost about an hour later, around 2:40 AM. That means search and rescue efforts for the Malaysian plane have an enormous amount of ocean to cover, more than 35,000 square miles. As the search continues after 5 days with no evidence, the international community is desperate for answers.

Unfortunately, most of the mystery around Malaysia Airlines flight 370 will remain unsolved until the cockpit recordings and black box are recovered. However, the expert aviation litigation attorneys at Pope & Howard, P.C. can provide some insight into common airplane issues.

Pilot or Crew Error

Pilot error is a leading cause of airplane crashes. From regulation noncompliance to intoxication, there are many pilot and crew errors that can result in a catastrophic accident. On Malaysia Air flight 370, the pilot and first officer had impressive resumes with large amounts of experience. Despite that, the first officer reportedly let passengers into the cockpit on a previous flight, against Malaysia Air policy.

Until the cockpit recordings are recovered, pilot or crew errors are still possible explanations.


If an airline, pilot, or related party fails to maintain their planes, then they could be charged with negligence. In an airplane accident, negligence could refer to maintenance concerns, problems with air traffic control, or issues with airline staffing. At this time, there have been no reports of negligent behavior from Malaysia Air or the air traffic controllers in Malaysia and Vietnam.

Until a full investigation into the plane disappearance takes place, it’s possible that negligence could be to blame.

Defective/Damaged Airplane Parts

Mechanical problems play a large role in many airplane accidents. Even the smallest part failure can have tragic results. There are a number of mechanical and part failures that could have caused the sudden disappearance of flight 370. For example, the cockpit could have experienced a power failure or a wing could have ripped off.

When debris from the plane is found, investigators will have a better idea about defective part issues. Just as your car has a check engine light, modern Boeing jets are equipped with a system that reports mechanical errors up to the operator and logs performance issues. This data will probably be the first objective news on what happened, similar to the 2009 Air France flight 447 crash. At this time the ACARS data from the flight is not available, and airplane part malfunction is still a strong possibility.

Until flight 370 is discovered, the reasons for its disappearance will remain a mystery. At Pope & Howard, P.C., our founding partner Marc Howard is highly experienced in the field of aviation litigation. Unfortunately, we know that most airline accidents require extensive and detailed investigation to determine cause and provide closure for the friends and loved ones who were affected. Our thoughts are with the missing passengers and crew of Malaysia Air flight 370.

About Pope & Howard, P.C.

Georgia Super Lawyers Geoff Pope and Marc Howard are experts in the field of aviation litigation. After a plane crash or an airplane part malfunction, contact our Atlanta law firm at (866) 910-0642 or (404) 885-9999. We help airplane accident victims find support.

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