Here's what is known about the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared — and it's not much

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This story is based on a radio interview. Listen to the full interview.

Audio Transcript:

Marco Werman: The mystery of flight MH370 continues. Three days after it disappeared, there's still no sign of the Malaysian Airlines jet. It took off on Friday night from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia, headed to Beijing. The plane lost radio contact about 45 minutes after takeoff and there hasn't been much to go on ever since. The World's Matthew Bell has been following the story and he's in the studio with me. It's been three days since Flight MH370 went missing, Matthew. What do we know at this point?

Matthew Bell: Yeah Marco, amazingly we just don't know that much other than the basics. There were 227 passengers on board the plane, 12 crew members. The plane took off Friday night, heading toward Beijing as you mentioned. About 45 minutes later, it lost radio contact and we just don't know what happened after that. Right now, at least 6 different nations are helping with search and rescue operations but as one Malaysian official put it today, he said it's not looking good in terms of finding the aircraft. At this point, it's a real mystery.

Werman: It's speculative at this point Matthew, but we're also hearing about two men on the plane who were traveling with stolen passports. What else do we know about this?

Bell: Malaysian officials say that they're sharing this intelligence and that these two men were traveling, one on an Austrian passport, one on an Italian passport evidently. This sort of thing happens a lot more than you might think. Thousands of passports in the United States go missing or are stolen or lost every year. In this case, we just don't know if these two men had something to do with the plane going down and disappearing. There's going to be a lot of focus on these two people, where they came from, where they got their tickets. The Financial Times today was reporting they bought the tickets in Thailand from a travel agency that was dealing with someone from Iran as a middleman. We just don't know, but those are leads that authorities are going to be tracking down.

Werman: We've seen photographs from Beijing of distraught family members wondering where their passengers and their loved ones are, very horrifying to see that. It's going to be a waiting game until anybody finds a blackbox or some evidence of this aircraft, so what next?

Bell: For now, it's been a lot of frustration. Most of the passengers on the plane were from China. There's been scenes of real anger and confusion in Beijing where authorities are meeting with family members and friends. Even Chinese officials have expressed frustration, pointed fingers at the Malaysian side and said that Malaysian authorities need to be more transparent and move more quickly. As for the search operation, they're going to widen the area in the water where they're looking for evidence of the plane going down. They're even going to look on the west side of Malaysia. There's thinking that maybe the plane turned around at some point, for some reason tried to come back to Kuala Lumpur. There's dozens of boats and planes involved in this international operation to find out, but it could take time. There was a plane crash in 2009 when a plane went down in some similar circumstances. It took two years for them to find the black box and that's really what's going to be needed most likely for some definitive answers to these questions.

Werman: The World's Matthew Bell, thanks very much.

Bell: Thanks Marco.

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