Sunday, March 30, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery March 30 , 2014 -- Day 23 ...... MH370: Chinese relatives arrive in Malaysia to demand answers Two dozen family members fly into Kuala Lumpur to meet 'highest officials' as search for missing plane still draws blanks ......MH370 Lost in Indian Ocean: Australia hopeful as more items pulled from sea ......... MH370 crash: Deep-sea search tools ready for deployment ....... Are the searchers looking in the right location - when does anyone consider alternative destination for Flight 370 or the reports from witnesses on Kuda Huvadhoo ( Maldives ) ?

http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/mar/30/mh370-chinese-relatives-malaysia-answers



MH370: Chinese relatives arrive in Malaysia to demand answers

Two dozen family members fly into Kuala Lumpur to meet 'highest officials' as search for missing plane still draws blanks














MH370 relatives
A relative of a passenger from MH370 in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday. The T-shirt says: 'Praying that MH370 returns home safely.' Photograph: STR/AFP/Getty Images
More than two dozen Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight 370 arrived in Malaysia on Sunday to demand to meet top officials for more information about what happened to the airliner that has been missing for more than three weeks.
Two-thirds of the 227 passengers aboard the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared 8 March en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur were Chinese, and Beijing has urged Malaysia to be more open about the investigation.
As the 29 family members arrived in Kuala Lumpur, the search for the missing airliner was continuing with 14 aircraft from seven different countries scouring an area in the southern Indian ocean about the size of Norway.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said an Australian navy ship with a US-supplied "black box" locator on board had been dispatched to the area 1,800km west of Perth.
Debris sightings by Chinese, Australian and New Zealand planes on Saturday did not yield any solid clues in one of aviation's greatest mysteries, compounding the frustration of families who have been waiting more than three weeks to discover the fate of their loved ones.
The relatives of the Chinese passengers were ushered through a VIP area at the airport when they arrived in Kuala Lumpur and led onto two large buses that drove them to a hotel about half an hour away.
About 30 Malaysian volunteers in pale blue polo-shirts led the relatives from the buses to the hotel. Some of the volunteers linked arms to prevent reporters from getting near and nudged cameramen aside.
The Chinese were mostly reticent. Some wore white T-shirts with light blue Chinese characters that said "Praying that MH370 returns home safely."
A man named Jiang Hui said the relatives would speak at greater length later.
"Now that we've come here, we will disseminate comments in a unified way. We don't reject the media, but please give us a bit of time."
Another man who gave only his surname, Xu, said in brief comments that the relatives want to meet officials "at the very highest levels."
In Beijing before they boarded the flight, one relative said they would demand to meet the prime minister and the defence minister, who is the chief spokesman for the government.
"We have questions that we would like to ask them in person," said Wang Chunjiang, whose younger brother, lawyer Wang Chunyong, was on flight MH370.
"We know what we can do is insignificant, but we will do whatever we can do for our beloved ones," said Wang, who was unable to make the trip because of a family issue. "We want to know what could have happened to them in the six hours the plane kept flying, and if they had to endure any mental and physical pains."
He said some relatives were hoping for a miracle. "It cannot be completely ruled out before we see the wreckage of the plane or the bodies of our loved ones."
When Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak confirmed on March 24 that based on radar and satellite analysis the plane had crashed somewhere in the southern Indian ocean, there were lingering questions because there was no physical evidence.
That wariness on the part of the relatives has been fuelled by the missteps at the beginning of the search, which started in waters off Vietnam, then swung to areas west of Malaysia and Indonesia, and then as radar and satellite information was further analysed, to southwest of Australia and now to a second zone farther northeast.
Later Sunday, Ong Ka Ting, the Malaysian prime minister's special envoy to China, went to the hotel to greet the relatives.
"I'm sure in Beijing they've already had a lot of discussions and we understand their feelings, and we know that definitely by coming over here there will be a lot more discussions and meetings," Ong said. " So we try our best to assist them."
In Perth, Australia, where the search is based, Australia set up a coordination centre for the multinational operation. Possibly in anticipation that wreckage of the plane will be found, officials said the centre will also be a contact point for the families, including interpreter services and counseling.





http://www.nst.com.my/latest/font-color-red-mh370-font-sar-activities-for-day-23-concluded-with-252-000-sq-km-searched-1.540667


MH370: SAR activities for day 23 concluded with 252,000 sq km searched

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PERTH: Search activities for Sunday have now concluded. Approximately 252,000 square kilometres were searched.

Today’s search activities involved a total of nine aircraft. 
 
They included two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Chinese 
People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea Navy P3 Orion, a United States 
Navy P8 Poseidon, a Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and two civil aircraft. 
 
Eight ships were tasked in the MH370 search area with a merchant ship also transiting through the area. 
This represents the greatest number of ships tasked in the search to date. 
 
Aircraft in the search area have continued to report sightings of objects similar to those reported 
previously. Objects sighted by aircraft cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they 
are relocated and recovered by ships. Nothing has yet been verified as being from MH370. 
 
A number of objects were retrieved by HMAS Success and Haixun 01 yesterday. The objects have been 
examined on the ships and are not believed to be related to MH370. The objects have been described 
as fishing equipment and other flotsam. 
 
The weather in the search area was described as reasonable for searching. Visibility was reported as 
being in excess of 10km. 
 
The ADV Ocean Shield is scheduled to depart from Perth tomorrow, having been fitted with a black box 
detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle .
 
The search will resume in the morning subject to weather conditions. 
 
Source: AMSA

http://www.nst.com.my/latest/font-color-red-mh370-lost-in-indian-ocean-font-australia-hopeful-as-more-items-pulled-from-sea

MH370 Lost in Indian Ocean: Australia hopeful as more items pulled from sea

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PERTH, Australia: Australia’s prime minister said he was hopeful a clue will emerge soon to narrow the hunt for Flight 370, as more objects were pulled from the southern Indian Ocean and checked to see if they were part of the plane that went missing more than three weeks ago.

But so far, even though more ships are scouring the area off western Australia, none of the recovered items has been connected to the Malaysia Airlines plane that crashed March 8 with 239 people on board. 
“My understanding from this morning is that there has been no discrete debris associated with the flight,” Australian Navy Commodore Peter Leavy told reporters.  
In Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the “intensifying search effort” as positive because objects “have been recovered from the ocean.” 
The Australian Maritimes Safety Authority said 10 planes took part in the search today, leaving in staggered times from the western city of Perth. Eight ships were on the scene, including the Australian navy supply ship HMAS Success, which is to store any wreckage found. 
The ships are trying to locate and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days. 
Leavy, the commander of the search task force, said the operation was made more difficult because the particular area being combed is in a shipping lane littered with potentially more floating objects. 
AMSA said there were light showers and low cloud in the area, but not enough to disrupt the search, which is about 2 ½ hours flying time from Perth, allowing the planes five hours of searching time before they have to return to base. 
Among the objects spotted over the last day were three by a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 plane that were white, red and orange, according to a report from China’s official Xinhua News Agency said. The missing Boeing 777’s exterior was red, white, blue and gray.  
In Kuala Lumpur, several dozen Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight 370 arrived Sunday to demand to meet top officials for more information about what happened to the airliner. 
Newly analysed satellite data shifted the search zone on Friday, raising expectations that searchers may be closer to getting physical evidence that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean.
The change came after analysts determined that the Boeing 777 may have been traveling faster than earlier estimates and would therefore have run out of fuel sooner. 
That would narrow the hunt for the wreckage and the plane’s black boxes, which should contain clues to what caused the plane to be so far off-course. 
An Australian warship with an aircraft black box detector was set to depart today to join the search. It will still take three to four days for the ship, the Ocean Shield, to reach the search zone — an area roughly the size of Poland about 1,850 kilometres (1,150 miles) to the west of Australia. 
“The ship will take part in the surface search until the debris is positively identified and an underwater search area is then predicted,” U.S .Navy Captain Mark Matthews told reporters in Perth. 
The Ocean Shield will be equipped with a black box detector — the U.S. Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator — and an unmanned underwater vehicle, as well as other acoustic detection equipment. 
But even if investigators can determine that the plane went down in the newly targeted search zone, recovery of its flight data and cockpit voice recorders could be complicated. 
The sea floor within the search area is covered in squishy sediment and generally flat, save for a steep slope and trench near its southern end.  
Unless the plane’s fuselage went down the slope or into the trench, the underwater geography should not hinder the search.
The area is dominated by Broken Ridge, a plateau where depths range from as shallow as about 800 meters (2,625 feet) to about 3,000 meters (9,843 feet). 
At the edge of the plateau closest to Antarctica is the Diamantina trench, which sea floor mappers have found is as deep as 5,800 meters (19,000 feet), though it could be deeper in places that have not been measured. 
Matthews said the Navy’s ping locator has the “capability to do search and recovery operations down to a depth of 20,000 feet.” 
Data on the black boxes may help investigators solve what has become one of aviation’s big mysteries — what happened to Flight 370, with speculation ranging from equipment failure and a botched hijacking to terrorism or an act by one of the pilots.  
Abbott also announced that former Australian defence chief, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, will lead a new centre in Perth to coordinate the international search effort.   --AFP

Australian Navy Vice Admiral Ray Griggs (left), Commodore Peter Leavy (centre) and U.S. Navy Captain Mark Matthews (right) hold a news conference in front of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield at HMAS Stirling naval base near Perth. Matthews is in charge of the operation to deploy a U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) towed pinger locator, an undersea drone capable of exploring waters nearly 15,000 feet deep that will be towed by the Ocean Shield, to help locate the black box pinger from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean. REUTERS PHOTO


http://www.thestar.com.my/News/Nation/2014/03/30/MH370-crash-deep-sea-search-tools-ready/


Published: Sunday March 30, 2014 MYT 7:26:00 PM
Updated: Sunday March 30, 2014 MYT 7:44:18 PM

MH370 crash: Deep-sea search tools ready for deployment

The side scan sonar imagery collected by the Bluefin Robotics deep-sea search submersible is capable of capturing great detail.
The side scan sonar imagery collected by the Bluefin Robotics deep-sea search submersible is capable of capturing great detail.
   
PETALING JAYA: International search and rescue efforts are still scouring the vast surface of the Indian Ocean for debris, but when the time comes for a deep-sea underwater search, the tools for it are ready for deployment.
It has been 23 days since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing, and 26 nations have contributed both manpower and technology to find the wreckage of the Boeing 777 aircraft, which was said to have ended its journey in the sea.
However, the need to locate the aircraft's flight data recorder - the so-called black box - is growing, and time is fast running out as its on-board batteries are said to be able to last for 30 days before it stops emitting locator pings.
However, what exactly will be used in the event of a deep-sea, underwater search?
Phoenix Towed Pinger Locator 25
According to the US Navy, which operates the Towed Pinger Locator or TPL-25, it is a 29kg system which "meets the Navy's requirement for locating emergency relocation pingers on downed Navy and commercial aircraft down to a maximum depth of 20,000 feet anywhere in the world", according to its page on the official Navy website.

The US Navy's TPL-25 Towed Pinger Locator.
The website explains that the TPL-25 consists of the tow fish, tow cable, winch, hydraulic power unit, generator, and topside control console.
"Navigation is accomplished by using algorithms incorporating the amount of cable in the water, the depth indication from the pressure sensor and other parameters. The generator provides electrical power for the system or power from the support platform can be used if it is compatible. The tow fish carries a passive listening device for detecting pingers that automatically transmit an acoustic pulse," it adds.
The official page adds that most pingers transmit every second at 37.5kHz, although the TPL can detect any pinger transmitting between 3.5kHz and 50kHz at any repetition rate.
"The Pinger Locator is towed behind a vessel at slow speeds, generally from one to five knots depending on the depth. The received acoustic signal of the pinger is transmitted up the cable and is presented audibly, and can be output to either an oscilloscope, or signal processing computer. The operator monitors the greatest signal strength and records the navigation coordinates," it said.
Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle
The Bluefin-21 is a 750kg, 4.93m-long "modular autonomous underwater vehicle able to carry multiple sensors and payloads at once" according to the Bluefin Robotics website.

The Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle is launched from a ship.
"It boasts a high energy capacity that enables extended operations even at the greatest depths. The Bluefin-21 has immense capability but is also flexible enough to operate from various ships of opportunity worldwide," said Bluefin Robotics on its official page.
Bluefin Robotics added that the Bluefin-21 is used for off-shore survey, search and salvage, archaeology and exploration, oceanography, mine countermeasures and unexploded ordnance searches.
'Abyss' type deep-sea submarine
Three deep-sea submarines used to search for wreckage of the crashed Air France Flight 447 have also been sent to aid in the search for MH370.
The three "Abyss" type submarines can dive to depths of 6,000m and stay submerged for up to 24 hours.

Two researchers stand behind the "Abyss" deep-sea submarine in this file picture. - EPA
They are used by two organisations, the Helmholtz Oceanography Institute in Kiel, Germany, which owns one and the Woods Hole Institute in Massachusetts in the United States which owns the other two.
The Abyss submarine has bathymetry, temperature, water velocity, salinity, sound speed, sidescan sonar, sound speed, optical backscatter and flourescence sensors, among others.
According to its official page on the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute website, "the deep ocean version, known as Semi-Autonomous Mapping System (SAMS), dives to 6,000m and can be operated from most any research vessel or ship that can accommodate a portable lab."




From before - wonder what really happened with this  investigation  ?

















Published: Wednesday March 19, 2014 MYT 1:01:00 PM
Updated: Wednesday March 19, 2014 MYT 1:03:32 PM

Missing MH370: Maldives police probe reports of plane sighting

  
NEW DELHI: Police in the Maldives are probing reports that islanders in the tourism paradise saw a "low-flying jumbo jet" on the day the missing Malaysia Airlines plane vanished.

In a statement released late Tuesday, police said they were investigating a report on the Haveeru news website that local residents had spotted a large plane flying over the remote southern island of Kuda Huvadhoo on March 8.

"The police are looking into the reports in the media saying that a low-flying airplane was sighted above Kuda Huvadhoo," the statement said.

Several alleged sightings of the Boeing 777, which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board, have proved to be false alarms and reports of debris at sea have also turned up nothing.

Haveeru said witnesses on Kuda Huvadhoo had seen a white aircraft with red stripes flying towards the southern tip of the Maldives.

"I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly," the website quoted one witness as saying.

Haveeru journalist Farah Ahmed said several witnesses had given similar accounts.

"These people first heard a very loud noise from a plane flying unusually low and they came out to see it," Ahmed told AFP by phone from the Maldives capital Male, whose international airport daily handles dozens of wide-body jets bringing in thousands of tourists.

The hunt for the missing passenger jet now focuses on two vast search areas - a northern one spanning south and central Asia, and a southern corridor stretching deep into the southern Indian Ocean towards Australia.

The Maldives, located far from both arcs, is not among the 26 countries currently involved in the massive international search operation. - AFP
and just a refresher - amazing how after 23 days we still don't really have a clue as to what happened ......




Did Missing Flight MH370 Land In The Maldives Or Diego Garcia: The Full Updated Summary

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Well over a week after the disappearance of flight MH370 - which now is the longest official disappearance of a modern jet in aviation history - with no official trace of the missing plane yet revealed, the investigation, which as we reported over the weekend has focused on the pilots and specifically on Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, earlier today revealed that on his home-made flight simulator had been loaded five Indian Ocean practice runways, among which those of Male in the Maldives, that of the US owned base at Sergio Garcia, as well as other runways in India and Sri Lanka - all notable runways as all are possible landing spots based on the flight's potential trajectories. TheMalay Mail Online reported, "The simulation programmes are based on runways at the Male International Airport in Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres."
“We are not discounting the possibility that the plane landed on a runway that might not be heavily monitored, in addition to the theories that the plane landed on sea, in the hills, or in an open space,” the source was quoted as saying.
At this point the facts in the case are about as sketchy as any "data" on US Treasury holdings, but here is what was said on the record:
"Although Malay Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied yesterday that the plane had landed at US military base Diego Garcia, the source told the daily that this possibility will still be investigated based on the data found in Zaharie’s flight simulator software. The police had seized the flight simulator from the 53-year-old pilot’s house in Shah Alam on Saturday and reassembled it at the police headquarters where experts are conducting checks."
Previous reports indicated that the plane flew towards Checkpoint Gival, south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another checkpoint, Igrex, used for route P628 that would take it over the Andaman Islands and which carriers use to fly towards Europe.
Still, the Maldives news is of particular note since earlier today, Haaveru Online, quoted locals who said they had seen a "low flying jet" whose description is approximate to what flight MH370 looked like. From the source:
Whilst the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet, carrying 239 passengers has left the whole world in bewilderment, several residents of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru on Tuesday that they saw a "low flying jumbo jet" at around 6:15am on March 8.

They said that it was a white aircraft, with red stripes across it – which is what the Malaysia Airlines flights typically look like.

Eyewitnesses from the Kuda Huvadhoo concurred that the aeroplane was travelling North to South-East, towards the Southern tip of the Maldives – Addu. They also noted the incredibly loud noise that the flight made when it flew over the island.

"I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly," said an eyewitness.

"It's not just me either, several other residents have reported seeing the exact same thing. Some people got out of their houses to see what was causing the tremendous noise too."
...
A local aviation expert told Haveeru that it is "likely" for MH370 to have flown over the Maldives. The possibility of any aircraft flying over the island at the reported time is extremely low, the expert added.
So did the pilot hijack the plane, reprogram the flight path, turn off the transponder, and fly low above the surface and below radar all the way to the Maldives, or alternatively, US airbase, Diego Garcia, where Captain Shah promptly offloaded 20+ tons of still unknown cargo? Some experts opine on just this, by way of the Telegraph:
If the Maldive lead turns out to be a strong one, then the next question is: could the plane conceivably have flown to Somalia? Or somewhere in the southern Arabian peninsula or Iran? Somalia seems a much more likely destination for a hijacker with its known al-Qaeda connections.
And this:
Timing is issue with claimed Maldives sighting, because 06:15 local (01:15UTC) is 8h after loss of contact.