I thought I'd try to separate what's known and what's not since the pattern of news for the last few days has been the following:
1) Europe/US evenings - latest rumours/breaking news
2) Asian evenings - those rumours denied
3) repeat daily
Until the aircraft is found, this will basically be pattern of news reporting. It is increasingly unreliable.
Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur at 41 minutes past midnight, local time. On board were 239 people including a group of calligraphers headed home to China, business people, at least two young men from Iran headed to Europe on stolen passports as asylum seekers, and others headed home, to other destinations, traveling.
From takeoff the flight quickly climbed to 35,000 feet. It is known that the plane's Rolls Royce engines sent two bursts of information to the manufacturer: once at takeoff and once during the ascent. Air Traffic Control began the process to hand the aircraft over to Vietnamese ATC. The pilot's last words to ATC were "alright, good night." The plane reached an international waypoint at 6°55′15″N 103°34′43″E and then, after turning a bit more to the northeast (from 28 degrees to 40 degrees), vanished at 1:21 am, local time.
Primary radar seems to indicate a sudden descent and turn to the west. Subang ATC declared the aircraft missing at 2:40am local time, and Malaysian Airlines made its first statement just before 7:30am local time the same morning.
The Malaysians seem to have tracked a "UFO" (and by UFO, I'm not talking aliens, simply an object that was not and has not yet been conclusively identified) across the peninsula, descending to perhaps 29,500 feet (or just 3,000 feet according to some reports that don't entirely make sense given the high mountains on the peninsula) to a point above the Andaman Sea, headed northwest in the general direction of India at 2:40 am local time. And that's the last the object was seen.
There has been no conclusive trace of the aircraft since, despite a multi-day international search involving the assets of twelve different countries.
1. An oil rig worker at 8.38°N 108.7°E believes he spotted an object that he thinks could have been the plane high in the sky, burning close to the time the aircraft went missing over the Gulf of Thailand. The object, he believed, was in one piece, headed either away from or toward his location, some 50 to 70 kilometers from his location. He believed the burning object was lower than other aircraft, as he'd observed many aircraft at altitude before, and the oil rig is almost directly beneath a major air traffic corridor. After 15 seconds or so, the flames went out (either the fire went out, or the object passed over the horizon).
The email has been proven to be real. What the object was, we don't know yet.
2. A crowd-sourcing effort run by Tomnod may have spotted debris in the Gulf of Thailand. It's given me a new appreciation for how vast--and how filthy--the oceans are. Tomnod's effort is, however, almost entirely concentrated near the last absolutely known point of the aircraft.
The first image has a LAT/LONG, the second does not. Most of Tomnod's imagry is along the flight path in the Gulf of Thailand, and search and recovery is still combing through there. I only offer these because they are interesting.
3. The aircraft's SATCOM systems may have continued pinging satellites for at least 5 hours after it went missing over the Gulf of Thailand, leading India and the US to send assets to the Andaman Sea according to the Wall Street Journal who first broke the story. But the story seems to be moving into "unnamed officials said" territory.
And that's basically it. Most stories source back one way or another to the things that we know: the plane took off. Flight was normal until...it vanished from ATC. The flight may have been tracked across Malaysia and into the Andaman Sea. It may have flown for at least five more hours. The Malaysian government seems to be quite poor in the crisis management area. Beyond that, we know about as much as we did on March 8th.