Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s disappearance in March 2014 instantly become a global news phenomenon, as multiple countries joined the search for the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew.
With the mystery still swirling five years on, The Atlantic’s July cover story brings together all of the known evidence about how MH370 vanished into the Indian Ocean to deliver the clearest picture to date of what happened: that in all likelihood the plane was intentionally crashed by the pilot. The cover story, by foremost aviation writer and former pilot William Langewiesche, seeks to reconstruct the chilling fate of the passengers and crew during the six hours that the plane remained aloft after dropping from radar and ultimately shattering into pieces in the Indian Ocean.
The cover story, “Good Night. Malaysian Three-Seven-Zero.,” is out today and leads The Atlantic’s July magazine issue, which will be on newsstands next week.
“In truth, a lot can now be known with certainty about the fate of MH 370,” Langewiesche writes. “First, the disappearance was an intentional act. It is inconceivable that the known flight path, accompanied by radio and electronic silence, was caused by any combination of system failure and human error.” Langewiesche reports that most of what we need to know about the flight’s disappearance is currently knowable, thanks in part to electronic evidence; the black boxes, if eventually found, are unlikely to hold significant new information. Reporting from Malaysia, he meticulously pieces together all the existing evidence—including insights from people close to the investigation, a family member of a victim, and people who knew the plane’s captain—to arrive at the most definitive telling yet of the flight’s disappearance. His reporting exposes the deep inadequacies of the Malaysian investigation, which led the initial search thousands of miles astray and downplayed the likelihood that either pilot might be at fault.