Monday, March 24, 2014

UPDATE 7 March 24 , 2014 (Day:17) MISSING MH370: Chinese plane spot several suspicious floating objects on Monday in remote seas off Australia ....... as a cautionary note , satellite images of possible debris observed by several nations have yet to be found let alone confirmed as being from MH 370...... 17 day fruitless search stirs concerns regarding cargo manifest and pilots as being potentially responsible for the plane's disappearance.....Strategic Aviation Solutions chairman Neil Hansford said it also suggests Malaysian authorities are not being fully transparent about what the Boeing 777-200ER, which disappeared on March 8 an hour into a journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was carrying.






Monday, 24 March 2014 22:43

ALL HOPE LOST: MH370 crashed into Indian Ocean, airline says NO SURVIVORS

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ALL HOPE LOST: MH370 crashed into Indian Ocean, airline says NO SURVIVORS
THE missing Malaysia Airlines plane went down in the Indian Ocean presumably killing all those on board, authorities said after viewing new satellite data.
Malaysia Airlines has informed the relatives of those aboard missing flight MH370 that they believe no one on the plane survived.
The following SMS message was sent to relatives: “Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived. ... we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean.”
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said in a 1am AEDT news conference that a new analysis of satellite data showed that the missing plane plunged into the southern Indian Ocean.
Mr Najib said the Inmarsat satellite company had used never-before used technology and found that MH370 flew along the southern corridor.
“Its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth,” he said 17 days after MH370 disappeared enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.
“This is a remote location far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and I regret that I must inform you that accoding to this new data that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
“The past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I know this news must be harder still.”
The overnight developments came after Prime Minster Tony Abbott announced that two “objects” were located by a RAAF P3 Orion in the search for MH370.
Mr Abbott told Parliament the first object was grey or green and circular and the second was orange and rectangular.
Distraught family members of those on board were being booked on charter flights to take them to Perth to be near the expecte salvage operation.
Bearer of bad news ... Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak after his press conference.
Bearer of bad news ... Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak after his press conference. Source: AFP
HMAS Success is in the vicinity of the possible debris, about 2500km southwest of Perth, and hopes to be there within hours to recover the objects.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency response division general manager John Young said the P3 Orion had to leave before the HMAS Success arrived last night and it was possible the ship would have to wait until the first light of morning to find the objects.
“Relocation is proving difficult. That is partially a function of the poor visibility and the fact that the aircraft are a long way apart. It is quite difficult to get the next aircraft or the next ship into the spot to take over the watching where the object is because they are all at the end of their endurance and have to leave,” he said.
“You may find that we will be doing this for maybe three or four more days before we are confident that we have either found all of the objects there, or if they are there we simply can’t find them. And that’s the plan.”
HMAS Success is in the vicinity and hopes to be there within hours to recover the objects
Searching for answers ... HMAS Success is nearby and will be there within hours to recover the objects. Source: Supplied
In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia’s Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport Hishammuddin Hussein told a media conference that the new items had not yet been identified or linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
“Two orange objects, approximately one metre in length, and one white-coloured drum were sighted by search aircraft, but remain unidentified and have not been conclusively linked to MH370,” he said.

The commanding officer of HMAS Success, Captain Allison Norris of the Royal Australian Na
On the way ... the commanding officer of HMAS Success, Captain Allison Norris of the Royal Australian Navy. Source: AFP
“HMAS Success detected two radar targets within the search area but could not locate the targets on further investigation of the area.
“Earlier today a Chinese search plane reportedly sighted objects within the Australian search area. These objects are not in the vicinity of those that were identified by Australian authorities last week.
“A few minutes ago the (Malaysian) Prime Minister received a call from the Prime Minister of Australia who informed him that an Australian search aircraft had located two objects in the Australian search area — one circular and one rectangular.
“HMAS Success is in the vicinity and it is possible that the objects could be received within the next few hours or by tomorrow morning at the latest.”
Items located ... Malaysian PM Najib Razak takes the call from Tony Abbott.
Items located ... Malaysian PM Najib Razak takes the call from Tony Abbott. Source: Twitter
Mr Abbott said an RAAF P3 Orion located the two objects about 2.45pm AEDT.
The PM said a US Navy Poseidon, a second Australian Royal Australian Orion and a Japanese Orion are also en route to the search area.
“I caution again ... that we don’t know whether any of these objects are from MH370, they could be flotsam,’’ he told Parliament.
“Nevertheless we are hopeful that we can recover these objects soon and they will take us a step closer to resolving this tragic mystery.’’
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a US Navy Poseidon, a second Australian Royal Australian
On a mission ... Prime Minister Tony Abbott says a US Navy Poseidon, a second Australian Royal Australian Orion and a Japanese Orion are also on the way to the search area. Source: News Corp Australia
Hishammuddin said Malaysian police have interviewed over 100 people, including the families of both the pilot and co-pilot.
“As far as the transcript is concerned, the technical committee is considering releasing it and we will keep you informed about the decision,” he said.
“The Inspector General of the Police will attend tomorrow’s press conference to answer further questions on the investigation.
“We can also confirm that MH370 was carrying wooden pallets. However, there is as yet no evidence that these are related to the wooden pallets reportedly sighted in the Australian search area.”
Hishammuddin said France has now provided two lots of images of potential debris from MH370.
EXPERTS SAY NEW FINDINGS ‘COULD BE LIFE RAFTS
Paul Edwards, former chief of staff of British Army Aviation, told Britain’s Sky News the sightings were “quite significant”.
“It is certainly encouraging because of the shape, because of the colour orange obviously, it could be from the aircraft.
“The good news is that the aircraft has spotted it and surface ships are in the area which means that quite quickly we’re going to get an Australian warship alongside to get eyes on it, and actually identify it and — if it’s small — fish it out of the sea. To me that’s quite a significant development and very encouraging.
“(As it’s only been) a short time, there’s more chance of getting there and, crucially, actually identifying it.”

Duty ... Leading Seaman Luke Horsburgh stands watch on the bridge of HMAS Success during
Duty ... Leading Seaman Luke Horsburgh stands watch on the bridge of HMAS Success during the search for MH370. Source: AFP
Professor Chris Bellamy, from Britain’s Greenwich Maritime Institute, said the orange items could possibly be life rafts.
“I’m afraid that doesn’t give much hope that there will be anybody in the life rafts. If the plane broke up then the slides might have inflated automatically,” he told Sky News UK.
“We’re against the clock here because in the 16 or 17 days since the plane disappeared that stuff could have gone an awfully long way.”
The development comes after Chinese aircrew earlier spotted objects in the search area off Perth.
Hunt for clues ... the families of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Fariq Hama
Hunt for clues ... the families of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Fariq Hamad have been interviewed, say Malaysian officials. Picture: YouTube Source: YouTube
The official Xinhua news agency said earlier on Monday that “white and square” objects were spotted by searchers on board a Chinese Ilyushin-76 plane, which was on its way back to Perth at the time of the sighting.
US Navy P8 Poseidon was unable to relocate the objects after it was tasked to investigate the reported sightings by the Chinese aircraft at 33,000ft.
At the request of the RAAF, one Australian pilot was on board the Chinese plane to join the search.
Chinese icebreaker Xuelong changed its course and was heading towards the area.
Multiple countries are now helping in the search with new satellite images pushing the Australian-led operation towards further areas of potential debris.
Civil and military aircraft from Australia, New Zealand, the US, China and Japan are all taking part in the massive hunt for the Malaysia Airlines plane, which disappeared more than 16 days ago with 239 people on board.
A new sighting ... by a Chinese aircrew today.
A new sighting ... by a Chinese aircrew today. Source: Supplied
After a fruitless day of searching yesterday, satellite images from France provided some fresh impetus. They were reportedly taken on Friday although few details have been released.
“Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor. Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre,” the transport ministry said in a statement in Kuala Lumpur.
While the statement from Malaysia called the information “new satellite images’’, France’s Foreign Ministry said they were “radar echoes”. It is thought the radar echoes — electronic signals — had been converted into fuzzy images.
PLANE FLEW AS LOW AS 3650 METRES BEFORE VANISHING
New evidence supports previous eyewitness accounts that the missing Malaysian airliner flew as low as 3650 metres over Malaysia before it vanished.
Military radar tracking showed the plane changed altitude after making a sharp turn over the South China Sea and headed back over the peninsula towards the Straits of Malacca, according to a source close to the investigation, CNN reports.
The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board flew as low as 3650 metres feet at some point before it disappeared from radar, according to the source.
Malaysian authorities have not confirmed the CNN report.
Dawn to dusk ... Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-3C Orion aircraft sits on the tarm
Dawn to dusk ... a P-3C Orion aircraft sits on the tarmac in Perth. Pic: Rob Griffith. Source: AP
‘PALLET’ MYSTERY
So far there has been nothing concrete found, only the grainy satellite images and a visual sighting of what appeared to be a wooden pallet which has yet to be located.
Authorities co-ordinating the search yesterday sent planes and a ship to try to “re-find’’ the pallet that appeared to be surrounded by straps of varying lengths and colours.
It was seen Saturday by spotters on a search plane, but no images were captured of it and a military PC Orion military plane dispatched to locate it could not find it.
Objects ... in satellite imagery from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The objec
Objects ... satellite imagery from AMSA. Source: Supplied
“That’s the nature of it,’’ AMSA aircraft operations co-ordinator Mike Barton said. “You only have to be off by a few hundred metres in a fast-travelling aircraft.’’
AMSA said the aircraft that spotted the pallet was unable to take photos of it.
“We went to some of the expert airlines and the use of wooden pallets is quite common in the industry,’’ Mr Barton said. “They’re usually packed into another container, which is loaded in the belly of the aircraft ... It’s a possible lead, but we will need to be very certain that this is a pallet because pallets are used in the shipping industry as well.”
More data ... the Chinese satellite image of an object spotted in the Indian Ocean.
More data ... the Chinese satellite image. Source: Supplied
During a visit to Papua New Guinea, Prime Minister Tony Abbott told reporters the satellite images were good leads but it was “still too early to be definite”.
“But obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope — no more than hope, no more than hope — that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft,” he said.
LARGE FLOATING OBJECTS
On Saturday it was revealed that a Chinese satellite had picked up what appeared to be a floating object, about 22.5 metres by 13 metres. It was seen about 120km from the position where an Australian satellite image showed what also appeared to be debris of about 24 metres in length.

Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-3C Orion arrives to help with search operations for
On the lookout ... Japan’s P-3C Orion arrives to help in the search. Pic: Jason Reed. Source: AP
One of the objects located by the French satellite on Friday was estimated to be about the same size as the object captured by the Chinese satellite (22 metres by 13 metres), according to a Malaysian official, who declined to be identified because he isn’t authorised to speak to the media.
It was not possible to determine precise dimensions from the French data, the official said.
The Australian image was taken on March 16 and the Chinese image was taken on March 18.
Authorities have not yet officially revealed what date the French image was taken or what it showed.
First light ... a Japanese P-3C Orion readies to join the search.
First light ... a Japanese P-3C Orion readies to join the search. Source: AP
The southern Indian Ocean is thought to be a potential area to find the jet because Malaysian authorities have said pings sent by the Boeing 777-200 for several hours after it disappeared indicated that the plane ended up in one of two huge arcs: a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia, or a southern corridor that stretches toward Antarctica.
Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet, but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled.
They are unsure what happened next.
Prayers ... an electronic billboard in Kuala Lumpur shows a message for MH370.
Prayers ... an electronic billboard in Kuala Lumpur shows a message for MH370. Source: Getty Images
‘MYSTERY CALL’ DENIED
Malaysian police have denied that a mystery phone call was made to Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing plane.
It was reported earlier that a mystery woman called the captain before takeoff, raising fears about his motives.
The Mail Online reported that the captain’s phone records revealed he took a two-minute phone call from a woman using a mobile phone number obtained under a false identity.
But Assistant Commissioner Datin Asmawati Ahmad dismissed the report as “mere speculations”.

Family man ... Malaysian Airlines pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, posted by his family.
Family man ... Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah with his family. Pic: YouTube. Source: Supplied
Last modified on Monday, 24 March 2014 23:32




and.......





UPDATE 7 (Day:17) MISSING MH370: Chinese plane spots suspicious objects

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SYDNEY/PERTH: A Chinese military aircraft searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner spotted several "suspicious" floating objects on Monday in remote seas off Australia, increasing the likelihood that the wreckage of the plane may soon be found.

The latest sighting followed reports by an Australian crew over the weekend of a floating wooden pallet and strapping belts in an area of the icy southern Indian Ocean that was identified after satellites recorded images of potential debris.
Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 people on board on March 8. No confirmed sighting of the plane has been made since and there is no clue what went wrong.
Attention and resources in the search for the Boeing  777 have shifted from an initial focus north of the equator to an increasingly narrowed stretch of rough sea in the southern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles from the plane's original flight path.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said it had been advised of the Chinese sighting and will use other aircraft scheduled to search the area on Monday to relocate the objects.
The Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft spotted two "relatively big" floating objects and several smaller white ones dispersed over several kilometres, the Xinhua news agency said.
China has diverted its icebreaker Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, toward the location where the debris was spotted, Xinhua said. A flotilla of other Chinese ships are also steadily making their way south. Over 150 of the passengers on board the missing plane were Chinese.
In a further sign the search may be bearing fruit, the United States Navy is flying in its high-tech Black Box detector to the area.
The so-called black boxes - the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder - record what happens on board planes in flight. At crash sites, finding the black boxes soon is crucial because the locator beacons they carry fade out after 30 days.
"If debris is found we will be able to respond as quickly as possible since the battery life of the black box's pinger is limited," Commander Chris Budde, U.S. Seventh Fleet Operations Officer, said in an emailed statement.
Budde stressed that bringing in the black box detector, which is towed behind a vessel at slow speeds and can pick up "pings" from a black box to a maximum depth of 20,000 feet, was a precautionary measure.
The Chinese aircraft that spotted the objects was one of two IL-76s searching early on Monday. Another eight aircraft, from New Zealand, Australia, the United States and Japan, were scheduled to make flights throughout the day to the search site, some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth.
Aircraft flying on Monday were focused on searching by sight, rather than radar, which can be tricky to use because of the high seas and wind in the area.
"It's a lot of water to look for just perhaps a tiny object," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told Australian Broadcasting Corp. Radio before the Chinese report.
"Today we expect the weather to deteriorate and the forecast ahead is not that good, so it's going to be a challenge, but we will stick at it," he said.
 Australia was also analysing French radar images showing potential floating debris that were taken some 850 kms (530 miles) north of the current search area.
"We only recently got this information and we are still examining it," an AMSA spokeswoman told Reuters by telephone. Malaysia said it received the images on Sunday and passed them on to Australia.
Australia has used a US satellite image of two floating objects to frame its search area. A Chinese satellite has also spotted an object floating in the ocean there, estimated at 22 metres long (74ft) and 13 metres (43ft) wide.
It could not be determined easily from the blurred images whether the objects were the same as those detected by the Australian and Chinese search planes, but the Chinese photograph could depict a cluster of smaller objects, said a senior military officer from one of the 26 nations involved in the search.
The wing of a Boeing 777-200ER is approximately 27 metres long and 14 metres wide at its base, according to estimates derived from publicly available scale drawings. Its fuselage is 63.7 metres long by 6.2 metres wide.
NASA said it would use high-resolution cameras aboard satellites and the International Space Station to look for possible crash sites in the Indian Ocean. The U.S. space agency is also examining archived images collected by instruments on its Terra and Aqua environmental satellites, said NASA spokesman Allard Beutel.
Investigators believe someone on the flight shut off the plane's communications systems. Partial military radar tracking showed it turning west and re-crossing the Malay Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.

That has led them to focus on hijacking or sabotage, but investigators have not ruled out technical problems. Faint electronic "pings" detected by a commercial satellite suggested it flew for another six hours or so, but could do no better than place its final signal on one of two vast arcs north and south.

The lack of solid news has meant a prolonged and harrowing wait for families of the passengers, who have complained in both Beijing and Kuala Lumpur about the absence of information.
A Malaysian statement said a "high-level" team briefed relatives in Beijing on Sunday in a meeting that lasted more than six hours.
While the southern arc is now the main focus of the search, Malaysia says efforts will continue in both corridors until confirmed debris are found.
"We still don't even know for certain if the aircraft is in this area," Truss said earlier on Monday of the southern Indian Ocean search.
"We're just clutching at whatever little piece of information that comes along to try to find the place we can concentrate the efforts."    -- Reuters  



UPDATE 6 (Day:17) MISSING MH370: US Navy deploys 'black box' locator

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TOKYO: The US Navy said Monday it was sending a black box locator to an area of the southern Indian Ocean being scoured for the missing Malaysian jet, following a cluster of weekend debris sightings.

The navy called the move a “precautionary measure” in case those sightings  confirm the location of the aircraft which disappeared on March 8 with 239  people on board.
“If a debris field is confirmed, The Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator 25 will  add a significant advantage in locating the missing Malaysian aircraft’s black  box,” Commander William Marks, a spokesman for the US Seventh Fleet, said in an  e-mailed statement.
The locator system relies on acoustic signals to help find flight recorders  — also known as black boxes —  on downed navy and commercial aircraft to a  maximum depth of 20,000 feet (6,000 metres), he added.
However, the statement cautioned that the deployment did not mean the  missing jet’s location had been confirmed.
“Please note that movement of the Towed Pinger Locator into the region is not an indication that we have confirmed a debris field,” it said.
“It’s a precautionary measure so that if we do find debris, we’ll be ready  to deploy the equipment to listen for the black box.”    On Monday, a Chinese military plane set off from the western Australian  city of Perth at first light to search for “suspicious debris” floating in the  remote waters and captured by Chinese and Australian satellite imagery, China’s  state news agency Xinhua said.
The sighting of a wooden pallet and other debris that may be linked to the  Malaysian passenger jet gave the sense Sunday that the hunt was finally on the  right track after more than two weeks of false leads and dead ends.
It was reinforced by new French satellite data indicating floating objects  in the southern search area.
Australian officials said the pallet, along with belts or straps, was  spotted Saturday in a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean that has become the  focus of the search — around 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth. -- AFP


UPDATE 4 (Day:17) MISSING MH370: Australia still analysing French images

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SYDNEY: Australian authorities said on Monday they are still examining French radar images showing potential floating debris and have not yet shifted the search for a missing Malaysian jetliner in the southern Indian Ocean further north to look for the objects.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said its search area continued to be defined by a U.S. satellite image of two floating objects to frame a search area some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth.

The AMSA is leading the international search along a southern arc for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board.
The U.S. imagery was bolstered by a Chinese satellite image showing potential debris in the same region, centering the search for wreckage of the Boeing 777 jetliner south of the equator.
The French images, however, were taken some 850 km (530 miles) north of the current search area.
"We only recently got this information and we are still examining it," an AMSA spokesman told Reuters by telephone, declining to say when the authority had received the images.
She also said she had no further information about how they were discovered.
Malaysian authorities reported receiving the images on Sunday and passing them on to Australia.
Maps released by the AMSA on Monday show two neighbouring search areas in the southern Indian Ocean, contradicting earlier comments by Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss that the search area had been expanded north to take into account the French sighting.
"We are taking it into account but at this stage we are still focused on the same search area," the AMSA spokeswoman said. "We are taking every bit of information seriously and examining it and cross-referencing it with every other bit of information."
Two Chinese military aircraft, two Australian P3 Orions and two ultra-long range civilian jets are en route to the search site. Another ultra-long range jet, a US Navy P8 Poseidon and two Japanese P3 Orions are due to depart later on Monday.
Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing. -- Reuters


UPDATE 3 (Day:17) MISSING MH370:Australia 'clutching' at leads after new data

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PERTH (Australia): Australia said Monday that French satellite data indicating floating objects possibly linked to missing Flight MH370 related to an area outside the current search zone, while admitting to “clutching” at every piece of new information.

Malaysian authorities on Sunday said the data was related to the area of  the southern Indian Ocean being scoured for the missing Malaysian jet, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.
The information was passed to Australia, which is coordinating the hunt for  the plane, focused on a remote stretch of ocean 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles)  southwest of Perth.
But Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said the latest potential  sighting of debris was about 850 kilometres north of where aircraft and ships  have been looking since Thursday.
“Certainly the area where debris has been picked up by satellites is of  particular interest, and they’re the focus of a lot of the searching,” Truss  told ABC radio.
“The French sighting is I guess a piece of new material because that is in  a completely different location. That is about 850 kilometres north of our  current search area.
“So we need to check that out as well.”    While Malaysian authorities initially said the latest data came in the form  of images, France’s foreign ministry clarified this, saying it came in the form  of “satellite-generated radar echoes”.    A radar echo is an electronic signal that contains information about the  location and distance of an object, which bounces the signal back.
Hopes of a breakthrough have been fuelled by satellite images and data  captured by Australia, China, and now France in recent days, along with the  visual sighting of a wooden pallet and other debris from a spotter plane on  Saturday.
But Truss cautioned that “we still don’t know for certain that the aircraft  is even in this area”.    “We’re just, I guess, clutching at whatever little piece of information  comes along to try and find a place where we might be able to concentrate the  efforts,” he added.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority added in a statement Monday that  it “reiterates this is a challenging search operation”.    “The flight has been missing since March 8 and AMSA continues to hold the  gravest of concerns for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight.”    
Australian, US and New Zealand planes have been flying sorties for four  days looking for the Boeing 777 and AMSA said 10 aircraft were now involved in  the search with the arrival of two giant Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 reconnaissance  planes along with two Japanese P3 Orions.
“Today’s search is split into two areas within the same proximity covering  a cumulative 68,500 square kilometres,” it said.
“The weather forecast in the search area is expected to deteriorate, with  rain likely.”    Truss also warned of deteriorating weather, stirred up by Tropical Cyclone  Gillian, which is expected to track at least 1,000 kilometres north of the  search area.
“Clearly it won’t be cyclonic when it gets down into the freezing waters  that we’re dealing with with this search,” Truss said.
“But certainly it could stir up less favourable weather.”    --  AFP


UPDATE 2 (Day: 17) MISSING MH370: China, Japan aircraft join search

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KUALA LUMPUR: Two Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft from China and two P3 Orion aircraft from Japan joined the search and rescue (SAR) operation for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in the southern corridor today.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said a total of 10 aircraft will be involved in the search for possible objects in the search area about 2,500 kilometres south-west of Perth. 
These include three civil aircraft - two Bombardier Global Express and an Airbus, it said in a statement issued here today.
Today’s search is split into two areas within the same proximity covering a cumulative 68,500 square kilometres.
AMSA reiterated that this is a challenging search operation.
"The flight has been missing since March 8 and AMSA continues to hold the gravest of concerns for the passengers and crew on board the missing flight," it said.
It has been forecasted that weather in the search area is expected to deteriorate with rain likely.
"AMSA is using all satellite imagery and information available in its search area development. 
"Both civil aircraft engaged by AMSA and military aircraft from Australia, New Zealand, the United States, China and Japan are all assisting in the ongoing search operation to provide the best chance of locating objects captured by satellite imagery with the naked eye," it added.
It said HMAS Success has remained in the search area, while a number of Chinese ships are en route to the search area to assist in the location of objects possibly related to the search. 
Meanwhile, China news agency in its online news, xinhua.com, said its Air Force aircraft is the country's first air search operation in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing aircraft.
The search operation will last for one hour, covering an area of 400 kilometres long and 30 kilometres wide, where satellite imagery earlier spotted suspicious objects possibly related to the missing aircraft.
"According to Commander Liu Dianjun, the Chinese aircraft will make a roughly eight hour round trip flight during the mission, with the furthest point 2,700 kilometres away from Perth," it added.
The SAR for MH370 has shifted to the southern Indian Ocean after Australia on Thursday said satellite imagery identifed suspicious debris that might link to the missing aircraft in waters some 2,400 kilometres from Perth.
MH370 en route to Beijing, China vanished from radar at about 1.30am on March 8 in the airspace between Malaysia and Vietnam, 49 minutes after leaving the KL International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.     The Boeing 777-200ER aircraft was carrying 239 passengers and crew. -- BERNAMA


Speculation and innuendo......

Two articles from Malaysia Chronicle.....



Monday, 24 March 2014 10:13

WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? Malaysia won't reveal cargo

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WHAT ARE THEY HIDING? Malaysia won't reveal cargo
MALAYSIA’S continuing refusal to share the cargo manifest for Flight MH370 with an Australian-led search and rescue operation will hamper the effort to find the missing aircraft, an aviation expert says.
It is part of mounting concerns about the way in which Malaysian authorities have handled the search for the missing aircraft as it enters its third week.
Strategic Aviation Solutions chairman Neil Hansford said it also suggests Malaysian authorities are not being fully transparent about what the Boeing 777-200ER, which disappeared on March 8 an hour into a journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was carrying.
“To me, there is no reason why they wouldn’t declare the cargo manifest unless you’ve got something to hide,” he said.
“There is no reason you wouldn’t have given it to AMSA (the Australian Maritime Safety Authority) on the first day of the search.”
AMSA has requested a cargo manifest for Flight M370 from Malaysia Airlines.
The manifest is expected to give the search operation a better idea in identifying objects they spot in the Indian Ocean if they indeed came from the missing plane.
However, the Malaysian authorities to date have refused to release it, insisting the document is with the police who are conducting their own investigation into the cause of the plane’s disappearance.
Cargo ... exactly what was on missing Flight MH370?
Cargo ... exactly what was on missing Flight MH370? Source: ThinkStock
“There is certainly no reason why they shouldn’t share a cargo manifest with a legitimate search agency because it will only contribute to the search effort,” Professor Jason Middleton, the head of the school of aviation at the University of New South Wales, said.
“I would have viewed that (not sharing the information) as unusual.”
Professor Middleton said the only reason he could think of for not sharing the information was that something of “Malaysian national interest” was being carried on the aircraft.
“But in that case you could just redact that bit,” he said.
INNUENDO & FALSE DATA
He said the whole investigation had been “totally characterised by innuendo and false data”.
“One of the possibilities is that someone put something on board that wasn’t supposed to be there,” he said.
Australian, Chinese and French satellite images have picked up what might be large pieces of debris from the missing aircraft, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew, while aircraft scanning the area on Saturday spotted what might be pallets and cargo straps.
Mr Hansford said Australia was spending tens of millions of dollars looking for the plane in a remote section of the Indian Ocean, 2,500km southwest of Perth.
“Here we are, Australia at great cost looking for the aircraft, and Malaysia won’t even cooperate and tell us what was on the aircraft,” he said.
Message of hope ... people in Kuala Lumpur are still praying for MH370.
Message of hope ... people in Kuala Lumpur are still praying for MH370. Source: Getty Images
Malaysia Airlines chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya on March 18 revealed the aircraft was carrying “three to four tonnes” of mangosteen.
Four days after that, he also confirmed press reports that the plane was carrying some small lithium-ion batteries but stressed they were transported according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) rules.
Squandered early days of search: US lawmakers take aim at M'sian leader's poor handling
Professor Middleton said a severe fire caused by lithium-ion batteries would require “gallons of fluid to put it out”, but said if this was the cause of the aircraft’s disappearance it would be unlikely it could have flown all the way to the southern Indian Ocean.
He said he remained unconvinced that the aircraft would be found in the southern hemisphere.
The growing concern comes as US lawmakers on Sunday panned the role played by Malaysian authorities, accusing them of withholding information and bungling the crucial early days of the search.
Rep. Michael McCaul, who chairs the House Homeland Security Committee, said the Malaysian government squandered the early days of the search looking for the plane in Central Asia when it was likely to be found in the southern Indian Ocean.
Message of hope ... a billboard in Kuala Lumpur sends words of support.
Message of hope ... a billboard in Kuala Lumpur sends words of support. Source: Getty Images
“I think the Malaysian government spent way too much time focusing on the northern routes and the Gulf of Thailand and Kazakhstan,” he said on Fox News Sunday.
“It would have been picked up by radar and we knew that.
“And I know satellite imagery given to the Malaysians established that, but we wasted a week of precious time up in that region when all along it’s been in southern Indian Ocean, I think is where the location is.”
Rep. Patrick Meehan said on CNN: “I think across the board people are looking for more in the way of openness from the Malaysian government in terms of sharing the information they have in a timely manner.”
Aviation and safety expert Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger said on CBS News’ Face the Nation that early “missteps” had impaired the search effort.
Still hoping ... a giant message of support in Kuala Lumpur.
Still hoping ... a giant message of support in Kuala Lumpur. Source: Getty Images
“Here we are ... into the third week of the investigation and just now beginning to re-narrow the search to areas that are still as large as the United States,” he said.
Captain Sullenberger is famous for safely landing a US Airways Airbus A320 in the middle of New York’s Hudson River after its engines failed following a birdstrike in January 2009. - News Corp Australia

Monday, 24 March 2014 07:01

MH370: Transcript of last 54 mins throws up FRESH & CHILLING REVELATIONS

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MH370: Transcript of last 54 mins throws up FRESH & CHILLING REVELATIONS
London : The final 54 minutes of conversation between the pilots of the missing Malaysian airliner and the control tower has been revealed in a transcript reported by the Daily Telegraph, reports IANS.
The transcript of the conversation between the co-pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Fariq Abdul Hamid, and the control tower begins at 12.15 a.m on March 8 from the time the aircraft was taxiing on the runway to its last known position above the South China Sea at 1.19 a.m with the final message by Hamid being “all right, good night.”
The investigators claim that the conversation began from a point when the flight was already sabotaged and their reports state that the conversation seemed “perfectly routine” but however two odd features stood out.
The first odd feature pointed out by the analysts was that at 1.07 a.m the message saying that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet was repeated twice with an interval of six minutes.
The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) also sent out the last message at the exact same time before being disabled after 30 minutes which might be a deliberate attempt. Investigators believe that the ACARS was switched off even before Hamid’s final, 1.19 a.m farewell. A separate transponder was switched off at 1.21 a.m.
The second odd feature stated by the investigators was that the plane’s disappearance is not an accident. After the loss of communication, the flight turned west at a point where the handover from air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur to those in Ho Chi Minh City took place.
“If I was going to steal the aeroplane, that would be the point I would do it. There might be a bit of dead space between the air traffic controllers. It was the only time during the flight they would maybe not have been able to be seen from the ground,” the Daily Telegraph quoted Stephen Buzdygan, a former British Airways pilot who flew Boeing 777s, as saying.
According to the cockpit transcripts, 27-year-old Hamid kept giving location, altitude and ascent accounts from the moment of sign-in at 12.36 a.m.
The fresh revelations involving the transcript add to the speculation whether the missing MH370 was a victim of a sudden accident or a hijacking. If the pilots had anything to do with the disappearance, they were very careful in hiding their intentions. The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea. The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City. -freepressjournal.in