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Wednesday, March 12, 2014
Malaysia Airline Flight MH 370 --- Breaking News -- MH370: China releases satellite images of possible crash site , images allegedly taken 11am on Sunday March 11 , 2014 ? – Mysteries - Where things stood as of March 11 , 2014 , early morning updates for March 12 , 2014 -- Clear as mud after all of these days !
The wrap for the day............ More confusion !
A Chinese government agency has published satellite pictures that show “three suspected floating objects” in the South China Sea. The images were published by the Chinese State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND), and dated 11am on Sunday, March 9.
The images were published on Wednesday evening local time in Beijing, some 10 hours ago, but were not picked up by international media until the past few hours. China’s official news agency, Xinhua, says the objects measure 13m by 18m (43ft by 59ft), 14m by 19m and 24m by 22m. For context, the Boeing 777 is just under 64m long.
Publication of the images has raised the already-strained tensions between the Chinese and Malaysian authorities. Two thirds of the passengers on flight MH370 were from China, and the authorities in Beijing have made it clear that they have deep concerns about how the Malaysians have conducted the search. Malaysian civil aviation director general Abdul Rahman told CNN his agency had not seen the images as of 6am local time Thursday.
The Malaysian authorities leading the investigation into the missing plane have added to the confusion about its last known whereabouts. At a hostile press conference military officials said the last possible recording of flight MH370 was at 2.15am on Saturday morning 200 miles north west of Penang. The authorities had initially said air traffic control lost contact at 1.20am on the east side of the peninsula. On Tuesday the head of the armed forces was reported as saying it was picked up by military radar at 2.40am - a statement he has since denied making. The search area has been expanded still further to two areas either side of the Malaysia peninsula. The total search area now covers 27,000 square nautical miles and involves 42 ships and 39 aircraft. The investigators said they were still not sure whether the aircraft changed course and were “baffled” by why no distress signal was sent.Malaysia military chief said raw data of the radar recordings would be released to the public once it had been corroborated.
Malaysia Airlines insisted that the missing Boeing was airworthy before taking off, but declined to reveal whether it had been inspected for a known potential problem with the fuselage. In November the Federal Aviation Administration warned airlines to look out for corrosion under the skin of the Boeing 777’s fuselage related to a satellite antenna. Boeing said in a statement that the antenna covered by the safety bulletin was not installed on MH370.
The last message from the cockpit of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight was routine. “All right, good night,” was the signoff transmitted to air traffic controllers five days ago. Then the Boeing 777 vanished.
The story about the Chinese satellite images has been amplified by China’s official Xinhua news agency, which said on Wednesday that the images, from around 11am on Sunday, appear to show “three suspected floating objects” of varying sizes.
Two-thirds of the passengers on the Malaysia airlines flight were Chinese, and the authorities in China have repeatedly indicated exasperation with the Malaysian authorities over how the search has been conducted.
The search area has has encompassed 35,800 square miles (92,600 sq km) of southeast Asia, and expanded on Wednesday towards India.
The satellite images published by the BBC and CNN are raising some concern in Malaysia. As we mentioned earlier, they were first posted by the Chinese science and national defence agency’s website some hours ago, which would have given search aircraft adequate time to approach the area where the debris was spotted.
Malaysian Civil Aviation director general Abdul Rahman tells CNN his agency has not received or seen the satellite images (it's around 6 am)
The Chinese agency that published the satellite pictures actually released them Wednesday night local time. In what appears to be something of a big miss, until CNN and the BBC reported the pictures in the past hour, they went pretty much un-noticed.
But the American arm of the Chinese-funded English-language broadcaster, CCTV, tweeted the pictures seven hours ago. The Twitter account of CCTV America, at the time of writing, has 8,226 followers.
China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense announced the discovery, including images of what it said were “three suspected floating objects and their sizes.” The objects aren’t small at 13 by 18 meters (43 by 59 feet), 14 by 19 meters and 24 by 22 meters.
The images were captured on March 9 - which was the day after the plane went missing - but weren’t released until Wednesday.
The Chinese agency gave coordinates of 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude, which would put it in waters northeast of where it took off in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and south of Vietnam.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370: what we know – and what we don't
Confusion surrounds details of missing plane, with discrepancies over time and last position, and odd reference to Mario Balotelli
An Indonesian air force officer in front of a map of the Strait of Malacca as the search operation for the missing plane continues. Photograph: Binsar Bakkara/AP
Finding missing aircraft can take days or months; unravelling what went wrong can take years. But accounts from Malaysian authorities and others involved in the search operation and investigation into flight MH370 have been particularly confusing and, in some cases, contradictory.
Has any trace of the plane been found?
Several sightings of debris and oil slicks have been reported but they have so far proved to be unrelated to MH370. Crews are searching a vast area of sea and are bound to spot flotsam and slicks from vessels; establishing that they are connected to the missing flight is another matter.
Where and when was the plane last detected?
This is perhaps the most confusing aspect of all. Malaysia Airlines repeatedly said that Subang air traffic control – which covers Kuala Lumpur airport – lost contact with the aircraft at 2.40am, almost two hours after takeoff, but later revised its last known contact to 1.30am.
A relative of a passenger on board the missing plane. Photograph: Imaginechina/Rex
That appeared to make more sense, since its last recorded position was 120 nautical miles off Kota Bharu on the east coast and online flight data showed it at that spot about 40 minutes into the flight, at roughly 1.20am, heading towards Vietnam across the South China Sea. The pilot of another aeroplane closer to Vietnam said that just after 1.30am he relayed a call to MH370 at the request of Vietnamese air traffic control and heard mumbling at the other end but then lost the connection.
There are also two unconfirmed sightings of a low-flying plane off the east coast at about 1.30am, though Les Westbrooks, associate professor of aeronautical science at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University, warns: "Eyewitness accounts are notoriously bad."
Officials said the plane might have turned back and there is a report that Singaporean authorities detected a rapid descent - which could have affected whether it was picked up on radar screens. Flightradar24.comsaid its coverage was limited to 30,000 feet (9,100 metres) in that area.
But it was still unclear why search teams were combing the Malacca Strait, on the western side of the peninsula, until the air force chief told local media on Tuesday that military radar had picked up a signal showing the plane near the tiny island of Pulau Perak off the west coast – hundreds of kilometres north-west of Kuala Lumpur – at 2.40am; the time initially indicated by Malaysia Airlines.
It is possible that officials were, and remain, uncertain as to whether they really detected MH370.
Westbrooks noted that if the aeroplane was experiencing problems, its instruments might not have been able to respond to the radar. He said that given the size of a 777, the radar would be able to identify the presence of an object even without a response.
Pictures of the men believed to have used stolen passports to board flight MH370. The man on the left was identified as an Iranian, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehdad, 19, travelling on a stolen Austrian passport, while the person on the right remains unidentified. Photo: Rex
Who were the four passengers with suspect identities?
Only two are known to have been travelling on stolen passports. Both are thought to be Iranian, probably seeking asylum in Europe, Interpol's secretary general has said.
There was confusion earlier because the Malaysian home minister had described them as appearing to be Asian but was then contradicted by the civil aviation chief, who appeared to suggest that one of the men looked like the black Italian footballer Mario Balotelli. Most journalists present took that to mean that he was black, although the Ministry of Transportation later clarified that the civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, had been trying to emphasise that ethnicity did not indicate nationality.
The Malaysian transport and defence minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said this week that authorities were looking at two more possible cases of suspicious identities, telling reporters: "All the four names are with me."
Malaysian authorities have not given any further information since then. Chinese state media said one of the passport numbers on the manifest belonged to a man from Fujian, eastern China, who was safe and well – but a different name, also Chinese, was listed alongside the number. The man told police that his passport had not been lost or stolen.
What about people who checked in but did not board the flight?
On Monday, the civil aviation chief said five people checked in but did not board and their baggage was removed accordingly. On Tuesday, the inspector general of police said that everyone who was booked on to the flight had boarded - though he then contradicted himself by saying one person had missed the flight because they got the wrong day. Malaysia Airlines says that four people were booked but never checked in.