Saturday, March 22, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Updates Day 15 - March 22 , 2014 --Various countries indicate no radar sighting for northern corridor , search focusing on southern corridor at this time.....transcript between pilots of MH 370 and Malaysian air traffic control doesn't indicate anything abnormal......Malaysian authorities indicate no cargo issues ..... Chinese satellite spots an object in the southern corridor which will be the focus of a search to locate same ...... Whether the theory is cargo fire , criminal actions by one or both pilots or some type of sudden malfunction that rendered that plane unflyable - the problem so far is that nothing supports any of these theories to date ! The mystery continues.....


http://www.nbcnews.com/storyline/missing-jet/civilian-plane-sees-wooden-pallet-small-objects-ocean-search-n59411


Civilian Plane Sees Wooden Pallet, Small Objects In Ocean Search

A civilian aircraft helping in the search of a remote corner of the southern Indian Ocean reported seeing a number of small objects, including a wooden pallet, Australian officials said.
The objects, which were spotted with the naked eye, were the only positive result from an otherwise fruitless search of the inhospitable waters as investigators look for possible wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion aircraft with specialist observation equipment was diverted to the location of the small objects, but only reported sighting clumps of seaweed, AMSA said in a statement at 9. a.m. ET Saturday.
The military aircraft dropped a marker buoy to track the movement of the material, it said. A merchant ship in the area has been tasked to relocate and seek to identify the material.
The painstaking air and sea search ended its third day shortly after 6 a.m. ET Saturday – about the same time as Malaysia announced that a Chinese satellite has also spotted possible debris less than 100 miles from the U.S. sighting.
Sea fog and low cloud made the search effort even more difficult than usual, according to military crews who arrived back at a base in Perth, western Australia.
Six aircraft and two merchant vessels have been involved in scouring a search zone drawn up after suspected debris was spotted by a U.S. satellite.
U.S., New Zealand and Australian aircraft on site for three days are now being joined by those from China, Japan and India.
Earlier Saturday, Australia's deputy prime minister promised that the search would be "exhaustive" and that the end of the operation was "not in sight" despite the lack of any confirmed sightings of debris.



New Strait Times Updates of note ....


UPDATE 32: MISSING MH370: AMSA concludes search today with no luck

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PERTH: The Australian Maritime Safety Authority search operation for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has concluded for today.

During Saturday’s search activities a civil aircraft tasked by AMSA reported sighting a number of small objects with the naked eye, including a wooden pallet, within a radius of five kilometres. 
 
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion aircraft with specialist electro-optic observation equipment was diverted to the location, arriving after the first aircraft left but only reported sighting clumps of seaweed. 
 
The RNZAF Orion dropped a datum marker buoy to track the movement of the material. A merchant ship in the area has been tasked to relocate and seek to identify the material. 
 
The search area experienced good weather conditions on Saturday with visibility of around 10 kilometres and moderate seas. 
 
The Royal Australian Air Force, the Royal New Zealand Air Force, two chartered civil aircraft and two merchant ships supported Saturday’s search effort in a 36,000 square kilometre search area in the Australian Search and Rescue Region. 
 
Since AMSA assumed coordination of the search on Monday 17 March, 15 sorties have been flown and more than 150 hours of air time has been committed by the air crews to the task. 
 
Four military aircraft assisted in today’s search, as well as two ultra-long range jets. Ten State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers from Western Australia were tasked as air observers today, along with two AMSA mission coordinators on the civilian aircraft. AMSA runs a training program across the country to train SES volunteers in air observation for land and sea searches. 
 
The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Success has arrived in the search area. Two merchant ships are also in the search area. 
 
The search will resume tomorrow and further attempts will be made to establish whether the objects sighted are related to MH370. 
 
This evening China provided a satellite image to Australia possibly showing a 22.5 metre floating object in the southern Indian Ocean. AMSA has plotted the position and it falls within Saturday’s search area. 
 
The object was not sighted on Saturday. 
 
AMSA will take this information into account in tomorrow’s search plans. 

UPDATE 29: MISSING MH370: Reported transcript inaccurate, says DCA

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SEPANG: The communication transcript that allegedly took place between the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 and air traffic control (ATC) the night it was reported missing on March 8 has been classified as inaccurate and "tidak sahih" (invalid).

"The transcript is invalid and inaccurate. I have to inform that the transcript between the tower and the aircraft is not accurate," stressed the Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman. 
 
He rebutted the transcript which was published today by a foreign media 'The Telegraph' during the daily media briefing on the search and rescue operation for the unfortunate aircraft that entered day-15, at a hotel here, today. 
 
Also present were Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and MAS Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. 
 
When asked to explain further which part of the transcript was not accurate, Azharuddin refused to comment, adding that: "The transcript by standard procedure cannot be publicly released."    
 
The Telegraph in its exclusive report entitled 'Revealed: the final 54 minutes of communication from MH370' published the cockpit communication from its taxi on the runway to its final message at 1.19am of 'all right, good
night'.
 
The transcript allegedly between the co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid and ATC started at 00.25 with general instructions from the control tower to the pilots.
 
The detailed conversation began at 00.36.
 
Earlier Hishammuddin said that the original transcript of the conversation between MH370 and ATC had been handed to the investigation team, where it was being analysed. 
 
"As a standard practice in investigation of this sort, the transcript cannot be publicly released at this stage. I can however confirm that the transcript does not indicate anything abnormal," he said. 
 
The issue on the lithium-ion battery which was carried in the cargo area of the aircraft MH370 was again raised by the media today, but Ahmad Jauhari had explained in detail on the matter at the media conference yesterday, besides issuing an official statement.
 
"The battery as cargo is not dangerous. Actually it (the battery) is not dangerous as long as it is handled according to the guidelines specified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA)," he said. 
 
MAS Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing about an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8. It should have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day. 
 
The fate of the passengers is unknown as the multi-national search for the aircraft has drawn a blank so far. - BERNAMA 




UPDATE 26 (Day 15) MISSING MH370: Full statement by Hishammuddin

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KUALA LUMPUR: Following is the statement by Defence Minister and Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein at a press briefing on the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, in Sepang, Selangor, today:

Diplomatic, logistical and technical efforts continue in the search for MH370. As we intensify the search and rescue operations, the overall emphasis remains the same: using all available means to narrow the search areas in both corridors. 
Operational update: 
In the northern corridor, in response to diplomatic notes, we can confirm that China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar, Laos, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan have verbally informed the search and rescue operation that, based on preliminary analysis, there have been no sightings of the aircraft on their radar. 
With respect to the southern corridor, today two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s will arrive in Perth to begin operations. The Shaanxi Y-8 which arrived yesterday will be operating from Subang air base in Malaysia. China is also sending an additional two ships from the Andaman Sea to join the five Chinese ships already in the southern corridor. 
Two Indian aircraft, a P-8 Poseidon and C-130 Hercules, arrived in Malaysia at 18:00 yesterday to assist with the search. 
HMS Echo is currently in the Persian Gulf and is en route to the southern corridor. The ship is equipped with advanced sensors that allow it to search effectively underwater. 
Australian search area:
Five aircraft and two merchant ships were involved in the search and rescue operations in the vicinity of the objects identified by the Australian authorities, which are approximately 2,500km southwest of Perth. Despite improved visual search conditions yesterday, there were no sightings of the objects of interest. 
Operations continue, and today they plan to search an area of approximately 10,500 square nautical miles. 
The Rescue Co-ordination Centre Australia anticipates that six aircraft - four military and two civilian - will be visually searching the area. Two merchant vessels will also be present during search operations, and HMAS Success
was due to reach the search area at 14:30 today. 
Generally, conditions in the southern corridor are very challenging. The ocean varies between 1,150 metres and 7,000 metres in depth. In the area where the possible objects were identified by the Australian authorities there are strong currents and rough seas. 
A cyclone warning has been declared for Tropical Cyclone Gillian, which is located in the southern corridor. Very strong winds and rough seas are expected there today. 
Family briefings:
The briefing for families in Kuala Lumpur yesterday went well. The briefing in Beijing, however, was less productive. Despite the best intentions, I understand there were tense scenes. 
I have received a report from the Malaysian high-level team, as well as a copy of the declaration from the Chinese families. I have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the authorities in China, to investigate what happened. 
We will continue to engage with the families. We are working hard with Chinese authorities and the Chinese working group to create a more conducive environment for the briefings. I have instructed my technical team to do a review of both briefings so that we can improve them. 
We appeal to all parties to be understanding during this extraordinary and difficult time. My pledge to all the families, wherever they are, is the same: we will do everything in our power to keep you informed. 
Transcript:
The original transcript of the conversation between MH370 and Malaysian air traffic control is with the investigations team, where it is being analysed. 
As is standard practice in investigations of this sort, the transcript cannot be publicly released at this stage. I can however confirm that the transcript does not indicate anything abnormal. 
Cargo manifest:  
On the matter of MH370’s cargo, the cargo manifest is with the investigations team, and will be released in due course. 
Preliminary investigation of the cargo manifest has not shown any link to anything that might have contributed to MH370’s disappearance. 
As was stated yesterday, all cargo carried on MH370 was in compliance with International Civil Aviation Organisation and International Air Transport Association standards. 
Concluding remarks:
Over the past two weeks, the search for MH370 has taken many twists and turns. From satellite images to eyewitness accounts, we have followed every lead and investigated every possibility. 
Today we are focused on leads from the satellite images announced by the Australian authorities on Thursday. We continue to be updated by the Australian authorities on an hourly basis. 
I know this roller coaster has been incredibly hard for everyone, especially for the families. We hope and pray this difficult search will be resolved, and bring closure to those whose relatives were on board. 
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all 26 countries who are with us in this effort; from ordinary people to the highest levels of government. 
I would also like to pay special tribute to the men and women from all countries who are putting themselves in harm’s way in the search for MH370. 
As we speak, people are sailing through a cyclone to help find the missing plane. We are immensely grateful to all our partners for their efforts. - BERNAMA









UPDATE 25 (Day 15) MISSING MH370: Object 120km from debris in Australia

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BEIJING: A suspicious object spotted by a Chinese satellite was floating 120 km (72 miles) from possible debris announced by Australia in the search for a missing Malaysian jet, the official Xinhua news agency said on Saturday.

 "The location of the suspicious object is along the southern corridor missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 might have taken," it said, adding the object was spotted on March 18, two days after the satellite image announced by Australia. -- Reuters




UPDATE 24 (Day 15) MISSING MH370: China releases image of possible object

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KUALA LUMPUR: China has released a new satellite image of a large floating object in the Indian Ocean that could be related to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, officials said Saturday.

   Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein announced the news during  his daily press briefing when he was handed a note by an aide.
   “The news that I just received is that the Chinese ambassador received  satellite images of floating objects in the southern corridor and they will be  sending ships to verify,” Hishammuddin said.
   In a later press statement, the transport ministry clarified that there was  one “suspected” object with an estimated size of 22.5 metres by 13 metres (74  by 43 feet).
   Hishammuddin had provided different dimensions which the statement said was  the result of a telephone miscommunication.
   Chinese state television later released a copy of the undated, grainy  satellite image.
   Attached coordinates suggested it was in roughly the same area of remote  ocean as two possible objects spotted on satellite images taken March 16 and  released by the Australian government on Thursday.
   China’s Xinhua news agency said the object was spotted 120 kilometres from  those spotted by Australia.
   Australian and US spotter planes have been scouring the area for the past  three days, but without finding any sign of the suspected wreckage. -- AFP

This image provided by China's State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense shows a floating object seen at sea next to the descriptor which was added by the source. The image was captured around noon, on March 18, 2014 (Tuesday) by a Chinese satellite in S44’57 E90’13 in south Indian Ocean. It shows what is suspected to be a floating object 22 meters long and 13 meters wide. It is about 120 km south (slightly to the west) of the suspected objects released by Australia. (AP Photo/ China State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense) -- AP photo


UPDATE 23 (Day 15)MISSING MH370: No sign of plane entering India airspace

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KUALA LUMPUR: India has told Malaysia it has found no evidence that a missing Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 people on board flew through its airspace, investigators said on Saturday.

 The first notification that India and a number of other nations on a northern search corridor have come up empty-handed leaves the two-week-old investigation dependent on increasingly fragile hopes that an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean comes from Flight MH370.
 China and Pakistan are also among countries that have found no trace of the jet in their airspace, Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.
 Hishammuddin, who is running the investigation as acting transport minister, said earlier that after two days without confirmation of debris in the south, his "biggest concern" was that the search for the missing plane would have to revert to focusing once again on both vast search corridors running north and south.
 The response from India is crucial because any radar data from that country could help identify whether the jet turned north or south after disappearing on March 8, but the issue is also sensitive because of the presence of military radar.
 Sources familiar with the situation in both countries said India had formally told Malaysia that it had checked for any sign of the jet having touched its airspace and found nothing of significance, in response to Kuala Lumpur's diplomatic request.
 The plane's last confirmed position, picked up by Malaysian military radar, was at 2:15 a.m. Malaysia time (1815 GMT March 7) about 200 nautical miles northwest of Malaysia's Penang island, roughly an hour after it diverted from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
 Officials close to the investigation said available information showed the plane may have passed close to Port Blair, the capital of India's Andaman and Nicobar Islands, 550 miles (885 km) further northwest along an established commercial flying route.
 "It went very near Port Blair, that much we understand from information available," said a senior military official with knowledge of the investigation.
 "It had gone into Indian airspace and then it was not clear where the plane went after Port Blair."
 An Indian Defence Ministry spokesman declined to comment on whether the aircraft had flown over Port Blair.
 India has said it is possible that the military radars were switched off as it operates on an "as required" basis in that area.
 A reluctance to share sensitive military radar data in a region where countries are wary of each other has hampered investigators' attempts to solve the baffling disappearance, officials have said. -- Reuters



UPDATE 22(Day 15)MISSING MH370: 'No sightings of objects identified by Aus'

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KUALA LUMPUR: There were no sightings of the objects identified by the Australian authorities in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

He noted that five aircraft and two merchant ships were involved in the search and rescue (SAR) operation in the vicinity of the objects spotted by satellite imagery, approximately 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth, Australia.
"Despite improved visual search, there were no sightings of the objects of interest," he told a media briefing on the SAR for Boeing 777, which vanished with 239 people on board on March 8.
The search in the southern Indian Ocean was initiated after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told parliament about the two objects which could be related to the Malaysian flight.
"The operations continue, and today they plan to search an area approximately 10,500 square nautical miles," he said.


Malaysian Chronicle......





Saturday, 22 March 2014 17:49

FLAMMABLE lithium cargo takes over as the MOST PLAUSIBLE cause for MH370 disappearance

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FLAMMABLE lithium cargo takes over as the MOST PLAUSIBLE cause for MH370 disappearance
The news that missing Malaysia Flight 370 was transporting lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold will come as little surprise to the former head of security for the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration, writes Aimée Turner.
Billie Vincent who served as the FAA’s civil aviation security chief insisted from the outset that rather than portraying the crew of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 as saboteurs, the pilots struggled heroically to save the aircraft until overcome by smoke from a catastrophic cargo fire caused – or exacerbated – by its highly flammable lithium battery cargo.
Vincent played a key policy and crisis management role in the handling of all hijackings of US aircraft in the 1980s. He was also in charge of the agency’s armed Federal Air Marshals and served as an expert witness in the trial of the Pan Am 103 terrorist bombing.
After leaving the FAA he led an international consulting firm which was contracted in the 1990s to design and implement the security system of Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur International Airport where Flight 370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, started its journey at 12.41 am on March 8 before disappearing from civilian radar en route to Beijing at 1.21 am after a final radio transmission made at 1.19 am.
Pings
Officials in Malaysia said they suspected that someone on board the aircraft first disabled the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) shortly after takeoff before switching off the aircraft’s transponder in a systematic effort to render the aircraft invisible to air traffic surveillance. ‘Pings’ sent from the aircraft to an Inmarsat satellite, indicated that Flight 370 may have then been deliberately diverted and flown as far north as Central Asia or south over the Indian Ocean.
Speaking exclusively to Air Traffic Management, Vincent dismisses the likelihood of a bomb being detonated on board which would have ruptured the pressure hull of the aircraft citing the fact that the series of ‘pings’ would indicate that Flight 370 flew for up to seven more hours. That would not have been possible if its aerostructure had been compromised. If, building from the aircraft’s final ‘ping’ satellite signals, debris is indeed found in the predicted area 1,550 miles south west of Perth, many now believe that the aircraft may not have been under active pilot control.
“The data released thus far most likely points to a problem with hazardous materials. This scenario begins with the eruption of hazardous materials within the cargo hold – either improperly packaged or illegally shipped – or both,” says Vincent.
Malaysian authorities on Friday confirmed that the missing flight was carrying lithium batteries in its cargo hold but said they did not regard them as endangering safety as standard rules had been observed in packing. “These are not regarded as dangerous goods and were packed as recommended by the International Civil Aviation Organisation,” Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a media briefing. Until now details of the cargo manifest have been limited to four tonnes of mangosteens.
Vincent remains convinced however that a fire which started in the cargo hold progressively and serially destroyed the aircraft’s communications systems; toxic fumes quickly overwhelmed the passenger cabin and the cockpit where at least one of the flight crew managed to don an oxygen mask allowing them to turn the aircraft back to either Kuala Lumpur or Pulau Langkawi.
Flight 370 is reported to have climbed to 45,000ft which Vincent believes could have been due simply to the inability of the flight crew to clearly see and set the controls for a return.
Diversion
Vincent guesses that control could have been regained and the aircraft sent back to a lower altitude of around 23,000 ft – which is a diversion altitude set by aircraft manufacturers to prevent a fire taking further hold and which both allows better survivability while venting the avionics bays.
The final report of a UPS B747 crash in Dubai in 2010, details how that crew similarly attempted to depressurise the freighter aircraft to slow down the fire 30 seconds after the loss of aircraft systems and flight controls. In that accident in which there were no survivors, the time interval between fire detection and the onset of aircraft system failures was around two and a half minutes.
The aircraft was found to be carrying at least three shipments of lithium batteries which should have been declared as hazardous materials – but were not. Testing conducted by the FAA Tech Center in the United States after the crash indicated that even overheating caused by an unrelated fire in the cargo hold could have caused a chain reaction: “For this reason, batteries that are not involved in an initial fire may ignite and propagate, creating a risk of a catastrophic event,” stated the investigators in their final report.
With this in mind those investigating Flight 370 will no doubt want to know the quantity and location of the battery cargo on the aircraft. It will also be vital to know how they were packaged and manufactured as well as the shipping history of this type of cargo by both Malaysia Airlines and the manufacturer.
Investigators of the Dubai accident also found that cockpit voice recordings indicated that the captain’s oxygen mask had stopped delivering oxygen around six minutes after the fire alarm was sounded. This resulted in the captain leaving his position due to incapacitation from toxic gases. The first officer who had to take control of the aircraft could not see outside the cockpit, the primary flight displays or the audio control panel to retune to the required frequencies.
Authorities have said that the last verbal communication from Malaysia Flight 370 was issued two minutes before the aircraft disappeared from air traffic controllers’ screens while flying over the South China Sea. Vincent guesses that the crew did manage to stabilise the aircraft and set it on a new course before once again succumbing to either a loss of oxygen or the remaining toxic fumes.
“The airplane then continues flying until no fuel remains and crashes – most likely into the ocean as there has been no report of any Emergency Locater Transmitter (ELT) signal which can be received by satellite if the crash were on land,” says Vincent.
Improbable
Vincent insists other scenarios involving hijacking and sabotage are improbable. “For instance, there is no indication that either of the pilots was criminally involved in the disappearance of this airplane. Neither has Malaysia released any data indicating anything amiss in the security clearance of the passengers for this flight. The one question raised about the two passengers travelling on stolen passports has been cleared indicating that they were planning on illegally claiming refugee status in another country, probably Germany.”
Several air accident investigators tell Air Traffic Management that there are still some anomalies in such a scenario such as the complete radio silence of MH370.
“In every inflight fire where the aircraft crashed, the situation deteriorated rapidly, ultimately overcoming the aircraft’s ability to fly such as the UPS 747-400 lithium-ion battery fire in Dubai; the Valujet 594 chemical oxygen generators in the forward cargo hold; SwissAir 111 electrical system fire in overhead void space and the South African Airways Boeing 747 cargo fire in 1987,” says one expert.
In each case, he points out that the crew had sufficient time to communicate with air traffic control before the aircraft crashed even though the fire intensified rapidly, igniting nearby materials. In each case the fire also rendered the aircraft unflyable, with the exception of SwissAir which stayed airborne longer as the crew attempted to burn off fuel.
A second reason that throws doubt on a cargo fire scenario is that the pilots of Flight 370, if they followed proper emergency procedure, would have both been using emergency oxygen masks, protecting them from toxic gas. “There are microphones in the masks, so they would have advised air traffic control of their intentions as they attempted an emergency return,” he says.
Finally, there remain doubts as to whether – even if the autopilot remained engaged – an aircraft would be capable of flying for seven hours. “A catastrophic end should have happened much sooner, even if they tried to depressurise the cabin to reduce the fire.” -www.airtrafficmanagement.net



Saturday, 22 March 2014 17:46

AS talk of 'FALSE LEAD' grows, Aussie officials vow to search on despite finding nothing on THIRD DAY

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AS talk of 'FALSE LEAD' grows, Aussie officials vow to search on despite finding nothing on THIRD DAY
The hunt for objects that could be from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has entered a third day in the southern Indian Ocean.
Saturday's search will involve six aircraft and cover 13,900 square miles (36,000 square kilometres) of ocean south west of Perth in western Australia.
Flight MH370 disappeared on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing two weeks ago with 239 people on board, the majority of them from China.
Three Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion aircraft, a New Zealand P3 RAAF Orion aircraft and two ultra long-range commercial jets with 10 volunteer observers on board make up the search team.
The jets and the P3 Orion left Perth at 9am local time (10pm UK time) and will take four hours to reach the search area.
The vast distance only allows the Orions two hours of search time before they must head back to Perth. The jets will be able to stay for five hours.
Two merchant ships are currently in the area, and are due to be joined by the Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success later on Saturday afternoon.
Two Chinese aircraft are expected to arrive in Perth on Saturday, followed by two Japanese planes on Sunday.
A flotilla of Chinese ships is making its way to the southern Indian Ocean, although it is still several days away.
Potential pieces of debris from the Boeing 777 were spotted by satellite last Sunday, but were only revealed on Thursday after analysis.
One object is thought to be 24 metres in length and the other about five metres.
The sightings have been deemed credible by the authorities and a "potentially important development" in attempts to solve the mystery surrounding the flight's fate.
However, Australia's deputy prime minister Warren Truss has admitted the objects could have sunk by now.
Poor weather hampered the first day of the search on Thursday, but conditions are expected to be good on Saturday.
The planes are expected to fly low under cloud cover rather than rely on radar, a repeat of the procedure followed on Friday.
The US is considering a request from Malaysia for underwater surveillance equipment to help in the search.
The Pentagon says it has spent $2.5m (1.5m) providing ships and aircraft for the search, and has budgeted for a further $1.5m (900,000).
Numerous theories about the fate of the plane have been put forward since its disappearance, and a former air accident investigator told Sky News on Friday he believed a "criminal act" was to blame.
Former assistant director of the FBI in New York James Kallstrom, who investigated the explosion of a Boeing 747 in the Atlantic Ocean in 1996, said the main focus of the inquiry should be on the crew. -skynews.com.au



Saturday, 22 March 2014 17:41

NOTHING SUSPICIOUS in Capt Zaharie's flight simulator - investigators

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NOTHING SUSPICIOUS in Capt Zaharie's flight simulator - investigators
Kuala Lumpur - Forensic experts examining the home flight simulator of Malaysia Airlines pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah have found nothing suspicious, collapsing the only significant lead investigators have been pursuing to try to solve the mystery disappearance of MH370, police sources say.
Investigators became suspicious last week when they discovered Mr Zaharie, 53, had deleted logs on a computer linked to the simulator on February 3, almost five weeks before the Boeing 777 with 239 people on board inexplicably turned around during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and was still flying more than seven hours later.
The computer hard drive was sent to FBI experts in the US to search for evidence of some kind of hijacking plot.
Mr Zaharie and his co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, have been a key focus of investigations after Malaysian authorities said they believed a “deliberate action” by someone on board caused the plane to lose communications and then turn around from its scheduled flight path.
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Intensive scrutiny of Mr Zaharie’s background has failed uncover any links to extremists groups or terrorism.
Investigations have also failed to find anything suspicious in the background of Mr Fariq, who was due soon to marry another pilot.
Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein was expected to announce that police had found nothing suspicious on the simulator at a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur late on Saturday, Malaysian time. -www.smh.com.au