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Monday, April 7, 2014
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Mystery - Day 31 , April 7 , 2014 -- WHAT WAS Flight 370 DOING ? Malaysia Prime Minister Najib under scrutiny amid talk of CIA links & info MH370 had skirted Indonesian airspace - The information leaked by a 'senior Malaysian government source' comes as Utusan, the newspaper controlled by Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party fuelled belief in the swirling conspiracy theory that MH370's disappearance was the work of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.........
Monday, 07 April 2014 06:02
WHAT WAS IT DOING? M'sian PM Najib under scrutiny amid talk of CIA links & info MH370 had skirted Indon airspace
News that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have flown around Indonesian airspace on the night it disappeared in what may have been a deliberate attempt to avoid radar detection, has taken on a sinister tone.
The information leaked by a 'senior Malaysian government source' comes as Utusan, the newspaper controlled by Prime Minister Najib Razak's Umno party fuelled belief in the swirling conspiracy theory that MH370's disappearance was the work of the United States Central Intelligence Agency.
"If the CIA could arrange for the attack on the World Trade Center in New York on September 11, 2001, it is not improbable to link MH370 with the intelligence agency," wrote an editor of the Umno mouthpiece, which has come under frequent attacks and lawsuits for its sensational stories, usually aimed at taking down Najib's arch rival Opposition Leader Anwar Ibrahim.
"What if the MH370 tragedy had been arranged by certain parties to put Malaysia's relationship with China in jeopardy?"
Under pressure to quit
The 60-year-old Najib had himself muttered similar comments when grilled by reporters in the immediate aftermath of the latest debacle, where a Shanghai tourist and Philippine worker were snatched away from a hotel resort in the middle of the night by armed gunmen who came and left in boats.
Already under pressure to resign to take responsibility for bungling the MH370 search and rescue operations, Najib was accused of trying to save his own political skin by starting a blame game, although he did not mention any names.
“This must be avoided. There may be those who are attempting to drive a wedge between us and China. They may be trying to take advantage of the situation,” Najib was quoted saying in Australia by The Star.
Utusan also said in its Sunday op-ed that conspiracies at the highest levels involving the CIA with the September 11 tragedy were not something new, adding that facts and convincing arguments had been put forward to support this claim.
"Many parties have accepted that the September 11 incident was a plan by the United States to get a free ticket to attack Afghanistan and Iraq," said the Utusan op-ed.
Blame game as the truth from black box nears?
Meanwhile, CNN hadreported a senior Malaysian government source saying that the missing jet made the detour after it had left the range of Malaysian military radar.
The latest details emerged as new satellite calculations put the likely location of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the same spot where Chinese patrol vessel Haixun 01 detected deep water acoustic sounds on two consecutive days.
In the strongest lead to date, Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston said the Haixun 01 picked up sounds coming from about 4,500m down, in two locations just two kilometres apart, on Friday and Saturday.
The searchers are seeking the jet’s two black boxes, the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder. This has raised the possibility the Haixun 01 may have heard frequencies from the two separated boxes from a crashed and broken plane.
Hopes of breakthrough ... Chinese vessel the Haixun 01 detected the signal hours after it picked up an initial pulse signal.Source: AFP
Signs of hope ... the towed pinger locator on the deck of the Ocean Shield.Source: Supplied
While Mr Houston viewed the developments as positive, he warned against any drawing any conclusions until the sounds had been properly evaluated.
He said the Australian Defence vessel Ocean Shield had also detected acoustic noises from its towed pinger locator on Sunday morning, in a more northern area.
But given the strength of the Chinese lead, Ocean Shield would likely be deployed to join Haixun 01 once it had fully investigated what it was picking up.
She and HMS Echo, which also has deep-sea listening equipment, would not likely arrive till later on Monday or Tuesday, in a new search area which appears to be about 1500km west of Shark Bay.
This location coincides with new advice from experts calculating the plane’s likely flight path, now placing it slightly further south than they thought.
It is understood the revision is because they found issues with the satellite when it was receiving information from the flight as it headed wildly off-course on March 8.
The Chinese have reported seeing white objects floating about 90km from the new area.
News of Friday afternoon’s acoustic detection was released to the world by the Chinese government’s Xinhua news agency, via reporters on the boat.
Mr Houston, who is leading the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, agreed this was how he first heard about it.
The Australians approached the Chinese asking for more information.
“This morning we were contacted by the Chinese authorities and advised that Haixun 01 had late yesterday afternoon redetected the signals for 90 seconds within just two kilometres of the original section,” Mr Houston said.
He would not be drawn to criticising the Chinese method of information sharing, preferring to see it as a positive.
“This is an important and encouraging lead, but one which I urge you to treat carefully,” he said.
“Based on the new advice, the southern area (of the existing search zone, where Haixun 01 is operating) now has a higher priority.”
Air and sea searchers will converge on the Haixun 01 location today, with 10 military, two civil aircraft and 13 ships participating.
Search for debris ... an observer watches as a smoke flare is deployed to mark an unidentified object.Source: Getty Images
Neither Mr Houston nor the RAN’s Commodore Peter Leavy talked in terms of the vessels picking up frequencies at 37.5 kHz per second, which is the international standard beacon frequency for black boxes.
They instead talked of “fleeting acoustic events”. Mr Houston said Haixun 01 stayed in the area after hearing the first sound, and picked up a more sustained event lasting 90 seconds yesterday.
As the search entered Day 30 yesterday, the batteries in the black boxes are due to fail at any time, putting greater pressure on the multinational task force.
Pleading with the media not to draw conclusions that the plane had been found, Mr Houston said for the sake of families all information had to be treated as unverified until it was confirmed.
It has been a month since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared en route to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Chinese state media say China detected a pulse signal from the black box in the search for missing jet MH370
Time running out to find black box
Batteries in the Malaysia Airlines 777’s two black boxes are due to expire by Monday.
Australian planes may be sent to the southern Indian Ocean search area where the “pulse signal” was detected.
But the Australian team leading the international search has warned there is no confirmed link to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
Big guns ... a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft flies over Perth returning from search operations.Source: AP
Late on Saturday it was reported by the Xinhua News Agency — apparently from Chinese reporters on the vessel — that a 15-second pulse was picked up at around 4.30pm.
The pulse was reportedly emitting pulses every second at 37.5kHz — the international standard beacon frequency for black boxes.
The Malaysia Airlines jet had two black boxes aboard, the Cockpit Voice Recorder and the Flight Data Recorder.
It would be expected that a boat such as Haixun 01, which is thought to have a hull-mounted beacon-listening device, would initially pick up a signal and then lose it as it passed over the location. It would then retrace its steps to refine the location.
The JACC did not say whether the Australian Defence support vessel Ocean Shield, which has been towing a pinger locator in areas east of the Haixun 01, will now be moved to Haixun’s location.
Searching ... Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield in the search area for MH370. Picture: LSIS Bradley Darvill/Australian Defence ForceSource: AFP
The location, which according to Xinhua is 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, places it in a new area beneath and above areas that have already been searched, roughly 1500km west-north-west of Shark Bay.
Chinese naval vessels Jinggangshan and Kunlunshan have already joined up withHaixun 01. Now it remains to be seen if there will be a convergence of ships and planes on the area.
An update from Mr Houston could come at around 11am WST, if he has anything to add.
In an interview with News Corp yesterday, prior to the Xinhua report, the mission commander on the Ocean Shield, James Lybrand, said it was to be expected that if a boat picked up black box signals, the sound would quickly fade as the ship moved away.
Vigil ... Malaysian Buddhists offer prayers for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur.Source: AFP
It would then be required to turn back over the search area and “localise” the frequency emissions, which could take many hours.
Commander Lybrand said on Saturday there was “negligible” chance any pings at 37.5kHz was from biological sources, such as whales, and would almost certainly be from one of the two black boxes.
These sounds, or pulses, cannot be heard with human ears.
Shanghai-based Xinmin Evening News cited its reporter on board the patrol ship as reporting that the ship’s crew had “basically confirmed” that the signal was from the missing Boeing 777-200.
However, experts have cautioned that the same signal could come from “a variety of things”.
“It could be a false signal,” oceanographer Simon Boxall told CNN. “We’ve had a lot of red herrings, hyperbole on this whole search.”
Waiting for answers ... MH370 has been missing for a month. Picture: Lai Seng SinSource: AP
The view is not necessarily shared by searchers, who believe the beacon frequencies are too distinctive to be confused for anything else.
If the signals do turn out to be from the black boxes, the priority will be to narrow the location to as small an area as possible, and then to send an automated underwater vehicle (AUV) down.
It is not clear whether the Chinese have such a vessel, but the Ocean Shield does. It can take high-resolution images and has robotic arms that would be able to grab the black boxes if they were accessible.
The AUV would be controlled by underwater search experts from private firm Phoenix International, who are aboard the Ocean Shield with RAN, and the US Navy’s Supervisor of Salvage.
It would also be likely the British sub MHS Tireless, which is operating in the search zone, would also be sent to the area if it was determined the pulses were a credible lead.
Urging caution ... Retired Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshall Angus Houston is heading up the Joint Agency Coordination Centre. Picture: Rob GriffithSource: AP
Mr Houston said last night that its rescue coordination centre was now in contact with the Chinese searchers.
“The RCC in Australia has spoken to the RCC in China and asked for any further information that may be relevant,” he said last night.
“The deployment of RAAF assets to the area where the Chinese ship detected the sounds is being considered. I will provide further updates if, and when, more information becomes available.”
It has been a month since Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared en route to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Up to 10 military planes, three civilian jets and 11 ships have been scouring a 217,000-sq-km of ocean northwest of Perth near where investigators have hypothesised the plane went down.
Australian Defence Minister David Johnston was asked last night about Chinese reports during a live cross on ABC24 for the WA Senate election.
“I know nothing. I don’t want to confirm anything because I think there has been a lot of this sort of false positives,” Senator Johnston said.
“Let’s wait until we have an official release.
“But look, I’m excited, I’m optimistic, but let me tell you it’s a very, very big ocean out there and up until this time, we’ve had a lot of disappointment.” - Agencies, news.com.au, Malaysia Chronicle
Monday, 07 April 2014 06:48
BLAME GAME AS TRUTH FROM BLACK BOX NEARS? New info from M'sian source deepens MH370 mystery
Along with new signs that searchers could be nearing the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, a fresh mystery surfaced Sunday.
The aircraft deliberately skirted Indonesian airspace as it went off the grid and veered off course, a senior Malaysian government source told CNN.
The new analysis of the flight's path means the plane may have been taken along a route designed to avoid radar detection, the source said.
But why would someone steer the plane that way, and where is it now?
Source: MH370 skirted Indonesia radar Source: MH370 skirted Indonesia radar Official: Search teams detect 2nd pulse
Those are key questions that investigators are trying to answer -- and fast.
The HMS Echo, a British navy ship equipped with advanced detection gear, sailed into the search area Monday morning (Sunday afternoon ET), hoping to home in on the place where a Chinese crew detected two audio signals.
Investigators hope the pulses could be locator beacons from the plane's data recorders, but they're not sure yet.
Time could be running out. It might be only a few hours or a few days before the pingers aboard the plane stop transmitting for good.
The batteries inside the beacons, which are designed to start sending signals when a plane crashes into water, last about 30 days after the devices are activated.
That 30th day has come -- though experts have said it's possible that they could last several days longer if they were at their full strength.
Plane said to have flown around Indonesia
As searchers tried to find the aircraft, investigators pieced together new details about the plane's path.
After reviewing radar track data from neighboring countries, officials have concluded that the passenger jet curved north of Indonesia before turning south toward the southern Indian Ocean, a senior Malaysian government source told CNN on Sunday.
Whoever was flying the plane, the source said, could have been trying to avoid radar detection.
Expert: 'Skeptical' pulse signal located China: Pulse signals lasted over a minute China: Ship detects pulse signal
Like most details in the case that's baffled investigators ever since the plane dropped off Malaysian military radar on March 8, it depends on whom you ask.
CNN law enforcement analyst Tom Fuentes cautioned against assuming a nefarious reason for steering the plane around Indonesia's airspace.
"I think the plane's being intentionally flown there, but I think it's still a mystery as to why. ... I think they would probably guess they're not avoiding anybody's radar, because there's a lot of radar in the area," he said. "I think they're avoiding getting shot down or colliding with another airplane."
CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien said the new route includes designated waypoints that pilots and air traffic controllers use.
"This particular route that is laid out happens to coincide with some of these named intersections," he said. "So what it shows is an experienced pilot somewhere in the mix on this."
Investigators haven't yet said who they think might have flown the plane off course or why.
The possibility that the plane was hijacked by someone who knew how to fly a commercial jet is still on the table. Authorities have also been investigating the plane's captain and co-pilot. And they haven't ruled out mechanical problems as a possible cause of the plane's diversion.
So far, no physical evidence of the plane's eventual whereabouts has been found, leaving many relatives of those on board trapped in uncertainty.
Time is running out
The arrival of the Echo will be critical to the search for the missing Boeing 777 and the 239 people aboard. It has state-of-the-art sonar and is capable of mapping the ocean floor, which is about 4,500 meters (2.8 miles) deep in the focused search area.
It should be able to help determine more confidently whether audio signals picked up on Friday and Saturday by the Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 have any connection to the pingers from MH370.
But officials urged caution. In the lengthy search for the missing plane, promising discoveries nearly every day have fizzled out, with few facts to support them.
"This is an important and encouraging lead, but one that I urge you to continue to treat carefully," Angus Houston, the head of the Australian agency coordinating search operations, said Sunday.
The Chinese said the electronic pulses -- detected only 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) apart -- were consistent with those emitted by pingers on an aircraft's black boxes, but search officials said they haven't been verified as coming from Flight 370.
Sounds travel long distances underwater, Houston said, making it difficult to ascertain their sources. If detectors were near a pinger, they would pick up the signal for a more sustained period.
Houston also said that search authorities were informed Sunday that the Ocean Shield, an Australian naval vessel equipped with sophisticated listening equipment, has detected "an acoustic noise" in another area of the ocean to the north.
The signals are the latest leads in a huge, multinational hunt for Flight 370, which disappeared almost a month ago over Southeast Asia.
'Most promising lead'
The Ocean Shield, which has a high-tech pinger locator borrowed from the U.S. Navy, will continue to pursue the sound it heard. If that lead turns cold, it will move to the other detection area, a journey that will take at least a day, officials said.
"At the moment, the most promising lead appears to be the one associated with Haixun 01," Houston said at a news conference in Perth, the Western Australian city serving as a hub for search operations.
The pulses registered by the Chinese ship are of particular interest because they occurred in an area that fits with the latest calculation by experts of roughly where the plane is likely to have entered the water, Houston said.
The area of detection is roughly 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) west-northwest of Perth, according to coordinates reported by Chinese state media.
Several analysts on CNN said the information from search officials gave cause for optimism.
"We've got to be a little careful about groupthink here, but right now the evidence seems to point towards the Chinese vessel's location," said Alan Diehl, a former accident investigator for the U.S. Air Force.
What's more, white objects were spotted floating on the surface of the water about 90 kilometers (55 miles) from where the sounds were detected, authorities said.
But Houston warned that the latest discoveries could turn out to have no connection to the missing plane.
"In the days, weeks and possibly months ahead, there may be leads such as the one I'm reporting to you this morning on a regular basis," Houston said.
"I assure that we will follow up and exhaust every credible lead that we receive," he said.
The Chinese vessel detected the second signal for a total of 90 seconds on Saturday, according to authorities.
"It's not a continuous transmission," Houston said. "If you get close to the device, we should be receiving it for a longer period of time."
A former longtime Navy oceanographer said the Chinese equipment shown on TV didn't appear to be very sophisticated. Van Gurley told CNN that the gear was designed to be held by human divers and only had short-range capabilities.
"The fact that they're deploying it right over the side near the ocean surface, they're getting hits a mile apart, kind of doesn't add up -- but it does require investigation," said Gurley, now a senior manager at a consulting firm that uses complex mathematical methods to solve problems like finding a missing plane.
Australian authorities are still working on understanding the technology used regarding the data generated by the Haixun 01 as it searches for the missing plane, a source with the Australian Defense Force said. -CNN
PERTH: The first part of the opening statement from Monday’s press conference by retired Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who is head of the joint agency coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 out of Perth, Australia:
“Well, good afternoon. Yesterday I outlined a number of leads we were pursuing in relation to the search, the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. Namely, the electronic pulse signals detected by the Chinese ship Haixun 01 and an acoustic noise being pursued by the Australian defence vessel Ocean Shield in her current location.
I stated that the Ocean Shield would be delayed from going to the approximate area where the Haixun 01 had detected the signals while she continued her own investigations.
“Today I can report some very encouraging information which has unfolded over the last 24 hours. The towed pinger locator deployed from the Australian defence vessel Ocean Shield has detected signals consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes.
“Two separate signal detections have occurred within the northern part of the defined search area. The first detection was held for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. The ship then lost contact before conducting a turn and attempting to re-acquire the signal.
“The second detection on the return leg was held for approximately 13 minutes. On this occasion, two distinct pinger returns were audible. Significantly, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.
“Clearly, this is a most promising lead. And probably in the search so far, it’s probably the best information that we have had.
“Again, I would ask all of you to treat this information cautiously and responsibly until such time as we can provide an unequivocal determination. We haven’t found the aircraft yet; we need the confirmation. And I really stress this; it’s very important.
“Ocean Shield remains in the immediate area and continues to try and regain contact with the towed pinger locator. To this point, it has not been able to re-acquire the signals.
“There are many steps yet before these detections can be positively verified as being from missing Flight MH370.
“Firstly, we need to fix the position. Then the Ocean Shield can lower the autonomous underwater vehicle `Bluefin 21’ into the water and attempt to locate wreckage on the sea floor. Another source of evidence such as wreckage would verify this lead.
The area in which the signals have been received has a depth of approximately 4,500 meters (15,000 feet). This is also the limit of capability of the autonomous underwater vehicle.
“I need to be honest with you. It could take some days before the information is available to establish whether these detections can be confirmed as being from MH370.
“In very deep oceanic water, nothing happens fast. Of course, I will update you once we have an unequivocal determination.” --AP
Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre leading the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, attends a media conference in Perth. Pix by Effendy Rashid
07 April 2014| last updated at 08:05PM
MH370 Tragedy: Malaysia hopes pulse signals lead to positive development
KUALA LUMPUR: Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is hopeful that the detection of pulse signals in the southern Indian Ocean would lead to a positive development in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.
Hishammuddin however urged all parties to give the authorities some time to verify the signals detected, while being optimistic that the investigation team would find concrete evidence on what actually happened to the plane.
"In line with Malaysia's consistent stand on verifying and corroborating evidence from day one of the search operation, I would strongly urge all parties concerned to treat this information responsibly and give time for the authorities to conduct further verification.
"Malaysia also concurred with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot that all parties must be cautious about unconfirmed findings and making conclusion," he said during a press conference on the updates of the missing flight MH370 here, today.
The Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC) chief co-ordinator Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Angus Houston said this morning that an Australian vessel, Ocean Shield detected pulse signals twice Sunday night.
According to JACC in Perth, two separate signal detections had occurred 1,650 kilometres northwest of Perth within the northern part of the defined search area. The first detection was held for approximately two hours and 20 minutes, while the second was held approximately 13 minutes.
Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, 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 aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learnt that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors - the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". --BERNAMA
Malaysia's Defence Minister and Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, second right, speaks during a press conference on the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur. Accompanying him are from left, Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Datuk Hamzah Zainudin and Director general of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman. AP Photo