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Wednesday, April 23, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery - Day 45 April 23 , 2014 -- Malaysia DING-DONG FOR MH370 FAMILIES: Now, sources say plane may have LANDED NOT CRASHED ....... NO LONGER CONSPIRACY THEORY! Diego Garcia in spotlight again as MH370 LANDING SPOT ....... Another fruitless day of searching in the Indian Ocean as that aspect of the search edges closer to a wrap ......
New Straits Times......
23 April 2014| last updated at 08:40PM
MH370 Tragedy: New independent international investigative team established
KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia has established an independent international investigation team to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause for the missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammudin Hussain said the team was set up to look into the incident so that similar event could be avoided in the future.
“The cabinet today had deliberated and approved the establishment of an international investigation team to investigate on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 case,” he said.
“It is imperative for the government to form an independent investigation team. It is not only competent and transparent but also highly credible. As I constantly said since the beginning, we have nothing to hide,” he said.
However, he noted that the investigation team would not include criminal aspect which is under the purview of the Royal Malaysia police (PDRM).
He said the investigation would be carried out in accordance to the standard sets under the Annex 13 to the Convention of International Civil Aviation (The Chicago Convention) which requires investigation on air incident to be made independent with full powers in their respective countries.
He added that the Aviation Investigation Bureau established December 2011 under ministry of transport would act as the secretariat for this investigation team.
Hishammudin said the transport ministry had been tasked to draft the term of preference on the investigation team while the Technical committee led by Deputy Minister of Transport Datuk Aziz Kaprawi would coordinate in the formation of the team.
“On that note, Malaysia as the contracting state and counsel member of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) will observe and comply with the standard and recommendation set by them, mainly to look into the safety of the international civil aviation,”
He said the investigation team would be divided into three groups which are air worthiness group which would look into issues such as maintenance, structure and record system.
Hisham said the second group, which is the operational group, would examine the flight recorder operation and meteorological factors while the third group, medical human factor group, would investigate on issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors.
Currently, Hishammudin said, the ministry is in the process of identifying the members and the accredited representatives and will recruited the members for the team in accordance to the international standard.
“We will announce the name of the members by next week,” he said.
He said the ministry is looking into appointing other experts from Asean countries in accordance to the Asean MoU relating to aircraft accident and incident signed in 2008.
In a separate matter, Hishammuddin said a preliminary report on MH192 flight bound for Bangalore with 166 people on board showed that the airplane main tyre number three burst during take-off.
"The plane is currently grounded by MAS at its engineering facilities in Kuala Lumpur for future inspection," he said adding that further investigation by relevant authorities are still ongoing.
An independent international investigation team has been established to facilitate investigations of the missing airliner, say Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
23 April 2014| last updated at 11:26PM
MH370 Tragedy: MAS has settled about 96 per cent claims from Chinese families
BEIJING: About 96 per cent of the claims submitted by the Chinese next-of-kin of passengers on board the missing flight MH370 has been reimbursed by the Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
Its senior vice-president Jaffar Derus Ahmad said from March 8 to April 21, MAS had received 124 reimbursement claims from some 400 Chinese family members who had stayed at the Lido Hotel here.
Jaffar said out of the total 124 expense claims, some 106 (86 per cent) have been fully reimbursed to the relatives.
"There are some 10 claims (eight per cent) have been approved by the headquarters and we are in the process of transferring the money to the bank accounts of the families," he told the relatives at a regular daily briefing here Wednesday.
Jaffar said however, there were three claims (two per cent) which have been approved by the MAS headquarters but rejected by the families.
He declined to elaborate further on the reimbursement details when Malaysian reporters approached him after the briefing.
During the briefing, one of the next-of-kin, Jiang Hui said the families would not meet Deputy Foreign Minister, Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin if the latter would meet them during his visit to Beijing.
"Unless the deputy minister can answer the technical questions on MH370, we will not welcome him here if he is here to provide only care giving services," he said.
Yesterday, Defence Minister cum Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein said Hamzah, who is also the Next-of-Kin Committee chairman was already in Beijing to brief the families.
It is understood that Hamzah was here to meet the Chinese government authorities to discuss issues pertaining to the MH370.
The families who are desperate for answers, urged MAS representatives to provide the serial number of the black box of Flight MH370 during today's briefing.
They found it hard to accept the reasons for not handing them the details, despite Jaffar repeatedly saying all relevant documents related to the MH370 have been sealed by the investigation authorities since the first day of its disappearance, March 8.
Flight MH370, with 239 people aboard, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.
A multinational search was mounted for the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learnt that the plane had veered off course, in the southern Indian Ocean.
After an analysis of satellite data indicated that the plane's last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia, Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced on March 24 that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean".
23 April 2014| last updated at 06:01PM
MH370 Tragedy: 'Unidentified material' under investigation
PERTH, Australia: Authorities are investigating whether “unidentified material” washed up on the southwest coast of Australia has any link to missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, officials said today.
“Western Australia Police have attended a report of material washed ashore 10 kilometres (six miles) east of Augusta and have secured the material,” Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said in a statement.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is examining photographs of the material to determine whether it has any links to the search for the missing jet, it added.
The bureau has provided photographs of the material to the Malaysian investigation team.
“It’s sufficiently interesting for us to take a look at the photographs,” ATSB Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan told broadcaster CNN, describing the object as appearing to be sheet metal with rivets.
But he added a note of caution. “The more we look at it, the less excited we get.” The Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 when it mysteriously diverted.
It is thought to have crashed into the remote Indian Ocean off Western Australia, where a huge search is underway.--AFP
23 April 2014| last updated at 12:41PM
MH370 Tragedy: Deeper search for Malaysian jet soon
CANBERRA (Australia): The hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet will likely soon deploy more powerful sonar equipment that can delve deeper as the current search of the most likely crash site in the Indian Ocean has failed to yield any clues, Australia’s defence minister said Wednesday.
The search coordination centre said Wednesday a robotic submarine, the US Navy’s Bluefin 21, had so far covered more than 80 per cent of the 310-square-kilometre (120-square-mile) seabed search zone off the Australian west coast, creating a three-dimensional sonar map of the ocean floor. Nothing of interest had been found.
The 4.5-kilometre (2.8-mile) deep search area is a circle 20 kilometres (12 miles) wide around an area where sonar equipment picked up a signal on April 8 consistent with a plane’s black boxes. The black box beacons’ batteries would by now be dead.
Defence Minister David Johnston said Australia was consulting with Malaysia, China and the United States on the next phase of the search for the plane that went missing March 8, which is likely to be announced next week.
Johnston said more powerful towed side-scan commercial sonar equipment would probably be deployed, similar to the remote-controlled subs that found RMS Titanic 3,800 metres (12,500 feet) under the Atlantic Ocean in 1985 and the Australian WWII wreck HMAS Sydney in the Indian Ocean off the Australian coast, north of the current search area, in 2008.
“The next phase, I think, is that we step up with potentially a more powerful, more capable side-scan sonar to do deeper water,” Johnston told The Associated Press.
While the Bluefin had less than one-fifth of the seabed search area to complete, Johnston estimated that task would take another two weeks.
“We want to be very thorough,” he said.
The Bluefin’s first 16-hour sea floor mission last week was aborted because the water depth exceeded its 4.5 kilometre safety limit. Johnston said it was possible that wreckage had been missed in that deep water.
The focus of next phase of the seafloor search whether it will include the initial search area would be decided on by continuing analysis of information including flight data and sound detections of suspected beacons, he said.
“We are currently gathering all of the facts together to mount a further assault on the most likely location, given all the facts,” he said. “But can I say, it is one hell of a vast area.”
“A lot of this seabed has not even been hydrographically surveyed before — some of it has — but we’re flying blind,” he said, adding that the seabed in the vicinity of the search was up to 7 kilometres (4 miles) deep.
“The whole thing is extraordinarily complex in one of other most isolated parts of the ocean on the planet in very deep water,” he added.
The air search for debris would likely continue until a new search phase was announced next week, he said.
The search centre said up to 10 planes and 12 ships would join Wednesday’s search of an expanse covering 38,000 square kilometers (14,500 square miles), centered 1,600 kilometres (1,000 miles) northwest of the city of Perth.
Radar and satellite data show the jet carrying 239 passengers and crew veered far off course on March 8 for unknown reasons during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.
Analysis indicates it would have run out of fuel in the remote section of ocean where the search has been focused. Not one piece of debris has been recovered since the massive multinational hunt began. -- AP
This handout photo taken on April 18, 2014 and received on April 20, 2014 from the Australain Defence Department shows the Phoenix International Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis (C) being moved by crane over the side of Australian Defence vessel "Ocean Shield" in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 in the Indian Ocean. -- AFP PHOTO
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 08:37
M'SIA DING-DONG FOR MH370 FAMILIES: Now, sources say plane may have LANDED NOT CRASHED
The fruitless search for the missing Malaysian Airlines jet might have to start all over again from scratch if no clues to its fate are found in coming days, it was claimed today.
The international team searching the Indian Ocean for the Boeing 777 are now considering the seemingly impossible scenario of the aircraft having 'landed' somewhere, instead of crashing in the southern Indian Ocean.
'We may have to regroup soon to look into this possibility if no positive results come back in the next few days,' sources within the International Investigation Team were quoted as telling the News Straits Times. [Note: The Malaysian daily is owned by Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party which controls the government]
Looking in the wrong place? Sources from the investigation team have told the New Straits Times that if they do not find debris in the ocean soon they may have to search elsewhere
While the sources have not suggested which country the aircraft might have landed - or crashed - in, the possibility that an entirely new search in a different area is in line with suggestions by the Mail weeks ago that alleged sightings of a low-flying aircraft could have located it in a different place than the ocean.
'The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370,' sources were quoted as telling the paper.
'However, the possibility of a specific country hiding the plane when more than 20 nations are searching for it, seems absurd,' said the sources.
But they admitted that it was difficult to determine if the plane had really ended in the Indian Ocean, despite calculations seeming to point to that direction.
The Mail reported early in the search that fishermen and villagers living in north east Malaysia had filed official statements with police claiming to have seen - or heard - a low-flying aircraft at the time when MH370 lost all contact with ground control.
The plane has been missing for more than six weeks and sources are now considering the previously unthinkable prospect that it has landed somewhere
The search for the plane has been concentrated on an area of the southern Indian Ocean, off the coast of Western Australia
Their descriptions of a 'very loud engine' and headlights like those switched on by an aircraft about to land at night suggested that the aircraft was flying to the west, across jungle, very fast, at a low altitude.
The sources told the government-controlled paper that it was difficult to determine if the plane had really ended in the Indian Ocean, although calculations pointed to that direction.
The Malaysian-led investigation team, along with experts from Inmarsat and the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch, had to rely on an Inmarsat communications satellite, which did not provide any definite details, including the aircraft's direction, altitude and speed.
One of the sources told the New Straits Times: 'A communications satellite is meant for communication...the name is self explanatory.
'The reason investigators were forced to adopt a new algorithm to calculate the last known location of MH370 was because there was no global positioning system following the aircraft as the transponder went off 45 minutes into the flight.'
The source added that the international team was looking at adding more ships and aircraft to the existing search area in the Indian Ocean - as well as widening the area because there were fears that searchers had been 'looking for the plane in the wrong place'.
'We can't focus on one place too long as the ocean is very big, although the search team has been following the leads received and analysed.
'It is by luck if we find the wreckage using the Bluefin-21 (the US-owned underwater search vehicle).
'There is no physical evidence and we are totally depending on scientific calculations since day one, including the pings.'
A map of the search area, which is 5,700 feet off the coast of Perth. The area that had been search, as of Sunday 20th April is shown in grey
A source told the New Straits Times that if they were to find debris from the jet it would be down to 'luck' and they might need to expand the search
Sources said that while the plane could be on land, the possibility of a specific country hiding the plane was 'absurd'
With the search now into its 45th day, Malaysian authorities are hoping more countries will come forward to share their crucial satellite and radar data.
The paper said it understood that the team had not been receiving as much information from countries as it had hoped.
Suggesting that national security of various countries was involved, the source added: 'We have mainly been provided with selective data.'
The source said that because the information potentially involved the national security of the country from which it was requested, only partial raw data had been provided, making it difficult for Malaysian authorities to get the full picture.
'The data involved would be official information, so the (foreign) country cannot simply give it to us on paper or in soft copy - they will select only the ones that can be revealed.'
The Malaysians had asked the US government to view data collected by its secret base, Pine Gap, in the Australian outback.
But the request had been denied, sources said, after the US had said that no contact had been made with MH370.
'We can't be forcing them to show us the data, as they had already said there was nothing,' one source said.
The search is currently in its 45th day and sources told the New Straits Times that the search team might be looking in the wrong place
A Chinese relative of a passenger on the missing flight reacted to news at a meeting at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing yesterday - Daily Mail, Agencies
Wednesday, 23 April 2014 15:21
NO LONGER CONSPIRACY THEORY! Diego Garcia in spotlight again as MH370 LANDING SPOT
The search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may be forced to re-investigate the possibility that the passenger jet with 239 on board landed, according to new reports.
A report in the Financial Express, quoting The New Strait Times has quoted sources close to the probe that the investigation teams are considering revisiting the possibility that the plane did not crash into the ocean and had landed safely at an unknown location.
“The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370. However, the possibility of a specific country hiding the plane when more than 20 nations are searching for it, seems absurd,” the sources told the NST.
This latest report will once again put the spotlight on the island of Deigo Garcia and the conspiracy theory that the small atoll is the most likely spot the plane could have landed.
All options on table
It’s the kind of news that families of passengers of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will dread, but as long as the search goes on in vain cyclone or not, the fact is, all options are on the table.
According to a report on website asiaone.com, quoting the New Straits Times, members of the International Investigation Team (IIT) in charge of the search are considering the possibility that the search is going on in the wrong area.
Quoting sources within the team based in Kuala Lumpur, the possibility that the jet had landed somewhere else, instead of ending up in the southern Indian Ocean, is now back on the table.
"The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370,” the report said.
Australian Defence Department shows the Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Artemis begining its dive in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean. (AFP)
The Bluefin-21 submersible, which is scanning the bottom of the Indian Ocean for wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media
As the remote controlled submarine was expected to complete its ninth mission on Tuesday, four days after the coordination centre gave the five-day timeframe, the centre confirmed that it had covered about two thirds of its target search area and had found "no contacts of interest".
The dawning prospect of the Bluefin-21, initially seen as the search's most promising aid, completing its mission without a trace of the missing aircraft has authorities under pressure to determine which strategy to take next.