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CNN Special Reports

Vanished: The Mystery Of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Aired 11-12a ET

Aired March 17, 2019 - 22:00   ET


ANNOUNCER: The following is a CNN Special Report.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's been five years since a state-of-the-art aircraft disappeared.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Nobody expects a triple 7 could vanish. It just doesn't happen.

ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Where is Malaysia Airlines flight 370?

SAVIDGE: Hundreds of loved ones gone missing. Years of searching.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN HOST: It's in exactly the most remote part of the world.

SAVIDGE: The surprises.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN HOST: Debris found off the coast of Reunion Island of the Indian Ocean.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The second piece of MH-370's wreckage picked up.

SAVIDGE: And setbacks.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was terrible. It felt like we were right back at the beginning again.

SAVIDGE: Questions still unanswered.

QUEST: We need to know what happened. And the only way you're going to do it is to find the aircraft.

O'BRIEN: There's just too much at stake here to say we're going to stop.

SAVIDGE: Now, Vanished: The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

March 8th, 2014. Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Just after midnight, the pilots of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 are preparing for takeoff.

O'BRIEN: It's all about checklists in aviation. They're going through checklists. SAVIDGE: Miles O'Brien is a pilot and aviation analyst for CNN.

O'BRIEN: It doesn't matter how mundane it is, how many times you've done it. You do it religiously because that is an absolute foundation of safety in aviation.

SAVIDGE: In the cockpit, 27-year-old first officer Fariq Hamid. This video shows him training on the triple 7. Flight 370 was his first time flying the aircraft without an instructor.

O'BRIEN: So, while his experience level might have been low on the aircraft, he was totally up to date on how to fly it. A lot of airline pilots tell me these are the best people to fly with because they've just come out of rigorous training.

SAVIDGE: Next to Fariq, Zaharie Shah, a captain with over 18,000 hours in the air and a stellar reputation.

NIK HUZLAN, FORMER CHIEF PILOT, MALAYSIA AIRLINES: Captain Zaharie and me, we go back about 30 years. We started flying together.

SAVIDGE: Nik Huzlan a former chief pilot for Malaysia Airlines.

HUZLAN: My wife is a chief stewardess. So, if my wife is onboard the aircraft, I would like Zaharie to fly the plane, then, because I've got great confidence in the guy.

SAVIDGE: And there was real confidence in the aircraft they're about to fly, the Boeing 777.

O'BRIEN: It's a great airplane. It's got a sterling record of safety.

HUZLAN: That aircraft is actually the pinnacle of all the aircraft that I have flown. And the automation is just fantastic.

SAVIDGE: For any critical electric or hydraulic system that would fail, there are two or three backup systems. After making their final preparations, the pilots are ready for pushback. At 12.32 a.m., the pilots taxi to the runway. Cleared for departure, flight 370 takes off for a five and a half-hour scheduled flight to Beijing.

HUZLAN: The human control, direct physical control on the controls, will probably cease after the landing gear goes up, the flaps goes up and it goes on autopilot.

SAVIDGE: By 1 a.m., the crew and 227 passengers onboard are cruising comfortably at 35,000 feet. Even the pilots can relax a little. The plane is basically now flying itself.

O'BRIEN: There was no particular challenge there for a seasoned captain and that first officer to handle that flight without any problem.

SAVIDGE: And at 1.07 a.m., all seems well according to an automatic message sent from the aircraft's communications system, called ACARS.

[22:05:03] Richard Quest is an anchor and aviation correspondent for CNN.

QUEST: Think of ACARS as a giant smartphone that will send out huge amounts of information. Via satellite or by radio transmission.

SAVIDGE: Then at 1.19 a.m., a standard handoff with air traffic control as the plane leaves Malaysian airspace and enters Vietnamese airspace.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Malaysian 370 contact to Ho Chi Minh, 120 decimal 9. Good night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good night, Malaysian 370.


HUZLAN: The controller here in Malaysia tells him to speak to Ho Chi Minh. And he says good night, Malaysian 370, something I would do.

DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER SAFETY INSPECTOR, FAA: There was no indication that anything had gone wrong.

SAVIDGE: David Soucie is a former safety inspector for the FAA.

So, for the first 40 minutes of this flight, up to that point everything has been routine.


SAVIDGE: Everything was routine until now. Two minutes after talking with air traffic control, 40 minutes into the flight, the plane's transponder goes dark.

QUEST: The plane's transponders is effectively the instrument which sends out a signal to air traffic control. It tells you what height it's at, which direction, and what speed it's traveling. Suddenly this giant triple 7 is blind to the world.

SAVIDGE: And there's no easy explanation for why it happened.

SOUCIE: Either it was intentional and someone tried to turn all of those systems off at once, or the pilot was unable to communicate, kept from communicating, or there was a mechanical failure of some kind that took all those systems out at one time.

SAVIDGE: Then minutes after the transponder stops, the triple-7 makes an unexpected turn, heading west and way off course.

PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, NTSB: That the plane turned immediately after the transponder went off is completely inexplicable and very worrisome.

SAVIDGE: Peter Goelz, who is a former managing director of the NTSB.

GOELZ: We don't know whether this was done voluntarily, whether it was done under duress. We simply have no idea.

SAVIDGE: No idea what really happened. But Goelz sees a red flag.

GOELZ: It was completely out of the ordinary that there was no distress call. That the turn takes place and there's absolute silence, it means that somebody on that plane redirected it to a new course heading, and they were not telling anyone.

SAVIDGE: Not telling anyone and never checking in with Vietnam air traffic control.

QUEST: The fact that the westerly turn happens at the point of handover between Malaysia and Vietnam, for many, is the strongest evidence that something nefarious was going on.

SAVIDGE: You've investigated many incidents. Is that coincidence that everything seems to go wrong at this particular critical moment?

SOUCIE: It can't be coincidence. I don't believe in coincidence with my accidents. It just seems to me that there was something. Now, it doesn't mean that it was nefarious. It doesn't mean anything else. But, remember, there's a lot of systems doing a lot of things at that time as well.

SAVIDGE: So, the critical moment is immediately after this handover. When you're essentially in this kind of no man's land in the sky.

SOUCIE: Yes. Nobody is watching right then.

SAVIDGE: No one was watching, and flight 370 would vanish. Coming up, a critical mistake by air traffic control with time running out.

SOUCIE: The aircraft was still flying as we know now. That just is so painful to think about, that four hours later, no one's looking yet.


SAVIDGE: In the middle of the night on March 8th, 2014, 1.21 a.m., Malaysia Airlines flight 370 vanishes into thin air. There's been silence from the cockpit. And by 1.37 a.m., a second flight communications system, ACARS, isn't working either.

QUEST: ACARS was either switched off, or it failed. We don't know which because whatever did happen, this is the crucial moment. We pretty much know that all the comms are disabled, switched off, broken, blown up.

SAVIDGE: As an investigator looking at this, what would the determination be, at least at this point, as to what is happening?

SOUCIE: At this point, I've got two different paths. One is that that aircraft was taken over and that the systems were intentionally shut down. The other side would be that there was a singular failure at a common location, and that singular mechanical failure would have done exactly the same thing. At this point in the investigation, there's no evidence one way or the other. SAVIDGE: But there would be piles of evidence if ACARS hadn't stopped


QUEST: You'd know the air condition of the engines, the route it was taking, the altitudes it was taking. We would know exactly the state of that aircraft.

SAVIDGE: Just the kind of information someone taking over a plane wouldn't want anyone to know.

QUEST: If you were doing something nefarious, then switching off ACARS would be a crucial part of making the plane go dark.

SAVIDGE: The plane was dark and silent. There was still no check-in with Vietnam air traffic control, a call former pilot Nik Huzlan has made thousands of times.

HUZLAN: You have to be like a drunk for you to forget to check in after somebody tells you immediately to check in. Every pilot would want to do that as soon as possible.

[22:15:01] Anything more than two to three minutes, already abnormal.

SAVIDGE: Around 1.27 a.m., Ho Chi Minh control center tries to reach the aircraft.

SOUCIE: They tried to radio, they tried to call and see if MH-370 was out there. No response.

SAVIDGE: You attempt to communicate directly with the aircraft first?

SOUCIE: Right. That's the first thing you do. If that's not successful, then you try to contact other aircraft around, and they did do that. And those airplanes tried to raise MH-370 as well. No success.

SAVIDGE: With no response, an air traffic controller in Kuala Lumpur calls Malaysia Airlines for help.

O'BRIEN: I think fundamentally you have to assume nobody expects one of these planes to fall out of the sky. Nobody expects a triple-7 to vanish.

SAVIDGE: And Malaysia Airlines tells air traffic control a completely different story. They say MH-370 hasn't vanished at all. According to their own internal flight tracking system.

SOUCIE: Malaysia Airlines says, the aircraft's fine. We know exactly where it is.

SAVIDGE: Yet they've had no communication.

SOUCIE: They've had none. They've had none. So, their system was showing that the aircraft had continued to go on that heading.

SAVIDGE: Over the next hour and a half, Malaysia Airlines gives air traffic control more promising messages. They had exchanged signals with the flight. The plane was in normal condition, and the plane was flying off the coast of Vietnam along its scheduled flight path.

SOUCIE: And at that point the guard is let down. You start going in a different direction. You're not search and rescue anymore. You're just trying to communicate.

SAVIDGE: But an hour and a half after that first reassuring message, a tragic realization. Malaysia Airlines now tells air traffic control the information was wrong.

SOUCIE: We don't know where the aircraft is. Our system told us it was there, but it wasn't.

SAVIDGE: The airline tells air traffic control their flight-tracking program was based on flight projection and not reliable for aircraft positioning.

O'BRIEN: Everything went wrong there. Everything. It borders on scandal. The airline in the middle there just offering up just complete red herrings and dead ends. It's inexcusable.

QUEST: At best, the Malaysia Airlines information to air traffic control was unhelpful. At worst, it was downright damaging to getting an investigation and a search underway quickly.

SAVIDGE: Not only did Malaysia Airlines have bad information, air traffic control waited to sound the alarm.

QUEST: I think air traffic control waits so long because it's just a normal confusion of the moment. But at some point, in all of this, an air traffic controller can push the big red button that says help, panic, missing plane. And that's what they didn't do until much later.

SAVIDGE: Not until four hours after it's clear the plane is lost did air traffic control notify emergency responders.

SOUCIE: That just is so painful to think about, that four hours later, no one is looking yet.

SAVIDGE: As precious hours pass, time is running out. While flight 370 flies further and further over one of the world's largest oceans. Coming up, what happened onboard flight 370?

HUZLAN: We do not know who the perpetrators are. We will never know the reasons why.


SAVIDGE: In the pitch-black darkness, minutes after its last radio contact, the Malaysian military spots a blip on its radar. Its speed and flight path erratic. They don't yet know it is MH-370.

GOELZ: If you see a primary, unidentified return flying towards your country at 500-plus knots, that should raise concerns very quickly.

SAVIDGE: But it didn't seem to. By now, the triple-7 is believed to be hundreds of miles off its original course.

TOM FUENTES, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: We don't know what's normal for their military, and I think that a big part of the problem with this investigation is that the Malaysians were very tight-lipped about what they had, what they knew, and when they knew it.

SAVIDGE: The Malaysian air force continued to track the plane for an hour until it disappeared from radar. They never tell anyone with civilian authority.

O'BRIEN: Governments don't want to talk about this. They don't want to talk about holes in their radar system, a posture which is not as ready as they want the world to believe it to be.

SAVIDGE: Not only is no one told, nothing is done. No jets are scrambled. The military would say later they chose not to intercept the plane because it was friendly and did not pose a threat to national security.

O'BRIEN: Why would you have an air force if it's not capable of doing something like this? That's a big error. That's a big mistake. And, frankly, the Malaysian government has not really accounted for it in a proper way to these families and to the rest of the world.

SAVIDGE: For David Soucie, however, there's a gray area.

SOUCIE: Here in the United States, we would know that in a heartbeat. Over there, it wasn't set up that way. It was a clear delineation, a firewall between military and civil operations, and the two just didn't meet each other.

SAVIDGE: A missed opportunity.

SOUCIE: Exactly.

SAVIDGE: On the ground in Beijing, of course, the families waiting patiently for the arrival of flight 370 knew none of this. Finally, an hour after the plane was expected to land, Malaysia Airlines makes its first public announcement on Facebook.


[22:25:04] UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This flight, MH-370, lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40 a.m. this morning.


SAVIDGE: It quickly becomes the biggest story in the world.


BURNETT: Where is Malaysia Airlines flight 370?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: More questions than there are answers.

COOPER: The hunt for flight 370 now covers millions of square miles. (END VIDEO CLIP)

SAVIDGE: The world's attention turns to the Malaysian government and airline officials. To many critics, they don't seem to know what they're talking about.

O'BRIEN: There was a deer in the headlight's component to those early news conferences. And you can almost see them struggling through it, not knowing what they were doing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We cannot indulge in speculation at this stage.


O'BRIEN: Not understanding how to begin the investigation.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are currently 43 ships and 40 aircrafts searching for it.


O'BRIEN: An unprecedented investigation that would baffle the greatest minds in the aviation world and the accident investigation world.

FUENTES: They put out information without really corroborating it, and much of it turned out to be false.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I would like to refer to news reports suggesting that the aircraft may have continued flying for some time after last contact. As Malaysian Airlines will confirm shortly, those reports are inaccurate.


FUENTES: So, they ended up, you know, on both sides of a bad situation with too little information.

SAVIDGE: Even days after the plane disappeared, families believe they aren't being told the truth. This Chinese woman demanded answers just before another press conference in Kuala Lumpur. She didn't get any.

FUENTES: After 10 days to two weeks, you know, there was a public perception that was set in stone that the Malaysians were not able to handle this situation and that they were having trouble.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as the images are concerned, I don't think we can actually verify when they were taken. I will check with the Australian --

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is (Inaudible), ladies and gentlemen.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, but this is very important.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I know. I know. I know it is very important.

SAVIDGE: Family members were left asking what on earth was happening.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One wonders whose interests are being served or protected by this long wait and something that's increasingly feeling surreal and rapidly turning into a farce.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main priority here is the orange area.

SAVIDGE: Adding to that, the early conflicting reports on where authorities think the plane actually is and whether it had turned or not.

QUEST: Initially the Malaysians said there was no turnaround. The transport minister said no turnaround. And he was very definitive, and that was misleading, and that was wrong.

It's noticeable in the day and days after, he became -- he hedged. He hedged. He suddenly, I'm not talking about that. I'm not saying that. We're not commenting on that.

SAVIDGE: Weeks after the flight vanished, Richard Quest put some of those questions to Malaysia's then prime minister.


QUEST: What would you say to the critics, and be blunt, prime minister, who say Malaysia wasted time at various parts of the investigation.

NAJIB RAZAK, FORMER MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: I don't think they were fair criticism. You remember when the plane was reported lost, I was briefed that morning. And I took the decision that we must search both areas, the South China Sea and the northern part of the state.


SAVIDGE: But no one was willing to comment either on the biggest unanswered question. Did MH-370 vanish because somebody with intent took over its controls?

HUZLAN: There is some level of human intervention. This is undoubted.

SAVIDGE: Nik Huzlan has piloted the plane thousands of times.

HUZLAN: We do not know who the perpetrators are. We will never know the reasons why.

O'BRIEN: No matter what scenario you go with, we're deep into the world of crazy. Crazy scenario, obscure scenario, evil scenario. Whatever it is, we're in crazy land, right? This is stuff that doesn't happen.

SAVIDGE: But it did happen. A truly astounding mystery. There is only a handful of verifiable facts, and after the confusion, delay, and chaos engendered in the first few weeks comes this. A completely different search area based purely on mathematics.

QUEST: It's never been done before. They were making it up as they go along. They were using information that was never intended to be used for this purpose.

SAVIDGE: Coming up, searching in all the wrong places.

Why was there so much confusion when it came to where to search?

SOUCIE: We had no idea where that aircraft was, but yet the pressure is on to do something.


SAVIDGE: On the morning of March 8th, four hours after Flight 370 disappears, a search is launched in the South China Sea, east of Malaysia.

RICHARD QUEST, CNN EDITOR AT LARGE: As with any search, you start where the plane was last seen.

SAVIDGE: We begin this morning with a desperate search at sea after a jet carrying 239 people vanished off the southern coast of Vietnam.

QUEST: But very quickly overnight, very quickly, there's no debris. They can't find anything from the aircraft. And that is unusual.

SAVIDGE: Even more unusual, searchers also start looking in the opposite direction, hundreds of miles to the west.

QUEST: I sat in the studio covering this, and we would look at each other and say, did he just simply -- did he simply say we're looking to the west?

SAVIDGE: Yes. That is because newly discovered military radar reveals the plane may have turned back to the west. At the same time, new leads are coming in.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Late today, Chinese authorities released satellite photos of what they call a suspected crash site.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An international fleet of aircraft and boats are now searching in two different areas.

[22:35:05] QUEST: They had to look in the east, because that is where debris was allegedly being reported. They had to look in the west, because that is where their radar data had told them the plane had gone.

SAVIDGE: But searchers still find nothing. Days turn into weeks, and the search area expands even farther.

Why was there so much confusion when it came to where to search?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We had no idea where that aircraft was, but yet the pressure is on to do something.

SAVIDGE: It became the biggest oceanic search of all time.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is completely unprecedented on so many levels. Nothing has ever happened quite like this.

QUEST: And into this confusion suddenly drops the Inmarsat data.

SAVIDGE: Inmarsat, a British company reports that Flight 370 had exchanged digital signals, known as handshakes, with their satellites.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That was a watershed moment, and that changed everything.

SAVIDGE: It changed everything because everyone had thought Flight 370 had gone completely dark, but the discovery of the digital handshakes was proof the plane was in the air for several hours longer than anyone thought.

QUEST: Suddenly they have evidence that it flew west and south and continued to fly for some six and half hours.

SAVIDGE: Using complicated calculations, Inmarsat could roughly determine where the plane was going.

MILES O'BRIEN, AVIATION ANALYST: This is evidence that is kind of getting close to black magic. I mean it's a feat of mathematics and ingenuity and reverse engineering, but we just don't know how accurate it is.

SAVIDGE: But it is also the only hard evidence available to investigators and Malaysia's Prime Minister at the time Najib Razak.

NAJIB RAZAK, FORMER MALAYSIA'S PRIME MINISTER: I asked them again and again, are you sure? And their answer to me was, we are as sure as we can possibly be.

SAVIDGE: He needed to be sure, because based on those calculations, the Prime Minister was about to deliver some very somber news.

RAZAK: Flight MH370 ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.

SAVIDGE: The Southern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away, where no one could likely have survived. Family members were shocked, distraught, and angry. There would be no rescue. One last hope remained. Could they find the black boxes before they stopped emitting pings? QUEST: You're not in an ivory tower. You haven't got the luxury of

time. You've got pingers that may expire, so you've got to say, this is our best guess now.

SAVIDGE: Their best guess is a remote area more than twice the size of California.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning. These are all the aircraft flying today.

SAVIDGE: The Australians take over the search. And soon after the Australian ship ocean she lowers its towed pinger locator into the water, pings are detected.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly this is a most promising lead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was wow again.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was miraculous. They had just put the towed pinger locator in the water.

QUEST: I was convinced this is it. They've got the answer. It's a matter of days.

SAVIDGE: A robotic submarine scours the 329 square mile area where the pings were heard. It's painstakingly slow work. Then two months later --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A massive setback in the search for Malaysia airlines Flight 370. The U.S. Navy says the underwater pings are not from the plane's black boxes.

SAVIDGE: How big a setback was that?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, it was terrible. It felt like we were right back at the beginning again.

SAVIDGE: Back to the beginning and no closer to solving the mystery of Malaysia Flight 370.

Coming up, authorities investigate the last two men known to be in the cockpit of Flight 370.

QUEST: We need to know what happened. It is not an option not to know.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Malaysian 370, contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9. Good night.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good night Malaysian 370.

SAVIDGE: These are the last words heard from the cockpit of Malaysia Flight 370 and the moment the mystery begins. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You have a series of events that appeared to be

human-driven. You have a transponder being turned off. You have an acars system being turned off. You have the plane being turned not once, but at least twice, probably three times.

SAVIDGE: And most perplexing, no distress call.

There are so many ways to notify people that there's a distress, uhf radios, vhf radios, many, many ways.

SAVIDGE: None of that happened.


SAVIDGE: Could the disappearance of MH370 have been deliberate? To answer that question, investigators zero in on the last two men known to be in control of the plane, seen here passing through security on the night of the flight. First officer Fariq Hamid was only 27 years old.

O'BRIEN: Very young to be flying a triple-7 in the U.S., but had gone through all the gates and had passed and was with a very senior guy. That is a perfectly safe scenario.

SAVIDGE: Fariq had no known motive and no apparent reason to take down the plane.

[22:45:00] PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR NTSB: There was just no indication that there was anything going on in his life other than he had made it.

SAVIDGE: Fariq had made it and was on an impressive career trajectory.

QUEST: At 5,000 hours on a 737 you go from a small plane to a big plane, and this was his promotion.

SAVIDGE: CNN aviation correspondent Richard Quest gained permission to fly on Malaysia airlines in February 2014. In an eerie coincidence it was one of Fariq's last training flights on the Boeing Triple-7.

QUEST: There is absolutely no question that he was a qualified, competent pilot. The captain said he was one of the best they had. He landed the aircraft perfectly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know how to impress people.

SAVIDGE: One of Fariq's next flights would be his last, Malaysia 370. And what about the pilot sitting beside Fariq Hamid? Captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah, and the Flight simulator he had built in his home to practice landings.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yesterday, officers form the Royal Aviation police visited the home of the pilot.

SAVIDGE: It seemed like a potential lead until investigators declared it a dead end. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The examination of the flight simulators revealed

nothing suspicious for the authorities.

SAVIDGE: Like first officer Fariq, Zaharie lacked any apparent motive.

TOM FUENTES, CNN'S SENIOR LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST AND FORMER FBI ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Many aspects of the case have been centered on the captain, and the more they've looked, the less they've found.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just don't see any logic. I don't see any reason why he would want to be a rogue pilot.

SAVIDGE: Zaharie's sister, Zakinab Ahmed Shah (ph), spoke out to channel News Asia months after the plane's disappearance.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He does not -- he did not have that kind of makeup.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He got married fairly early. Socially, great guy. Extremely helpful, and always willing to share.

SAVIDGE: Nick Huslan (ph) met Zaharie at Malaysia airlines during the rigorous days of flight school, 35 years ago.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have to polish our shoes until we can see, we can count our teeth in it, you know. Everything was very, very regimented.

SAVIDGE: Above all, Huslan remembers his friend as a skilled and seasoned pilot who loved to fly, seen here in a video tribute posted by his family.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He is crazy about flying. He flies real airplanes and also builds small toy airplanes and flies them. He is got a life of aviation running through his veins.

SAVIDGE: But if it wasn't Zaharie and it wasn't Fariq, what about the other passengers on Flight 370? Could it have been a hijacking?

DAVID SOUCIE, FORMER FAA SAFETY INSPECTOR: It would explain the fact that the radios were shut down, possibly systematically. It would explain why there may not have been communication.

SAVIDGE: Are there any suspects?

SOUCIE: They've gone through everybody on the aircraft, and they've determined that there is no one there who would match the profile of someone who would take over that aircraft.

SAVIDGE: If not human intervention, could something on the plane have malfunctioned?

QUEST: It's got to fly for another six hours. That is the problem with the mechanical questions.

SAVIDGE: What kind of catastrophe could shut down the plane's communications, but still have allowed it to fly?

QUEST: Anybody that chooses to hang their hat on one scenario or the other, in my view, is heading for a fall. The entire experience of air crash investigations is that, yes, it's usually the obvious, but it's quite frequently it something you've never even thought of.

SAVIDGE: There's no way to know until the black boxes are found.

Until you find the plane, how could you rule anybody, anything out?

SOUCIE: Well, you can't. What you'll know from the black boxes is what happened. What you won't know necessarily is why.

O'BRIEN: There are no black boxes inside human beings. That is what we need in this case.

SAVIDGE: Our best hope of solving one of the greatest mysteries of all time is presumably somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

QUEST: We need to know what happened. We need to know whether this plane came down at the point of a gun, by the hand of the pilot, or whether by mechanical failure. It is not an option not to know.

SAVIDGE: Coming up, a brand new search for answers begins in the Indian Ocean.

O'BRIEN: It is a big, big hunk of ocean. It is as remote as you can get and still be on this planet.


SAVIDGE: The Southern Indian Ocean, rough, remote, forbidding.

O'BRIEN: When we look at the roof as part of, we all look at the charts and we look for the waypoints in the airwaves, there aren't any, it is as remote as you can get and still be on the planet.

SAVIDGE: This is where the experts believe that the wreckage of Flight 370 may lie, but finding it is an immeasurable challenge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With the analogy of what we have out there at the moment, we are not searching for a needle in the haystack, but we are trying to define where the haystack is.

SAVIDGE: that was March of 2014, when the vessel "the Ocean Shield" set out in hopes of finding the plane, and failed.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not an easy task. We have very good technique for detecting needles in hay stacks. We had high confidence if we got the right haystack, we'll find the needle in it.

SAVIDGE: The Australian Transportation Safety Bureau was leading the search with Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan in charge.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's six days sailing, it happens from the coast of Australia, we are operating at a range towards the limits of the equipment's available to us which is the best equipment available.

SAVIDGE: In May 2015, after the initial efforts turned up nothing, they doubled the size of the priority search area.

QUEST: It is a huge area. And it's a complicated area with valleys and ocean mountains and crevices.

SAVIDGE: Complex terrain is not the only challenge they faced.

O'BRIEN: You are grinding through high seas, strong winds, incredibly difficult conditions.

QUEST: They've have to winterize the ships. So that they keep searching throughout the brutal winter.

SAVIDGE: It wasn't easy. And it wasn't cheap.

O'BRIEN: The most expensive search in human history, period. This is all uncharted territory, literally and figuratively.

SAVIDGE: Yet 16 months of scouring the priority search zone yielded nothing.

O'BRIEN: Not a single shred of evidence. Not a one, is a possible there is floating wreckages out there, we just haven't seen it. As time goes on, it is very hard to say that. I mean, eventually, the stuff washes up. Something washes up.

SAVIDGE: Finally in July 2015, something did wash up.

WOLF BLITZER, WOLF AND THE SITUATION ROOM, CNN: Debris found off the Coast of Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean --

SAVIDGE: Thousands of miles from the search area, beach cleaners found debris on a remote island near Madagascar.

QUEST: What they found was an extremely intricate part of the wing. It is known as the flapper on.

SAVIDGE: French investigators later confirmed, it was from the missing plane. The first real discovery in a year and a half. And the first evidence that MH370 didn't simply vanish.

QUEST: It confirms that Flight MH370 ended in the Southern Indian Ocean. It doesn't tell us where. It doesn't tell us how, but it gives you that closure for the families. It tells you the plane ended up in the water.

SAVIDGE: But for family members, like Sara (Inaudible), true closure won't come until the crash site is found.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: In the absence of a body, how do you not hold out hope? How can you just walk away from the potential, however small it is, that some miracle has happened?

SAVIDGE: Hope would cling to the more than 30 pieces of debris that have washed ashore in the five years since the plane's disappearance. But so far no miracles.

QUEST: There's more than a thousand triple 7's out there. That speaks to the crucial nature of finding the aircraft. Not just for the humanitarian reasons of those on board, but they've got to know what happened. And the only way you're going to do it is to find the aircraft.

O'BRIEN: Will we find it? I hope so. As long as we continue to look, there will be a chance it will be found.

SAVIDGE: Since its disappearance, investigators have searched over 144,000 square miles in the Southern Indian Ocean. In a final safety report published in 2018, investigators from eight countries revealed they don't know much more than they did five years ago. The reason for the loss of communication? Why did the plane change its flight path? Where did the plane end up? They don't know. To date, the investigation could not determine the cause of the disappearance of MH370, 239 passengers and crew remain missing.