Thursday, March 13, 2014

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370 News March 13 , 2014 -- Anywhere in this circle - the plane might be ? Hijacked by unknown individuals for a presently unknown purpose - is that what the US believes ? Satellite images from Sunday released by mistake ( so says Chinese Embassy ) , search aircraft reveal no debris at site ..... Malaysian police deny raiding homes of crew members , Malysia dismisses WSJ report that missing plane sent signals hours after last observed and lost contact with air traffic control .......Malaysia insists plane was compliant with airworthy directives issued by US FAA .... 80 ships searching in two separate areas ( South China sea as well as west of Malaysian peninsula ) ....... India steps up its efforts in search for missing plane , sending three ships and three aircraft to Andaman and Nicobar Islands

Today's confusion........

Mike Nudelman/Business Insider

US Investigators Think Missing Plane Might Have Been Stolen To Use Later For Another Purpose

Two U.S. officials believe the shutdown of two separate communications systems from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 happened at different times, indicating the disappearance was less likely the result of a catastrophic failure and more the result of a "deliberate act," according to a new report from ABC News.
Sources speaking with ABC believe the data reporting system was shut down at 1:07 a.m., while the transponder — sending out location and altitude data — was shut down at 1:21 a.m.
Further, investigators suspect the missing flight stayed in the air for about four hours after it reached its last confirmed location, according to Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal.
The Journal originally reported that they obtained data from the aircraft's engines, but then issued a correction saying that U.S. investigators based their position on "an analysis of signals sent through the plane’s satellite-communication link designed to automatically transmit the status of some onboard systems."
Satellites picked up 'electronic pings' from the flight after it lost contact, Reuters reports.
Malaysian authorities immediately rebutted the initial report, but have not provided any new information about the fate of the flight. Today, the country's minister of defense and acting minister of transport said the plane simply "vanished."
CNN Chief International correspondent Jim Sciutto reports that the "pings" of engine data, radar data, and fuel range have led the U.S. to alter their search to the Indian Ocean.
The primary scenarios of what happened remain a possible hijacking, action by rogue crew, or some sort of catastrophic mechanical failure.
One person tracking the probe told The Journal that U.S. counterterrorism officials are actively pursuing the notion that the plane was diverted "with the intention of using it later for another purpose."
"That's been a possibility right from the start," Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author, told Business Insider. "It's very unlikely, but I suppose it's conceivable."
The Journal notes that the plane could have flown, in almost any direction, for 2,530 miles in four hours. That makes the search area a whole lot bigger. The plane could have reached India or Pakistan, for example, as well as much of Russia and China.

At 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, the flight carrying 239 people dropped off air traffic control screens, less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No one knows where it went after that.
Five days later, the search for clues about the plane's path have become one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation. There has been no trace of the plane and no confirmed signs of wreckage.
Malaysia's credibility is already being challenged after days of confusing statements, misinformation, and delays.
Earlier this week Malaysia's military said that it believed the the passenger plane turned and flew 350 miles to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast. It then backed away from the report.
"The Malaysians deserve to be criticized — their handling of this has been atrocious," Ernest Bower, a Southeast Asia specialist at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, told Reuters.
On the other hand, the incident is profoundly bizarre:

Last commercial airliner loaded w passengers to actually go missing was in 1962. Had propellers. No modern tracking. I'll leave that there.

Summary 6:07 pm EST

• Malaysia Airlines flight 370 continued to send automatic status transmissions for hours after the plane lost contact with ground control, possibly indicating the plane remained in flight during that time, unnamed US officials told reporters.
• The search for the jet, which disappeared carrying 239 passengers and crew, was set to enter its seventh day. The search effort now comprises dozens of ships and aircraft from 12 nations over an area of 35,800 square miles (92,600 square kilometers).
• The search intensified in the Indian Ocean, where the United States said it was deploying additional ships and aircraft.
• Earlier Thursday, Malaysian officials said reports that the plane stayed in the air for hours after losing contact were “inaccurate”. The officials have not commented on the latest claims by US officials.

5:36 pm EST
The “new information” that Press Secretary Jay Carney referred to todaywas “that the plane’s engines remained running for approximately four hours after it vanished from radar,” the Washington Post quotes anonymous “Obama administration officials” as saying. The information is in line with multiple reports this afternoon. The Post reports:
One senior administration official said the data showing the plane engines running hours after contact was lost came from the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, a way that planes maintain contact with ground stations through radio or satellite signals. The official said Malaysian authorities shared the flight data with the administration.
Read the full piece here.

5:29 pm EST 
Flight MH370 sent “signals to a satellite for four hours after the aircraft went missing,” the Associated Press quotes an unnamed US official as saying:
The official said the Boeing 777-200 wasn’t transmitting data to the satellite, but sending out a signal to establish contact. Boeing offers a satellite service that can receive a stream of data during flight on how the aircraft is functioning.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorized to speak publicly, said Malaysia Airlines didn’t subscribe to that service, but the system was automatically pinging the satellite anyway.
The official also said some messages involving a different data service were received for a short time after the plane’s transponder went silent.

On Saturday, the US Navy will contribute new state-of-the-art surveillance aircraft to the search for MH370, according to a Navypress release:
The [P-8A Poseidon] has a maximum speed of 490 knots, a ceiling of 41,000 feet, and provides a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles with four hours on station. For a mission such as the MH370 search, the P-8 will typically fly at 5,000 to 10,000 feet at 350 knots, with a search time of approximately 8-9 hours depending on distance to search area.
The P-3C Orion will “remain on station to assist with the search in a daily rotation with the P-8,” the navy said, adding that it was sending the USS Pinckney, a destroyer, “to Singapore for planned maintenance and routine voyage repairs”:
With the search area expanding into the Strait of Malacca Pinckney is not currently needed until follow-on information is available and planning occurs. She will continue searching during her transit south today.


• The White House said Thursday that an unspecified “possible piece of information, or pieces of information, has led to the possibility that a new search area may be opened up over the Indian Ocean” for MH370.
• The Pentagon said it was sending the USS Kidd destroyernorthwest through the Strait of Malacca to cover a new search area. It was unclear what new information the Pentagon was acting on.
• Multiple news reports quoting unnamed investigators said an automatic onboard satellite link sent pings from the plane after it lost contact with ground control.
• The Wall Street Journal retracted a report that a system inside the plane’s Rolls-Royce engines had sent signals indicating it was still flying after losing contact with ground control. A different system sent the signals, the paper said.
• Malaysian officials on Thursday morning said reports that the plane stayed in the air for several hours after losing contact were “inaccurate”.
• Dozens of ships and aircraft from 12 nations joined the search of 35,800 square miles (92,600 square kilometers). Read the full list of search assets here.
• Mutual suspicion and a lack of communication among regional neighbors continued to hamper the search for MH370, Agence France-Presse reported.
• The Malaysian communications minister asked Malaysians not to spread rumors – or criticism of the government – at a “time to unite.”

Earlier items from today.....

India    12:20 GMT

India has stepped up its search for the missing plane, deploying three ships and three aircraft to the remote Andaman and Nicobar Islands, according to AFP citing a navy source.
The defence ministry ordered deployment of the vessels and planes to scour an area east of the islands in the Andaman Sea which are closer to Myanmar and Malaysia than India, a senior navy official said.
“India has formally joined the search operations this afternoon for the missing Malaysian airliner by sending three ships,” the official said in New Delhi, adding that India was coordinating with Malaysia’s navy.

The Indian operation “is being conducted from the naval headquarters in New Delhi. Being a maritime search and rescue operation, the government... has asked the Indian navy to lead and conduct the operations,” the navy official said, adding that two Dornier aircraft and one P-8I maritime surveillance plane have also been deployed.
He said the INS Saryu, INS Kumbhir and ICG Kanaklata Barua were expected to reach the search area some 111 nautical kilometres (60 miles) east of Campbell Bay, on one of the southern islands, by late Thursday.
The Andaman and Nicobar islands are Indian territory, although they are at least 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) from the mainland.

Members of a Search and Rescue ship look at a map of the Straits of Malacca as they hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Malaysia's military has traced what could have been the missing Boeing near India's Andaman and Nicobar islands
Members of a search and rescue ship look at a map of the Straits of Malacca as they hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Malaysia's military has traced what could have been the missing Boeing near India's Andaman and Nicobar islands Photograph: Stringer/Indonesia/Reuters


Here’s a summary of what emerged from the press conference: