KUALA LUMPUR, May 14 —
2.00pmPrime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, in an opinion piece published in theWall Street Journalyesterday, admitted that the government made mistakes in the first few days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing. Although he said these mistakes did not damn the plane, Najib said there were many lessons to be learnt in light of the tragedy which netted his country and administration much criticism and disdain. “In the passage of time, I believe Malaysia will be credited for doing its best under near-impossible circumstances. “It is no small feat for a country the size of ours to overcome diplomatic and military sensitivities and bring 26 different countries together to conduct one of the world’s largest peacetime search operations. “But we didn’t get everything right. In the first few days after the plane disappeared, we were so focused on trying to find the aircraft that we did not prioritise our communications,” said Najib. While admitting that it took air traffic controllers four hours to launch the search-and-rescue operation, Najib pointed out that the plane’s disappearance between two countries’ air traffic controls caused maximum confusion. “Despite this, the search began about a third quicker than during the Air France Flight 447 tragedy in 2009. Nevertheless, the response time should and will be investigated. “None of this could have altered MH370′s fate. And I pledge that Malaysia will keep searching for the plane for as long as it takes. We will also continue facilitating the independent investigation so we can learn from any mistakes. “We have already tightened airport security, and investigators are looking for other measures to improve safety,” he said. But according to Najib, there are lessons here not just for Malaysia, but for the global aviation industry.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 10 —
6.00pmAn Australian naval vessel carrying an underwater drone involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 left port today on its second mission to scan part of the Indian Ocean where the longest sonar “ping” was heard over a month ago.Reutersreported that theOcean Shieldis heading to the area where a signal was first located and heard for some two hours on April 5, about 1,600 km northwest of Perth to launch the Bluefin-21 submersible.
3.30pmAFP reported that Paris prosecutors have launched a judicial investigation for involuntary homicide following the Malaysia Airlines plane crash, a judicial source said yesterday. The probe was launched on Wednesday. Four French nationals were among the passengers, including three students from the French school in Beijing, and the mother of two of the pupils.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 9 —
12.20pmFamilies of those on board missing Flight MH370 — calling themselves Voice370 — have issued an open letter to the governments of Malaysia, China and Australia, calling on them to re-analyse and release previous satellite data and any information, as the search for the Boeing 777-200ER passed the two-month mark with no results. NBC News reported that Voice370 had said it represented more than 300 family members of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board the Malaysia Airlines jet which disappeared on March 8 and is presumed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean. “Due to the lack of physical evidence that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, the families are in urgent need (of a) conclusion, based on Inmarsat data analysis, that the flight (did) end in the ocean,” said Voice370, urging the three governments to reconsider the accuracy of Inmarsat’s data. Voice370 said, “if Inmarsat’s analysis is unable to rule out other flight paths as a possibility, that fact must be acknowledged”. News portal The Malaysian Insider reported that on Monday, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein met Chinese Minister of Transport Yang Chuantang and Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss to hammer out details on the status of the search for flight MH370 and future plans. Reacting to the tripartite meeting, Voice370 said given the lack of tangible evidence of what happened to MH370, Putrajaya should “share and release the raw Inmarsat satellite engine ping data for 9MMRO (every ping from Friday, March 7 midnight until the final signal), “so that it can be subject to broader analysis by relevant experts”. Voice370 said Inmarsat’s data only indicated a probable southern flight path but that it was not a definitive conclusion. “The Inmarsat satellite data is the only lead we have and is key to identifying MH370’s flight path,” it said. “In view of the lack of emergency locator transmitter (ELT) activation, zero detected debris, and the lack of convincing pings, we feel that it is necessary that the data be subjected to independent third party review,” the group said. Australia established the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), headed by Angus Houston and operating from Perth, to lead the search operations in the Indian Ocean. Voice370 urged JACC to share and release data of the pings picked up by the towed-pinger locator in April. “Those pings have been characterised as oscillating at 33.3kHz with each ping being 1.106 second apart. The pings were non-continuous and the furthest distance between the locations of the pings is about 24km. “These recorded pings are another piece of evidence that needed to verify not only the accuracy of the Inmarsat calculation but also to prove the transmissions are in fact from the flight data recorder,” it said. As part of its demand for transparency, Voice370 said Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) should be engaged to assume responsibility for the undersea search operations and to coordinate and conduct that search. “WHOI is not a commercial entity and its successful location of Air France Flight 447 demonstrates that it has the experience and expertise to conduct the search for MH370 in an ethical manner.” (Flight 447 crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009 and its black boxes were recovered two years later.) At Monday’s meeting, Australia, China and Malaysia pledged not to give up searching for a MH370, despite lingering questions about how to proceed and who will pay for the mounting expenses. With the air and surface search now halted, a new search phase costing around A$60 million (RM180 million) began after existing visual and sonar search data had been analysed and a contractor found to lease the sophisticated equipment needed, Reuters reported. Experts have narrowed the search area where the plane is presumed to have crashed to a large arc of the Indian Ocean about 1,600km from Perth. The JACC said today that after a short port visit at Fleet Base West to resupply and undertake routine maintenance, ADVOcean Shield departs tomorrow to recommence search operations.
KUALA LUMPUR, May 8
Local insurance companies have paid out more than RM14.2 million in life insurance to the next-of-kin of missing passengers on board Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.Life Insurance Association of Malaysia (LIAM) president Vincent Kwo said the payments had been made to the next-of-kin in the last few weeks. He said the total exposure of local insurance companies was RM18.7 million, adding that the balance RM4.5 million in claims were pending as the companies were waiting for the official submission of documents by the next-of-kin. Kwo said the payments had not gone through the normal process because of the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER. “The local insurance companies wanted to make it easier for family members to claim the money. Therefore, they have waived the usual requirement for death certificates. “The companies were trying their very best to ensure that the claims were paid out within a week from the receipt of full documentation from the claimants.”
KUALA LUMPUR, May 7 —
European safety officials yesterday proposed tougher rules for ‘black box’ flight recorders in the strongest regulatory reaction yet to the disappearance of MH370.
The European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) said it would propose increasing the recording time on cockpit voice recorders to 20 hours from two to make it easier to understand plane accidents and prevent vital evidence being overwritten, as reported by Reuters.
Newly published proposals would also bring into force recommendations made by French crash investigators after the loss of an Air France jet in the Atlantic in 2009, but which remain bogged down in talks among regulators.
These include the addition of a new pinger frequency making it easier to locate the recording devices under water, where lower frequencies travel further.
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1.00pm (May 6)
Australia has already spent about RM129.85 million (A$43 million) on the search for the missing MH370, as talks continue over who will pay another RM181.19 million (A$60 million) for a more extensive underwater search.
The search for the missing plane has chewed up a huge amount of resources from Australia, as well as other countries including the United States, China and Malaysia.
Australian news portal News.com.au reported that Australia’s spending alone is almost equal to the RM145 million (A$48 million) which was the cost involved in finding the missing Air France flight AF337.
After weeks of searching for missing MH370, scouring the Indian Ocean by air and by ship, international experts will go all the way back to the beginning.
They will sit down in Canberra tomorrow to re-analyse satellite images and data gathered about the possible fate of the MAS flight which disappeared in early March.
“I think it’s important we review the data and all the information relating to the likely flight path of the aircraft and also take all the information we’ve acquired in the course of the search so far,” retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston told ABC Radio this morning.
— — — —
1.30pm (May 5)
Australia’s Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said today the new phase of the search for missing MH370 would be held involving intensified deep ocean search.
In a post-tripartite meeting joint press conference in Canberra today, attended also by acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and his Chinese counterpart, Yang Chuantang, they said collective efforts would be ongoing to find the plane despite almost two months since its disappearance.
Truss said oceanographic mapping will also be looked at as much of the area had never been mapped.
He added that a mix of sonar and underwater autonomous vehicles would be required as the water was very deep and there was a need for a certain level of understanding of the ocean floor to undertake such a search effectively and safely.
Truss also said that meetings would start on Wednesday in Canberra to analyse all data and information to identify the flight path of MH370.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today expressed Malaysia’s resolve to continue the search for MH370.
He said the country would carry on with the search for the Boeing 777-200 aircraft with the assistance of several other countries despite having nothing to show for after 59 days.
— — — —
12.00pm (May 4)
Two Chinese military aircraft that had helped to search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean flew back to China today from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base, as reported by Bernama. (read story here)
Nearly eight weeks after MH370 went missing, one family of the passengers on board has come to terms with the possibility that the plane and its occupants will not be recovered.
The family of Rodney and Mary Burrows has decided to hold the funeral service in Australia today, according to a report by theWall Street Journal. (read story here)
— — — —
10.00pm (May 3)MAS today confirmed that representatives from its Family Support Centre had been in touch with the next-of-kin of those on board MH370 to initiate an advance compensation payment process.
MAS said in a statement that this was to assist the family members in meeting their economic needs and it would not jeopardise their right to claim compensation in accordance with the law at a later stage. (read story here)
MAS clarified and confirmed that 38 passengers of the 239 persons on board its missing Flight MH370 on March 8, 2014 were Malaysians.
The confusion arose because the seating position of the passengers released in the preliminary report into the missing of Flight MH370 had indicated there were fewer than 38 Malaysian passengers onboard the flight.
In a statement, MAS said the names of the 38 Malaysian passengers on board had been earlier shared in the Passenger Manifest, which was made public previously. (read story here)
— — — —
11.00pm (May 2)
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said MAS had been supporting the families of those on board MH370 for the past 55 days, since flight MH370 went missing, in his defence of MAS’ decision to close its assistance centres related to the missing aircraft.
“it’s about time the family members accepted the reality that they should go home and wait for news,” he said at a press conference this evening.
— — — —
8.00pm (May 1)The Ministry of Transport has released to the public its preliminary report on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370. Together with the report, the government also released audio recordings of the communication between the cockpit and air traffic control on March 8 just before the aircraft lost contact, a map of a number of possible flight paths, as well as the plane’s seating plan and cargo manifest. They also released additional information detailing the actions taken between 1.38am and 6.14am on March 8. The confidential report made one recommendation – for the possible implementation of real-time tracking of commercial flights.
The highly-anticipated preliminary report on the missing MH370 flight will not be released today after all.Transport ministry crisis communications head V. Mano said: “As of now, I still have not received the report and releases from relevant parties. I will issue it to the media once it is ready,” he told fz.com in a text message at about 4pm.
The preliminary report on the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 aircraft’s disappearance is expected to be released today.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein yesterday said the report would be similar to the one forwarded to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).
— — — —
1.00pm (April 30)
Australian authorities on Wednesday dismissed claims by a marine exploration company that material found in the Bay of Bengal could be from missing MH370. (read story here)
As the search for missing MH370 enters its 54th day today, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Australia said that operations will now move to an intensified undersea search.
The aerial search was called off yesterday. Some ships will remain in the area to gather any debris that might surface, reportedCNN.
As for the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) Bluefin-21, it will commence “Mission 17″ when weather conditions improve. (read story here)
— — — —
11.00am (April 29)
UK’s Daily Mail reported that a recreational pilot from New York believes he has found the wreckage of MH370 off the coast of Thailand.
This was after he spent hours searching thousands of satellite images online via the crowdsourcing website TomNod.According to Michael Hoebel, the plane appeared to be in one piece underneath the water, west of Songkhla in Thailand.
The image he shared was said to have been taken days after the crash.
— — — —
10.00pm (April 28)
Moments after Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott admitted that it was “possible” that MH370 might never be found, an Adelaide-based exploration company begs to differ.
The company, GeoResonance claims that it may have in fact located the wreckage of the ill-fated MH370, some 5,000km away from where the authorities have been desperately hunting for the commercial carrier’s possible debris.
Australian news agency7Newsreported GeoResonance saying that its study had identified elements on the ocean bed being consistent with material from a plane.
7Newssaid that the company which claims to “offer a unique and proven method of geophysical survey”, had even kick-started its own search mission for MH370 on March 10. (read story here)
The search operation team for MH370 needed to identify what kind of assets were required as it entered a new phase before the financial aspects could be sorted out, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, as reported by Bernama.He said he was grateful that Australia, which was currently leading the search operation in the southern Indian ocean, and other countries had not raised the issue of finance since the beginning of the operation. (read story here)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott today admitted it was “possible” that MAS Flight MH370 might never be found.
However, he said, that would be a “terrible outcome” for the families of those on board who would live under a “crippling cloud of uncertainty”.
Speaking in Canberra with JACC coordinator Air Chief Marshal Houston, Abbot said it was highly unlikely any aircraft debris would now be found on the ocean surface as most material would have become waterlogged and sunk.Authorities, he said, were baffled and disappointed that they could not find any wreckage. (read story here)
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the search for missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370 has entered a new phase.“This is probably the most difficult search in human history. “I am here to inform you the search for missing MH370 is entering a new phase,” he told reporters in Canberra. “We are looking to intensify the underwater search using underwater technology.” (read story here)
Bluefin-21 has completed mission 15 and has commenced mission 16 this morning.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre said no contacts of interest have been found to date, adding that Bluefin-21 will continue to examine the areas adjacent to the focused underwater search area during mission 16.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 54,921 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1,667 kilometres north west of Perth.
Up to nine military aircraft and 12 ships are planned to assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The weather forecast for today indicates the cold front will move out of the search area and be replaced by a southerly trade flow, sea swells of four to five metres.
— — — —
3.00pm (April 27)
US President Barack Obama in a joint press conference with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in Putrajaya this afternoon said the US was “absolutely committed” to provide more assets in the ongoing search operations for MH370.“I can tell you the United States is absolutely committed to providing whatever resources and assets that we can,” Obama said.
The planned air and surface search for MH370 has been suspended today due to deteriorating weather.
According to the The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), the underwater search will continue with the Bluefin-21 expected to commence mission 15 this morning.
Bluefin-21 was expected to complete the remaining focused underwater search area and continue examining the areas adjacent to it during mission 15.
No contacts of interest have been found yet to date.
At a state banquet for US President Barack Obama held at the Istana Negara last night, the King, Yang di-Pertuan Agong Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah expressed the country’s gratitude for the US’ support and cooperation in the search for missing MH370.
In a report by the New Straits Times, the King said US’ involvement indicated strong commitment ties established between both countries.
— — — —
11.00am (April 26)
The US military has spent US$11.4 million (RM37.26 million) in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, according to officials at the Pentagon.
That includes US$3.6 million for underwater surveillance by a navy submarine and US$4,200 per flight hour for the P-8 Orions used to scour the southern Indian Ocean.
The Pentagon has previously said there are no plans to ask the Malaysian government for reimbursement.
The Australian search coordination center said a robotic submarine had scanned 95 percent of a 310-square-kilometer (120-square-mile) search area since last week but had found nothing of interest.
The U.S. Navy’s Bluefin 21 is creating a three-dimensional sonar map of the ocean floor near where signals consistent with airplane black boxes were heard on April 8.
The search area is a circle with a 10-kilometer (6-mile) radius 4.5 kilometers (2.8 miles) deep off the west Australian coast. The search of the target area is scheduled to be completed within days.
“If no contacts of interest are made, Bluefin 21 will continue to examine the areas adjacent to the 10-kilometer radius,” the center said in a statement.
“We are currently consulting very closely with our international partners on the best way to continue the search into the future,” it added, referring to Malaysia, United States and China.— — — —DAY 4910.20am (April 25)
Up to 8 military aircraft and 10 ships are planned to assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 49,240 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1584 kilometres north-west of Perth.
The weather forecast for today is for isolated showers, with south easterly winds up to 25 knots, sea swells of two to three metres and visibility of one kilometre in thunderstorms and three kilometres in rain.
Bluefin-21 AUV is currently completing mission 13 in the underwater search area. Bluefin-21 has now completed approximately 95 per cent of the focused underwater search area. No contacts of interest have been found to date.
The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April.
— — — —DAY 48 (April 24)10.30amAustralian officials said today that after examining detailed photographs of unidentified material that washed ashore in the south-western part of the country they are satisfied it is not a clue in the search for the missing Malaysian plane. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has advised search coordinators that the material, which washed ashore 10 km east of Augusta in Western Australia — roughly 1,000 miles away from the suspected crash site — is not from missing Flight 370, according to a statement from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre. Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the safety bureau, told The Associated Press Wednesday that an initial analysis of the debris — which appeared to be sheet metal with rivets — suggested it was not from the plane.9.50amThe Joint Agency Coordination Centre said Thursday an air search involving up to 11 planes was planned to examine an area of nearly 50,000 square km centred about 1,600 km (1,000 miles) northwest of Perth. The centre said it would first assess weather conditions, which have hampered aerial searches over the past two days. The centre said 11 ships would also join the search.
— — — —
10.30am (April 23)
Up to 10 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 37,948 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1584 kilometres north west of Perth.
Bluefin-21 AUV is currently completing mission ten in the underwater search area. Bluefin-21 has now completed more than 80 per cent of the focused underwater search area. No contacts of interest have been found to date.
The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April.
The weather forecast for today is for isolated showers increasing to heavy rain, widespread low cloud, with south easterly winds, sea swells up to 2.5 metres and visibility of one kilometere. Prevailing weather conditions may affect today’s air search.
— — — —
10.00am (April 22)
Bluefin-21 AUV is currently completing mission nine in the underwater search area. It has searched approximately two thirds of the focused underwater search area to date. However, no contacts of interest have been found.
The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April.
The autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Bluefin-21 was deployed on April 14 to conduct an undersea search up to a depth of 4,800m, after searchers stopped using the pinger locator as the plane’s black boxes beacon batteries had long exceeded their 30-day certified battery life.
It was announced on Saturday that the Bluefin-21 would complete its search of the targeted area within a week.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre said up to 10 military aircraft and 10 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 49,491 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1,584 kilometres north west of Perth.
The weather forecast for today is for scattered showers to continue with south easterly winds, sea swells up to three metres and visibility of four kilometres.
— — — —
1.30pm (April 21)
The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner is becoming more difficult with the approaching Tropical Cyclone Jack in the remote Indian Ocean off here.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre said the weather in the search area was forecast to deteriorate later today, particularly in the northern sector, as Tropical Cyclone Jack continues its track southwards.
This morning, Bluefin-21 AUV completed mission eight in the underwater search area. It has searched approximately two thirds of the focused underwater search area to date. However, no contacts of interest have been found.
The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on April 8.
Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre in a statement said Bluefin-21 AUV’s ninth mission will commence later this morning.
Up to 10 military aircraft and 11 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 49,491 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1,741 kilometres north west of Perth.
The weather forecast for today has conditions deteriorating, particularly in the north of the search area, as Tropical Cyclone Jack continues its track southwards. Wide spread showers are developing with isolated thunderstorms to the north and east south-easterly winds.
— — — —
7.00pm (April 20)
Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said statements had been taken from 260 individuals to assist in police investigations in connection with MH370, as reported by Bernama.
He said investigations were still being conducted and many more people would be called up to give their statements. (read story here)
Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin, who is also in charge of the next-of-kin committee told members of the press at the Royale Chulan Hotel in KL today that the government was setting up parameters to decide when to issue death certificates to those on board MH370.
He also said that the families have been informed to come up with compensation plans. (read story here)
The Perth-based Joint Agency Coordination Centre today said Bluefin-21 AUV completed its seventh mission in the underwater search for the missing MH370 early this morning. However, nothing of interest had been located.
JACC added that it has commenced its eight mission.
Bluefin-21 has searched approximately 50% of the focused underwater search area to date.
The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April
Up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 48,507 square kilometres, across two areas.
The weather forecast for today is scattered showers, isolated thunderstorms in some areas, and east south-easterly winds.
— — — —
4.00pm (April 19)
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein today gave his assurance that the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 will continue despite plans to regroup and reassess the operation.
He said the search operation team under the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) set up by Australia and other partners, would, however, consider other approaches, including widening the scope of the search and utilising assets that could be relevant to the hunt which entered its 43rd day today.
Besides maintaining the deployment of the Bluefin-21 mini-submarine for the underwater search, Malaysian authorities were now looking at the possibility of adding more commercial assets in the operation, he told a media conference on the development of the hunt for the missing plane here today.
Reuters reported that the A U.S. Navy deep-sea drone will continue to dive to unprecedented depths to scour a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for a missing Malaysian jetliner as the Malaysian government said it may use more remote control submarines to help with the search.
The Bluefin-21 and its “side scan” sonar has become the focal point of the search 2,000 km (1,200 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth, where authorities believe Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hit the ocean after disappearing from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Now in its seventh week, the search has centred on a city-sized area where a series of “pings” led authorities to believe the plane’s black box may be located. But after almost two weeks without a signal, and long past the black box battery’s 30-day life expectancy, authorities have turned to the Bluefin-21.
After the $4 million Bluefin-21’s searches were frustrated by an automatic safety mechanism which returns it to the surface when it exceeds a depth of 4.5 km (14,763 feet), authorities have adjusted the mechanism and have sent it as deep as 4,695 metres (15,403 feet), a record.
But hopes that the Bluefin might soon guide searchers to wreckage are dwindling with no sign of the plane after six deployments spanning 133 square kilometres (83 square miles). Footage from the Bluefin’s sixth mission was still being analysed, the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said on Saturday.
Malaysian acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said in a Twitter post that the government’s Deployment of Assets Committee was considering using more autonomous underwater vehicles. He did not elaborate.
On Monday, the search coordinator, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said the air and surface search for debris would likely end by midweek as the operation shifted its focus to the ocean floor.
But the air and surface searches have continued daily, and on Saturday the Joint Agency Coordination Centre said up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships would help with the day’s search covering about 50,200 square kilometres (31,000 square miles) across three areas.
— — — —
11.00am (April 18)
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 51,870 square kilometres, across three areas.
Overnight Bluefin-21 AUV completed another mission in the underwater search area and has commenced mission five. It has searched approximately 1,10 square kilometres to date. Data analysis from the fourth mission did not provide any contacts of interest.
The weather forecast for today is isolated showers and south easterly winds.
Up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today’s search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
— — — —
9.00pm (April 17)
An oil slick in the southern Indian Ocean is not lnked to the missing MH370, reported AAP.
The slick was found in a focus search area on Sunday.
However the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) ruled out any connection.
“Preliminary analysis of the sample collected has confirmed that it is not aircraft engine oil or hydraulic fluid.”
Despite the news, the search will continue throughout the long Easter weekend, with both aerial and underwater sweeps planned.
The best leads in the underwater search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 would be exhausted in about a week, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, as reported by News Corp Australia.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott also told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday the Australian-led search for the missing Boeing 777-200ER in a 4,500m-deep stretch of the Indian Ocean, 2,200km northwest of Perth, would have to think of a revised approach if the Bluefin-21 minisub failed to locate any wreckage.
“We believe that search will be completed within a week or so,” Mr Abbott told the Wall Street Journal in an interview.
“If we don’t find wreckage, we stop, we regroup, we reconsider.”
— — — —
10.00am (April 16)
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 55,151 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2,087 kilometres north west of Perth, according to this morning’s statement by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).
The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle was again deployed last night from ADV Ocean Shield.
The data from Bluefin-21’s first mission has been downloaded and analysed. No objects of interest were found.
The weather forecast for today is south easterly winds with isolated rain showers, sea swells up to two metres and visibility of five kilometres.
— — — —
10.00am (April 15)
In a statement this morning by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Australia, it was said that the autonomous underwater vehicle (UAV) deployed into the the southern Indian Ocean last night from the ADV Ocean Shield completed six hours of its mission.
Called the Bluefin-21, JACC said the UAV “exceeded its operating depth limit of 4,500 metres.”
However its built in safety returned it to the surface, after which the data gathered was and continues to be extracted and analysed.
The UAV will be redeployed today if weather conditions permit.
It reported that weather forecast today is south easterly winds with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms, apart from sea swells up to two metres.
Visibility for today is expected to be up to five kilometres.
Meanwhile, JACC said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 62,063 square kilometres.
“The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2,170 kilometres north west of Perth,” the statement read.
— — — —
3.00pm (April 14)
It was reported today that Angus Houston, head of the JACC said the Bluefin-21 drone would be deployed soon to scour the ocean floor for possible wreckage of MH370.
The Ocean Shield also spotted an oil slick in the same area where the signals were picked up and samples have been sent for testing.
Houston stressed that it is not yet known where the oil slick came from but he confirmed it was 5,500 metres downwind from where the pings were picked up by the towed pinger locator, as reported by BBC.
Head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) Angus Houston today told a press conference in the Western Australian city that there has been no acoustic pings detected since last Tuesday.
He also noted that the chances of locating any floating debris from MH370 “has greatly diminished”, as reported by News Corp Australia.
On the fact that the pings are no longer heard, Houston said it was time for the search to go under water.
“The deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle has the potential to take us a further step towards visual identification since it offers a possible opportunity to detect debris from the aircraft on the ocean floor,” he was quoted as saying.
Joining fellow director Peter Jackson in being involved in the search and recovery mission of the missing MH370, is famous Hollywood director, James Cameron.
Unlike Jackson who lent his private jet to the search and recovery mission, Cameron chose to participate by giving his insights on how the search and recovery teams are likely to be doing in their mission to find the flight data recorder, more commonly known as the black box, of the missing flight. (read story here)
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the MH370 tragedy has tested the mechanisms of bilateralism and regionalism, and they have not been found wanting, as reported by Bernama.
Hishammuddin who is also acting Transport Minister pointed this out in his speech for the opening of the Defence Services Asia Exhibition and Conference (DSA) 2014 last night.
He also noted that incidents like the disappearance of MH370 served as a reminder about the fragility of life and the need to value the ties between nations.
“Through our anguish, one thing is clear: the world is a community, and we are its citizens,” he was quoted as saying. (read story here)
— — — —
10.50pm (April 13)
Communication and Multimedia Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Shabery Cheek concurs with Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein that the co-pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 did not make a phone call from the cockpit of the aircraft on March 8.
According to Bernama, he said he had tried to get information on this and that the parties concerned had confirmed that no such call was made.
The two representatives from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) who arrived in Perth last Friday to join the Joint Agency Coordination Centre’s (JACC) search for MH370 is to act as liaison officers for Malaysia.
According to Bernama, the two; DCA principal assistant director, Noor Izhar Baharin and Kuala Lumpur Aeronautical Search and Rescue Coordination Centre assistant director, Muhammad Irfan Ahmad Baidove had said that the search is now in the process of gathering experts, therefore “every expert has to come and give ideas to solve the problem.” (read story here)
The Attorney-General is in UK to discuss with relevant authorities and experts to identify who would have the custody of MH370’s black box if it is found. (read story here)
It was said yesterday that cops are investigating the company involved in the cleaning of MH370’s cabin before it took off from KLIA on March 8.
The New Straits Times quoted the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as saying that police were looking into all possible angles including loopholes during the cleaning works.
The search area for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean has been widened today with the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) mapping out a visual search area of approximately 57,506 square kilometres. (read story here)
— — — —
10.00pm (April 12)
Search teams might soon stop using the US Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator unless credible new signals are detected according to Navy Captain Mark Matthews, who is in charge of the Towed Pinger Locator (TPL-25) and the Bluefin-21 underwater autonomous vehicle on board the Royal Australian Navy shipOcean Shield.
“When the time is right, we’ll say ‘Yes, the beacons have probably stopped transmitting’ and it’s time to shift,” Matthews told ABC News, adding that the time for that is coming in a “few more days”.
“As long as we have a chance to receive another signal from the beacon, we’re going to try. But eventually we’re going to shift to the autonomous underwater vehicle”
Matthews said the search operation was actually progressing rapidly and was shocked that pings had been detected earlier in the week .
“It is abnormal for things to proceed as quickly as they have. Normally, these things are done over months and months.
“We are in a much better position than we could really hope for in one of these searches.”
However, although he said no new credible signals have been detected over the past few days, his team still wanted a few more days with the TPL-25 in order to narrow the underwater search area.
A report that MH370 co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid had tried to make a phone call when flying low near Penang has been refuted by Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
Hishammuddin said that if it had indeed taken place, he would have found out about it much sooner.
“We received numerous leads and we followed them, but unfortunately, it was a roller-coaster ride, whereby we received information and investigated (them) but they were baseless,” Hishammuddin said in Kluang.
Scammers are targeting relatives of those aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
A bogus email has been sent to the families of missing passengers suggesting compensation claims are possible even though the aircraft hasn’t yet been found.
“At a minimum, an international aviation treaty allows the next-of-kin of the plane’s MH370 passengers to seek up to US$175,000 equivalent in your local currency,” it says.
This purports to come from Allen Helter of Malaysia Airlines and urges those claiming to contact Mohamed Bin Abd Wahab of the Eon Bank in Kuala Lumpur.
However, the email originates from a Yahoo account in Hong Kong.
It appears to be a standard advance fee fraud, with those seeking compensation first required to pay administrative charges before funds can be released.
Search officials say they are confident they know the approximate position of the black box recorder, although they have determined that the latest “ping”, picked up by searchers on Thursday, was not from the missing aircraft.
Batteries in the black box recorder are already past their normal 30-day life, making the search to find it on the murky sea bed all the more urgent. Once searchers are confident they have located it, they then plan to deploy a small unmanned “robot” known as an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle.
“Work continues in an effort to narrow the underwater search area for when the autonomous underwater vehicle is deployed,” the Australian Joint Action Coordinating Centre (JACC) said in a statement on Saturday.
“There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours,” it said in a statement.
The black box records data from the cockpit and conversations among flight crew and may provide answers about what happened to the plane, which flew thousands of kilometres off course after taking off.
The mystery has sparked the most expensive search and rescue operation in aviation history.
Malaysia’s government has begun investigating civil aviation and military authorities to determine why opportunities to identify and track the flight were missed in the chaotic hours after it vanished.
A crew member of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 made a desperate call from his mobile phone as the plane was flying low near Penang, the morning it went missing.
The latest breakthrough in the ongoing criminal investigation traced the source of the call to co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid’s phone.
The New Straits Times has learnt that investigators are poring over this discovery as they try to piece together what had happened moments before the Boeing 777-22ER twinjet went off the radar, some 200 nautical miles (320km) northwest of Penang on March 8.
Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 41,393 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2,331 kilometres north west of Perth.
The Australian defence vessel Ocean Shield continues more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to the aircraft’s black boxes. The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield. The oceanographic ship HMS Echo is also working in the area with Ocean Shield. This work continues in an effort to narrow the underwater search area for when the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is deployed. There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said up to nine military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The weather forecast for today is 10 knot south easterly winds with isolated showers, sea swells of up to one metre and visibility of five kilometres in showers.
Aircraft and ships reported spotting a number of objects during yesterday’s search, but only a small number were able to be recovered. None of the recovered items were confirmed to be associated with MH370.
— — — —
7:45pm (April 11)
A report claiming the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) scrambled search aircraft to track MH370 immediately after the plane was declared missing have been deemed false by chief General Tan Air Force chief Tan Sri Rodzali Daud.
Rodzali’s released a statement today referring to an article on CNN’s website, echoing an announcement made yesterday by Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on the same issue.
The article alleges that RMAF search aircraft were scrambled at 8am on March 8, soon after Malaysia Airlines reported the missing flight.
It alleged that the aircraft were scrambled before authorities corroborated data indicating that the plane had turned back towards the west, quoting an unnamed senior Malaysian government source.
CNN, quoting a source involved in the investigations, also alleged that the air force did not inform the Department of Civil Aviation or search and rescue operations until March 11, three days later.
“In my capacity as the Chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, I can confirm that the above allegations is totally false,” read Rodzali’s statement.
Initial findings show that a signal, detected yesterday by an aircraft searching for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, is most probably not related to the flight.
Additionally, the unmanned underwater vehicles may not be deployed for a few more days.
In a statement released this afternoon, Joint Agency Coordination Centre chief coordinator Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon has been determined as not related to an aircraft underwater locator beacon.
“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analysed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes,” Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret’d), said.
“Further analysis continues to be undertaken by Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre.
“Today Ocean Shield is continuing more focussed sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals that may be related to the aircraft’s black boxes. It is vital to glean as much information as possible while the batteries on the underwater locator beacons may still be active.
“The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield, with three more missions planned for today.
“A decision as to when to deploy the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle will be made on advice from experts on board the Ocean Shield and could be some days away.
“On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370. I will provide a further update if, and when, further information becomes available,” said Houston.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted his denial of a report by foreign news agency CNN that the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) had deployed a search aircraft on March 8 at 8am, shortly after the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was reported missing.
Hishammuddin’s communications team tweeted; “Latest from @CNN claiming that Msian Air Force aircraft scrambled soon after @MAS reported #MH370 missing early 8/3 is a false allegation.”
The team posted the denial on its official Twitter account, @H2OComms, at 10.29pm yesterday.
CNN in quoting a “senior Malaysian government official” reported that it was informed by the anonymous official that an aircraft was dispatched even before the authorities had corroborated data indicating that the missing commercial aircraft had turned back westward from its last-known location over the South China Sea.
The international effort to find a missing Malaysian jetliner was zeroing on a small patch of the Indian Ocean that officials now believe offers the best hope of solving the mystery of Flight MH370.
Reuters reported that the Joint Action Coordination Centre (JACC) overseeing the search said it would use some of the most sophisticated resources at its disposal on the small search area after a new acoustic signal, that could be from the plane’s black box recorders, was detected on Thursday.
Search efforts are now focused on three areas.
Aircraft and ships are combing over two large search zones, some 2,390 km (1,485 miles) northwest of Perth, for possible floating debris related to the crash.
But it is the much smaller search zone, just 600 sq km (232 sq miles, located about 1,670 km (1038 miles) northwest of Perth that has generated fresh optimism.
The smaller zone is near where the Ocean Shield picked up the acoustic signals and where dozens of sonobuoys capable of transmitting data to search aircraft via radio signals were dropped on Wednesday.
The latest signal, which was captured by a listening device buoy, seems to lend credence to four previous “pings” detected by a U.S. Navy “Towed Pinger Locator” (TPL) towed by Australia’s Ocean Shield vessel.
— — — —
9.30pm (April 10)
An Australian plane involved in the search for missing Flight MH370 has picked up another possible signal from its black boxes this afternoon.
Searchers are racing against time as the signals from the flight data recorders are due to fade any time now.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), which is overseeing the search operation in the southern Indian Ocean, said today that the possible underwater signal had come from an area where similar ones had been previously detected.
“The acoustic data will require further analysis overnight, but shows potential of being from a man-made source,” said the statement issued by Angus Houston, who is heading the search.
If confirmed, this would be the fifth underwater signal detected in the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared from radar screens on March 8 while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Speaking to CNN from on board the USS Blue Ridge, US Navy Commander William J. Marks said the towed pinger locator would be used to listen for more signals that may come from MH370’s flight recorders for a couple more days, before an autonomous underwater vehicle (UAV) is deployed to scour the seabed for a sonar search.
The Australian Defence Force has activated its Learmonth base, some 1,200km north of Perth, as a command base to accommodate two state-of-the-art tracking aircraft involved in the search and rescue operation for MH370.
The Wedgetail E-7A planes are reported to be able to maintain air and surface surveillance over hundreds of thousands of square kilometres, as reported by online newsportal news.com.au today.
These planes are used by the authorities to track the movements of aircraft and vessels involved in the hunt for MH370.
Following the two pings detected in the southern Indian Ocean yesterday, the search for MH370 will be narrowed down today to a specific patch of remote waters.
In a statement by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Australia, the search area today would cover 57,923 square kilometres.
JACC head Angus Houston told reporters yesterday that he was hopeful the missing aircraft could be found within days.
Saying that the plane could have further disappeared into silt at the sea floor, Houston remarked that this would hamper visual search.
“The silt on the bottom of the ocean can be very thick and things disappear into it,” he was quoted as saying by online newsportal The Australian.
— — — —
9.00pm (April 9)
MAS was drafting a D-day plan today in Beijing to make arrangements for the families of passengers to fly to Perth once the aircraft was found.
MAS also offered to fly up to five family members per passenger on board the missing plane.
In responding to Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s tweet on the two new signals picked up by the search and rescue team in the southern Indian Ocean, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tweeted, “Let’s all pray.”
Hishammuddin had also noted that the developments were optimistic, however they are being cautious about it.
Japan has sent two P3 Orion aircraft to the Pearce Airbase in Perth to join in the search for MH370.
Experts in Australia and the United States have confirmed that the pulse signals picked up by vessels searching for a missing Malaysian airliner in the southern Indian Ocean are from a man-made device and are not natural sounds from the sea, according to the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).
Its chief coordinator, Air Chief Marshal (Rtd) Angus Houston, said today the experts, from the Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre (AJACC) in New South Wales and the black box manufacturer in the United States, had confirmed that the 33.31kHz signals were from the flight data recorder of a black box.
However, it could not be confirmed whether the signals had come from the black box of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, he said.
“The two recent signals were detected by the Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield at 4.27pm and 10.17pm yesterday,” he told a press conference on developments in the search for the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft.
The first signal lasted for five minutes and 32 seconds, and the second, seven minutes, he said.
Beyond the dwindling battery life, there’s all the ocean to contend with: The Ocean Shield signals were in water about 2.6 miles deep, meaning a number of things could literally get in the way of or otherwise disrupt the pulses.
Teams searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have reacquired signals that could be consistent with “black box” flight recorders.
Australian vessel Ocean Shield heard the signals again on Tuesday afternoon and evening, the Australian official leading the search said.
Work was continuing to refine the search area before a submersible could be sent down, he said.
The Ocean Shield has been towing a pinger locator to listen for signals from the plane’s flight recorders in waters west of the Australian city of Perth.
It twice acquired signals over the weekend.
On Tuesday, it located the signals again, the first time for five minutes and 32 seconds, and the second time for around seven minutes, Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston said.
“Ocean Shield has now detected four transmissions in the same broad area,” he said, adding yesterday’s signals will assist in better defining a reduced and much more manageable search area on the ocean floor.
A torpedo-shaped mini-sub could provide conclusive proof that MH370 crashed into the Indian Ocean, but the task is set to push the machine to its limits.
The Bluefin-21, a 4.93m long sonar device is expected to be deployed to the ocean floor in the days ahead to look for debris from the jet which vanished on March 8.
Angus Houston, who heads the agency coordinating the eight-nation hunt, said that after more work to detect “pings” consistent with those issued from aircraft black boxes the autonomous submersible could be deployed in the remote area off Western Australia where the search is focused.
Once in the water, if the device detects something unusual using the sonar, it can be brought to the surface and sent down again equipped with a video camera to provide the visual evidence of a crash.
“You can’t have the side sonar and the camera down there together, it’s one or the other,” the retired air chief marshal Houston told AFP.
The Bluefin-21 has not yet been sent down because it cannot be deployed while the US Navy’s towed pinger locator, the device attached to the Australian vessel Ocean Shield, which had picked up the sounds, is in use.
Up to 11 military aircraft, four civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Today AMSA has planned a search area of about 75,423 square kilometres.
The centre of the search area is approximately 2261 kilometres North West of Perth.
A weak front is moving in from the south east, expected to bring scattered showers.
The underwater search continues today, with ADV Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area, and Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.
The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia.
— — — —
7.00pm (April 8)
The search for MH370 based on the “pings” detected could go on for days.
This comes after no more “pings” were detected after the initial two picked up by Australia’s Ocean Shield and a Chinese vessel.
Head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) Major Angus Houston said that while the leads were considered promising, it would be days before a robotic submersible would be deployed to scour the ocean floor.
As reported by AFP, Houston said the search and rescue team needed to be absolutely sure that the pinger batteries had expired before pinpointing on a location to deploy the submersible.
Meanwhile, as for today, no further transmissions had been detected.
In a picture provided by the Australian Defence Force to Reuters, HMAS Success is seen performing a Replenishment at Sea evolution with the Royal Malaysian Navy ship KD Lekiu, providing it with more fuel during the continuing search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean today.
NST reports that the police probe into the disappearance of MH370 has entered its second phase.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the police have recorded “conversations” from 180 people to check if there was any foul play involved in the disappearance of the Beijing-bound aircraft, which was last detected in the southern Indian ocean.
“While the Transport Ministry is focusing its efforts on the technical aspects, the police will focus on criminal elements if there is any,” he said after the ministry’s monthly gathering here today.
Zahid, however, did not elaborate on the identity of the people whose conversations were recorded.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre says the underwater search continues today, with ADV Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area, and Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.
Up to eleven military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships will assist in today’s search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Australia’s Maritime Safety Agency has directed the search of one large search area today of approximately 77,580 square kilometres, 2268 kilometres north west of Perth.
Good weather is expected for searching throughout the day.
— — — —
6.00pm (April 7)
“I have work to do here,” MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya firmly told reporters when asked if he would resign following this incident.
“This incident has obviously affected MAS. Investigations are ongoing. We have a lot of work to do. MAS has to get itself together. The airline needs six months to pull itself together from market reputation issue,” he responded to a question on how has MH370 affected the airlines.
In the latest MH370 press conference which has now been moved to The Royale Chulan hotel in Kuala Lumpur from the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said information obtained from the search and rescue team currently scouring the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) passenger aircraft has been the “most promising lead so far.”
“We will not give up hope, we will continue to find MH370.”
“We have been on a roller coaster ride based on the leads we have received previously. But based on what (Joint Agency Coordination Centre head) Angus Houston said today, I am more optimistic. This is something much more positive than other, but I am more cautious to say much more than that,” he said when asked about the pings and how promising are they in the search for MH370.
Hishammuddin confirmed that the Prime Minister received a call this morning from his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott who updated him on the latest findings regarding the signals detected by the search and rescue team in the southern Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, he said, in order “to streamline and strengthen” the government’s ongoing efforts, three ministerial committees have been established: the next of kin committee led by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin, the technical committee led by Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi and the deployment of assets committee led by Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri.
On who will take the lead in the investigations should the black box be recovered, Hishammuddin said he has spoken to the Attorney-General on the matter and the government will follow the International Civil Aviation Organisation’s (ICAO) practices and will inform on development based on what is found in due course.
It was also announced at the press conference that “efforts to appoint an independent investigator in charge based on ICAO standards to lead an investigation team is underway.”
To this effect, three groups were established; an airworthiness group (to look into maintenance records, structures and systems), an operations group (to examine flight recorders, operations and meteorology), and a medical and human factors group (to investigate psychological and pathological issues as well as survival factors).
Hishammuddin added that they are also in the midst of identifying accreditated countries to be included in the investigation team.
Responding to questions on the possibility of survivors, Hishammuddin said based on leads they obtained from satellite images and sightings, there has been no indication of survivors, however he said that he has always told the family members of those on board MH370 that miracles do happen.
“We continue to hope and pray for survivors.”
Asked to verify CNN’s report that the plane had skirted Indonesian airspace to avoid radar detection, Hishammuddin said this was untrue, adding that the Chief of Armed Forces has contacted his counterpart in Indonesia and it was confirmed there was no sighting of the plane.
Hishammuddin who is also Defence Minister was asked on the need to have many investigation committees working on this incident, to which he replied, “No matter how many agencies it takes, what do we benchmark it against? The more experts we have, the better it is in a situation that is unprecedented like this one.”
Meanwhile, Hamzah said he is unsure when family members will be taken to Perth, adding that this can only be decided upon the finding of a wreckage.
“I express my sympathy to the prime minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) and to the families of passengers and crew on the board MH370,” said Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong today.
According to Bernama, Lee told reporters at a joint press conference with Najib that the island nation was prepared to provide more assistance in the search for the missing aircraft.
“Singapore stands with Malaysia in this tragedy. We participated in the search and rescue in the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca. I told the prime minister we stand ready to help Malaysia, also in the next phase of the investigation,” Lee was quoted as saying.
Joint Agency Coordination Centre head Angus Houston says Australian ship Ocean Shield has today again detected signals from the black box of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, adding that authorities believe it is the most promising lead since the month long search operation was launched.
Houston said the first pinger signal lasted 2 hours 20 minutes while the second instance lasting 13 minutes showed two distinct pinger returns were audible.
“Clearly this is the most promising lead, and probably in the search so far, it is probably the best information that we have had,” he said.
However, he urged the media to treat the latest development “cautiously and responsibly until such time we can provide unequivocal determination”.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre says up to nine military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The search area is expected to be approximately 234,000 square kilometres.
ADV Ocean Shield is continuing investigations in its own area while HMS Echo is en route to assist the Chinese vessel Haixun 01, which detected pulse signals in the Indian Ocean.
Good weather is expected throughout the day with showers in the afternoon. However, this is not expected to affect the search.
— — — —
8.15pm (April 6)
China has expressed appreciation over MCA’s assistance in the management of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 aircraft passengers’ families from that country.
Bernama reported that Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Dr Huang Hui Kang said Malaysia had, from the onset played a very vital role in the search and rescue (SAR) operation, having undertaken efforts to care for the next-of-kin of passengers from China.
“We also contributed in managing any family member of passengers, especially from our country, in the issuance of visas to Malaysia.
“We are very appreciative of Malaysia’s efforts, especially those from the MCA, in sending volunteers to help the families over queries and in terms of moral support,” he said in his speech at the mass prayers for the missing Flight MH370 at Wisma MCA here today.
Youths were advised not to be swayed by the avalanche of inaccurate information spread through the social media on the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 tragedy.
According to Bernama, Deputy Youth and Sports Minister Datuk M. Saravanan said youths should evaluate all the information and not just believe everything they read.
He urged them to refrain from being duped by certain quarters who hurled wild allegations that the government was purportedly covering the truth about the incident.
Eight out of 19 family members of passengers on board missing flight MH370 were flown back to China this afternoon.
According to MH370 special envoy to China, Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun, following the departure, there are now 11 family members still staying in Bangi to monitor developments in the search for the missing aircraft.
“Those who left for China had asked to do so,” she told reporters after a prayer session for flight MH370 at the MCA headquaters here today.
After crossing the Malaysian peninsula, MH370 made another turn, skirting around Indonesian airspace according to a report by an international news agency.
Quoting a senior Malaysian government official, CNN senior international correspondent Nick Robertson claimed the move appeared to be intentional.
Robertson’s unnamed source said this claim was based on radar information gleaned from other countries.
When contacted, DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Addul Rahman simply told The Rakyat Post that CNN’s report was not verified, corroborated and not from an official source.
Australia’s noble demeanour has prompted Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to thank the country as an “invaluable friend” to Malaysia for its spontaneous action in searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 flight without any timeline.
Bernama reported that Najib reiterated this today after his return from his two-day visit to Australia last Thursday where he expressed his deep gratitude to his counterpart, Tony Abbott, and 25 other countries that had accepted Malaysia’s request to assist in the search for the aircraft.
The Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 aircraft that went missing on March 8 has put the country’s capability to manage local and international media to the test in ensuring the news is correct, accurate and verified.
Information Department director-general Datuk Ibrahim Abdul Rahman said the incident had exposed the need of various government agencies to review their standard operating procedures (SOP), including the Information Department itself, to provide more effective service in future.
“All agencies played their roles well as they have their own SOPs in place to handle this major crisis and what we learnt from this episode is to further improve our SOPs in managing the media centre,” he told Bernama.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre coordinator Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston said a third signal detection had been detected, this time by Australia’s Ocean Shield.
It picked up an electronic “ping” in a different region, about 300 nautical miles from the area that the Chinese are targeting.
The Ocean Shield had picked up an “acoustic detection” about an hour before the media conference, he said.
“It’s something that needs to be investigated,” he said, adding that the vessel carried sophisticated equipment.
“This is an important and encouraging lead,” Houston, said, adding they had to do other investigations on the site itself.
Yesterday, Chinese vessel Haixun 01 had picked up a “ping” at 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude, following an earlier detection on Friday.
Houston added that Ocean Shield and Britain’s HMS Echo, which was also equipped with similar black box detection equipment, would join Haixun 01 “as expeditiously as possible to assist with either discounting or confirming the detecting”.
The latest search will be also be aided by the Australian air force.
“Today, Royal Australian Air Force assets will be deployed to assist in further examining the acoustic signals in the vicinity of where the Chinese ship has detected the sounds.
“The whole of the existing search area remains the most likely area that the aircraft entered the water, but based on the new advice, the southern area now has a higher priority,” he added.
MCA president Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the wish of everyone was the safe return of Flight MH370 as soon as possible.
“At the same time, we are also doing whatever possible to render support and care for the loved ones of those on board,” he said at his opening speech at Wisma MCA here, The Star reported.
The event, that was organised by MCA, was attended by Buddhist groups, family members of Chinese passengers on board MH37O and Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huang Hui Kang.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre this morning, in referring to yesterday’s reports that the Chinese ship, Haixun 01, had detected electronic pulse signals in the Indian Ocean related to MH370, said it cannot be verified at this point in time.
Up to 10 military planes, 2 civil planes and 13 ships will assist in toay’s search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) has three separate search areas planned for today about 2,000km north west of Perth, which total 216,000 sq km.
Weather in the search area is expected to be good with a cloud base of 2,500 feet and visibility greater than 10km.
— — — —
8.10pm (April 5)
A Chinese ship searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean has picked up a pulse signal, Chinese media say.
They say the signal has a frequency of 37.5kHz per second — the same as those emitted by the flight recorders.
However, there is no evidence so far that it is linked to MH370.
Dozens of ships and planes have joined the search, with the operation moving into its most intensive phase before batteries on the data recorders fade.
The Chinese search ship Haixun 01 on Saturday picked up the signal at about 25 degrees south latitude and 101 degrees east longitude,the state-run Xinhua news agency said.
“It is yet to be established whether it is related to the missing jet,” it cautioned.
The flight is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, although no confirmed debris has been found.
The new is also being carried by BBC News, AP and the CCTV which had quited Xinhua as the source.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the Minister of Defence, said he returned from the US-Asean Defence Forum this morning where he updated his Asean counterparts and the United States on the latest developments in the search for MH370.
“This included the multinational search operation, the spirit of cooperation at the meeting and the support offered, which was commendable.
“During my bilateral meeting with US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, he reiterated his commitment that the US would continue to support the search operation and would provide whatever assets deemed necessary.”
Hishammuddin referred to a joint statement issued by the Asean ministers, which he believed underscored the tremendous spirit of cooperation within Asean in the face of the difficult search operation.
The statement expressed the commitment to continue the search and stressed the importance of information and resource sharing as Asean strived to be in the utmost state of readiness in mitigating potential calamities and risks.
“Asean’s unity will remain solid and is totally committed to assisting Malaysia in coordinating this massive SAR to locate MH370.
“We are resolute in finding a closure to this tragic chapter in aviation history. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families in these difficult times,” read an excerpt of the statement.
In the audio recording of the cockpit conversation just before the plane went off radar, he said the transcript of the last message from the cockpit was released a few days ago and the recording was still under investigation.
In order to streamline and strengthen ongoing efforts, the government will establish three ministerial committees, said Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at the press conference.
“The first is the Next of Kin Committee, which will be headed by Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin.”
He said this committee would oversee all aspects regarding the next of kin of those on board MH370, providing families with information on the search operation and offering support after the search efforts had been concluded.
“The committee will coordinate with relevant foreign governments and complement the work already being done for the families by Malaysian Airlines.”
The second committee will oversee technicalities, specifically the formation and the appointment of the investigation team. Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi will lead this committee.
The third committee will take over issues related to the deployment of assets for the search operation. Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri will leads this committee.
This committee will work with foreign counterparts involved in the search operation and liaise closely with the Australian Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, at the press conference on MH370 held today, said as per the requirements set by the ICAO in Annex 13 of the International Standards and Recommended Practices, Malaysia would continue to lead the investigation into MAS Flight MH370.
As per the ICAO standards, Malaysia would also appoint an independent “Investigator In Charge” to lead an investigation team, he said.
The investigation team will include three groups — an airworthiness group to look at issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems; an operations group to examine things such as flight recorders, operations and meteorology; and a medical and human factors group to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors.
The investigation team will also include accredited countries. Malaysia has already asked Australia to be accredited to the investigation team and they have accepted.
“We will also include China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France as accredited representatives to the investigation team, along with other countries that we feel are in a position to help.
A fresh contingent of trained aerial observers will soon join the Australian-led search for missing flight MH370, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reported.
The South Australia State Emergency Service (SASES) is sending four observers with past involvement in airborne searches at sea and in remote areas.
“It’s a demanding task which requires intense concentration over extended periods of time,” SASES chief officer Chris Beattie told AAP on Saturday.
Australian Air Chief Marshall Angus Houston, Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, said that two ships had “commenced the sub-surface search for emissions from [the] black box pinger”.
“Two ships will search a single 240km track converging on each other.”
He told The Associated Australian Press that given the progress in data evaluation there is “some hope we will find the aircraft in the area we are searching.”
The pinger on the black box is thought to be due to run out on April 7 — putting huge pressure on the search effort to locate the device soon.
Authorities have not ruled out mechanical problems as a cause but say the evidence, including the loss of communications, suggests Flight MH370 was deliberately diverted thousands of kilometres from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
BBC News reported that dozens of flights by a multinational taskforce have so far failed to turn up any trace of the plane, and investigators concede the task has been made more difficult by the lack of data.
Experts have warned the Towed Pinger Locator may be of little use unless investigators can get a much better idea of exactly where the plane went into the water, because its limited range and the slow speed at which it must be pulled behind the ship mean it cannot cover large areas of ocean quickly.
“I won’t even call it an area. What we are doing is we are tracking down the best estimate of the course that the aircraft was on,” U.S. Navy Captain Mark Matthews told Reuters.
“It takes a couple of days on each leg so it’s a slow-going search.”
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said ADV Ocean Shield and HMS Echo will be continuing underwater search operations today.
It added that up to 10 military planes, three civil jets and 11 ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 217,000 square kilometres, 1,700km north west of Perth. Today’s search area will focus on three areas within the same vicinity.
The weather forecast for today’s search is fair, with possible showers in the search area.
China’s Xinhua news agency reported Australian authorities as saying yesterday that ships searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 spotted some objects. However, none was related to the missing jetliner,
“Today there have been some sightings of objects reported by ships in the search area but none were associated with MH370 (as at 1900 AEDT)” (0800 GMT), said the Joint Agency Coordination Center (JACC) in a press release.
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10.30pm (April 4)
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said there has been no sighting of any object in the search area today.
JACC in a statement today said the search area is being continually adjusted, and today it moved north, whereby at the end of the day, ten aircraft and nine ships were involved in search activities.
“Three aircraft searched in the southern search area of 248,000 square kilometres, 1700km west north west of Perth.
“The Royal Navy hydrographic ship, HMS Echo, also operated in the northern area, searching for sonic transmissions from the flight data recorder.
“One alert was experienced, but discounted. False alerts may be experienced from biological sources, such as whales or interference from shipping noise,” said the statement. According to the statement, the weather in the search area was fair, with visibility of approximately 10 kilometres.
Ships scoured the Indian Ocean on Friday for the faint black-box signals of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, but they ran into a problem: Whales and other sea life may be interfering with the search.
NBC News reported two ships, one using special equipment from the U.S. Navy, searched a 150-mile expanse of ocean, hoping to pick up sonic pings from the jet’s data recorders.
Experts say those pings will stop any day now, further complicating the search. Australian authorities said one possible alert was detected but was quickly discounted.
“False alerts may be experienced from biological sources such as whales or interference from shipping noise,” the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center said.
Australia is drafting a comprehensive agreement to serve as an “accredited representative” in the investigation into a missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
According to Bernama, Angus Houston, the chief co-ordinator of the Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC) based here, said the agreement would enable the country to support Malaysia in the investigation into Flight MH370 in accordance with international law.
“Other than Australia, the United Kingdom, United States and China are accredited representatives in the investigation,” he told a press conference here Friday.
Houston said Malaysia had requested Australia to assist in the probe.
Malaysia has expressed gratitude to the Vietnamese government for its support and assistance during the early days of the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft Flight MH370.
Bernama reported Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said Vietnam had been forthcoming in deploying its assets and in sharing relevant information on the missing aircraft.
“Malaysia will not give up in its efforts to locate the plane, and we are grateful for the assistance from our friends,” he said at a joint press conference after an hour-long bilateral meeting with his counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi today.
The underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has begun in remote seas off Australia. A US Navy high tech Towed Pinger “black box” Locator is being used as the battery life on board the aircraft starts to dwindle in the cockpit data recorder.
Uk-based ITN News portal reported that Australian authorities said the so-called Locator will be pulled behind HMAS Ocean Shield as it searches a 240 km long track along with British survey ship HMS Echo.
It will be 30 days on Monday since the Boeing 777-200ER lost communications and disappeared from radar less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The local media should be proactive in repelling all negative and inaccurate reports by the foreign media regarding the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, said Malay Consultative Council (MPM) secretary-general, Datuk Dr Hasan Mad.
He said the move was essential to protect the country’s image and to disseminate authentic and accurate information relating to the tragedy.
“In addition to balancing the inaccurate reporting by the foreign media, the local media also need to convey the message for Malaysians to unite and support the country’s leadership during this difficult time,” he told reporters at Wisma Bernama, here, today.
Chinese vessel Haixun 01 has intensified efforts to detect signals emitted from the black box of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 since this morning at the new search area that is to the north of the 1.15 million square-kilometer patch earlier designated by the Australian side, according to China’s Xinhua news agency correspondent aboard the ship.
The Australian and Royal Navy have started a sub-surface search today for the missing MH370 flight, using a ‘black box’ pinger locator provided by the United States.
Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, who heads Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), told a press conference here that 10 military and four civilian aircraft, and 10 ships were involved in today’s search.
Twenty-six state emergency volunteers from Western Australia and Victoria were acting as spotters on the civilian aircraft, he added.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said 10 military planes, four civil jets and nine ships will assist in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 217,000 square kilometres, 1,700 kilometres north west of Perth. Today’s search area will focus on three areas within the same vicinity.
The Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield, which is fitted with a US-supplied “black box” detector, is expected to arrive at the area today.
A total of 26 State Emergency Service (SES) volunteers from Western Australia, New South Wales and Victoria will work as air observers on three of the civil aircraft. The other civil aircraft will operate as a communications relay.
It said the weather forecast for today is fair, with visibility approximately 10 kilometres and a cloud base between 1,000 and 2,000 feet.
— — — —
10.15pm (April 3)
The Prime Minister’s wife, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, shed tears when meeting the family of Darica Weeks, 37, whose husband Paul Weeks was one of the passengers of the ill-fated flight.
She cried spontaneously when Darica shared her plight on the fate of her husband Paul Weeks, one of the seven Australians on board MH670, which disappeared on March 8.
Rosmah immediately hugged Darica and tried to console her during the hour-long meeting, attended by the couple’s two sons, Lincoln, 3 , and Jack, 1.
The Malaysian Malay Chamber of Commerce (DPMM) has set aside a total RM1 million in internal funds for the setting up the MH370 International Foundation in an effort to help in the search for the Malaysia Airlines aircraft.
DPMM president Datuk Syed Ali Alattas told Bernama today that the main aim of the foundation was to become a special medium for communication for the families, friends and relatives of the MAS flight MH370 victims in following the current developments in the search mission being carried out, domestically or abroad.
News analyst Andrew Tyndall has accused American news network CNN of abandoning “actual journalism” by engaging in speculative discussion of what he termed as cockamamie theories about what happened inside the plane.
In an article carried by The Hollywood Reporter, Tyndall said the network had morphed into an imaginary-chat channel that substituted on-the-ground reporting from Ukraine for “hypothetical bloviation by studio experts and consultants”.
“At its worst, CNN’s MH370 coverage has crossed the line: by omission, scanting real world events in the Ukraine; and by commission, presenting hypothetical fantasies as worthy as attention,” he wrote.
Earlier, Tyndall pointed out that unlike CNN, other news networks did not go wall-to-wall with the story, with broadcasters acknowledging that there were other news in the world.
These broadcasters, he explained, assigned MH370 only 34% of the three network news hole during that 11-day period.
Tyndall, however, noted that CNN’s decision to devote itself to the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner was vindicated by an increase in ratings.
The saturated coverage, he added, reinforced the network’s image as the place to go when a sensational major story breaks.
“It also exemplifies the fresh definition of ‘news’ Jeff Zucker promised when he took over CNN,” he said, referring to the network’s current president.
Discussions held between Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, in Perth today resulted in the importance placed on the need for a robotic submarine, or underwater drone, for the next phase of the search and recovery operation for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
There is a need to acquire assistance from other countries with such technology.
Bernama reported Najib as saying such technology was needed once the black box pinger battery ran out (in four days) and should the SAR team not locate the aircraft, a Boeing 777-200ER.
Human Resources Minister Datuk Seri Richard Riot has called for the need to strengthen the nation’s crisis management team in light of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.
Bernama reported him as questioning the level of skills needed and whether the ministry’s crisis management team was competent enough.
He said he ministry’s staff should learn how Malaysia Airlines and the country’s leaders handled the MH370 tragedy.
“We must learn how to show empathy towards the victims and their families. We must be efficient and smart in explaining the causes of a crisis and help find solutions to it, not to mention handling requests of the media which hunger for answers,” he said today.
Riot suggested that the ministry created an immediate mechanism, comprising officials skilled in crisis management, as a proactive measure to face any possibility.
The media centre for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur will be closed effective next Tuesday, April 8.
According to the Transport Ministry’s statement today, the last day of operations for the media centre was on April 7 (Monday).
The decision to cease operations at the media centre was agreed upon during the Technical Task Force Meeting today.
MCA deputy president Datuk Wee Ka Siong in a statement this evening welcomed the remarks by the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang, who had commended Malaysia’s efforts in the search and rescue of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
Wee said the statement would certainly boost Malaysia’s morale and help ease tensions between the two nations.
“It is really encouraging to hear such good news in the midst of this tragedy, especially since there have been many rumours circulated since the plane lost contact, which have provoked the feelings of the passengers’ families from China against the Malaysian government.” Wee said.
The US military has spent more than US$3.3 million (RM10.83 million) on the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and has put in place plans that are nearly double the original US$4 million available for the hunt, a Pentagon spokesman said.
Reuters reported Army Colonel Steve Warren as saying on Wednesday that the Defence Department spent US$3.2m between March 8 and March 24 on the initial search for the Boeing 777-200ER, which went missing on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
In a statement made by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak at a press conference in Perth, Australia, on the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 today, Najib thanked the men and women who are giving their all to find MH370.
“Over the past three weeks, hundreds of people have journeyed thousands of kilometres to help. They have searched through stormy seas and freezing fog. They have sailed through storms to find the plane. We owe them each a debt of gratitude.
“This has been a remarkable effort, bringing together nations from around the world. Differences have been set aside as 26 nations have united behind a common cause. The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent; so too is the search.
“This morning, I met with sailors and aircrew at Pearce Air Force Base. I also spoke to the commanders of the seven nations who are here to search for MH370.
“They told me of the difficulties of a search like this; of distance, and weather, and of maintaining morale over a long period.
“I would also like to thank Prime Minister (Tony) Abbott for hosting us here in Perth; for agreeing to lead the search operations in the southern Indian Ocean; and for accepting our invitation for Australia to participate as an accredited representative in the investigation.
“We will continue to work closely with the Australian government to draw up a comprehensive agreement on the search.
“At this difficult time, Australia has proven an invaluable friend.
“The disappearance of MH370 has tested our collective resolve. Faced with so little evidence, and such a Herculean task, investigators from Malaysia, the US, the UK, China, Australia and France have worked without pause to reveal the aircraft’s movements. Their collective efforts have led us here.
“I know that until we find the plane, many families cannot start to grieve. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. But I can promise them that we will not give up.
Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said that eight planes and nine ships will assist in today’s search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
It said Australian Maritime Safety Authority had determined a search area of about 223,000 square kilometres, 1,680km west north-west of Perth.
Eight military planes will assist in the search and one of them would be tasked to drop self locating datum marker buoys within the search area.
Nine ships have been tasked to search.
The weather forecast for today’s search is fair, however, the southern area may experience some isolated showers.
Meanwhile, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed on from the international air crash investigative team, comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia.
— — — —
6.00pm (April 2)
France today assured Malaysia of continued assistance in the form of expertise in the search for MH370, according to Bernama.
French Ambassador to Malaysia Martine Dorance gave the assurance when she called on Dewan Rakyat Speaker Tan Sri Pandikar Amin Mulia at his office at Parliament House. This was disclosed by Pandikar Amin after the meeting.
He said Dorance expressed her country’s sympathy over the incident and said Paris best understood the feelings of Malaysian leaders as France had also been in such a situation during the Air France 447 tragedy in 2009.
“France pledged to support Malaysia’s efforts and hoped that the aircraft will be found soon”
The International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) has credited Malaysia Airlines (MAS) for being “very responsive” to the investigation into the disappearance of one of its flights, as reported by Bernama.
ICAO air navigation bureau director Nancy Graham said ICAO would have to wait for the outcome of the investigation before considering corrective action, if any. (read story here)
The authorities handling the investigation and search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft MH370 today met more than 40 relatives of passengers on the plane that is believed to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean.
They included Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Chief of Air Force Tan Sri Rodzali Daud, the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, China’s Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang and a British Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) team. (read story here)
Police are still investigating the cabin crew of missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) passenger aircraft MH370 on the four aspects of the probe announced earlier — hijacking, sabotage as well as psychological and personal problems.
The passengers on board the ill-fated aircraft ,however, have already been “cleared”.
This was revealed by Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, who spoke to reporters after opening a quality-enhancing seminar for the police today. (read story here)
His Excellency Simon Featherstone, the British High Commissioner to Malaysia tweeted this morning; “British nuclear submarine HMS Tireless and survey ship HMS Echo have arrived in search area for MH370.”
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted from Hawaii today that the United Kingdom’s submarine HMS Tireless is now part of the search and rescue effort for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) passenger aircraft MH370.
Hishammuddin wrote on his official Twitter account that he had spoken to UK’s secretary of defense Philip Hammond on the Trafalgar Class submarine joining the search mission. (read story here)
— — — —
10.40pm (April 1)
Comparing the search for MH370 to the HMAS Sydney, the head of the new Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said the effort faces many obstacles.
It was reported by the Sydney Morning Herald that Houston had pointed out it took 60 years to locate the missing HMAS Sydney.
“There were eyewitnesses who saw the ship disappear over the horizon but it took us about 60 years to find HMAS Sydney on the bottom of the ocean,” Houston told the media in Australia today. (read story here)
The weather condition was rough in today’s search efforts, with high winds and swell of up to four metres.
The captain of HMAS Success, an Australian vessel involved in the search, said that crew members were also using night vision equipment to scour the vast ocean in the dark, in hopes of sighting possible debris that could be linked to the missing passenger aircraft, according to Sydney Morning Herald.
Sydney Morning Herald reported that Danica Weeks, wife of New Zealander Paul Weeks who is on board the missing aircraft MH370, has arrived at the Royal Australian Air Force Pearce Base in Perth.
She was invited for a one-on-one briefing with the head of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, currently leading the search and rescue efforts in the Australian search zone.
It was also said that Houston told reporters he had given Weeks his personal mobile number, after she complained of not getting enough information on the operation to locate MH370.
The Merdeka Centre for Opinion Research released the results of a survey today on the public’s satisfaction towards the government’s handling of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 crisis.
The results found that less than half of Malaysians surveyed – 43 percent – were satisfied.
The survey that was conducted survey on 1,005 respondents between March 7-20, saw 50 percent were dissatisfied with the handling of the crisis by the government.
The Transport Ministry has released a full transcript of communications between MH370 and the air traffic control (ATC) in KL.
In a press statement today, the ministry said nothing out of the ordinary was found in the transcript, and it has already been shared with the family members.
On why it wasn’t released before, the ministry said the transcript was held because it was part of police investigations.
“Previously, Malaysia Airlines had stated initial investigations indicated that the voice which signed off was that of the co-pilot. The police are working to confirm this belief, and forensic examination of the actual recording is on-going,” the statement read.
“The international investigations team and the Malaysian authorities remain of the opinion that, up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, MH370’s movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.”
Meanwhile, the ministry said a closed-door briefing will be held for the families in KL tomorrow, and it will be headed by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and MAS, moderated by the Prime Minister’s special envoy to China.
“Technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia will participate in the briefing, and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia will attend.”
Today’s MH370 press conference scheduled to take place at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) has been called off.
This is because acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein is in Hawaii to attend the Asean Defence Ministers Meeting.
An Illinois judge on Monday dismissed a US law firm’s motion to obtain evidence of possible design and manufacturing defects from Boeing Co and Malaysian Airline System in connection with the disappearance of flight MH370 three weeks earlier.
Reuters reported that Cook County Judge Kathy Flanagan also threatened to impose sanctions against Ribbeck Law Chartered, citing previous instances where the Chicago-based law firm had “improperly brought” petitions, such as last year’s Asiana Airlines plane crash in San Francisco.
Ribbeck Law last week submitted, in Illinois Circuit Court, the first-filed legal action arising from the Malaysian plane tragedy saying it sought documents from the two companies concerning employees as well as sales and lease agreements, among other things.
The firm said at the time it expected to represent families of more than half of the passengers on board the missing flight, which may have crashed in the remote southern Indian Ocean with all 239 on board presumed dead.
It has been 25 days since Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared and the authorities now have about a week to find the physical evidence, especially the ‘black box’ as signals from the recorder will fade out soon.
The signals emitted from the black box is powered by batteries that will die out after 30 days, and it will be difficult for the search operation to trace it without a signal, especially in a vast area like the Indian Ocean.
The multi-national search operation has identified an area of 254,000 square kilometres in the Indian Ocean, about 1,850km west of Perth, Australia, as where the plane likely went down.
— — — —
10.30pm (March 31)
The search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean today has come up with nothing.
It was reported by CNN, quoting Australian officials, that four orange objects were spotted but it turned out to be old fishing gear.
Meanwhile US Navy Commander William Marks told CNN’s State of the Union that the towed pinger locator has been hooked to an Australian naval support vessel and has set out to the search area.
However, the equipment cannot be used until the search zone is further narrowed down.
“We have to be careful not to send it in the wrong place. But we also wanted to get it out there as close as we can to what we believe is the right place,” he was quoted as saying.
IHS Maritime provided a live map today of the vessels involved in the search and rescue efforts for MH370 off the coast of Perth, Australia.
It was reported on Saturday that China’s Haixun 31 was still combing the eastern part of the southern Indian Ocean for the missing plane.
Bernama quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying that Haixun 31 and Nanhaijiu 101 of the Ministry of Transport and the Navy’s Yongxingdao were still part of the search.
However, today, the position of Haixun 31, as it appeared on Marine Traffic shows that the vessel is closer to the Christmas Island.
As of 40 minutes ago, the Chinese Xue Long vessel’s position is north of the search area.
According to its destination, as tracked live by Marine Traffic, the vessel is heading for Shanghai.
It was reported last Friday that Xue Long was in fact heading north and scheduled to arrive in the center of the new search area early Sunday.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told reporters that the airlines were not yet notified on lawsuits by the Chinese families.
“MAS has not been notified, we need to know the nature of the suits before we respond,” he said at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) today.
Meanwhile on the code share of the flight with China Southern Airlines has agreed to cooperate with MAS in giving aid to families of passengers on board MH370, according to Ahmad Jauhari.
However because the aircraft belonged to MAS, it shoulders a heavier burden.
At the daily press conference on MH370, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein responded to a question on the Chinese families demanding an apology from the Malaysian government.
“The apology is based on the government saying the plane crashed and there are no survivors. This is erroneous,” Hishammuddin told reporters.
He said the Prime Minister never mentioned the plane crashed and that there are no survivors, only that data analysis concluded the flight path of MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said the Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak will head to Perth on Wednesday where he will be briefed in further detail on the search and rescue efforts currently being led by Australia in their search region.
On the search and rescue efforts, he said Malaysia, Australia, the US, New Zealand, China, Japan and Korea are all working to find the missing plane.
“I should also like to point out that Indonesia has given clearance for 94 sorties – by aircraft from nine different countries – to fly in their airspace, as part of this search,” he said.
On the time limit for the search and rescue operation, Hishammuddin said there has been no indication from Australia on a time frame for the search efforts if no debris is found that can be linked to the missing aircraft.
About 29 family members of Chinese passengers on board MH370 have been moved from the Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya to the Equatorial Hotel in Bangi. They left under heavy escort to their new accommodation. They will join 32 family members currently staying at the Equatorial.
Royal Malaysian Navy frigate KDLekiu,carrying a Super Lynx helicopter, is expected to arrive in Perth today to join the search and rescue (SAR) mission to find the missing MAS plane in the Indian Ocean. (read story here)
About 40 family members of Chinese passengers on board the missing MH370 aircraft held a one-hour prayer session at Wisma Fo Guang Shan in Petaling Jaya for their loved ones. The families staying at the Equatorial Hotel in Bangi and Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya congregated for the mass prayer.
Autralian prime minister Tony Abbott has backed Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s conclusion that missing MH370 plane is lost.
“The accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost and it has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean,” he told reporters today at the Perth military base coordinating the search.
“That’s the absolutely overwhelming wave of evidence and I think that Prime Minister Najib Razak was perfectly entitled to come to that conclusion, and I think once that conclusion had been arrived at, it was his duty to make that conclusion public.”
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has warned that some parts of the search area will experience low cloud and rain throughout the day.
Search and recovery operation in the Australian Search and Rescue Region for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is scheduled to start about 9am AEDT this morning.
Today’s search activities will involve a total of 10 aircraft.
They include one Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, one Japanese P3 Orion, a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, two Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.
A total of 10 ships have also been tasked to today’s search.
They include HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba, seven Chinese ships and a merchant vessel.
The ADV Ocean Shield is scheduled to depart from Perth today. It has now been fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle.
— — — —
11.00pm (March 30)
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the search for today has concluded after covering an area of about 252,000 square kilometres.
In its statement, AMSA said several aircraft reported sightings of objects to those reported previously.
So far nothing has been verified as belonging to MH370.
Meanwhile on the objects retrieved by two vessels, the HMAS Success and Haixun 01 yesterday, it was described as “fishing equipment and other flotsam”.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak gave his assurance that the government will continue searching for MH370 until it is found.
In his latest Facebook posting, he said, “As we enter the third week in the search for MH370, be assured that the Malaysian government is fully committed to the search operation and we will not stop until the plane is found.”
Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes has dedicated his Sepang F1 win to the families as well as those on board missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370. (read story here)
The daily press conference on MH370 for today has been called off.
This information was related to members of the press waiting at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) by Information department officer, Jagjit Singh.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) responded to an emergency distress beacon from a fishing vessel in the far southern Indian Ocean near Antarctica.
In a press release this afternoon, AMSA stated that the RCC was unable to establish communications with the vessel and the nature of the distress was unknown.
It was mentioned that the beacon was located about 3,241 kilometres south west of Perth and 648 kilometres north of the Antarctic mainland.
While it was not mentioned whether this was related to the missing MH370, two planes had been tasked to the scene.
A civil jet with an Aero Rescue search and rescue mission coordinator and State Emergency Service air observers were tasked out of Melbourne to investigate the beacon.
AMSA said it would take five hours to transit the 3,889 kilometres to the location and would have two hours on scene before having to return.
A Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion from the MH370 search was re-tasked by the RCC to fly to the area for assistance, if required.
The P3, which would take five hours to reach the location, was capable of dropping survival equipment.
A civil jet was tasked to replace the P3 in the search today.
The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting and MCA vice-president Datin Paduka Chew Mei Fun welcomed about 50 family members of Chinese passengers on board the missing flight, who arrived at Subang Holiday Villa Hotel today.
Star online reported the family members had arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport about 10am today. at the hotel.
The Sydney Morning Herald reports that former defence chief Angus Houston will lead a new joint agency coordination centre based in Perth to commandeer the Australian government’s search for the missing MH370 plane.
It quoted Australian prime minister Tony Abbott as saying: “Air Chief Marshal Houston is an individual of enormous experience and great skill who has already served his country with distinction.”
Abbott told reporters in Sydney yesterday that Houston will work with “key Commonwealth, state and international stakeholders including the families, friends and international media”.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has warned that weather in the search area is forecast to worsen today with light showers and low cloud. However, search and recovery operations which are now underway, are expected to continue in an area about 1,850 kilometres west of Perth.
Today’s search continues to focus on an area of about 319,000 square kilometres based on refined analysis by international air crash investigators.
Ten planes and eight ships are planned to be involved in today’s search.
The planes include three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, two Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.
HMAS Success, the Chinese Maritime Safety Administration ship Haixun 01, China Rescue and Salvage Bureau ship Nan Hai Jiu, and the Chinese Navy vessel Jinggang Shan arrived in the search area yesterday.
A further six ships should arrive in the area today.
The ANZAC class frigate HMAS Toowoomba left Perth yesterday evening and is due to arrive in the search area in about three days.
The ADV Ocean Shield is scheduled to depart from Perth later today after being fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle.
All ships in the search area are being tasked to locate and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.
9.00pm (March 29)
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said two vessels in the search and rescue area for MH370 reported that they have retrieved a number of objects from the ocean.
The Haixun 01 and HMAS Success retrieved the objects, however none were confirmed to be related to MH370 yet.
Xinhua today reported that Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told a press conference that the Land Down Under is not considering the cost of the search operation, saying that they will do what needs to be done to find MH370.
In a report on China Daily, it was said that the satellite company Inmarsat said it only provided information on the missing plane’s last position before it stopped flying.
The daily quoted an Inmarsat spokesperson Jonathan Sinnatt as saying that the information they contributed was just one set, and that was combined with other information by Malaysia before Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak made the announcement that the flight had “ended” in the southern Indian Ocean.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was at The Everly Hotel in Putrajaya this morning to meet with the family members of those on board missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) passenger aircraft MH370.
He arrived with his wife Datin Seri Marsilla Tengku Abdullah, and joined MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.
During the press conference held at the hotel lobby after the family briefing, Hishammuddin said the meeting was held because the family wanted assurance that the search and rescue efforts will continue, not just for the plane, but for any possible survivors.
“I assured them that the search and rescue efforts will continue, not just by Malaysia, but 26 other countries,” he said.
“Not matter how remote, hoping against hope, we will continue to find survivors.”
He gave his assurance that the search and rescue in any remote manner, has always been to find survivors.
“I understand their feelings, i have indicated that any lead or information that involves survivor has always been our priority,” he said.
Hishammuddin added that the families also wanted the assurance that the lines of communication between MAS and them are smoother, and more sensitive to what they’re going through.
He also appealed to everyone to understand the sensitivities of the family.
“I’ve given my commitment to them (the families) on behalf of the Malaysian government and other countries involved in the search and rescue efforts,” Hishammuddin added.
When asked by a reporter on the Iranians with the fake passports, Hishammuddin said that to his knowledge, there was nothing sinister between the two who boarded the plane with the Italian and Austrian passport and the disappearance of the aircraft.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) this morning said the weather around the search area is initially expected to be suitable for searching. However, conditions are expected to deteriorate later in the day.
11.30pm (March 28)
A technician at the GEOMAR Helmholtz Center for Ocean Research preforms maintenance work on the “Abyss” deep-sea autonomous underwater vehicle today in Kiel, Germany.
Should the location of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 be confirmed it is likely that the “Abyss” will be among those vehicles used to explore the wreckage.
The “Abyss” is designed for underwater exploration to depths of up to 6,000 meters and is one of only three of similar vehicles of its kind worldwide.
In its latest release, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said five aircraft spotted multiple objects of various colours during today’s search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
Search activities have now concluded. A total of 256,000 square kilometres was covered.
Photographic imagery of the objects was captured and will be assessed overnight.
The objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by ships.
A Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion reported sighting a number of objects white or light in colour and a fishing buoy.
A Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion relocated the objects detected by the RNZAF Orion and reported it had seen two blue/grey rectangular objects floating in the ocean.
A second RAAF P3 Orion spotted various objects of various colours in a separate part of the search area about 546 kilometres away.
A total of 10 planes were tasked by AMSA in today’s search and all have now departed the search area.
AMSA has tasked Chinese Maritime Administration patrol ship, Haixun 01, which is in the search area and will be in a position to relocate the objects tomorrow.
Today, the search area was shifted north after international air crash investigators in Malaysia provided the latest credible lead available to AMSA.
Weather conditions in the area are expected to be reasonable for the search to continue tomorrow.
In the latest press conference on MH370 at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC), acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the search area for the missing aircraft has been refined. (read story here)
He told reporters that the investigation team has been working to refine the data, and the latest finding indicated that MH370 flew faster than previously thought.
This is in line with the information released by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) earlier, which said the plane must have used more fuel, and that means it could not have flown that far south over the Indian Ocean.
Hishammuddin added that while the search area has now shifted 1,100 kilometres to the north east, due to ocean drift, the debris spotted by satellites, indicating a position of 2,500 kilometres south west of Perth could still be related to MH370.
“We have consistently acted on evidence and followed credible leads,” he said.
Meanwhile on the latest satellite imagery provided by Thailand and Japan, Hishammuddin confirmed this, adding that the imagery, together with the ones earlier provided by Malaysia, France, Australia and China have been handed to the RCC in Australia.
Meanwhile, MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya when asked about funding from the 777-200 maker, he said Boeing has yet to provide funding but giving their full cooperation.
He also confirmed that MAS is talking to various legal parties and families on the compensation, adding that he understood most family members wanted to see evidence of the aircraft.
Hishammuddin, on the search and rescue efforts said that the team is now looking at the possibility of a deep sea search and that they are working closely with Air France on the technology needed to locate the plane.
Asked to look back and answer if there is anything Malaysia would have done differently, Hishammuddin said he did not think they would have done anything different than what they have done, adding that “no stone was left unturned.”
Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) general manager (emergency response division), John Young said there is nothing unusual in shifting the search area as it happens most of the time in a search and rescue operation.
At a press conference that was aired live on CNN, Young said that this new development does not mean the original work was a waste of time.
“This is normal business for SAR as new information brings about a lot of profound analyses and takes you to different places.
AMSA had earlier said the shift was made after credible new lead was passed on to them by the investigation team in Malaysia.
In the airlines latest press statement today, MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya expressed gratitude to the Australian government for the immense support given to MAS in this time of crisis, “from coordinating the search for the aircraft to offering an exemption of visa application process for families of passengers and crew on board MH370.”
He says MAS will be making arrangements to take family members to Perth, in the event physical wreckage of the missing aircraft is found.
Ahmad Jauhari also pleaded with the public to think about the effect speculation has on the families of those on board.
“Their anguish and distress increases with each passing day, with each fresh rumour, and with each false or misleading report,” the statement read.
The US Navy’s seventh fleet is sending a second P-8 Poseidon aircraft to Perth to aid in pointing out the exact location MH370 landed in the Indian Ocean.
The Poseidon is due to depart from Okinawa, Japan today.
The search area for MH370 has been updated today following a new credible lead, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA). (read story here)
This was also stated by Australia’s Prime Minister Tony Abbott, confirming that the search area has been shifted, following updated advice from the international investigation team in Malaysia.
— — — —
8.30pm (March 27)
According to Bernama, MAS has received a copy of the petition filed in the US court on behalf of one of the passengers on board MH370 against the manufacturer of the B777-200ER aircraft, Boeing and the airlines.
It was reported earlier by Bloomberg that Januari Sinegar, father of Firman Chandra Siregar, an Indonesian passenger on MH370, has sought the services of Ribbeck Law Chartered, a Chicago-based law firm, to file an application requesting for information regarding the flight.
The application, which was filed in a court in Illinois requested for a list of 26 various data from the flight, including what was carried in the plane’s cargo and the flight crew’s training record.
The Transport Ministry in its press statement today on the developments surrounding search and rescue operation for MH370 said the planned search area for today cover 16,928 square nautical miles in the West sector and 6,506 square nautical miles in the East sector.
However, deteriorating weather today caused the search to be suspended at 11.40am.
The statement also said Malaysia is in the process of sending a team to Perth.
The team will be made up of representatives from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF).
“This team will work closely with the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre to assist with the search operation.”
Meanwhile, the Malaysian high-level team sent to Beijing met with family members of those on board MH370 for the fourth time yesterday.
The families were given a technical briefing and an update on the search operation in a meeting that lasted over three hours.
Another meeting was also scheduled today between the relatives and the high-level team at 3.25pm Malaysian time.
“Malaysia is working hard to try and make the briefings to the Chinese relatives in Beijing more productive,” the statement read, adding that Malaysian officials also met with His Excellency Huang Huikang, China’s Ambassador to Malaysia, to “request the government of China to engage and clarify the actual situation to the affected families in particular and the Chinese public in general.”
The Chinese government’s Special Envoy Zhang Yesui was at the Equatorial Hotel in Bangi today to meet with Chinese relatives of those on board MH370.
Zhang was accompanied by the head of the Joint Working Group, Gou Shaochun, as well as the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia.
Xinhua today reported that Thai satellite has now claimed they detected floating objects spanning an area of 450 square kilometres in the southern part of the Indian Ocean about 2,700 kilometres from Perth.
This report was based on a statement from the Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA) that said an imagery of the objects was obtained by the Thaichote satellite at 10.07am on Monday.
Meanwhile, Thailand’s The Nation quoted GISTDA executive director Anond Snidvongs as saying that “some 300 objects, with some measuring longer than two metres, are found scattered about 200 kilometres from the search area” in the Australian search and rescue region.
It was reported that the satellite findings were submitted to Thailand’s caretaker Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
The Malaysian government has yet to clarify this information.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim told the Dewan that the government would consider setting up either a Royal Commission of Inquiry (RCI) or a Parliamentary Select Committee once MH370’s black box is found.
Meanwhile, Petaling Jaya Utara Tony Pua however argued that the RCI should not be restricted to the contents of the black box only.
This afternoon the MAS press conference on MH370 that was scheduled to take place at the observation deck of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was cancelled.
The Rakyat Post has also gotten word that the daily 5.30pm press conference today at the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) has been called off, believed to be related to the suspension of today’s search and rescue operation due to bad weather.
“Today’s search operations have been suspended due to bad weather. All planes are returning to Perth & ships are leaving search area,” tweeted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) via its official Twitter account @AMSA_News
This is the second time this week the search and rescue operation for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean was called off due to deteriorating weather in the area.
According to fz.com, Taiwan media reported on a call for boycott of Malaysian-born artistes famous in China, citing a call “that they should be banned from performing in the mainland.”
Actress Zhang Ziyi quoted a commentary from Hong Kong’s Phoenix Satellite TV on her Sina Weibo account.
The commentary said, “Malaysia you have hurt the world! You didn’t have the accountability that a country should have, and put politics manoeuvre before the respect for life.”
An actor from China, Chen Kun reportedly used his social media account to call for a boycott of Malaysia, at the same time accusing the Malaysian government and MAS of “clownish prevarication and lies.”
According to CNN, Chen Kun’s boycott post which was made on Tuesday was shared more than 65,000 times on Sina Weibo, China’s equivalent of Twitter.
Meanwhile, TV host Meng Fei also lashed out at Malaysia, posting on his social media account: “I’ve never been to Malaysia, and I will no longer plan to go there anymore.”
That comment was shared by more than 120,000 users.
Aircraft and ships involved in the search and rescue mission are in a race to beat the bad weather predicted for later today, in order for them to reach the area where debris was spotted via satellite.
The international search team today involves 11 military and civilian aircraft and five ships “that will criss-cross the remote search site”, according to Reuters.
Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology had warned that weather in the search and rescue region southwest of Perth is expected to deteriorate again today, with a cold front passing through that may cause thunderstorms, low clouds and strong winds.
It was reported that FBI Director James Comey told a House subcommittee in Washington DC, that the agency is expected to finish an investigation of computer files related to MH370 in the next one or two days.
According to Reuters, Comey said this in front of an appropriations subcommittee on the FBI’s 2015 budget request.
Comey however did not elaborate on what results he expected from the FBI’s analysis.
Meanwhile, the director had also denied allegations that Malaysia “had not been open to assistance offered by the FBI in the investigation” the missing aircraft.
— — — —
11.20pm (March 26)
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has reassured Chinese family members in Beijing that information concealed by the Accident Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Inmarsat Satellite on MH370 “will have no impact on the search and rescue operation.”
This was told to the family by RMAF air operations commander Lieutenant General Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad, as reported by Bernama.
Ackbal told the families that he believed the temporary concealed information would be revealed once the investigations have been completed.
It was also reported that Malaysian reporters were rejected during the briefing session between the Malaysian high-level team and family members in Beijing.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) tweeted that its final aircraft has left the MH370 search area some hours ago.
It confirmed that nothing was further identified after the initial sighting of three objects.
“Positions in the Malaysia Remote Sensing Agency satellite information tweeted on 26 March were within today’s #MH370 search area,” it tweeted.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Ocean Shield vessel, equipped with the US’ towed pinger locator will arrive at the search position in the southern Indian Ocean on April 5.
Map below shows the Xue Long Chinese vessel’s location as at one hour ago, according to Marine Traffic.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein strongly tackled the issue of how the government received backlash from the foreign press on its handling of MH370 during the question and answer session at the press conference today.
The reporter had posed a question using the word “bruising”, saying that Malaysia received much of it in the international coverage of MH370.
“Bruising is too harsh a word. Anyone who knows what we have gone through in the 17,18 days, know that we have done an admirable job. We’ve gotten 26 countries to work together. In a world full of divide, what we see here is a joint effort from all sectors of the community, regardless of differences. Boundaries are not a concern. In the South East Asia, where we were fighting for rocks in the middle of the sea, now we are working together. While we haven’t linked any debris to MH370, speculation will go on. I think history will judge us well,” Hishammuddin replied.
On the emotions running high in Beijing, Hishammuddin acknowledged that the question these families want an answer to is whether their loved ones are gone forever.
“Until we find a debris that belongs to MH370, we still cannot answer if those on board have perished,” he said, adding that the families in China must understand that we Malaysians have lost our loved ones too.
During the question and answer session at the press conference today, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein was asked if aviation protocol in the country will be reassessed following this incident, to which he answered that not just our protocol, but the entire world will look at this incident and learn from it when more details emerge.
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that every aviation accident report will be investigated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and they will conduct further analysis to see what improvements can be made in order to ensure this won’t repeat in the future.
With regards to the protest by families in Beijing in front of the Malaysian embassy there, Hishammuddin said the situation is under control and he has spoken of this with the Special Envoy of the Government of China, His Excellency Zhang Yesui and this matter will be handled together by both governments.
Hishamuddin also said Malaysia has provided a full update on the latest information from Inmarsat to Zhang and his delegation from China.
Hishammuddin was also asked on potential government bailout of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) to which he replied, “I will not entertain that, we are focused on search and rescue efforts here.”
On whether military did not react to MH370’s turnback because they thought it was ordered by Subang air traffic control, Hishammuddin said he could not confirm it.
At the MH370 press conference at the PWTC today, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein once again pledged the government’s commitment to finding MH370 in order for closure to be given to the families of those on board.
“We will never give up trying to find the plane, in order to give closure to the families and to find out what exactly happened to MH370,” he told reporters.
On new information, Hishammuddin said the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency received new satellite information from Airbus Defence and Space based in France which was taken on March 23.
The information has been analysed and they were able to identify 122 potential objects in the southern Indian Ocean, some measuring a metre in length some 2,257 kilometres from Perth, he said. (read story here)
“Some objects appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid material,” he said.
However, he said, the search and rescue team has yet been able to verify if the potential objects are from MH370, adding that it is still a new lead to help the mission to locate the missing aircraft.
Hishammuddin confirmed that Malaysia continues to play a coordinating role in the mission, and Australia is leading the search and rescue operation in the southern Indian Ocean.
“Australia has further divided their search and rescue region into two sectors, east and west,” he explained.
The weather in the search area has improved today, he told reporters, adding that China’s Xue Long vessel has been deployed to the east sector.
The map below shows the area of search in the Australian search and rescue region, as detailed by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) today.
Indonesian Foreign Minister Marty Natalegawa said his country will send a special envoy to Malaysia to seek complete information on the conclusion that MH370’s flight path ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
He was quoted by Antara news agency as saying that the move would be a “good thing to do” as Indonesia needs to “get clear and complete information from Malaysia.”
Tan Sri Tony Fernandes, founder and chief executive officer of budget airliner Air Asia, has tweeted his condolences to the families of the crew members and passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
“The news is sinking in. I’m so sorry to all the families who have lost someone on MH370,” read Tony’s tweet.
His tweet follows that of many in Malaysia and abroad who used social media to express their condolences and words of comfort to the family and friends of those on board the missing flight.
The Japan Coast Guard has joined in the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
Its Gulfstream V aircraft departed the Subang airport today, carrying 10 people from the Japan Disaster Relief (JDR), and is expected to land at the Pearce Airbase in Perth at about 4pm, reported Bernama.
Captain Hideo Tojo, director for International Affairs, Administration Division, Guard and Rescue Department of the Japan Coast Guard said the team will do its best to assist in the search.
Japan’s Ambassador to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa was also present at the airport for send-off.
Bloomberg has reported that Januari Sinegar, father of Firman Chandra Siregar, an Indonesian passenger on the missing MH370, has sought the services of Ribbeck Law Chartered, a Chicago-based law firm, to file an application requesting for information regarding the flight.
The application, which was filed in a court in Illinois, US, requested for a list of 26 various data from the flight, including what was carried in the plane’s cargo and the flight crew’s training record.
Bloomberg concluded that the application could be a “prelude to the filing of a lawsuit”.
This, however, has yet to be verified.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said a total of six countries are helping to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the Australian Search and Rescue Region today.
They are Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.
A total of seven military and five civil aircraft will be involved in today’s search activities.
The search for concrete evidence is now focused on the southern part of the southern corridor in the Indian Ocean.
— — — —
11.00pm (March 25)
Family and friends are comforting Danica Weeks hours after she heard the news that the Malaysia Airlines flight carrying her husband Paul has been confirmed lost in the Indian Ocean west of Perth.
She is with the couple’s two young sons in her family home in Perth about a 15-minute drive from the Pearce RAAF Base where planes were being deployed for the search and rescue mission for MH370 over the past week.
Her mother, Kay Thompson, said her daughter was too distraught to talk about the official announcement that the plane had crashed.
“You can imagine how we feel,” Thompson told AAP in a phone interview.
In its latest statement, the Australian Maritime Security Authority (AMSA) said the search to locate MH370 will resume tomorrow.
It cited Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as having said that the “focus is now on search and recovery of any objects related to the ill-fated” aircraft.
“A visual search will resume tomorrow when the weather is expected to improve after gale force winds and heavy swells resulted in the suspension of the search operation today,” according to the statement.
Meanwhile on the deployment of assets, the statement said “as many as 12 aircraft are expected to be involved in the search tomorrow, including seven military aircraft and five civil aircraft.”
It also confirmed that the Royal Australian Air Force’s vessel HMAS Success “will return to the search area and conduct a surface sweep of an area identified on Monday afternoon by an RAAF P3 Orion as the location for several objects of interest.”
Religious ceremonies would be held for those on board MH370, however the time has yet to be determined by authorities, according to Bernama.
The news agency quoted the principal assistant director of public relations and publications of the Federal Territory Islamic Affairs Department (JAWI) Mohamad Kori Jusoh as saying that “plans were being made to have special prayers at any time.”
He added that they were waiting for the decision from the National Fatwa Council on the matter.
Earlier, Bernama quoted PAS president Datuk Seri Abdul Hadi Awang as saying that “Islam provides a period of up to four years before declaring a person whose whereabout is unknown as dead.”
Due to the missing MH370, websites of Malaysian ministries, agencies and government-linked-companies could become the target of cyber attacks from the Republic of China.
The Rakyat Postobtained a copy of an email, allegedly from the National Security Council (NSC), warning heads of sectors of the possibility of such attacks.
“This is to inform that the National Security Council has been warned by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) of possible cyber attacks on Malaysian websites from the Republic of China over the MH370 tragedy.
“As such, the heads of all government sectors are being asked to monitor and report on this matter to the Critical National Information Infrastructure agency under their respective sectors,” read the email. (read story here)
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, at a press conference on MH370 at the PWTC today said the search for the missing aircraft in the northern corridor has been called off.
The search in the northern part of the southern corridor is also called off, he confirmed.
The search and rescue effort for MH370 is now focused on the southern part of the southern corridor, covering 469,407 square nautical miles west of Perth.
“We are working to further narrow down the search area,” he told reporters.
Saying that cooperation received from many countries in the effort has eliminated the diplomatic challenge in looking for MH370, Hishammuddin said the challenge is primarily logistical and technical.
Meanwhile, MAS continues to take the lead in communicating with the families, he said.
With regards to the satellite data analysed by Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), Hishammuddin said the analysis showed poor correlation with the flight having gone to northern corridor, but showed good correlation with the southern corridor.
He added that in analysing the data, Inmarsat checked with six other B777 aircraft flying the same day in different directions.
“This led them to conclude that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”
Hishammuddin, who is also the Defence Minister said Malaysia is grateful to Inmarsat and AAIB, however he added that “there remains more work to be done.”
“This is a developing situation and as soon as we know more, we will update,” he said.
On the deployment of assets to Perth, Hishammuddin said two South Korean aircraft left Subang International Airport for the Western Australian city today to aid in the search and rescue efforts.
However, due to bad weather, no aircraft involved in the search and rescue efforts departed from Perth today.
Meanwhile, Australia’s Ocean Shield vessel, equipped with the US’ towed pinger locator will arrive at the search position in the southern Indian Ocean on April 5.
On the ongoing probe into those on board, the inspector general-police (IGP) Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said investigation into the flight simulator is still ongoing, adding that the police is waiting for reports from agencies overseas. (read story here)
Xinhua reported that China will send a special envoy to Malaysia to consult with the government here on MH370.
This was said by Chinese President Xi Jinping, however he did not name the envoy.
In a display of strong emotions coupled with the sheer persistence to find MH370 no matter the circumstances, the Transport Ministry, via its Twitter account shared an emotional tweet that speaks volumes.
Liverpool FC official Twitter account sent a message on Twitter to Maira Elizabeth Nari, the daughter of MH370’s chief steward Andrew Nari, saying their thoughts are with her in this time of sadness.
A top Malaysian government official has agreed that the passengers of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 fall under the Schrödinger’s cat thought experiment.
This means that those on board the missing flight are considered both alive and dead until observed in clarity in either state.
The official close to the investigation, whose identity is being withheld by The Rakyat Post, also agreed that as such, steps should be taken to prepare for both possible outcomes. (read story here)
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya was asked if he would resign after this tragedy to which he replied “it was a personal decision and he will decide later.”
On how this tragedy has affected MAS as a whole, Ahmad Jauhari said that no doubt this was affecting them, but they are ensuring that the safety of all MAS flights will be assured, with extra precaution being taken.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya starts addressing the media at the Observation Deck in KLIA.
“I stand before you today not only as a group CEO of MAS but also as a parent, as a brother and as a son,” he began.
“My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain of all the families of those on board the aircraft. We all feel enormous sorrow and pain, sorrow that all those that boarded flight MH370 on Saturday March 8 will not see their families again,” he said.
“These families have to live on without their loved ones, and it must be remembered that 12 of our fellow colleagues and Malaysians were also on board.”
On the breaking news announced by the Prime Minister last night, Ahmad Jauhari said that MAS’ sole and only motivation at the time is to ensure that the families heard before the world did.
“SMS was a last resort,” he said, adding that it was only an additional means in ensuring nearly 1,000 relatives of passengers on board MH370 heard the news from MAS instead of the media.
He reiterated that the airlines’ focus has always been to support the families and to support the authorities involved in the search and rescue efforts.
“When MAS receives approval from the authorities involved, the families will be brought to the closest retrieval site,” he said.
“Visa is only given to family members once debris is determined,” he said.
“Through a network of 700 caregivers, the families of the loved ones on board have been provided with two dedicated caregivers. Hotel accommodation has been provided for up to 5 family members per passenger, including transportation and meals.”
He also said that MAS provided 20 more caregivers over the last 72 hours.
“We have provided USD5,000 for the next of kin of each passenger, and we are preparing to offer additional payment as the search continues.”
Ahmad Jauhari said that the past 18 days have been the greatest challenge for the MAS team.
“We do not why, we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened. The MAS family is praying for all the families of those on board MH370.”
MAS chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof in addressing the media said that they understand the families are emotional at this time.
On the latest lead on MH370, Md Nor said the Prime Minister came out last night to announce the information, after he was given credible lead as to where the missing aircraft ended its flight that night.
On the chances of survival, Md Nor told reporters that by the evidence given to them and by rational deduction, they can only arrive at the conclusion that the plane is lost and by extension, the people on the plane.
Meanwhile, Md Nor refused to comment on disciplinary issues of MH370’s crew members, saying that the press conference was only to explain last night’s announcement and what MAS plans to do for the families.
Asked if MAS “has been heartless” in dealing with this, Md Nor responded that no two people will react the same to the tragedy.
“MAS is a closely knit organisation and this obviously extends to our passengers as well. No amount of compensation and consolation will make up for the loss of lives,” he said.
On families being isolated from the outside world and that they were dissatisfied with how the whole issue was being handled, Md Nor said, “Isolating them is not the correct term. We put them somewhere comfortable and we give them privacy.”
Md Nor also said that the airline’s highest management has been meeting with family members, but they have not publicised this.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the country will welcome families of those on board MH370 and cost of visa will be set aside.
Meanwhile the country’s Defence Minister David Johnston in a news conference also said that search and rescue efforts in the southern Indian Ocean so far has not yielded any results in identifying or recovering debris from MH370.
The situation outside the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing is getting increasingly tensed as family members of those on board MH370 marched up to the embassy demanding for more answers.
According to Philip Wen, China correspondent for The Sydney Morning Herald, family members outside the embassy are demanding for the ambassador to come out, also demanding for the truth, and “return their loved ones.”
“Bottles of water being thrown into embassy compound. small number relatives try to storm the embassy. Held back by police,” Philip tweeted.
In an emergency parliament motion on MH370, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said what must be done in the weeks and months ahead is to look for debris or any object related to the missing aircraft so it can be verified without a doubt that the plane had infact disappeared in the southern Indian Ocean.
“Since the tragedy began, we have taken steps in-line, with all related agencies at the same time, to locate the aircraft and we have held on to the principle that any statements must be corroborated until it is officially announced by the government,” he said.
“We have no intention to close or block any information from families or the public. We have said multiple times that this is unprecendented in aviation history,” he said, adding that they have also received the full cooperation of 26 countries in the search and rescue operation for MH370. (read story here)
A local news portal reports MAS confirms it has provided funds to passenger next-of-kins for “immediate financial hardship”. However, it said this was not part of an insurance payout, adding that the funds was from its own coffers.
Another daily reported that the airline had denied foreign media reports it had received RM365 million or any monies from insurers for the loss of its aircraft.
Parliament this morning observed a moment of silence in prayer for the passengers and crew members of MH370 and their families.
China’s Xinhua reported that China has demanded Malaysia provide satellite data that led to its judgment that flight MH370 ended in the Indian Ocean, Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng said on Monday night.
“We demand the Malaysian side to make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgment,” Xie told Malaysian Ambassador Datuk Iskandar Bin Sarudin in an urgent meeting in Beijing.
He demanded the Malaysian side to provide all information and evidence related to the analysis of satellite data.
Xie urged Malaysia to continue all the relevant work including search and rescue for the missing plane, emphasising that the search and rescue work must not stop at the moment.
Chinese maritime authorities said late last night China will send more vessels to the southern Indian Ocean search area to search and salvage wreckage of Malaysia Airline MH370. China has already sent six vessels to the area where two Chinese IL-76 aircraft are scouring the rough seas for the missing plane.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has issued a statement that search operation for the missing plane has been suspended for today due to bad weather conditions in the search area.
AMSA said weather conditions are expected to improve in the search area in the evening and over the next few days, adding that search operations are expected to resume tomorrow if weather conditions permit.
It offered its deepest sympathies to the families of the passengers and crew of flight MH370.
A local daily reported that all stations under the Star Radio Group have cancelled normal broadcasting in light of last night’s announcement that the Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has plunged into the Southern Indian Ocean.
“All stations under the Star Radio Group have cancelled normal broadcast and all lines to stations will be opened 6am onwards to take messages from Malaysians in this time of sadness,” said a statement issued by the group of four stations — RED FM, SuriaFM, 988 and Capital FM.
The statement also stated that all stations would observe 30 seconds of silence during their 8am broadcast.
“As a mark of respect, all stations under the Star Radio Group will also observe 30 seconds of silence during our broadcast at 8am, in remembrance of MH 370. Our prayers and thoughts are with the families and loved ones of everyone on board.”
Malaysians and millions of people around the world are in a state of shock and disbelief as they digest the news that the 239 people, including crew members on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may never come home.
People, including world leaders, have been sending messages of encouragement and support to the families of the people on board the jetliner.
Radio stations have started playing mellow songs and television stations have been airing pictures of passengers and their family members.
Despite the conclusion that the plane is feared lost with all lives on board, the search for the missing plane will continue.
Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin hopes the families of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 passengers and crew remain strong in the face of the difficult times they are facing.
He said this in his latest tweet sent while attending the official opening of the Nuclear Security Summit 2014 in The Hague yesterday.
In his tweet, Muhyiddin said, “Just received the news about MH370, I hope the families of the crew and passengers are strong in this situation.”
Malaysia Airlines, in a subsequent statement, said that it was “with deep sadness that Malaysia Airlines earlier this evening had to confirm to the families of those on board Flight MH370 that it must now be assumed the flight had been lost”.
“Following Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s call to respect the families at this difficult time, we had informed the majority of the families in advance of the Prime Minister’s statement in person and by telephone.
“SMSs were used only as an additional means of communicating with the families. They were only used as those families could not be contacted by telephone.
“Those families have been at the heart of every action the company has taken since the flight disappeared on 8th March and they will continue to be so.
“When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area and until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation.”
“We accept it,” was the only phrase which could be uttered by 2 families of passengers on the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Bernama reported that Zamani Zakaria, 56, father of Razahan Zamani, 23, said he had received the news of the plane’s flight having ended in a remote part of the Indian Ocean.
Zamani lost his son and daughter-in-law Norli Akmar Hamid, 33, who were on the way to Beijing for their honeymoon.
Another next-of-kin, Selamat Omar, 60, father of MAS engineer Mohd Khairul Amri, 29, said he had accepted the news with an open heart.
“I do not know what to say, I am very sad to hear the announcement,” said Normah Jaafar, the mother of Khairul Amri, when contacted.
Leaders continue to tweet on MH370.
Lembah Pantai Member of Parliament Nurul Izzah Anwar tweeted: “Let us come together as a nation — our hearts are with the families and those onboard flight MH370. May Allah grant us the strength in facing such a tragedy.”
Seputeh MP Teresa Kok said: “I pray that God will comfort n strengthen all d families n loved ones of d victims of MH370. May d souls of d victims Rest In Peace w d Maker (sic)”
Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong said our deepest sympathies to families and friends of those on board #MH370.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein tweeted: “#MH370: words just cannot describe how I feel 2nite but I promise you esp d families of all d passengers n crew: The search continues (sic)”
— — — —
PRIME MINISTER DATUK SERI NAJIB RAZAK’S PRESS STATEMENT ON MH370:
This evening I was briefed by representatives from the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). They informed me that Inmarsat, the UK company that provided the satellite data which indicated the northern and southern corridors, has been performing further calculations on the data. Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path.
Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
We will be holding a press conference tomorrow with further details. In the meantime, we wanted to inform you of this new development at the earliest opportunity. We share this information out of a commitment to openness and respect for the families, two principles which have guided this investigation.
Malaysia Airlines have already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew to inform them of this development. For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking; I know this news must be harder still. I urge the media to respect their privacy, and to allow them the space they need at this difficult time.
STATEMENT BY MALAYSIA AIRLINES (MAS) ON MH370:
Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, new analysis of satellite data suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.
On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.
We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We will continue to provide assistance and support to you, as we have done since MH370 first disappeared in the early hours of 8 March, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain. Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers.
We would like to assure you that Malaysia Airlines will continue to give you our full support throughout the difficult weeks and months ahead.
Once again, we humbly offer our sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told a hastily arranged press conference just now that a study of Inmarsat satellite information had confirmed that MH370 plunged into the Indian Ocean, off Perth, where a massive search operation has been mounted to find the wreckage of the plane.
MAS releases statement that it had informed the families of the passengers and crew of MH370 that the “we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.
Relatives of the 239 people missing on the plane have been called for an emergency briefing, according to reports.
On a question raised during the press conference on the qualification and capability of the co-pilot of the missing MH370, MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said that Fariq Abdul Hamid had undergone the required tests and was fully capable of co-piloting the Boeing 777-200 ER aircraft.
On Fariq’s ability to handle the plane, Ahmad Jauhari said the co-pilot had passed the test the first time he took it.
He stressed that Fariq, 27, who joined MAS in 2007 and has clocked about 2,800 hours, was also “flying with an examiner (the pilot) and not anybody less”.
“MAS is very strict with its training. This (MH370) was his (Fariq) sixth flight. It did not require the co-pilot checklist (required for the first five flights).”
On a question on whether the cargo manifest was passed on to the investigation team, he added that it was made available to them, adding that, the cargo included 200kg lithium batteries (which were deemed non-hazardous as they were be packed properly according to regulations), fruits, wooden palettes, electronic equipment (radios) and normal plane cargo.
In response to questions raised by the media during the press conference today on the search effort in the northern and southern corridors, Hishammuddin said they were narrowing the corridors with the help of information from satellite and military radar data from various countries.
“Once it’s confirmed the debris belongs to MH370, all assets will be tasked to the area, but until then, they will continue searching both corridors.”
He also said a French satellite captured images using cameras and they have been forwarded to the rescue coordination centre in Perth.
He said the US Pacific command had agree to send Towed Pinger Locator Hydrophones to assist in the search for the plane’s black box in case a debris field is located. Theis was based on the call for high-technology assets and expertise to be applied to the search and rescue effort.
These assets, however, will only be deployed once it has been confirmed the objects belong to MH370, the minister said.
On the many issues pertaining to technical information on the plane, which has led to greater speculations and unconfirmed theories, he said that experts from Boeing and Rolls Royce would be on hand to answer the media’s technical questions soon.
He reiterated that to find out what exactly happened to MH370, they needed to recover the black box and nothing could be ruled out until it had been recovered. This view was shared by various experts and the investigation team.
On whether improvements were to be made to Malaysia’s travel protocols, he said there were many things that needed to be looked at, including security and surveillance not only in Malaysia but on a global scale. This will only be done at a later date.
Message from Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya on YouTube:
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said new leads into MH370’s possible location have come from satellite data. This was one of the 4 tools Malaysia had identified that could narrow the search area, along with surveillance radar data, increasing surface and air assets, and bringing in more technical experts.
The most recent images were obtained by French satellites, which captured radar images of potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor on March 21.
These images were received by Malaysia on the evening of the March 22 and were relayed to RCC Australia on the morning of the March 23, as they are leading the search in that particular area of the southern corridor.
This morning, Malaysia received a further set of images from French satellites, this time captured by cameras. These images were taken yesterday and have been relayed to RCC Australia.
On the police investigation, Hishammuddin confirmed that the police had interviewed more than a hundred people, including families of both the pilot and co-pilot.
As far as the transcript was concerned, the technical committee was considering releasing it, he said. “We can confirm that MH370 was carrying wooden pallets. However, there is no evidence that these are related to the wooden pallets reportedly sighted in the Australian search area.”
In Beijing, the high-level team met with families in Beijing for more than 8 hours. The families asked many questions and made detailed requests for radar readings and other data.
Some of these questions could not be answered and some of the data they requested was still being held for the investigation.The briefings in Kuala Lumpur over the last 2 days went smoothly and the families responded as positively as could be expected, with the families engaging with representatives from the relevant authorities.
Speaking at the press conference held at the Putra World Centre in Kuala Lumpur today, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said new leads from satellite data had focused the search and rescue operations in the southern corridor.
Yesterday, 18,500 square nautical miles were searched in the Australian search area. Two orange objects, 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.
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 in the Australian search area. These objects were not in the vicinity of those which were identified by the Australian authorities last week.
A few minutes ago, the 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 retrieved within the next few hours, or by tomorrow morning at the latest.
Three search areas, totalling 20,000 square nautical miles, have been identified for operations today. Rescue Coordination Centre (RCC) Australia anticipates that 10 aircraft will be used. MAS Success remains the only vessel in the search area.
A number of Chinese vessels are expected to begin arriving within the search area on March 25.
Three aircraft — 2 from Japan and 1 from the UAE — have already departed from Subang today and are en route to the southern corridor.
Six Malaysian ships, with 3 ship-borne helicopters, are now in northern part of the southern corridor. Ten Chinese ships are in the southern corridor, carrying out search and rescue operations. HMS Echo is currently refuelling in the Maldives and will be sailing to the southern corridor this evening.
In the northern corridor, Turkmenistan has confirmed it has not had any sightings of MH370 on their radar. “Each piece of information we receive from our partners in the northern corridor helps us to continuously narrow the corridor,” said Hishammuddin.
Two long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft, sent by the India, are now airborne over the Indian Ocean to help trace the Malaysian plane.
The two surveillance aircraft — P8-I Poseidon of the Indian Navy and C-130J Super Hercules of the Indian Air Force — took off from Subang Airport, Malaysia, for search and rescue operations along the southern corridor.
A Chinese plane on Monday spotted two white, square-shaped objects in an area identified by satellite imagery as containing possible debris from the missing Malaysian airliner.
The crew aboard an IL-76 plane sighted the object in the southern Indian Ocean search area today and reported the co-ordinates to the Australian command centre, which is coordinating the multinational search, as well as the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon, which is en route to the area, Xinhua news agency reported.
From 10,000 metres, the spotters saw two larger floating objects and some smaller, white debris scattered over several square kilometres, the report said. It gave no other details.
Australian search authorities said they have been advised of the object and will be trying to locate them in the ocean.
“Attempts will be made to relocate,” the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) tweeted.
The U.S. Pacific command said it was sending a black box locator in case a debris field is located.
The Towed Pinger Locator, which is pulled behind a vessel at slow speeds, has highly-sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, it can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 6,100 metres, Cmdr Chris Budde, a U.S. Seventh Fleet operations officer, said in a statement released to The Associated Press today.
It is believed insurers could pay out tens of millions of pounds more to bereaved families of the 239 people on board since international rules stipulated a minimum payment of £105,000 (RM571,840) per passenger.
Telegraph‘s article has yet to be verified.
Reuters reports today Australian authorities are still examining French radar images showing potential floating debris and have not yet shifted the search for the missing jetliner in the southern Indian Ocean further north to look for the objects.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said its search area continued to be defined by a US satellite image of two floating objects to frame a search area some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth.
The US imagery was bolstered by a Chinese satellite image showing potential debris in the same region, centering the search for the wreckage of the Boeing 777 jetliner south of the equator.
The French images, however, were taken some 850km (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, 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 yesterday and passed them on to Australia.
Maps released by AMSA today 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 spokeswoman said. “We are taking every bit of information seriously and examining it and cross-referencing it with every other bit of information.”
China’s 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.
It reported that the one-hour SAR operation will cover 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.
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 earch 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.”
AMSA 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.
The Indian Navy and Air Force deployed their P8-I and C-130J aircraft to join the search and rescue operation for MH370 in the Indian Ocean.
The long-range maritime reconnaissance aircraft took off from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Subang yesterday, as reported by Bernama.
In a statement yesterday, the Indian High Commission said the P8-I is equipped with on board radars and specially designed search and rescue kits, while the other aircraft has infra red search capabilities as well as reconnaissance equipment on board.
— — — —
11.00pm (March 23)
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has concluded its search for MH370 today in the Australian search and rescue region.
In a statement released on its website, the authority said there were “no sightings of significance.”
“The search area experienced early sea fog particularly in the western areas, however conditions improved during the day,” the statement read.
On the number of assets involved, it said eight aircraft and the vessel HMAS Success supported today’s search effort, that covered a 59,000 square kilometre search area across two search areas 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth.
The search will resume tomorrow.
The families of those on board MH370 are reportedly calmer now and more confident in the government’s efforts to locate the aircraft, as reported by Bernama.
“This follows last Thursday’s briefing session on the ongoing search and rescue efforts undertaken by the Malaysian authorities to find the plane,” the news report said.
The Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting said the family members appear to be more familiar with the efforts being put in to locate MH370 after the latest briefing session.
According to the BBC, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has asked MAS to release the cargo manifest of its MH370 to assist with the search and rescue operation.
This comes after several objects were sighted since yesterday, among them was what looked like a cargo wooden pallet with strapping belts of different colour.
However, they are unsure if this is related to MH370, and they are still unable to obtain a close-up verification.
It was announced earlier that there will be no press conference on the MH370 today, instead a statement has been released by the Ministry of Transport on the search and rescue developments of the missing aircraft.
The ministry announced that new satellite images were received from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor.
The images were “immediately relayed to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre.”
“The Australian Defence Vessel ‘Ocean Shield’, which has a sub-sea remotely operated vehicle, is currently en route to the southern corridor.”
A Norwegian firm involved in the gigantic search for the Air France jetliner which crashed down in the Atlantic Ocean, enroute Rio de Janeiro in Brazil to Paris, France in 2009, says it is ready to assist in the similar task for the missing MH 370, Chinese news agency Xinhua reported.
“It takes time to search for objects on the seabed. For example, it will take about three weeks to perform a search operation in an area of 1,000 square kilometers, depending on water depth,” Frode Gaupaas, the chief operating officer of the company based in the west coast of Norway in Bergen, told a Norwegian-language newspaper, the Aftenposten, Xinhua reported.
“We are ready to join the search if we are asked about it,” he added.
The company owns one of the few mini-submarines capable of diving 6,000 meters deep in the ocean. (read story here)
Lieutenant Erica Ross, commander of a US Navy’s P-3C Orion aircraft and navy officer Francis Enriquez were in high spirits despite having clocked 75 hours of flying in the search for MH370 without finding anything yet, reported Bernama.
“We did not find anything today. We will continue tomorrow,” said Ross.
Meanwhile Enriquez promised they would be part of the search as long as they are needed, saying there is no timeline set.
The mission to find MH370 has become a “visual search” focused on trying to detect floating objects captured in satellite imagery and spotted by aircraft observers, Australian authorities say.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) rescue centre co-ordination chief Mike Barton said Sunday’s search was only just getting under way and had a “complete change of emphasis” from previous searches relying on radar.
Australia which is now spearheading the search and rescue mission in their region, is now focused on a “more defined area” in the southern Indian Ocean after large floating objects were seen in the Chinese satellite imagery and smaller objects, including a wooden pallet, were sighted on Saturday.
The Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) quoted Barton as saying that strapping belts of different sizes and colours were also sighted with the pallets, as well as several objects which cannot be determined due to the aircraft’s distance.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) tweeted that all aircraft involved in the search and rescue operation for MH370 in the Australian search region have all departed Perth.
“Five aircraft currently in the search area,” it wrote.
Police today denied that MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had received a call just before the plane took off on March 8.
Earlier, UK’s Daily Mail alleged that Zaharie had received a call from a number registered to someone with a dubious identity slightly before the plane departed for Beijing.
Bukit Aman reiterated that the inspector-general of police has never issued any public statement that categorically place the MH370 investigation under an act of terrorism, as reported by The Star.
In its latest statement, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said that search and rescue operations for MH370 resumes today.
It pointed out that it was a challenging search, however adding that air observers on a civil aircraft yesterday had spotted several small objects of interest in the search area.
Attempts will continue today to establish whether the object spotted are related to MH370.
“Today’s search has been split into two areas within the same proximity covering 59,000 square kilometres about 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth.”
“These areas have been determined by drift modelling,” the statement read.
On the number of assets involved in the search and rescue operation in that region, AMSA listed the following:
Civil aircraft: 1. Two Bombardier Global Express 2. Gulfstream 5 3. Airbus 319
Military aircraft: 1. US Navy P8 Poseidon 2. DNZAF P3-C Orion 3. RAAF P3-C Orion
Vessel: 1. HMAS Success
Meanwhile, two Chinese military aircraft; the Ilyusin IL-76 is already in Perth and will be ready to join the search tomorrow.
AMSA added that a total of 20 state emergency service (SES) volunteers from Western Australia have been tasked as air observers on board the civil aircraft.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed increasing hope in finding out the fate of those on board MH370 after debris was spotted in the search zone, although it has yet to be identified and verified as belonging to the missing aircraft.
“It’s still too early to be definite, but obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope,” he was quoted as saying by AFP, adding that the search and rescue operation may well be on the road to discovering what happened to the “ill-fated aircraft.”
A Malaysian geostrategist says he believes sonar techology can help find missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 if it crashed in the Indian Ocean.
Dr Azmi Hassan said only the United States had such technology whereby sunken objects could be detected as far as 6,000 metres below the sea surface.
“This sonar technology can zoom in on what type of object is on the seabed. It is the only kind that can trace a black box of a plane that has stopped emitting signals,” he said during an interview on BernamaTV’s “Ruang Bicara” programme titled “Kotak Hitam” (Black Box) that was broadcast live in Kuala Lumpur last night.
He said a jetliner’s blackbox could withstand temperatures up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit, severe impact and would be able to still continue emitting signals even if it sank up to 6,000 metres in oceans.
However, it had been reported that the black box of a missing plane will only emit signals at the most for 30 days.
The multi national search’s focus is concentrated in the southern Indian Ocean.
— — — —
11.15pm (March 22)
The State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (Sastind) in China stated that the floating object spotted by the country’s high-definition earth observation satellite, “Gaofen-1”, was captured at about 12am on March 18 (Beijing Time).
Xinhua quoted Sastind as saying that “the imagery spotted the object at 44 degrees, 57 minutes south latitude, and 90 degrees, 13 minutes east longitude, in the southern Indian Ocean.”
The news agency also quoted China Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei as saying that the information was passed on to Malaysia and Australia soon after the satellite spotted the object.
The spokesman however said that further analysis was required to verify if the floating object was related to MH370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has concluded its search for the debris, and for missing MH370 for today.
A civil aircraft reportedly spotted a number of small objects, including a wooden pallet, however when the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s (RNZAF) P3-C Orion arrived at the location, they only spotted clumps of seaweed.
The Orion dropped a datum marker buoy “to track the movement of the material” while a merchant ship in the area was also tasked to look for the material.
Visibility was around ten kilometres today, as reported by AMSA in their statement.
The search now covers 36,000 square kilometres in the Australian search and rescue region.
“The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Success has arrived in the search area,” read the statement, along with two merchant ships.
AMSA acknowledged the earlier sighting from Chinese satellites, saying the position has been plotted and it falls within today’s search area.
However the said object was nowhere to be seen.
China’s vessel, the icebreaker Xue Long is traveling at full speed, heading towards to the location of where debris was spotted on satellite as part of the search and rescue operation for missing MAS aircraft MH370, as reported by Xinhua.
According to Marine Traffic, the ship’s last recorded position was at approximately 9.55pm, and it was traveling at 15 knots.
The floating object spotted by Chinese satellite was reportedly 120 kilometres away from the earlier debris sighting by Australian satellites, according to Xinhua.
China’s CCTV has released the satellite image of a floating object spotted in the Southern corridor.
With regards to the search and rescue operation currently taking place 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth, where Australian satellite picked up two floating objects, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the conditions were rougher in the area, as the ocean depth varies between 1,150 metres and 7,000 metres, with strong currents.
Meanwhile, a cyclone warning was issued for Tropical Cyclone Gillian, located in the southern corridor.
This would cause strong winds and rough seas in the area today, he told reporters.
Hishammuddin had also clarified that the search by the Australian authorities have resulted in nothing so far.
“Despite improved visual sightings, there has been no sign of the object of interest.”
Hishammuddin said that the search for the plane has been expanded to 10,500 square nautical miles in the southern corridor.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said at the press conference that Chinese satellites have received an image of an object of 22.5m long and 13m wide in the southern corridor and the Chinese government will announce more details in a couple of hours from now. (read story here)
Cargo manifest is with the investigations team and will be released in due time, according to Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein at the daily press conference in Sama-Sama Hotel, Sepang.
“It does not show any link to anything that might have contributed to the disappearance,” he said, adding that all cargo was in compliance with international standards.
He confirmed that the investigation team has followed every lead in looking for the missing aircraft which has now entered its fifteenth day.
Meanwhile the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman called the transcript between the cockpit and air-traffic controller published by The Telegraph as not accurate.
Hishammuddin, in commenting on the transcript said it cannot be released to the public and the matter is still being investigated, adding that so far there has been nothing abnormal in the record.
“The transcript cannot be publicly released but it does not indicate anything abnormal.”
On the briefing for families in Beijing, Hishammuddin said it was less productive than the ones here.
“The briefing for families in KL yesterday went well. The briefing in Beijing, however, was less productive. Despite the best intentions, I understand there were tense scenes,” he had said.
Hishammuddin told reporters he had received a report from the high-level team despatched to Beijing “as well as a copy of the declaration from the Chinese families.”
“I have asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the authorities in China, to investigate what happened,” he said.
“We appeal to all parties to be understanding during this extraordinary and difficult time. My pledge to all the families, wherever they are, is the same: we will do everything in our power to keep you informed.”
In a statement, the Ministry of Transport said that effective March 23, 2014, the media centre for MH370 will be relocated from the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang to the Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC).
This was because Sama-Sama’s prior commitment to accommodate guests for the upcoming Formula 1 Grand Prix.
“The media conferences would be held at the Dewan Tun Dr Ismail, Level 2. The media working area would be located at the Mawar Hall, Level 2,” the statement read.
The Pentagon is mulling Malaysia’s request for sonar equipment to aid in the search for MH370.
Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby told Reuters that Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had spoken to the US’ Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel asking for undersea surveillance equipment.
This came as the Pentagon tallied the costs for the two-week search to have reached USD2.5 million (RM8.2 million), as reported by Reuters.
“No specific request was made for any particular type. It was just a general request for us to help them locate the wreckage and/or the black box,” Kirby was quoted as saying, adding that the secretary would consider the request and would get back to Hishammuddin in the “very near future.”
Australia has tasked a female captain to search for MH370.
Bernama reports Captain Allison Norris, the commanding officer of Australia’s second largest ship, HMAS Success, which is expected to arrive in the search area this morning told News Corp via satellite phone that her ship and its 220-strong crew were ready for any challenge.
Norris, who has been in the navy since 1987 as a seaman officer and warfare specialist, said if the ship found any debris from the missing aircraft, her crew would attempt to retrieve it using the ship’s inflatable boats and possibly its crane.
The Australian AP reports fine weather should aid the search for the missing plane off the West Australian coast today.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has deployed six aircraft to be involved in today’s search, AMSA said in a media release today.
It said a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion departed for the search area at 9am while two ultra long range commercial jets departed for the search area at 9.15am.
“A second RAAF P3 Orion is scheduled to depart for the search area at 11am. A New Zealand P3 Orion is due to depart for the search area at approximately 1pm. A third RAAF P3 Orion aircraft is due to depart for the search area at about 3pm,” the release said.
The bad weather that hampered search operations on Thursday has cleared.
“We’re not expecting any significant weather. Visibility should greatly improve,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Luke Huntington told ABC radio.
Two merchant ships are assisting in the search and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Success is due to arrive at the area in the afternoon.
It was reported that Norwegian car carrier Hoegh St Petersburg stopped searching the area where debris was spotted via Australian satellite, about 10pm last night and that the search will continue early this morning.
The Japanese Embassy issued a statement last night stating it will continue to support efforts by the Malaysian government in search and rescue operation for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.
It said Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had conveyed this to Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak in a 10-minute telephone call at 5.30pm yesterday.
According to Bernama, Abe expressed deep concern about the missing aircraft that has not been found so far despite intense searching efforts. Abe said he appreciated that Najib had been assuming strong leadership in a difficult situation and expressed his willingness that his country would further continue to support the search efforts.
Abe said Japan was conducting search operations using five aircraft and had decided to move two aircraft to Australia in response to a request by Malaysia.
Najib expressed his gratitude to Abe for his warm words and the country’s assistance in the search efforts.
Abe also stated that he was willing to help as a friend of Prime Minister Najib and asked to be informed if any assistance was needed.
— — — —
10.00pm (March 21)
The high-level team despatched to Beijing by the Malaysian government met with the family members of those on board MH370 in China’s capital today, with the main purpose of briefing them on the search and rescue operations.
The team was led by RMAF air operations commander Lieutenant General Datuk Seri Ackbal Abdul Samad, and included representatives from the Prime Minister’s office, the DCA and MAS.
According to Bernama, in his briefing, Ackbal said “immediate action to locate the missing MAS jetliner had been carried out from the very beginning.”
He reiterated that the government always placed the lives of those on board MH370 above anything and “had been trying their best to locate the aircraft.”
Malaysian ambassador to China, Datuk Iskandar Sarudin was also present at the briefing.
The Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) P3 Orion returned to Perth at about 7.30pm (AEDT) after a day of trying to spot the debris believed to be related to MH370.
The Orion’s pilot, Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams was however, reportedly upbeat about finding the debris, according to news.com.au.
“We have lots of hope, hopefully we will find something,” he was quoted as saying.
The search for MH370 today in the southern Indian Ocean has concluded without any sightings of the objects picked up on Australian satellite several days ago, possibly related to the missing aircraft.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) in a statement, said the search was also to cover 23,000 square kilometres in the Australian search and rescue region, supported by the Australian Defence Force, the US Navy, a commercial jet and two merchant ships.
The Australian authority said their main focus is still to locate any survivors on board the aircraft and search “for possible objects that could be connected to the missing aircraft or discounting them.”
On weather conditions, the statement said it was fair and visibility today was much better compared to yesterday.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein earlier hit out at the foreign media members who often resorted to mob him and push each other to get comments when he arrived at the Sama-Sama Hotel before the press conference.
Bernama reported that Hishammuddin chided them as such behaviour would “prevent cameramen or photographers to get a good recording or images of the interview and would project a bad impression about Malaysia.”
“If you guys are going to behave like this, then you are going to have nasty visuals, which I think (people) all over the world is going to blame the Malaysian authorities…that is not fair,” he was quoted as saying.
While some of the most advanced aircraft in the world are being sent to search the southern corridor, the Malaysian government is also asking if it can set up a staging area for the northern corridor in Kazakhstan.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, at the press conference today, also said this was because the search and rescue operations for MH370 were still focused on the two corridors, though the satellite image of floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean was a credible lead. (read story here)
At the press conference at Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang today, acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said that Malaysia is still waiting for information from Australian authority on whether the objects sighted in the southern Indian Ocean is related to MH370.
At the point of speaking, he said that there is still no confirmation.
“This continues to be a multi national effort coordinated by Malaysia,” Hishammuddin said with regards to the search and rescue operation for the missing flight.
On the police investigation of those on board, it was said at the press conference that international intelligence agencies did not find anything significant on the flight manifest, however, Hishammuddin said he has requested for them to take another look at the manifest.
He also confirmed that the high-level team sent to Beijing has already arrived to meet with the family members of passengers there.
Meanwhile, in responding to a question on the alleged last phone call made by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah before take off, MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the matter has been passed on to the investigators and they will look into it.
Apart from that, information on the cargo manifest has also been passed on to the investigation team.
On the cargo manifest, Ahmad Jauhari said the plane was carrying small batteries but it was within the permitted limit set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO).
“They were not dangerous goods and was packed as recommended by ICAO. We checked several times to make sure the packing was right and were done according to guidelines,” he said.
Twenty Chinese family members of the passengers of missing aircraft MH370 have been transferred to the Equatorial Hotel in Bangi from Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa in Cyberjaya today, as reported by Bernama.
This was because Cyberview has been booked prior to this to accommodate the participants of the upcoming Formula 1 Grand Prix.
Several media have picked up on a report by The UK Sun claiming that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had placed a phone call in the cockpit just before taking off for Beijing on March 8.
Authorities have yet to comment on this, and there has been no mention from official authorities on a phone call before this.
In a statement issued by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) at 2.15pm (AEDT), it said four aircraft have departed Perth for the search area 2,500 kilometres southwest of the city, in the southern Indian Ocean.
“A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3-C Orion departed around 9.15am and is now in the search area. A second RAAF P3-C Orion departed around 11.15am and an ultra long range Bombardier Global Express jet departed around 11.30am.”
Meanwhile, a third RAAF P3-C Orion departed for the search area around 12.45pm, and a US Navy P8 Poseidon is due to depart at about 4pm.
Indonesia has issued 49 flight clearances for aircraft from seven countries to search for MH370 after the focus of the operation shifted to the Indian Ocean.
“As the search for the missing plane has switched to the southern corridor which includes Indonesian territory, we have so far given 49 flight clearances for foreign planes to pass our airspace,” the Indonesian Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement here on Friday.
According to Xinhua, Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, also known as the “Snow Dragon” will head for the southern Indian Ocean in the search for MH370.
The Antarctic research vessel, whose Captain is Wang Jianzhong, received its orders from the State Oceanic Administration of China to join the hunt for the missing aircraft, as reported by Xinhua.
Meanwhile, three Chinese Air Force planes have been sent to a Malaysian air base to help with the search.
Two IL-76 transport planes and a Yun-8 cargo plane, scrambled from an airport in south China’s Sanya at about 8.00am this morning, according to the People’s Liberation Army Air Force spokesman Shen Jinke.
Prior to this, the Chinese Air Force sent seven aircraft to the MH370 search areas..
“As long as there is a glimmer of hope, we will spare no efforts,” Shen was quoted as saying by Xinhua.
The Hoegh St Petersburg, which is a Norwegian car carrier was the first ship to arrive in the newly-defined search area for MH370, some 2,500 kilometres off Perth.
In a report by The Telegraph, the ship’s company Hoegh Autoliners told a press conference in Oslo last night that the vessel will continue searching during the night at reduced speed and with all spotlights available.
Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at Sydney’s University of New South Wales told AFP that the area where debris was spotted in the southern Indian Ocean is an area already influenced by Antarctica which translates to it being of “harsh conditions.”
van Sebille said that even in calm conditions, “the place was challenging and with the southern hemisphere’s autumn approaching, it was set to deteriorate.”
The area which is 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth is reportedly very windy, lashed by huge waves.
However, according to Australia’s Bureau of Meteorology, winds are currently 15-20 knots in the area with swell 2 to 2.5m, which it said is easing.
“Overall conditions are expected to slowly improve today for the search operations in the area.”
The Australian government has warned that it could take days to locate the objects believed to be related to the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane as bad weather hampers the ensuing search in the Indian Ocean, the Australian Associated Press (AAP) reports.
Meanwhile, AAP reported that the search which was fruitless yesterday resumes today.
However, no sightings have been reported as yet, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).
Astronautic Technology Sdn Bhd (ATSB), under the Science, Technology and Innovation Ministry (Mosti) is studying imagery obtained from international satellite recordings to look for MH370, as reported by Bernama.
Its CEO Datuk Dr Ahmad Sabirin Arshad said Mosti had directed ATSB to assist in the search mission for the plane via satellite imagery.
The Indian Navy has deployed four warships; INS Satpura, Sahyadri, Saryu and Batti Malv in the Bay of Bengal, the Andaman Sea and West of Andaman Islands in search of MH370.
— — — —
11.45pm (March 20)
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said the images, captured by the Australian satellite which found two objects possibly related to the search for Flight MH370, were received by them on March 16 (Sunday).
AMSA stated that due to the volume of imagery being searched, and the detailed process of analysis which followed, the information was brought to AMSA’s attention on Thursday morning, as quoted in the statement uploaded in its website.
The images have been assessed as being credible but it is possible they do not relate to the search.
Some family members of those on board MH370 were seen leaving the two-and-a-half hour briefing area at Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa in Cyberjaya, in batches.
Hamid Amran, father of one of the passengers, said the meeting did not reveal any new findings.
He said authorities talked about the radar and would only be able to update families on the debris in a day or two.
A Malaysia Airlines representative told The Rakyat Post those who briefed the families included the Transport Ministry’s deputy secretary general, the Prime Minister’s special envoy to China Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting, a DCA senior official, a military representative, a Wisma Putra official and other relevant agencies.
The representative also said these officials will come back to Cyberview from time to time to update the families.
Media present were split into two locations at Cyberview, with some waiting near the lobby and others near the parking lot.
Australian Associated Press reported that Australia is expected to make a quick deliberation on whether suspected debris seen in the Indian Ocean is from MH370.
Australian Defence Minister David Johnston reportedly said a first spotter failed to locate any debris due to bad weather conditions.
Johnston added that authorities should know something definite on the possible recovery of debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane within two or three days.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak shared a photograph via his official Twitter account, of a meeting with Jean Paul Troadec (seated second from left in the image below) who was involved in the Air France AF447 investigations.
“I appreciate the input of Jean Paul Troadec, who was involved in the Air France 447 investigations. #MH370,” he wrote.
Jean Paul Troadec is a French aerospace engineer and current president of the French Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety, the country’s aviation accident investigation bureau.
He led investigations into the 2009 crash of Air France Flight 447, which was dubbed one of the most mysterious aviation disasters in modern history.
In a media release published online, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) stated that search operations in the southern Indian Ocean for MH370 have been completed for the day in the Australian search and rescue region.
Four aircraft were tasked by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority on Thursday to a 23,000 square kilometre area about 2,500km south-west of Perth.
The statement confirmed the arrival of a merchant ship in the search area this evening, adding that another merchant ship was on the way there.
“A total of six merchant ships have assisted in the search since a shipping broadcast was issued on Monday night,” according to the statement.
The statement said the search will continue on Friday.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) tweeted that search operations for MH370 have been completed for today.
On its official Twitter account, @AMSA_News, the Australian authority wrote: “AMSA search operations for #MH370 have been completed for today; the search will continue in the morning.”
The briefing for family members of those on board MH370 is set to take place tonight at the Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa.
Security appears to be tight, as family members sit and wait for the briefing to begin.
Those who have been put up at The Everly Hotel in Putrajaya have also been brought to the Cyberview Lodge.
Members of the press are confined to the hotel’s lobby.
Britain’s Defence Ministry said their naval ship has joined the search for MH370 at the area where possible debris was picked up on Australian satellite.
As reported by The Star, the survey ship HMS Echo is in the Indian Ocean.
The HMS Echo is “designed to collect ocean data to support submarine and amphibious operations and is equipped with a survey motor boat and a contingent of Royal Marines”.
AFP reported that a Norwegian ship, the St Petersburg, has reached the area of the Indian Ocean where possible debris of the missing plane were spotted.
The news agency had quoted the shipping company, Hoegh Autoliners, as having confirmed this via their spokesman, Cecilie Moe.
“The ship has arrived at the site to take part in the search,” Cecilie Moe said.
Earlier, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had said that a merchant ship responded to a shipping broadcast on Monday and was expected to arrive in the area this afternoon.
AFP believes that St Petersburg is the first ship to arrive at the scene after Australia announced the sighting of two objects via its satellite.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told reporters at the press conference today that the airline is prepared to fly the families of those on board MH370 to Australia if it is verified that the debris found on the country’s satellite are proven to be from the missing aircraft.
“We do take care of the next-of-kin (of passengers on board) and, assuming that it is confirmed the aircraft is located somewhere close to Australia, we will obviously make an arrangement to fly the next-of-kin there,” he said.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) via its Twitter account, reported that it is facing trouble locating the debris spotted on satellite images due to bad weather in the southern Indian Ocean.
The debris, possibly related to MH370, is southwest of Perth, Australia, approximately 2,500 kilometres away from the city.
“RAAF P3 crew unable to locate debris. Cloud & rain limited visbility. Further aircraft to continue search for #MH370,” AMSA tweeted.
On the background check that is being carried out by investigators, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, in responding to a question posed by The Rakyat Post’s reporter at the press conference today, confirmed that Russia and Ukraine have yet to provide background information on their nationals who are listed as passengers on missing MAS flight MH370. (read story here)
At the daily press conference held at the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang on the search and rescue operation of missing MH370, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the sighting of debris by Australia was a credible lead but its relation to the missing aircraft has yet to be confirmed.
“Today we have a credible lead, but we still need to corroborate and verify, but there is hope. We must never, never give up hope,” he said.
In elaborating on this new lead, Hishammuddin, who is also the Defence Minister said the satellite images were corroborated to a certain extent by other satellites which leads to this being a credible piece of information.
Hishammuddin reiterated that the next step in the search and rescue operation was to locate the black box, citing the example of Air France flight AF447 tragedy where it took two years before investigators found the black box.
“The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) continues coordinating the search within Australia’s search and rescue area,” he added.
Hishammuddin told reporters that Royal Australian Air Force’s (RAAF) P3 Orion aircraft arrived at the location this morning to ascertain if the debris sighted via the country’s commercial satellite belonged to MH370.
He also confirmed that three other aircraft have been tasked by AMSA’s Rescue Co-ordination Centre (RCC) to the area; a second RAAF Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion, and a US Navy P-8 Poseidon.
“The Poseidon was expected to arrive early this afternoon, the second RAAF Orion was expected to depart RAAF Base Pearce, in Perth, mid-afternoon and the New Zealand Orion was due to depart this afternoon.”
Meanwhile an RAAF C-130 Hercules has been tasked to “drop datum marker buoys to assist in drift modelling. They will provide an on-going reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted.”
He added that a merchant ship had also responded to a shipping broadcast “on Monday was also expected to arrive in the area this afternoon.”
Australia’s HMAS Success vessel is also on its way, however it would take some days for it to arrive at the sight which is southwest of Perth.
Hishammuddin said the ship is equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be MH370.
With regards to when the images were captured on the satellite, Hishammuddin said the stamp date on the images that have been shared on the internet, which was four days ago, still needed to be checked and verified.
On what had happened at the Sama-Sama Hotel yesterday where families from China stormed in demanding for more information, Hishammuddin told reporters, “We regret what had happened yesterday”, adding that representatives from the Prime Minister’s department had already spoken to the family members.
“We do care for them and we are trying to understand what they are going through, we are getting expert help to deal with the raw emotions,” he said.
He added that the high-level team, mentioned at yesterday’s press conference, will be leaving for Beijing this evening to brief family members there.
The families of those on board MH370 have been informed of a briefing that will take place tonight at the Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa in Putrajaya.
Bernama reported that Selamat Omar, father of MH370 passenger Mohd Khairul Amri, told reporters that they were informed of the briefing by Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
However, he is unsure if it was a normal or a special briefing.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tweeted that he was in communications with Chief of the Armed Forces General Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin after receiving the call from his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott earlier today with regards to the sighting of two objects via satellite.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) released the satellite image showing the objects that could be related to MH370.
According to AMSA’s Emergency Response Division general manager John Young, this new information was deemed “credible enough to divert resources to this area.”
It was reported by ABC News that the largest of the objects spotted on the satellite is about 23.8 metres long.
Indonesia has cleared its seven nationals who were on board MH370 of any link to terrorism, reported Bernama.
President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was quoted as saying, “I wish to state that none of our nationals had any link to terrorism”.
Susilo had based his statement on a report submitted by co-ordinating minister for Political, Legal and Security Affairs Djoko Suyanto that stated “there was nothing ‘peculiar’ about their background.”
“This matter has to be communicated clearly and there should be no speculation and incorrect news,” Susilo added.
On the search and rescue operation for the missing aircraft, Susilo said he was receiving updates from Indonesia’s foreign minister Marty Natalegawa.
Three more aircraft have been deployed to the area in the southern Indian Ocean where objects suspected to be related to MH370 have been sighted, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which include a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion and a US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said in a statement at 12.15pm that Australian officials “have yet to establish” whether these objects are indeed related to the search.
Hishammuddin said that Malaysia was informed earlier this morning, with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak receiving a call from Tony Abbott of Australia at 10am on the find.
Australian Broadcasting Corporation editor Jon Williams said that the network’s correspondent currently on board the US Navy P-8 spotter, tweeted: “Significant radar returns coming from site where possible #MH370 objects spotted.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed the sighting of the objects at the Parliament in Canberra, and said the search and rescue team are on the way to retrieve the objects.
It was reported that satellite images show two objects in waters off Perth, which may be related to the missing MAS flight MH370.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority however are not yet able to determine
It had not confirmed if the objects located by satellite 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth were debris from the missing plane.
The authority said the objects spotted were “indistinct” but the sightings had been assessed and were credible.
A US law enforcement official told Reuters that the FBI will assist the Police in analysing the data from a flight simulator that belongs to Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
The official said he “could not confirm that some data had been wiped from the simulator and stressed that there was no guarantee the FBI analysis would turn up any fresh clues.”
President Barack Obama told Dallas television station KDFW that the US is giving top priority for the search of MH370,
Royal Malaysian Navy’s KD Kasturi and KD Lekiu set off to the Indian Ocean at 9.00pm March 19 to join in the search and rescue operation for missing MAS flight MH370.
The New Straits Times reported that both vessels set sail from the Lumut navy jetty operations base.
11.00pm (March 19)
In refuting a report by a local newspaper that implicated Indonesia in a global secret movement or western coalition with a particular agenda in relations to the disappearance of MH370, the country’s embassy released a statement today, saying that the article referred to speculation in Cabal Times which was made up to create confusion.
The country also denied it had withheld information, as alleged by the newspaper that Indonesia had not released its radar data that MH370 had flown through its airspace.
In the statement, Indonesia expressed its protest against the article titled “MH370 Hidden in the United States Base in Diego Garcia?”
The statement also pointed out that Indonesia was among the first to respond when news broke that the plane had gone missing on March 8, saying they deployed eight vessels and three aircraft, and personnel from the Indonesian Armed Forces and the National Search and Rescue Agency (Basarnas).
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has ordered an immediate inquiry into the events that unfolded in the press room today where several family members of those on board MH370 came to the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang demanding for more information on the search and rescue operation.
Hishammuddin’s Communication Team tweeted via
@H2OComms; “I have ordered an immediate inquiry into the events in the press room today.”
Thailand has confirmed that Malaysia officially requested its support and assistance in the search for MH370.
“I received a phone call yesterday from the Malaysian foreign minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman informing us that he had sent a fax to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, asking for assistance from the Thai Government to search for the missing plane,” said Thailand’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Surapong Tovichakchaikul, as reported by Bernama.
Surapong said he told Anifah that Thailand was ready to offer support and assistance in any form.
Investigators reportedly believe MH370 opted for the southern corridor, that stretches from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean, which it said was a better bet to avoid radar detection, as reported by Reuters.
It quoted a source as saying that they are working on an assumption that the plane went south, adding that it could have gone to the southern end of that corridor.
The report said that this is where the plane could have either crashed or landed without detection.
The northern corridor would have been a more unlikely area because, according to a former US intelligence agent earlier in the week, the aircraft “would have at the very least triggered military alarms of the numerous nations” that stretch along that corridor.
In a Reuters interview on Monday, Mike Morell said that “the passenger plane had most likely gone the southern route where it would have better chances of escaping radar detection.”
As the press conference was going on earlier, family members earlier holed up in the media secretariat were escorted out in separate directions at 5.40pm.
The Rakyat Post’s reporter said shouting by the family members could be heard inside the media room where the press conference was being held.
A minor scuffle had also broken out between reporters and the Police as the family members were ushered out.
Police had threatened to arrest the mob of reporters who tried to breach the police-manned barricades at the Sama-Sama Hotel lobby to get better pictures.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, at the press conference had also addressed the matter of emotions running high amongst family members of those on board MH370.
He said that a high level team is currently being assembled to be sent to Beijing, which will include representatives from the Prime Minister’s office, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Royal Malaysian Air Force, DCA and Malaysia Airlines (MAS).
The team will be tasked to update those in Beijing with the current information on the search and rescue operation.
He told reporters that the team will be led by Lt General Datuk Seri Ackbal Haji Abdul Samad, RMAF Air Operations Commander.
Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, in the question and answer session at the press conference today, agreed that some priority is being given to the southern corridor, because it is a vast open sea.
However he maintained that both corridors are equally important, adding that the southern corridor would simply prove to be more challenging.
The inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed what was earlier said by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi that some data on Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s flight simulator was deleted.
He also confirmed that the computer forensics expert is working to retrieve the deleted data.
“The forensics experts are from Cybersecurity and MAS, as well as foreign experts. What is meant by deleted refers to the data log in the simulator,” he said.
The simulator was taken from Zaharie’s house on March 16, Khalid said, adding that it contained three games; Flight Simulator X, Flight Simulator 9 and XFlight 10.
He also told reporters that the police did not face any difficulties in dealing with the families of both the pilot and co-pilot, saying that they had given full cooperation.
“The data was deleted on the 3rd of February,” Khalid told the press conference.
At the daily press conference at Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang which began at 5.30pm, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told members of the media that everyone on board MH370 remain innocent until proven otherwise.
He urged the public to refrain from making unnecessary speculation.
On the investigation, he said the team is working on narrowing the search corridor via four methods.
The first is gathering satellite information, followed by analysing radar data as it becomes available, be it primary, secondary, military or civilian, the third is to increase air and surface assets and finally, to increase the number of technical experts.
“The search and rescue operation for MH370 now involves diplomatic, logistical and technical challenges,” he said.
Hishammuddin told reporters that the diplomatic team is being led by Foreign Affairs minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman, the assets and logistical side is being led by the armed forces while the technical team is being led by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).
He added that all the countries in the two, northern and southern corridors have agreed to assist in the search and rescue operation.
He also said that while Malaysia still leads the operation, partners are increasingly taking the lead in certain sectors, and he thanked them for their continued assistance and support.
“Indonesia and Australia have indicated they are leading the search and rescue in the southern corridor,” he said.
On radar data from other countries, Hishammuddin said he has received the data but was not at liberty to reveal them.
Meanwhile, on reports that a low fying jumbo jet was sighted in the Maldives on March 8, Hishammuddin said that the Malaysian chief of the defence force has contacted his counterpart there and this claim was proven untrue.
He reiterated that the flight flew on a normal routine up until waypoint Igari, and added that there were no additional waypoints on the documented flight plan.
On investigations into individuals, he repeated that all passengers, crew members and ground staff of MH370 is being investigated.
“We have received the background checks of passengers from other countries except for Russia and Ukraine. So far we have found nothing significant,” he said.
He also informed the media that he met with a delegation from France this morning, made up of those with experience in the Air France Airbus A330-203 flight AF447, which took two years to retrieve the blackbox.
“They’re information and expertise will help us to make decisions from this point forward,” he said.
It was reported in Bloomberg that the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean was narrowed after new analysis of its fuel reserves.
The report added that this comes as authorities said they were trying to retrieve deleted data on a flight simulator belonging to the pilot.
An assessment by the US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) had allowed the search to be focused on an area about the size of Italy.
This was reportedly said by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority in an e-mailed statement.
“That’s about half the size of the zone planned yesterday”, said John Young, the agency’s general manager of emergency response.
Several family members of those on board MH370 turned up at the media centre at the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang without warning.
Upon arriving and catching the security team off guard, they opened up a banner written in Mandarin, causing a commotion as the media attempted to photograph them.
The security team escorted the family members to the media secretariat where the press were not allowed to enter.
One of the family members who had been staying at the Cyberview Lodge Resort and Spa in Putrajaya claimed that she has not received any information in her 12 days stay here.
Another broke down asking for her son back.
The daughter of MH370’s chief steward Andrew Nari will not collect her SPM results tomorrow, as told to The Star by Nari’s family member.
It was reported that Maira Elizabeth Nari’s family has called the school and requested for them to hold on to the transcript while they try to stay as private as possible.
Via her Twitter account today, Maira wrote: “SPM results is coming out tomorrow, and was hoping that he’ll be back by then. But, that’s alright. He’s with me through my heart, & faith.”
Maira’s previous tweet during a Liverpool match had also gained much attention, with the Liverpool FC (LFC) personally responding to her on Twitter saying: “Just to let you know that we are thinking of your father & all those still missing from flight #MH370 Be strong. YNWA.” (YNWA is Liverpool’s tagline You’ll Never Walk Alone).
The tweet was in response to Maira saying: “Daddy, Liverpool is winning the game. Come home, so you can watch the game! You never miss watching the game. It’s your very first time. :’)“
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi told reporters at a press conference in Putrajaya that several recent files in Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s flight simulator had been deleted.
Cops had seized the simulator from his home recently as part of their probe into the missing MAS flight MH370.
New Straits Times reported that Zahid had said computer forensics experts are currently working round-the-clock to retrieve the deleted files.
NBC News suggested that MH370’s abrupt turnback was programmed into the on board computer, well before the co-pilot signed off with air traffic controllers, based on what was related to them by unnamed sources.
The sources reportedly said that the deviation in the flight path was made at least 12 minutes before co-pilot Fariq Abd Hamid said “All right, good night.”
However the NBC report also quoted a former National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) crash investigator Greg Feith as saying that “some pilots program an alternate flight plan in the event of an emergency”, in highlighting that the deviation does not necessarily indicate an ulterior motive.
Officials in MAS expressed their displeasure over the finger pointing at the two pilots by foreign media and social network.
One official told The Rakyat Post that it is unfair to put any kind of blame on the pilots, especially when it is still not known what happened to the plane and who is responsible for it.
“People should take into consideration the feelings of the family and what they are going through.
“Once things are written, they cannot be retracted. What if the pilots are not responsible for what happened?” he said.
“Would all those pointing fingers then apologise?”
The official added that it is not right to put the pilots’ families through this kind of agony.
“For all we know, they could be the heroes of the flight,” he concluded.
Maldives National Defence Force stated none of the country’s military radars have detected a trace of the missing plane.
According to the statement that was posted on the country’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website, no trace of the MH370 plane has been found from data scrutinized from radars stationed at airports in the Maldives.
China’s Xinhua news agency reported Maldives police are probing reports that residents of the remote Maldives island of Kuda Huvadhoo in Dhaal Atoll saw a low flying jumbo jet on the morning MH370 disappeared.
However, police did not reveal any further details.
Although the fate of MH370 is still unknown, the lead insurer for MAS’ aircraft, as well as liability claims from the passengers’ relatives, Allianz SE has started to pay out compensation for the missing aircraft.
Wall Street Journal, in quoting the insurance company’s spokeswoman Bettina Sattler, stated that it was “common practice in the insurance industry to pay compensation for a missing plane in a timely manner even if the aircraft’s fate is still unclear” adding that “insurance contracts usually include an agreement about a time limit for payouts.”
Allianz SE has started to pay out compensation for the lost plane of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the German insurer said Tuesday.
Sattler however had declined to provide further financial details.
Meanwhile, Reuters published a statement made by Allianz in which it said “Allianz Global Corporate & Specialty and other co-reinsurers of the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aviation hull and liability policy have made initial payments.”
Thailand’s military has revealed its radar detected a plane that may have been MH370 shortly after the jetliner’s communications went down.
According to AP, Thailand didn’t share the information with Malaysia earlier because it wasn’t specifically asked for it.
AP reported Thai air force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn as saying a twisting flight path took the plane to the Straits of Malacca, which is where Malaysian radar tracked it to early March 8.
However Montol said Thai military was unsure whether it detected the same plane.
Asked why it took so long to release the information, Montol said: “Because we did not pay any attention to it. The Royal Thai Air Force only looks after any threats against our country, so anything that did not look like a threat to us, we simply look at it without taking actions.”
He said the plane never entered Thai airspace and that Malaysia’s initial request for information in the early days of the search was not specific.
“When they asked again and there was new information and assumptions from (Malaysian) Prime Minister Najib Razak, we took a look at our information again,” Montol said.
“It didn’t take long for us to figure out, although it did take some experts to find out about it.”
It is not known when or whether Thailand has shared this information with Malaysian authorities.
This is because at yesterday’s daily briefing on the missing aircraft at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Department of Civil Aviation director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman had said radar data was privileged information.
Bernama has reported that government servants have been directed not to spread inaccurate information on the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight.
Public Services Department Director-General Tan Sri Mohamad Zabidi Zainal said a directive had been issued to some1.4 million civil servants cautioning them to refrain from spreading inaccurate information or speculating about MH370.
“There are many parties, especially Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, who have repeatedly advised on this matter.
“So, I would like civil servants to be the nation’s first line of defence by not adding fuel to fire.”
It was reported by a newspaper in Maldives that residents of Kuda Huvadhoo in Dhaal Atoll in the island nation saw a low-flying “jumbo jet” in the early morning of March 8 at about 6.15am.
In the newspaper called Haveeru, the residents had described the “jumbo jet” claimed to be flying over houses, as being white with red stripes.
Eyewitnesses allegedly agree that the jet was travelling north to south east, heading towards the southern tip of the Maldives.
They also commented on the loud noise, which would mean the aircraft had to have been flying low.
This however, has yet to be corroborated by Maldivian authorities.
— — — —
11.45pm (March 18)
Family members of MH370 has decided to set up a communication committee to communicate with MAS officials in Beijing.
Bernama cited reports by Hong Kong-based broadcaster Phoenix Television, that said the committee was aimed at receiving the families’ enquiries and to communicate with the Malaysian side.
According to NBC News, the US Navy P-8 aircraft has arrived in Perth to continue its search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.
With the heightened interest in finding out latest updates on missing MAS flight MH370, cybercriminals are jumping in to exploit this incident by luring netizens to click on links which purportedly offer breaking news, in order to steal personal information.
According to AFP, an Internet security firm Trend Micro, spotted an executable file disguised as a video which will allow scammers to collect user’s data, such as IP address, when clicked.
The firm urged netizens to be cautious when clicking on link shared on social networks for news on MH370.
Police denied releasing information on Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s flight simulator, as reported by a Malay daily that it contained five landing sites; Sri Lanka, Maldives, the much talked about in various conspiracy theories Diego Garcia, and two in India.
These locations fall into the northern and southern corridors where search and rescue operations are currently ongoing to locate the missing MAS flight MH370.
As reported by The Star, assistant chief at the IGP secretariat, Asst Comm Asmawati Ahmad said the police never issued the statement, be it in an official or anonymous capacity.
“We cannot reveal such information as nothing is conclusive yet,” The Star quoted her as saying.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya has just arrived at Aloft KL Sentral for the MH370 briefing with the Barisan Nasional backbencher’s club (BNBBC).
Japan’s Ambassador-Designate to Malaysia Dr Makio Miyagawa has denied that the information given by the Malaysian government in the search and rescue operation for MH370 was uncoordinated, reported Bernama.
During a press briefing at the ambassador’s residence today, he said that to date, there had been no such impression from the Japanese search and rescue team members.
“There are 107 officers, comprising members of Japan’s Ministry of Defence and Coast Guard, based at the Subang Airport, and there has been no such problem from the Malaysian government.
“The Malaysian government has been cooperating with us, giving us quite a good amount of information, very timely and swiftly. Therefore, we have no particular problems as to joining this operation,” he added.
To a question on whether Japan would suspend its participation in the mission, Miyagawa said Japan would not suspend its cooperative action to assist Malaysia but rather, continue and expand assistance based on the new prevailing circumstances.
He said Japan had refocused its attention to the south east part of Indonesia, located along the line of the southern arch (corridor), but would depend on the latest circumstances and the Malaysian government’s coordination.
In an article by The New York Times earlier, senior American officials reportedly said that the turnback carried out by MH370 was “likely carried out through a computer system programmed by someone in the plane’s cockpit” with knowledge about airplane systems.
It added that, instead of carrying out manual operation of the plane’s controls, whoever altered MH370’s flight path “typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer.”
The officials however could not confirm if the plane’s path was reprogrammed before or after it took off.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, at the press conference today, said he could not confirm this information as investigations are still ongoing.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said he was fully aware of the hunger strike planned by family members of those on board MH370 in Beijing, saying that the airline is actively handling the issue.
He said he will look into the matter as he is in regular contact with the team in Beijing.
At the press conference, Ahmad Jauhari said the aircraft was programmed to fly to Beijing but added that anything could happen once it was airborne.
“MAS does not fly over these two corridors,” he told reporters.
He reiterated that they knew the satellite communication was active as the last transmission received was at 8.11am on March 8.
He added that only the reporting system was disabled and this could be due to a number of reasons.
A French reporter invoked laughter in the media room at the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang during the daily press conference on MH370 by asking acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein if it was true he was cousins with Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, and if he was protected.
Hishammuddin asked the journalist where she was from before saying, “Yes I can confirm Najib is my cousin, and I do not know what am I supposed to be protected from.”
At the press conference today, Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein elaborated more on the search and rescue efforts involving the two specified corridors.
“In the northern corridor, we have divided the search area into seven quadrants. Each of the seven quadrants is 400 nautical miles by 400 nautical miles – or 160,000 square nautical miles in total.”
“We have also divided up the southern corridor into seven quadrants. Just like in the north, each quadrant covers an area of 160,000 square nautical miles.”
The entire search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles, he clarified to the media.
In response to the disappearance being an act of terrorism, Hishammuddin said Malaysia is not a hot bed for terrrorism.
Hishammuddin, who is also acting Transport Minister once again clarified that Malaysia is putting the interest of finding the plane and its passengers above national security by releasing the information from the military primary radar, adding that the military will now have to upgrade its radar system.
He confirmed that other countries have also shared their information but he was not at liberty to share it.
AFP reported that relatives of the Chinese passengers on board flight MH370 threatened to go on a hunger strike today as they demanded answers from Malaysian officials pertaining to the missing aircraft.
“Now we have no news, and everyone is understandably worried. The relatives say they will go to the (Malaysian) embassy to find the ambassador,” said Wen Wancheng, whose son was aboard the missing flight.
“The Malaysian ambassador should be presenting himself here. But he’s not. Relatives are very unsatisfied. So you hear them saying ‘hunger strike’,” added Wen.
According to the report, a woman even held a placard that read “Respect life. Give us back our families” outside the meeting room of a hotel in Beijing, where relatives are regularly updated on the flight.
“Since they haven’t given us the truth about those people’s lives, all of us are protesting,” the woman reportedly said.
Wen said some relatives even stopped going to the meetings.
Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim of Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) today admitted that the pilot of MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is related to his son’s in-laws.
“I am not denying that he is related to one of my in-laws and that I have met him on several occasions,” Anwar was quoted as saying today.
Indian intelligence officials have cleared the five Indians on board a missing Malaysian airliner, the Press Trust of India news agency reported quoting unnamed police officials.
Australia’s maritime safety agency said it reduced its search area for the missing plane to a 600,000 square kilometre (230,000 square mile) corridor in the southern Indian Ocean.
According to Reuters, the agency said strong currents and high seas are making the operations more daunting.
AMSA said it streamlined that data to account for water movements in the days since flight MH370 went missing.
Since the day families of those on board MH370 were accommodated at The Everly Hotel in Putrajaya, there have been 77 reported cases of out-patient treatments and counseling given to family members.
Of the 77, according to Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam, four cases were referred to the Emergency Department of Putrajaya Hospital, reported Bernama.
“The emergency cases comprised one asthma attack, one chest pain case (later confirmed as panic attack) and two normal cases,” he was quoted as saying.
He added that 17 other cases were given psychosocial intervention, aimed at helping the affected family members reduce their emotional distress.
One severe case even needed further treatment, and it was referred to Putrajaya Hospital.
That patient is currently in stable condition and is being monitored by the Mental Health and Psychosocial Response Team at the hotel, said Subramaniam.
He added that the number of staff and the scope of services offered at the centre would be increased if necessary.
Subramaniam also monitored accommodation and facilities provided for families of passengers from China at the Cyberview Lodge Resort & Spa in Cyberjaya.
There were approximately 30 families accommodated there, but Subramaniam did not meet with any of them in a bid to prevent any emotional distress.
The Taliban have denied having anything to do with the disappearance of flight MH370.
According to Reuters, a spokesperson for the Taliban in Afghanistan named Zabihullah Mujahid said: “It happened outside Afghanistan and you can see that even countries with very advanced equipment and facilities cannot figure out where it went.”
He added they did not have any information as it was an external issue.
Reuters also reported that a commander with the Pakistan Taliban said the fragmented group could only dream about such an operation.
“We wish we had an opportunity to hijack such a plane,” Reuters quoted the commander saying.
The report further stated that Indian defence officials rejected the possibility of a plane flying over its country undetected for hours. He said not only was this bizarre, but were wild reports without any basis.
Pakistani officials added that they, too, had detected nothing suspicious in their skies after the plane vanished.
Malaysians in New York gathered to pray for the safety of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.
Led by Trade Consul Shahrulmiza Zakaria, it gathered almost 70 Malaysian nationals residing in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, reported Bernama.
Among those who were present included officials of the Malaysian Mission office at the United Nations, the Malaysian Consulate in New York, representatives of Malaysian agencies and financial institutions and Malaysian students.
Raja Reza Raja Zaib Shah, Deputy Malaysian Permanent Representative to the UN, said the effort was one of the sincere contributions by Malaysian nationals in New York.
A message board #PrayForMH370 was also set up, by the Office of the Malaysian Permanent Mission to the UN in New York, for visitors to share their messages.
In what may be the largest crowdsourcing project of its kind, the firm reportedly said the search area now covers 24,000 square kilometres (9,000 square miles).
It added that more images are being added daily, including from a new area in the Indian Ocean, with 257 million “map views” and 2.9 million areas “tagged” by participants.
DigitalGlobe activated its crowdsourcing platform called Tomnod on March 11 and uses an algorithm called CrowdRank to determine leads, paying close attention to overlapping tags.
A statement by DigitalGlobe stated that once expert analysts examined the tags and identified the top 10 or so most notable areas, they would share the information with customers and authorities.
It was said the firm has direct contact with the US government and there is continuous coordination on this and other world events.
The AFP report also stated no definitive records were kept on crowdsourcing, but this particular effort was likely one of the largest in history.
According to the firm, it was bigger than the relief effort for Typhoon Haiyan last November in the Philippines.
The Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) has offered Malaysia the help of its Information Fusion Centre (IFC) to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
The IFC has a network of 13 military navies and 51 civilian shipping companies worldwide.
In a statement, SAF said the IFC had activated this network of ships to report any unusual sightings in designated search areas and more companies are expected to be contacted, according to Bernama.
The SAF also said the IFC had international liaison officers stationed here from 13 countries who could help coordinate actions from Australia, Brunei, France, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, New Zealand, Peru, the Philippines, Thailand, Vietnam and the United States.
As the search for the missing MH370 enters its 11th day today, the search is still ongoing in full force and possibilities of where and how the jetliner went missing have been endless.
A CNN report this morning quoted an analyst who said radars have some blind spots, hence it was possible to fly at lower altitudes to avoid being spotted.
Jeffrey Beatty, a security consultant and former FBI special agent, said someone could have planned a route that avoided radar detection.
CNN also reported a senior Indian military official who said military radar near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands were not closely watched as other radar systems.
Others responded to claims reported by a local Malaysian daily yesterday that the plane might have flown low to the ground, about 5,000 feet or less, to avoid radar detection.
Mary Schiavo, CNN aviation analyst and former inspector general for the US Department of Transportation, said, “Five thousand isn’t really low enough to evade the radar, and that’s kind of where general aviation flies all the time anyway, and we’re visible to radar.”
Aviation and maritime attorney Daniel Rose said it was highly improbable, unless radar system capabilities in other countries had been overestimated.
— — — —
11.45pm (March 17)
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 very likely did not fly over a northern route, as suspected by investigators. Former CIA deputy director Mike Morell said this was because it would likely have been detected by the numerous countries the plane would have been forced to traverse.
“(There’s) a lot of defence radar up there, with China and India and the US and Afghanistan,” he said on CBS This Morning. “It’s most likely the southern route.”
Morell said the most interesting thing about this investigation is that “it really seems that somebody took control of this aircraft and flew it for some time after the communications systems were turned off.”
The Wall Street Journal has released a report saying “some senior US officials believe that the plane may have been “taken” as part of a “dry run” for a future terrorist attack, testing the ability to take a plane and hide it from radar and satellites.
Though Morell said this was a possibility, he said it was unlikely someone would do something of this magnitude as a test, as “If you were able to get control of an aircraft, you would use it immediately”.
The Vietnamese government is committed in continuing its co-operation with Malaysia and other countries in the region in searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 whenever needed.
Vietnamese Ambassador to Malaysia Nguyen Hong Thao said the Vietnamese government would work closely with the Malaysian government to identify the necessary measures to deal with the mysterious disappearance of the plane.
“I understand that this is the time we have to deal with such a situation… riddled with a lot of complications.
“The facts remains that the Vietnam government had deployed a significant amount of military forces in the search and the people of Vietnam have participated in the early search and rescue operation.”
Kyrgyz civil aviation authorities ruled out any possibility of the airliner disappearing in or near Kyrgyzstan.
“No, this plane did not fly over Kyrgyzstan’s territory,” said Mr Dair Tokobayev, vice-president of Kyrgyzstan’s main civilian airport Manas near the capital Bishkek.
“We have two military air bases – a US and a Russian one – deployed in our country and equipped with pretty serious radar equipment, so they would have detected this plane,” he told Reuters.
Malaysian police were investigating a flight engineer who was among the passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as they focus on the pilots and anyone else on board who had technical flying knowledge, a senior police official said.
The aviation engineer is Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, 29, a Malaysian who has said on social media he had worked for a private jet charter company.
“Yes, we are looking into Mohd Khairul as well as the other passengers and crew. The focus is on anyone else who might have had aviation skills on that plane,” a senior police official with knowledge of the investigations told Reuters.
Kazakhstan has played down Malaysia’s suggestion that the missing plane could have reached its airspace.
A spokesperson for its civil aviation committee said MH370 would have been detected by Kazakhstan’s radar if the plane had got that far.
Reuters quoted the official as saying that 9 Malaysia Airlines flights travelled over Kazakhstan on March 8. None of them was MH370.
The comments came after Malaysia issued a map earlier today indicating the northern arc and routes being searched. It showed a flight path stretching as far as Kazakhstan and the Caspian Sea.
Following various questions raised by the media during the press briefing, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said flight MH370 could have flown for another 30 minutes, depending on its speed after the last radar handshake.
He confirmed that the last person to speak to the control tower was the co-pilot, Fariq Ab Hamid, but it was unclear when exactly the ACARS (Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System) was switched off.
“The last ACARS transmission was at 1.07am. It was supposed to transmit half an hour after that, but didn’t. As far as pilot communication, the last was at 1.19am,” said Ahmad Jauhari.
To reassure all passengers of MAS flights, he said they were currently operating at “Code Tango”, which meant at a level of heightened security.
He denied claims that captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a last-minute replacement, saying that it was not true. Zaharie was on a roster as scheduled.
He also denied claims that the plane was carrying suspicious cargo, adding that, “we had mangosteens to China, amounting to three or four tonnes (on board)”.
On the issue of messages or SMS being sent by MH370 passengers, he said up to now no information had been received confirming such calls or messages took place.
He said telecommunication companies were still going through their data to check on this claim.
Ahmad Jauhari said at the moment, the airline was looking at all possible security leaks and shortcomings.
Meanwhile, Acting Defence and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said the navy had deployed 2 warships to the southern corridor, which stretches from east of Sumatra to the south of the Indian Ocean. The northern corridor stretches from Laos to the Caspian Sea.
The minister said recalibration of the search was done after new info was received from Immarsat over the last 2 days.
He said: “The cost of finding missing flight MH370 has not been an issue and it was never brought up by other countries and we do not think about it either.”
On questions whether the plane could have been controlled remotely, he said it was not probable, but if there was proof and information which could be verified, it must be investigated.
He said the investigations into the crew and passengers were ongoing but stressed that their families were giving their cooperation.
Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin said most of the countries contacted for help had pledged to share information with Malaysia.
“We have sent verbal requests this morning to 14 countries; more than half have replied,” he said.
In the press briefing by Defence and Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, it was revealed that during the last 24 hours, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had spoken to the Prime Minister of Australia and the Premier of China.
Malaysia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs had sent diplomatic notes to all countries involved in two groups — first, countries in the search corridors; and second, countries from which Malaysia is seeking assistance and expertise to be shared with the Rescue Co-ordination Centre here in Malaysia, “so that we can co-ordinate the search effort”.
“We are not at liberty to reveal information from specific countries. As the co-ordinating authority we are gathering all information as part of the on-going search and rescue operation.
“Over the past 48 hours, Malaysia has been working on the diplomatic, technical and logistical requirements of the search for MH370.
“Malaysia continues to lead the overall co-ordination of the search effort. The southern corridor has been divided into two sections, according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) demarcations.
“These demarcations were agreed by the ICAO — of which Malaysia is a council member — before MH370 went missing. Australia and Indonesia have agreed to lead search and rescue operations in their respective regions as demarcated by the ICAO.
“Today, I can confirm that search and rescue operations (SAR) in the northern and southern corridors have already begun. Countries including Malaysia, Australia, China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan have already initiated search and rescue operations.
“The Royal Malaysian Air Force and the Royal Malaysian Navy have deployed assets to the southern corridor.
“Two Malaysian ships have been deployed: the offshore patrol vessels KD Kelantan and KD Selangor.This deployment also includes a Super Lynx helicopter, which can operate from either ship.
“Australia has already moved a P-3 Orion aircraft to region of the Cocos and Christmas Islands.
“Today, the Prime Minister of Australia confirmed that Australia would send an additional two P-3 Orions and a C-130 Hercules. A US P-8 Poseidon aircraft will be travelling to Perth today to help with the search.
“Malaysia has been working with international investigators and yesterday, experts from Civil Aviation Administration of China joined the investigations team followed by officials from the French Office of Investigations and Analysis for the Safety of Civil Aviation today to work with Malaysia Airlines and the DCA to refine data that can help with the search.
“At this point, I would like to stress that Malaysia has been co-operating with the FBI, Interpol and other relevant international law enforcement authorities since day one.
“I would also like to address the speculation that Malaysia has held back information about MH370’s movements. Our priority has always been to find the aircraft. We would not withhold any information that could help. But we also have a responsibility not to release information until it has been verified by the international investigations team.
“This responsibility is not only to the families and to the investigation, but also the search and rescue operation. It would be irresponsible to deploy substantial assets merely on the basis of unverified and uncorroborated information.
“As soon as the possibility emerged that the plane had carried out an air turn-back to the Straits of Malacca, we expanded our search to that area.
“I would like to reiterate the US investigating team’s statement about that decision: based on the information and data given by the Malaysian authorities, the US team was of the view that there were reasonable grounds for the Malaysian authorities to deploy resources to conduct search on the western side of peninsular Malaysia.
“As soon as we verified and corroborated the new satellite information as to the possible last known whereabouts of the aircraft, we recalibrated our search efforts to the northern and southern corridors.
“Over the past two days, we have been recalibrating the search for MH370. It remains a significant diplomatic, technical and logistical challenge.
“Malaysia is encouraged by the progress made during such a short period of time. With support from our many international partners, this new phase of the search is under way. Assets are being deployed, and search and rescue operations have begun.”
The Transport Ministry today said the number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation had increased from 14 to 26.
These countries are: Malaysia, Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Turkmenistan, UAE, UK, US, Uzbekistan, and Vietnam.
The ministry stated that the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force would deploy their assets to the southern corridor.
Meanwhile, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent diplomatic notes calling for radar and satellite information; land, sea and aerial search operation details; search and rescue action plans for relevant countries and other details of any information required from Malaysia.
The notes were sent to all countries along the northern and southern corridors.
“We pray to Allah that all those on the plane will be safe,” says Sultan of Pahang Sultan Ahmad Shah Abu Bakar to the press at The Everly Hotel after coming out of a private meeting with the family members of those on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
“I came to see the family members (of those on board) … I cannot say much except to advise them to be patient while waiting for news of their loved ones,” said Sultan Ahmad Shah.
He said he was glad that the families are able to stay in The Everly for the duration of their wait.
He also praised the kindness of Putrajaya Corporation, especially its chairman, Tan Sri Dr Aseh Che Mat, for assisting the families with their accommodation in Putrajaya.
Sultan Ahmad Shah was accompanied by his consort, Sultanah Kalsom Abdullah, the Crown Prince Tengku Abdullah, and the Tengku Temenggong of Pahang, Tengku Fahd Muadzam Shah.
The multi-national search for missing flight MH370 just got bigger as 3 investigators from the French Civil Aviation Safety Investigation Authority (BEA) arrived in Malaysia early today to assist in the MH370 search operation, reported Bernama.
The BEA was involved in the investigation into the Air France Flight 447 Airbus A330 accident in 2009.
On Saturday, it was reported that French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault wrote to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and said the BEA was ready to provide assistance to Malaysia.
Malaysian senior officials involved in the search for flight MH370 held a meeting at Sama-Sama Hotel today, reported Bernama.
According to its report, Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainudin and Chief of Defence Forces Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin attended the closed-door meeting and they were seen leaving the meeting room at 12.15pm.
Bernama also cited unnamed sources who said that representatives of the Transport Ministry and Malaysia Airports Holdings Bhd also attended the meeting.
The meeting is expected to resume at 2pm, with the attendance of representatives of the China Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
In Parliament today, Datuk Mahfuz Omar (Pokok Sena-Pas) offered himself and all his Pakatan comrades as replacements for the passengers and crew members on board MH370 if the plane had been hijacked.
Mahfuz said the decision was a unanimous one. “Yes, it is agreed by all and not a personal decision.”
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the country would lead the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern vector.
According to AFP, Abbott said he was responding to a request from Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
“He asked that Australia take responsibility for the search on the southern vector, which the Malaysian authorities now think was one possible flight path for this ill-fated aircraft.”
Abbott said he offered the Malaysian prime minister additional maritime surveillance resources and added that defence chiefs of both nations were discussing how to implement the arrangement.
Earlier today, he said he had no information on the plane being detected close to Australia, although its western coast borders the Indian Ocean.
Abbott also reportedly said the incident could lead to changes in how aircraft are tracked.
“I think that there will be a lot of analysis done of this particular event which thus far remains deeply, deeply mysterious.”
“And I think there will be a lot of lessons learnt, and I dare say some of those lessons will involve the tracking of aircraft.”
It’s been almost two weeks since MAS Flight MH370 vanished and very few concrete leads have been revealed about the plane’s location and reasons behind its disappearance from radars.
Despite much criticism, a deputy minister here claimed Malaysia had won praises over its handling of operations.
According to a Bernama report, Deputy International Trade and Industry Minister Datuk Hamim Samuri said this as he claimed yesterday that the mystery surrounding the disappearance of MH370 had not affected foreign investors’ confidence in the country’s security.
On the contrary, he said business outlook among foreign investors had climbed due to efficiency in the search and rescue operations. But a report by theWall Street Journalsuggested friction was high with some countries now, especially China, which had more than 150 citizens on board the missing plane.
The news report also stated that US lawmakers had complained of a lack of information from Malaysian investigators and a resistance to involving international law enforcement.
House Homeland Security Committee chairman Michael McCaul said dealing with the Malaysian government and the lack of knowledge was frustrating.
However, Cmdr William Marks, spokesman for the United States Seventh Fleet, said there was cooperation and both the US and Malaysian governments continued to work together.
Brisbane Timesreported that a surveillance analyst believed the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 was likely to have travelled along a southern course near Australia.
If it did, the analyst said the plane should have been picked up by Australia’s Jindalee radar network.
But Prime Minister Tony Abott said today that he had no information that the missing plane may have come close to Australia, even though its western coast borders the Indian Ocean.
According to an AFP report, Abott said all Australia’s agencies that could possibly help in the area were scouring data to see if there’s anything they could do to understand the mystery surrounding MH370’s disappearance.
Australia has two Orion surveillance aircraft assisting with the search for the plane, with one of those having now been redeployed to the Indian Ocean search.
Abott added he would talk to Malaysia soon to see if additional help was needed by Australia.
— — — —
11.30pm (March 16)
It was highlighted several days ago that an American satellite imagery company, in its effort to aid in locating the missing MAS flight MH370, had uploaded satellite images from its five communication satellites onto a website called Tomnod, and called upon members of the public to help tag the photos if they see anything resembling debris or wreckage of the plane.
This method was called ‘crowdsourcing’.
Since the initiative was announced, folks from around the globe pitched in to see if they could help locate the aircraft.
Today, Twitter user Richard Barrow with the username
@ThisDigitalLtd posted a satellite image that he claims to show the plane’s wreckage at coordinates 5°39’08.5″N 98°50’38.0″E.
Barrow said that he initially tagged what appeared to be “blue debris”, another user @JoeNemo3 “spotted windows/fuselage and another user @stevepegg “enhanced image” before Barrow himself added a plane to the image for scale.
These coordinates, according to another report, although unverified, is said to be almost similar to the area in which Greek tanker Elka Athina is headed to on the Straits of Malacca after receiving a message to check out debris that looked like floating suitcases.
Although the effort taken by the satellite imagery company is lauded, it remains to be seen whether this latest development in the world of ‘crowdsourcing’ is credible or merely doctored images.
As at press time, there is still no valid confirmation on the status of the Elka Athina’s involvement in the search and rescue operation.
Unconfirmed report states that a Greek petrochemical tanker the Elka Athina is sailing towards a region in the Straits of Malacca to locate possible debris, believed to belong to missing MAS flight MH370.
Greek media reported that the tanker was responding to radio reports of suitcases found floating in the sea.
The tanker was said to have received a message from an Indonesian source, however this has yet to be verified.
MAS in a statement said families of passengers and crew members of MH370 can now call 03-8777 5770 instead of the present number 03-7884 1234 for general enquiry on the missing aircraft.
The change would take effect tomorrow from 12 noon.
The number, however is solely dedicated for enquiries by family members of those on board MH370.
For media queries, they can contact 03-8777 5698 or 03-8787 1276 and for latest updates on the incident, people can visit the MAS website at www.mas.com.my
Kota Belud MP Datuk Abdul Rahman Dahlan made an appearance at an event at RUANG, in Subang Jaya organised by Eros Consultants and supported by 1Malaysia For Youth (1M4U), called Sama-Sama MH370.
The event, initiated by a company that wants to remain anonymous, aims to bring together people who want to share their thoughts, prayers and hopes for the passengers and crew members on board missing flight MH370 through art.
The event brought together many who expressed their hopes through songs, poetry and messages.
A graffiti art wall was also erected outside the premises. (read story here)
Pakistan’s top aviation official on Saturday dismissed Western media reports that the missing MAS plane might be hidden somewhere in the country.
“It’s wrong, plane never came towards Pakistan,” special assistant to the Prime Minister on Aviation Shujaat Azeem told news portal Dawn.com.
His attention was drawn on the reports which said the disappeared plane could have potentially reached as far as Pakistan.
“Pakistan’s civil aviation radars never spotted this jet, so how it could be hidden somewhere in Pakistan?”he said.
Azeem said the plane disappeared far away from Pakistani air space and was not visible on its radars,
However, he said that his division was on alert and following all developments related to the incident.
It was also mentioned at the press conference, after a question was posed by one of the reporters, that one of the transponder systems was switched off before the last communication from the pilot which was “All right, good night.”
The Rakyat Post was informed about a Facebook posting that was made on March 8 by a woman who expressed her gratitude to Allah that her husband, who was initially scheduled to fly the MH370 KL – Beijing – KL on midnight March 9, was replaced at the last minute. (read story here)
Along the lines of possible change in the flight roster, MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, at the press conference today, insisted that there were no changes in the flight roster and that the pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot for MH370 Fariq Abd Hamid did not request to fly together.
Ahmad Jauhari also explained that the plane’s cargo manifest was examined and no hazardous goods were found.
Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein confirmed that there have been no ransom demands made by anyone, if the disappearance of MH370 was due to a hijacking.
He said that he would be unable to comment on speculative theories on what might have caused the deviation in flight path of MH370 out of respect to the families of those on board and the ongoing investigations, saying only that the actions of switching off the ACARS and transponder on the plane was a “deliberate action by someone on the aircraft.”
Confirming that there is now a significant recalibration of the search, Hishammuddin who is also acting Transport Minister stressed out that the search and rescue operation for missing MH370 is still being led and coordinated by Malaysia.
He also informed the media that in the past 24 hours, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had already spoken to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, the President of Turkmenistan, the President of Kazakhstan and the Prime Minister of India, to engage their help in light of the new information that has surfaced, placing the aircraft’s path in a wider geographical scale.
The foreign ministry is also in the process of briefing the countries along the northern and southern corridors; as announced by Najib yesterday.
“Malaysian officials are requesting support from these countries – as well as others, and this support includes general satellite data, radar playback – both primary and secondary – provisions for ground, sea and aerial search, and assets as appropriate,” he said, adding that the operation which previously involved 14 countries has now become 25.
“We are currently discussing with all partners how best to deploy assets along the two search corridors. Both corridors are being treated with equal importance,” he added, saying also that they were in the process of contacting additional countries who can provide specific assets relevant to the search and rescue operation.
Hishammuddin also told reporters that a team from the British satellite telecommunications provider Inmarsat arrived yesterday to assist in investigations.
It was also confirmed at the press conference at Sama-Sama Hotel today that the earlier reported re-enactment of MH370’s flight path and deviation was carried out, however it was not on board an identical Boeing 777-200 aircraft, but via a flight simulator.
With regards to an ABC News report that Malaysia turned down help from Interpol in investigations into the missing flight, Hishammuddin together with the Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar denied it, saying they were working with Interpol as well as the US Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) in the search and rescue effort to locate the missing plane.
When asked about the plane’s location when the last satellite communication was received at 8.11am March 8, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman only said that the six “handshakes” detected by Inmarsat satellite has provided them with the possible paths the plane could have taken.
Azharuddin also said that the satellite can transmit from ground as long as there is electrical power to the aircraft.
Meanwhile on the plane’s fuel capacity, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said that it was normal for a Boeing 777-200 to be equipped with reserve fuel that could last an extra 45 minutes to one hour.
This, he said, was because sometimes planes might not be able to land at the designated airport due to some problems.
He also said that in some instances, planes may have to be diverted to a different nearby airport.
Based on that, he deduced that MH370 had close to eight hours of fuel.
Hishammuddin was also asked on the possible breach in air force security in light of the disappearance of MH370, to which he replied there was no breach in the standard operating procedure of the air force, as was clarified earlier by air force chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud.
Hishammuddin maintained that their immediate focus was to look for MH370 and anything else will come in time, adding that what is unfolding with regards to the aircraft may “change aviation history.”
On claims that the aircraft had landed at the US military base Diego Garcia located in the Indian Ocean, Hishammuddin denied it.
A question was posed by one of the reporters based on a report on The Times of India by NYT News Service that MH370 was hijacked in order to crash it in a building in India, similar to a 9-11 plot.
Khalid denied this, saying “anybody can say that” and reaffirmed that their focus hasn’t changed.
If it was in fact terrorism in nature, under the procedure, SOSMA will apply, he explained, adding that the investigation is still focused on four angles; hijacking, sabotage, personal and psychological problems.
With regards to the investigation on the crew member and the passengers and if they were focused on any one person, Khalid said equal attention is being given to everyone on the flight manifest.
“We are intensifying the study of the manifest list,” Khalid said.
He told reporters that they were still waiting for for some countries to furnish them with the background checks on the passengers, adding that while some have responded, a few countries with their nationals on board MH370 have yet to respond to their request.
Hishammuddin also mentioned that the probe involved all MAS ground staff involved in handling the MH370 aircraft.
Meanwhile, Khalid said police have taken the flight simulator from the house of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of MH370.
“We went to the house and took the simulator and everything that would help us. We dismantled it and we’ve reassembled it at our office. We’re getting experts to look at it now,” he said.
Khalid added that the investigation has been classified under Section 130(c) of the Penal Code which covers offences of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism and all offences under the aviation act.
Investigators reportedly re-enacted MH370’s suspected flight path using an identical Boeing 777-200, according to a report by AFP.
Citing an unnamed senior Malaysian military official, the re-enactment confirmed their belief that the plane headed west.
It was said that the re-enactment was staged in recent days, aimed at finding out whether the radar and satellite data generated matched the data of MH370’s flight.
“The idea was to identify the possible direction of the missing plane.”
This however has yet to be confirmed by a named official involved in the investigation of the missing aircraft.
The new findings, according to AFP’s source, generated data that was identical to what is believed to show MH370 veered from its intended flight path.
Investigators, in the re-enactment, flew the plane on the same course; across the South China Sea, doubled back across Peninsular Malaysia and headed northwest towards the Andaman Sea, including zig-zag moves possibly intended to avoid being detected by civilian radar.
“The plane was flown exactly how the missing plane flew based on military radar data,” the source was quoted as saying.
“That is why we can conclusively say which two possible directions the plane flew and we have now refocused our search and rescue operations to these two new areas.”
With regards to the focus that is being given to the pilot of MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the Transport Ministry appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions on the investigations that are being conducted.
Also in its statement, the ministry said that, in line with normal procedure, police are “investigating all crew and passengers on board MH370” including “engineers who may have had contact with the aircraft before take-off.”
The ministry confirmed that police searched Zaharie’s house yesterday and that experts are examining the pilot’s flight simulator.
Meanwhile, the co-pilot Fariq Abd Hamid’s home was also searched yesterday.
The Transport Ministry issued a statement today saying that Malaysia is contacting countries along the earlier mentioned northern and southern corridors to locate MH370.
The countries include: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and France.
It said officials are now discussing with all partners on how best to deploy assets along these two corridors.
These officials, according to the statement, are also asking countries to provide assistance that include satellite data and analysis, ground-search capabilities, radar data and maritime and air assets.
Bernama reported that the decline in share prices on the Malaysian bourse was due to external factors, and not the missing MH370 aircraft.
AMP Capital Investors Head of Investment Strategy and Chief Economist Dr Shane Oliver said most global share markets posted a decline last week due to factors like the uncertainty over China’s economic growth and the continuing political tension in Ukraine.
“It isn’t surprising to see the Malaysian share market also slide,” he said.
Subang MP R. Sivarasa told reporters today that MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is a Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) member, but added that it was unfair to draw conclusions that the party was involved in the missing plane.
The theory of a possible anti-government sentiment being behind the plane’s disappearance was carried by UK tabloids, the Daily Mail and UK Mirror.
This came after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak yesterday announced that the probe will also include looking at the plane’s passengers and crew members.
Sivarasa stressed that Daily Mail’s report on this was based on an allegation that Zaharie had attended Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim’s sodomy trial a day before the plane took off, and that allegation is not verified.
Fz.com reported that Sivarasa claimed he knew Zaharie personally and the pilot was friendly, kind and had assisted PKR during the last general election.
In a report by the New York Times, it said that investigators of the missing aircraft were looking at the possibility that “a shipment of lithium batteries in the cargo hold may have caught fire” and caused the aircraft to crash.
However the report also mentioned that this possibility is inconsistent with information that the plane may have kept flying for hours after it vanished.
A source from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said the amount of lithium batteries on board MH370 was below the maximum limit allowed.
“If it had caught fire, signals would have been sent out fast, and if the plane had exploded, debris would have been found,” the source told The Rakyat Post.
Also in the same report which was published March 14 (EST), most likely just a few hours before new information on MH370 was revealed by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, the New York Times had quoted the Vice President of a British satellite telecommunications provider, Inmarsat, David Coiley, as saying that “the missing plane had been equipped with an Inmarsat signaling system that sends out a “keep-alive message” to establish that the plane’s communications system is still switched on.”
According to Coiley, at the time the New York Times report was published, Inmarsat was already sharing the information with the airline and investigators.
Although Coiley declined to specify precisely when or howhe plane sent out a series of such messages after civilian radar lost contact, he said. Those messages later stopped, but he declined to specify precisely when or how many messages had been received. Mr. Coiley said Inmarsat was sharing the information with the airline and investigators.
Earlier in February, The Rakyat Post carried a report on the dangers of Lithium-Ion batteries on planes.
The director of aviation security division from the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) Captain Rusli Abd Rahman said that the department had classified Lithium-Ion batteries as dangerous items.
“Airlines must take necessary care when transporting such items. There are rules and guidelines in place.”
He said when transported in big quantities, the batteries are normally placed in the cargo hold and packed according to DCA regulations. (read story here)
A source from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) told The Rakyat Post that the pilot of MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is happily married with three children, and is also a grandfather as his eldest child has a five-year-old kid.
Zaharie also reportedly owns two houses, and not just the one in Laman Seri, Shah Alam where the media had been hanging around and spotted the Police there.
The family had gone to their house in Subang Jaya after news of the aircraft missing broke in order to avoid the media, according to the source.
Zaharie has two sons and one daughter. The youngest son stays with him in the Shah Alam house, while the daughter is currently doing graduate studies in Melbourne, Australia.
The eldest son, who is married and has a child, stays in Subang Jaya.
At present, The Rakyat Post is still waiting for more confirmation on this matter, as the media is now focused on the pilot’s personal life, with some drawing attention to his connection to the Opposition coalition, which at this point remains as nothing more than wild conspiracy theories and mere speculation.
It was reported by AFP that India has suspended its participation in the search and rescue operation to locate MH370 pending fresh instructions from Malaysia.
Colonel Harmit Singh, a spokesperson for India’s army, navy and air force command in the Andaman and Nicobar Islands was quoted as saying that “the entire operation is on hold for now.”
The Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) will continue to be involved in efforts to locate the missing MH370 in the Straits of Malacca with their Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, reported Bernama.
At around 8.07pm last night, police were believed to have searched co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid’s home at Section 7 Shah Alam for about an hour before leaving with at least two brown paper bags, according to Bernama.
It was reported yesterday that police had also visited the home of MH370’s pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah in the afternoon, soon after the press conference given by the Prime Minister.
Representatives of foreign missions whose citizens were on MH370, were given a briefing on the search and rescue operations earlier.
The closed-door briefing held for about an hour at the Sama-Sama Hotel was delivered by Deputy Foreign Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin, who was accompanied by Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi. as reported by Bernama.
Among the foreign government representatives present included those from China, India, Australia and Brunei.
— — — —
10.00pm (March 15)
Three Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) vessels continue to take turn monitoring the Straits of Malacca in continued search for missing MAS flight MH370.
Bernama reported that an MMEA officer said despite the search, MMEA operation in the Straits of Malacca goes on as usual.
The Star reported that Police were in the area of MH370’s pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home around 2.40pm today, and left around 4.45pm.
The newspaper’s online portal said “three policemen in an MPV showed up at a posh gated community of the captain in Section 13” in Shah Alam.
The Star however reported that media was barred from entering the housing area by security guards.
This comes after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak earlier announced that probe on the missing aircraft will also include looking at its passengers and crew members.
The Singapore Straits Times reported that the country’s armed forces has also called off their search for MH370 in the South China Sea.
The Met Department will continue to assist the search and rescue operation for missing MAS aircraft MH370 by providing the current weather reports.
Bernama quoted its director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail as saying that this was part of the department’s responsibilities to provide information on the weather and sea conditions to aid the teams. (read story here)
Bernama reported that Vietnam has decided to end the search mission for MH370 after Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak announced today that the search in the South China Sea was called off based on new information obtained from the aircraft’s satellite communication. (read story here)
Royal Malaysian Navy’s KD Kasturi will only continue its involvement in the search for MH370 upon receiving further instruction from the navy operation centre, Bernama reported.
Its commanding officer, Commander Mohd Zaidi Ibrahim said all of the frigate’s 158 crew members were ready to resume the operation which started last Sunday.
Mohd Zaidi spoke to reporters at the navy’s Tanjung Gelang Base after KD Kasturi returned to replenish its food stock and to refuel after being involved in the search and rescue operation in the South China Sea.
Upon hearing what the Prime Minister revealed at the press conference today, Selamat Omar, 60, immediately whipped out his cellphone and called a friend to update on the latest piece of information regarding the missing aircraft.
“We still have hope…I feel this will get better,” he told reporters at The Everly Hotel in Putrajaya.
Selamat’s son, an aviation engineer, Mohd Khairul Amri was on board the missing plane.
“I’m thankful to the Prime Minister (Datuk Seri Najib Razak) for this announcement.
“I hope the government continues the search. Of course this is not an easy feat, the whole world is helping and I have high hopes…he (Najib) knows better in terms of information,” Selamat added.
“Today we got information which we can say is verified and hopefully everyone is safe and sound…I have high hopes,” he repeated. (read story here)
Based on new information provided with regards to the missing MAS plane MH370, the graphic below shows the two new possible search areas for the aircraft.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak revealed new information at the press conference, that the last confirmed satellite communication of MH370 was at 8.11am on March 8. (read full statement here)
Najib however did not conclusively say MH370 was hijacked, saying only that the plane was deliberately led off course, and that they were still looking at all possibilities.
The conclusion was made based on information that showed some movements made on the plane were consistent with it being deliberate, that is, up until the point MH370 left primary radar coverage.
Najib said the investigation team is now making further calculation, to find out how far the aircraft may have flown based on the last point of contact, in a bid to refine the search and rescue operation.
“However due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.”
“The aviation authorities of Malaysia and its international counterpart concluded that the plane’s last communication with the satellite was in one of two possible corridors.”
The first corridor, according to Najib stretches from Turkmenistan, border of Kazakhstan to northern Thailand, or the second corrider that stretches between Indonesia to the southern part of the Indian ocean.
He also told reporters that credible information obtained was that MH370 flew north of the Straits of Malacca, which is why the search was expanded to include the Straits of Malacca and later the Andaman Sea.
Najib said the investigation team was now working to further refine the information.
“In view of this, the Malaysian authorities have refocused investigation into the crew and passengers on board MH370.”
The Prime Minister also announced that they are ending the search and rescue operation in the South China Sea and they are reassessing the redeployment of assets.
“These two corridors involve many countries, and we have invited the relevant countries to a briefing by the Foreign Ministry and technical experts. A full briefing will also be given to the foreign governments with passengers on the plane.”
Najib added that they are also requesting for radar data from the countries that are part of these two corridors.
On the plane’s satellite communication, he said that the new information obtained showed that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was disabled just before it reached the east coast of the Peninsular Malaysia.
Meanwhile, shortly after, the aircraft transponder was switched off when the plane reached near the border between Malaysia and Vietnamese air traffic controller.
“Based on new satellite communication, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the aircraft’s ACARS was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of Peninsular Malaysia,” he said.
“Up until the point where it left primary radar coverage, these movements are consistent with deliberate action of someone on the plane.”
This information, coupled with the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s (RMAF) primary radar data that earlier said an aircraft believed to be MH370 but not confirmed, did a turn back, investigators conclude that the plane flew in a westerly direction, back over the Peninsular Malaysia, before turning northwest.
“Based on raw satellite data which was obtained by the satellite data service provider, we can confirm that the aircraft shown in the military’s primary radar data was MH370.”
“After much forensic work and deliberation, the Federal Aviation Authority (FAA), National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) and Malaysian authorities, working separately on the same data, concur.”
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) has been informing the families of passengers and crew of this new development.
The Prime Minister concluded the press conference by saying that the search for MH370 has entered a new phase.
“We have followed every lead and looked into every possibility. We hope this new information brings us one step closer to finding the plane.” (read story here)
Press conference has not started. Members of the press are gathered waiting for the arrival of the Prime Minister.
Members of the press were told that the Prime Minister will only be giving a statement and no questions are allowed.
However questions can be submitted to the media centre to be addressed at the press conference at 5.30pm.
Members of the press are already assembled in the media room of the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang, waiting for the arrival of Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to begin the press conference on MH370.
The press was earlier asked to leave the media room for a security sweep to be conducted.
According to the latest tweet on Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s Twitter account, the press conference will be at 1.30pm.
As the world waits for the Prime Minister’s press conference that is set to take place at 1pm today, AP reported that a Malaysian government official confirmed that investigators have concluded that MH370 was hijacked.
Although AP said the official was not authorised to brief the media, AP was told that “hijacking was no longer a theory” however no motive was given yet and they are unclear as to where the plane was taken.
In the news report, the official mentioned that the hijacking could have involved “one of the pilots or someone else with flying experience.”
Former Malaysia Airlines (MAS) senior pilot Datuk Captain Nik Ahmad Huzlan Nik Hussain has urged engine maker Rolls Royce to issue a statement immediately with regards to unofficial reports on data transmission from the plane after it went off the grid.
Speaking to Astro Awani, Nik Huzlan said an official statement from the 777’s engine maker would “put the speculation made by foreign media to rest once and for all.”
“Issue a statement saying the transmission it had received from the aircraft was at 1.07am on March 8. End of story,” he was quoted as saying.
Earlier on Thursday, acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein had denied the reports of data transmission that went for hours after the plane lost contact with air traffic controllers and disappeared from civilian radar.
Rolls Royce issued a statement soon after saying they concurred with what Hishammuddin said.
However foreign media has continued to press on the data transmission angle, quoting various unnamed officials they say are close to the investigation but are not authorized to make official statements.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is scheduled to give a press conference at Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang at 1pm today with regards to MH370.
The Star reported that South Korea has joined in the search for missing MAS flight MH370.
According to the paper’s online newsportal, South Korean Ambassador to Malaysia Cho Byung-jae said a P-3 and a C-130 aircraft would be deployed today, adding that Wisma Putra was told of the decision yesterday.
Earlier, Bernama reported that France has also offered Malaysia assistance in searching for MH370.
The news agency stated that French Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault had written to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak to say the” French Investigation and Analyses Office for the Security of Civil Aviation (BEA) was ready to provide assistance to Malaysia.”
Based on “undisclosed data from military radar”, an unnamed “senior military official” told AFP that investigators now believe that missing flight MH370 may have been deliberately steered off course by someone with aviation knowledge and radar positions.
The official said the person “has to be skilled, competent and currently a pilot.”
Although this bit of information has yet to be verified by known officials involved in the investigation, it is steering speculation stronger towards theories that the plane may have been hijacked.
This particular “senior military official” spoke to AFP in the affirmative of the earlier denied information that the plane flew for hours after it disappeared from the air-traffic control screens and civilian radar.
The official also said that it flew towards the Indian Ocean which was west of its intended flight path.
Although the Transport Ministry, the department of civil aviation (DCA) and Malaysia Airlines (MAS) have yet to confirm the disappearance of MH370 was due to hijacking, they have maintained to the media that all angles are being explored and they have not discounted the possibility of a hijacking.
Reuters reported that “several governments are using imagery satellites – platforms that take high definition photos – while data from private sector communications satellites is also being examined” to aid in locating missing flight MH370.
Quoting unnamed sources, local news agency Bernama said “Bangladesh will be the latest country to join the search and rescue mission for missing MAS flight MH370.”
The source, which according to Bernama is close to the development of the search and rescue mission said, Bangladesh’s patrol aircraft was launched at dawn today while ships will join tomorrow.
“All of Bangladesh’s available resources will be deployed to assist Malaysia,” Bernama quoted the unnamed source as saying.
As reported last night that India’s Navy was deployed to look for MH370 in the Andaman Islands, it is said that they are now expanding the search to the coast of Chennai.
The Indian Express’ defence correspondent Manu Pubby, tweeted that there was no solid information yet as to why the search has been extended there.
Meanwhile, commenting on the possibility that the plane had flown to the Andaman islands, he wrote, “Would mean a breach of Andaman air defence systems (if the plane travelled over the area.”
In a Facebook posting last night, Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong expressed his solidarity and support to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak and China’s premier Lee Keqiang over missing flight MH370.
“The Fokker-50 Maritime Patrol Aircraft, an additional aircraft we sent today is assisting in the SAR operations in the Melaka Strait,” he wrote on his Facebook account.
China Daily today published what it said was detailed records of MH370’s timeline, from before it took off to when it lost contact, to the emergency response of its loss up to a seven-hour period.
The daily said the details were released by Malaysia Airlines (MAS) at a press conference in Beijing although it can’t be confirmed as at press time if they were in fact from MAS.
— — — —
11.30pm (March 14)
The US Navy Seventh Fleet’s USS Kidd arrived in the northwestern section of the Straits of Malacca today, according to a statement by the US embassy, as reported by Bernama.
USS Kidd is aiding in search and rescue efforts of the missing MAS flight MH370, however at present, the statement said there was no detailed information yet on the vessel’s assignment in the Straits of Malacca.
Meanwhile, the statement added that US maritime surveillance aircraft, the P-8A Poseidon was scheduled to arrive in the area tomorrow.
Vietnam has reportedly reduced the number of aircraft to look for missing MH370.
Bernama reported that the country’s National Committee for Search and Rescue based in Hanoi, said “the search level had now been changed to “active” from “urgent” previously.”
“The boat force remains intact but the number of flights has been reduced,” the committee was quoted as saying, adding that they have searched all “requested and suspected locations but found nothing.”
MAS has been compelled to issue a statement urging the press to be cautious in dealing with family members of those on board MH370.
“We have been receiving feedback from the families that they are being harassed for information from the media,” read the statement by Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah, MAS senior vice-president of strategic communications.
Najmuddin urged the press to “allow these families space to come to terms with this developing situation. Our primary focus at this point in time is to care for the families who are still in shock and coming to terms (with) what is happening to their loved ones.” (read story here)
It was reported that a Malaysia Airlines (MAS) representative told relatives of those on board MH370 in a briefing in Beijing that the plane is equipped with four life rafts that can carry a total of 290 people, according to China Daily.
The rep also said the rafts contained flashlights, and first-aid kits apart from food and water to sustain people for a week, under permitting circumstances.
In an emotional exchange between the relatives and MAS, the airline’s rep, Ignatius Ong, broke down when they were grilled about the search and rescue efforts.
“We also have colleagues on the flight and we want them alive as much as you do,” Ong was quoted as saying.
With speculation that MH370 was headed towards the Andaman islands after it went off the grid on March 8, CNN quoted Denis Giles, Andaman Chronicle newspaper editor who said there was “just nowhere to land such a big plane in his archipelago without attracting notice.”
Reuters’ sources said that the “radar data doesn’t show the plane over the Andaman Islands, but only on a known route that would take it there.”
In a string of unconfirmed reports popping up on international media, another one from Reuters cites yet another couple of unnamed sources as saying that the data from military radar suggests MH370 could have been deliberately flown way off course.
The report said analysis of the data, which to date has yet to be verified by Boeing, Rolls Royce or the Malaysian government, suggests MH370 “diverted from its intended northeast route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and flew west instead.”
On how it managed to do that, the report said the plane used airline flight corridors normally employed for routes to the Middle East and Europe.
This, Reuters claimed, was related to them by sources familiar with investigations into the plane’s disappearance.
It added that “the last plot on the military radar’s tracking suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal.”
A third source who Reuters said is a senior Malaysian police official said that they were “looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards.”
It was reported by ANI that India received a request from its High Commissioner in Kuala Lumpur to focus their search for missing MH370 in the South Andaman Sea and west of the Great Nicobar island.
The assets involved include two C-130, one Mi-17 v5 helicopter from the Indian Air Force and the Dornier and P8i, the Indian Navy’s maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
Ships from the Indian Navy and Coast Guard will also participate in the search.
The Washington Post reported that the transponder of MH370 was switched off 30 minutes after the final voice communication from the cockpit.
Meanwhile, ABC News said US investigators believe the aircraft’s data reporting system and its transponder shut down separately.
The report added that the devices appear to have been shut down at a 14-minute interval between one another, which it suggested may have been done deliberately.
The Washington Post then cited a US flight crash expert who deduced that based on these unverified information, it “suggests that someone unauthorised took control of that airplane, like an intruder or one of the pilots.”
Brunei’s B-MOBILE Communications Sdn Bhd has introduced the “#PrayForMH370 Compassionate 089 Rates” programme, offering a special international direct dialing (IDD) rate for countries affected by the missing aircraft MH370, reported China’s Xinhua news agency. (read story here)
Towards the end of the press conference, in a response to a question by the reporter of a local daily on Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein’s personal take on whether there is still hope to find MH370, the acting Transport Minister appeared to try very hard to remain composed as he reiterated that Malaysia would not give up and that he personally drew strength from the support given by Malaysians from all walks of life.
He said he was overwhelmed by the show of solidarity and unity shown by Malaysians and that from foreign nations hoping for the plane to be found.
“We won’t turn back,” he said.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told reporters at the press conference that pilots are entitled to have their own hobby, which included owning flight simulators at home.
He said this in response to questions that were raised about the pilot of MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah who has been said to have a flight simulator at his house based on pictures taken from his Facebook page.
“Pilot are free to have hobbies, including having flight simulators at home,” Ahmad Jauhari said, adding that detailed investigation of the pilot would only be done if there were specific leads.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein responded to reporters’ question at the press conference about the possibility of a hijacking, to which he simply replied that they were investigating all possibilities.
On searching the homes of MH370 crew members, Hishammuddin said authorities will only do so if it was necessary.
He told reporters that if investigation leads them in that direction and they will do it, if it is within the law, adding that the passenger manifest was also being checked.
It was also stressed at the press conference this evening that Malaysia is still leading the investigation into missing MAS flight MH370 in line with the protocol of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO). (read story here)
In today’s press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein reaffirmed that the search and rescue operation for MH370 is being intensified, with the search area being expanded.
He confirmed that the search area is moving further in the South China Sea and further past the Andaman, into the Indian Ocean.
“I understand search should become narrower, but this is not a normal investigation. We have been forced to look further and further,” he said.
“At present, 13 countries are involved in the search and rescue operation, and our priority remains to find MH370 and we are following all leads,” he told reporters.
“We are grateful for the support given by these nations and for the sharing of their data and resources as we search for MH370.”
Clearing the air on reports by international media citing unnamed officials, Hishammuddin again maintained that the investigation team will not release information until it has been verified by relevant authorities.
On reports of the aircraft sending satellite communication in the form of “pings”, he said the investigation team are working on all leads and are waiting to clarify information.
Meanwhile, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that an aircraft investigation team from the United Kingdom and Rolls Royce will arive today to assist in investigations.
It was reported by the New Straits Times that Indonesian military deployed 11 of its assets to the Straits of Malacca to search for MH370.
Quoting Indonesia’s defence attaché Colonel Yudhy Chandra Jaya, he said the country joined the operation by invitation from search and rescue officials.
“As of now, our focus is on the Straits of Malacca, we have 11 assets combing the area,” he was quoted as saying when met by reporters at the lobby of the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang.
The Transport Ministry released a statement today with regards to overnight claims that quoted unnamed US officials.
The ministry reiterated that it was working closely with the US and is following all leads that may help to locate the missing aircraft.
“As is standard procedure, the investigation team will not publicly release information until it has been properly verified.
“Any new evidence should be passed to the investigation team in Malaysia in order to assist the investigation.”
Meanwhile, the statement confirmed that Vietnam is still part of the search and rescue operation, adding that the Indian Air Force has also joined in, conducting searches off the west coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
The ministry also mentioned about two oil slicks discovered in the South China Sea yesterday, 60 nautical miles south of MH370’s last point of contact.
One slick was investigated and analysed, found to contain tiny traces of jet fuel, however no debris was found in the area.
“We do not believe the slick is linked to MH370,” the statement said.
Samples from the second, larger slick, some three kilometres in length were analysed and did not contain jet fuel. (read story here)
Bernama interviewed Canadians who expressed empathy with Malaysians over missing flight MH370 that also had two Canadians on board.
Mukesh Mukherjee, 42, and his wife, Xiaomo Bai, 37, were listed as passengers on board the missing aircraft where both were on vacation in Vietnam just before the trip to Beijing.
Meanwhile, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper tweeted: “Our thoughts and deepest prayers are with those affected by the disappearance of the plane in Malaysia.” (read story here)
It has become business as usual for Everly Hotel, with tourist and tour groups arriving, checking in, and being shown to their rooms.
Families were seen walking around and receiving visitors, but there were no longer any tearful scenes in public, unlike the first few days after the disappearance of MH370.
“The family members are becoming more emotionally stable,” explained Juwairiyah Jaafar, deputy head of the Psychological Services Department of the Public Service Department. (read story here)
MAS clarified that a cell phone number which allegedly belonged to a family member of a passenger of MH370 is an American number and not from China.
Firefly (a MAS subsidiary) CEO Ignatius Ong Ming Choy said after checks with a telecommunication company authorised by MAS, the number was identified as a cell phone number from the US.
This came after a family member of one of the passengers on board MH370 claimed to have received a diverted call from a number after the plane went off the grid, reported Bernama.
The family member urged MAS to investigate, possibly thinking it could be linked to the whereabouts of the missing plane.
After retracting its earlier report that MH370 continued to send data to its manufacturer Boeing after going off the grid, the Wall Street Journal again cited several unnamed sources who said the plane sent a series of “pings” or electronic pulses.
The report said the “ping” was last transmitted from a location over water at a cruising altitude.
In correcting its earlier report, the Wall Street Journal said the data received was not through Boeing or the engine maker Rolls Royce, but through satellite, which the unnamed sources now say contained speed and altitude information about the plane through the “pings”.
However, the Wall Street Journal said those involved in the matter did not divulge the flight path based on this supposed new information.
It also claimed that an industry official offered the possibility that the system sending the information from the aircraft was deliberately switched off by someone on board.
Reuters echoed this new claim saying satellites did pick up faint electronic pulses from MH370.
The Wall Street Journal has corrected its earlier report that missing MH370 flew on for four hours after vanishing from radar. It said this was based on an analysis of signals sent through the Boeing 777’s satellite-communication link, and not from data sent by the plane’s Rolls-Royce engine to Rolls Royce, as was earlier incorrectly reported. (read story here)
The next of kin of 5 Indian passengers on board missing MAS plane are already in Kuala Lumpur or Beijing.
Astro Awani reports India has joined the search mission and are deploying three ships and three aircraft to Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Indian Navy’s satellite Rukmini or GSAT-7 is also looking for the missing aircraft.
White House spokesman Jay Carney reportedly told reporters in Washington that based on some new information which he admitted was not “necessarily conclusive”, the search for missing MH370 may be extended to the Indian Ocean.
However, Carney did not specify the nature of the new information, as reported by Reuters.
He also did not mention when the search would be extended there.
The United States Navy’s 7th Fleet will move a maritime surveillance aircraft, P-8A Poseidon into the operations area to aid the search and rescue mission for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which was reported missing on Saturday.
The United States Embassy in Kuala Lumpur said in a statement here today the P-8A aircraft had a maximum speed of 490 knots, a ceiling of 41,000 feet and provided a range of more than 1,200 nautical miles with four hours on station.
— — — —
11.00pm (March 13)
This has yet to be verified, but ABC News says the US is moving its USS Kidd to the Indian Ocean.
The report said that US official claimed to have ‘indication’ of a possible crash site.
According to the report, this particular official also said that there were indication the plane flew for hours after disappearing from the radar, which was later denied by Malaysian officials.
A Hong Kong broadcast journalist for Now TV, Chan Wai Li, allegedly lost RM15,000 when his haversack was stolen at the Everly Hotel in Putrajaya while he was covering updates on the missing aircraft.
Chan, according to Bernama, also lost his wallet, travel document, a credit card and video camera tapes.
The controversial shaman (bomoh) Ibrahim Mat Zin, was neither hired by Umno nor endorsed by the government, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said today.
Shahidan denied that the 1Malaysia tag which Ibrahim had used during a ritual at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to purportedly locate the missing MH370 was a clear indication that he (Ibrahim) was endorsed by the government. (read story here)
Conflicting statements appear to be getting more and more common as it was revealed today at the press conference that the last legit communication received from MH370 was at 1.07am March 8.
This contradicts what was earlier said which was 1.20am.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahaya, in denying other reports of data bursts coming from the plane for hours after it went off the grid, told the media that the last communication with the air traffic controller came at 1.07am.
In yet another display of conflicting statements, Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi insisted that police had visited the homes of MH370 crew members, reportedly to add value to their investigation.
This comes after Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied earlier news reports that wrote of such a visit by the police.
Astro Awani quoted Ahmad Zahid as saying that the police was finding information and investigation.
“The information will be used to assist the search in the event there is anything found that can add value,” Ahmad Zahid said, as reported by Astro Awani.
Earlier, Bukit Aman CID chief Datuk Hadi Ho Abdullah had also issued a statement denying the visit, either to the homes of crew members or one of the passengers believed to be an Uighur.
Opposition leader Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim slammed the way Putrajaya has been handling the issue of missing MAS flight MH370.
In debating the royal address in Parliament, Anwar said Malaysia’s biggest problem was the way it managed crises.
“We have all the expertise needed. The problem is with crisis management methods. Why can’t we get the authorities to update us with the latest news? Why don’t we have one channel?” he said. (read story here)
Boeing did not receive any data from the missing MH370 as alleged earlier by the Wall Street Journal.
This was disclosed by MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya during the press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel at 5.30pm today. (read story here)
The press conference was jointly held with the acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
Laden mostly with refuting either baseless claims and unsubstantiated allegations, Hishammuddin issued several denials on reports that were widely publicised in the media today.
Among them is that missing MH370 could have flown for hours after it went off the grid, as alleged by Wall Street Journal earlier, citing unnamed US security officials and aviation investigations.
Hishammuddin denied the report, saying the last communication with the aircraft was at 1.07am on March 8.
“Rolls Royce and Boeing teams are here in Kuala Lumpur and have worked with MAS and the investigation team since Sunday,” he said, adding that the issue of data coming from the plane indicating it was airborne for hours was never raised.
“As far as Rolls Royce and Boeing are concerned, those reports are inaccurate.”
In debunking another news report, Hishammuddin said no police officers were dispatched to the homes of the crew on board MH370.
This was in response to earlier news report by a local daily that Police searched their homes for clues about their personality and behaviour.
“The Police have already issued a statement to that effect,” he told reporters.
On the satellite imagery released by China that picked three floating objects off the cost of Vietnam, Hishammuddin who is also Defence Minister said he was already in touch with the Chinese embassy who clarified that the images were released by mistake and did not show any debris from MH370.
He however confirmed that assets from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) were deployed to the coordinates to investigate the potential debris but did not find anything.
According to Hishammuddin, the focus of the search and rescue efforts for missing MH370 is still centred in the South China Sea.
Police denied having doctored the images of the two Iranians who had boarded MH370 using stolen passports.
Bukit Aman corporate communications said the photos were taken from CCTV recording at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.
“We did not doctor the images. What happened was a photocopying error where the images overlapped causing the lower part of the photo to appear the same.”
This came after claims were made that the images were doctored when it was found that both suspects had the same legs.
The scenario at Everly Hotel here this afternoon was different from yesterday, with a huge crowd of media representatives eagerly awaiting new developments.
Very few families were however, seen, and those who did make an appearance, were escorted by officials.
The Rakyat Post caught up with Dr Abdul Jalil Hassan, deputy director of the Public Service Department of Malaysia, to find out the wellbeing of families who had been undergoing counselling here.
Jalil said they were more stable now but the uncertainty had drained them physically and mentally, adding that some had even expressed a desire to return home. (read story here)
Reporters were told that a press conference would be held at 5.30pm at the Sama-Sama Hotel.
Boeing, the maker of the 777-200 MAS aircraft that went missing since Saturday was reported to have disclosed information that MH370 was airborne for five hours after air traffic controllers lost contact with it.
The Wall Street Journal cited unnamed security officials and aviation investigators from the US who said the data was downloaded automatically and transmitted to the ground from the plane’s engines as part of its maintenance and monitoring program.
The article predicted that based on the data, MH370 could have covered some 2,200 nautical miles, possibly reaching the Indian Ocean, Pakistan’s border or the Arabian Sea.
Meanwhile, in the same article, it said that US counter-terrorism officials are now working off the idea that MH370 was hijacked after the on board transponders were deliberately turned off to escape radar detection.
Three banners have been set up at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport’s (KLIA) observation deck where visitors can pen their messages of hope, support and prayer for those on board missing flight MH370 and their family members.(read story here)
There has not been any talks of compensation plans for families of passengers on board missing flight MH370, says Deputy Finance Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Maslan when met by reporters at the Parliament house today.
Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Shahidan Kassim said he will be flying to an undisclosed location to verify possible sighting of MH370, The Star reported.
Shahidan who is in charge of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) said whatever information obtained will be passed on to the Transport Ministry.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) sent an aircraft to the South China Sea where it has been reported that Chinese satellites picked up debris that could belong to MH370.
“MMEA’s Bombardier has already been dispatched to investigate claims of debris found by Chinese satellite imagery,” acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said on his Twitter account today.
UK Mirror reported that an IT manager who was using the Tomnod website, could have spotted what looks like a plane on a high-resolution satellite photo.
Mike Seberger said the image he spotted showed a “plane-shaped object under a bank of white cloud in the Gulf of Thailand.”
This is the second clue today pointing in the direction of the South China Sea.
Earlier, China satellite shared satellite images of floating objects on the South China Sea.
However it has yet to be verified.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang echoed the statement made earlier by the country’s chief of the Civil Aviation Administration Li Jiaxiang, saying that efforts were being made to verify the discovery of debris that could belong to MH370.
The debris or floating objects were picked up by Chinese satellites and the images were shared with the media hours ago.
Keqiang told a press conference that he had spoken on the phone with the captain of a vessel currently involved in the search and rescue operation to locate MH370, urging him “to try harder and harder”, reported The Star.
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) announced that it will be retiring the MH370 and MH371 flight codes from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing-Kuala Lumpur route effective March 14.
In a statement today, it said the frequency of the flights will not change and they will continue to operate double daily services to Beijing, China.
The new codes are as follows:
MH 318 – Kuala Lumpur – Beijing
MH 319 – Beijing – Kuala Lumpur
Chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of China Li Jiaxiang told reporters that they could not confirm that the floating objects spotted in the satellite images belonged to MH370, as reported by The Guardian.
At the Kuala Lumpur International Airport this morning, The Rakyat Post’s reporter spotted a group of Selangor Islamis Religious Department (Jais) officers.
One of the officers said they came to the airport after receiving complaints on the presence of a shaman (bomoh) there, adding that they came to monitor the situation.
Earlier, “Raja Bomoh” or Ibrahim Mat Zin performed rituals involving “flying carpet” and coconuts in his attempt to help locate missing flight MH370.
The bomoh received severe backlash from netizens as well as government leaders who slammed his actions, as it contradicted with the teachings of Islam.
Sepang Islamic religious department enforcement director Ustaz Zaifullah Jaafar Sidek told reporters that “any bomoh displaying acts that are against the fatwa and syariah principles will be asked to leave.”
He said their actions would fall under Section 7 of the Selangor’s Syariah enactment act.
He added that if the bomoh refuses to comply with their orders to disperse may result in them getting arrested.
Yesterday, Jais deputy director of enforcement Hardi Mohd Sadali told Bernama that the department would work with the security personnel at the airport to prevent such activities from happening again.
Datuk Noraini Mohd Hashim director general of the welfare department, paid a visit today to the family members of those on board MH370 at The Everly Hotel in Putrajaya.
She said counseling was still ongoing for families here and for those in other states who were unable to come to Putrajaya.
After speaking with a few, she said one family has decided to go home because their children need them.
Meanwhile, a family from Ipoh who was unable to come to Putrajaya has requested for counseling there.
“We will be here until the search is over and families know we are here for them.”
“But I have received feedback that some families have prepared themselves for any sort of news, as it’s reached the sixth day today,” said Noraini.
There are a total of 47 counsellors here, who are working 24 hours a day.
New Zealand oil rig worker Michael McKay who had sent a letter saying he believed he saw MH370 crash, gave coordinates of possible crash site at N8.3 E107.5.
Meanwhile the floating objects spotted on the Chinese satellites mark the location at N6.7 E105.63.
The Guardian reported that US Navy’s seventh fleet will not change its search area after the satellite images were released by China.
To echo what was reported earlier, citing unnamed Pentagon sources, US spy satellites detected no sign of a mid-air blast after MH370 lost contact with air traffic controllers early Saturday morning.
This was reported by AFP, quoting unnamed American officials.
US spy satellites detected no sign of a mid-air explosion when a Malaysian airliner lost contact with air traffic controllers, American officials said Wednesday.
“The US government in the past has used its satellite network to identify heat signatures linked to exploding aircraft but in this case, nothing was found,” read AFP’s report.
Although this has yet to be confirmed by the Malaysian Air Force, CNN quoted an air force official as saying that aircraft is on the way to the site of the debris or floating objects that were picked up by Chinese satellites.
Former US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) managing director Peter Goelz told CNN that there was ‘great skepticism’ about reports that said MH370 did a turnback.
He said that based on the satellite images, MH370 is “where it’s supposed to be.”
China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) gave coordinates of the debris picked up by their satellite as 105.63 east longitude, 6.7 north latitude.
This places it south of Vietnam, within MH370’s flight path.
No agency or government authority has yet to verify if the debris has been obtained and whether it has been identified as belonging to the missing aircraft.
Michael McKay, an oil rig worker from New Zealand, earlier said he wrote a letter that was confirmed by his employer, telling authorities he believes he saw MH370 went down in the South China Sea.
However, it was reported by The Guardian that McKay is unaware if Malaysia and Vietnam authorities received his message.
Although this cannot be verified as at press time, according to The Guardian, as at 6am this morning, the department of civil aviation (DCA) had not seen the satellite images posted on the Chinese State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) website.
Satellite images that showed suspected debris were posted on the Chinese State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) website, as reported by the country’s Xinhua.
The debris was seen floating off the southern coast of Vietnam.
Although reports say the debris were believed to be from MH370, no other governments currently involved in the search and rescue efforts on the South China Sea has been able to confirm this information.
China is said to have sent their ships and planes to verify the three floating objects picked up on their satellite.
The images were captured on satellite images dated March 9, a day after MH370 went off the grid.
MAS has denied rumours that it accidentally flew family members of passengers on board MH370 to India instead of Malaysia from Beijing.
In a short statement released just after midnight, the airline said it flies directly to Kuala Lumpur from Beijing without a transit.
“There is also no Malaysia Airlines flights direct from Hong Kong to Mumbai or any part of India.”
The rumours were spreading on social networks, and a local online newsportal had also picked it up, crediting the report to Singapore’s Stomp before taking it down soon after.
— — — —
11.00pm (March 12)
The Malaysian Islamic Development Department (Jakim) slammed the efforts of using shamans (bomoh) to search for MH370.
With social media flooded with pictures of bomoh Ibrahim Mat Zin performing “flying carpet” and coconut rituals at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), Jakim’s director-general Datuk Othman Mustapha said seeking help from bomoh is against Islamic teachings.
In a statement today, Othman added that Muslims should have complete faith in Allah.
Meanwhile, youth and sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin in what sounded like an exasperated Tweet, wrote: “Somebody should arrest those magic carpet bomohs (sic). Memalukan (embarassing).”
He also tweeted that he had spoken to Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department in charge of Islamic Affairs Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom and the latter said he would deal with the bomoh.
With Vietnam earlier saying they were scaling down involvement in the search and rescue operations for missing MAS flight MH370 due to conflicting reports from authorities, the ountry contradicted itself when the vice commander of the airforce base in Ho Chi Minh city Nguyen Thai Son said it has “not been scaled down”.
Earlier, in a press conference at the Phu Quoc airport, the country’s deputy transport minister Pham Quy Tieu said major involvement in the operation was temporarily suspended because of conflicting reports and confusion over MH370’s last known position, as well as insufficient information provided, as reported by The Malay Mail Online.
Pham did say that several aircraft would still conduct patrol, although in the news report by the online newsportal and Singapore’s Channel News Asia, he did say that they were scaling down search.
However, Bernama has quoted Nguyen, who spoke at a press conference, as saying that six aircraft, including those equipped with high tech equipment, were deployed daily for the operation from the Airforce Base of 918 Brigade.
A fleet of earth-monitoring satellites has joined the search for MH370.
According to AFP, the organisers of the satellite pool said under an agreement, “15 space agencies or national space institutes help emergency or relief efforts by passing on images from satellites flying over the location.”
It added that they were using satellite imagery to search for MH370, before and after it went off the grid.
In a report by NBC News, it stated that the United States’ Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had “ordered checks on hundreds of US-registered 777s after reports of cracking in the fuselage skin underneath a satellite antenna.”
The directive was said to take effect April 9 and applies to all Boeing 777-200, -200LR, -300, -300ER, and -777F series airplanes.
It added that the missing aircraft is a 777-2H6/ER.
The directive said that these aircraft needed to undergo extra checks “to detect and correct cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin, which could lead to rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the airplane.”
Earlier, it was reported by Bloomberg that MAS had opted out of a Boeing service that collects data in real time on aircraft performance which will be useful in planning maintenance.
However MAS has yet to deny or support this claim, and this report has yet to be verified by the airline or Boeing.
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) could not verify that an object resembling a liferaft found by a group of fishermen ten nautical miles off the coast of Port Dickson was in fact a liferaft from an aircraft.
The agency’s director-general Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish said they received a report of the finding and immediately directed their officers at the MMEA Kuala Linggi district office in Alor Gajah to investigate.
“However when our officers tried to take over the object from the fishermen, it got away and sank, perhaps the rope that was used has decayed,” he told Bernama when asked about it today.
However, one of the fisherman was able to photograph the object and it has been shared by Berita Harian as well as many other online portals.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahaya, who was also present at the press conference, said there were 4 passengers who booked the flight, but they did not turn up or check in.
“Another four passengers replaced them,” he added, without elaborating further.
On reports claiming that MH370′s co-pilot Fariq Ab Hamid had allowed an Australian female passenger to enter the cockpit on a previous flight, Ahmad Jauhari said it was against company policy as it could compromise the safety of all passengers.
The United States Navy praised the Malaysian government in organising and coordinating the search and rescue operations for missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370.
Cmdr William Marks, the spokesman for the US Navy’s Seventh Fleet, said “it is like a big chessboard out there and it’s really like moving chess pieces around.”
“If you don’t do a good job of it, there is a very real possibility of an accident. I give a lot of credit to Malaysia. They have a very well-organised plan.
An unidentified aircraft was detected 200 miles northwest of Penang at 2.15am early Saturday morning, along the Straits of Malacca and they are looking into it, according to Air Force chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud.
He told a press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel that they are still unable to confirm if the aircraft is MH370, saying investigations are being conducted and they are still collecting data.
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that the military radar could not identify the plane, only its presence.
This was why search and rescue operations were split early on between the Gulf of Thailand and the west side of Peninsular Malaysia.
However based on commercial radar, the last confirmed location of MH370 was over the South China Sea at 1.30am early Saturday morning. (read story here)
The nation’s fishermen have been mobilised to join in the search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 (MH370), said Datuk Tajuddin Abdul Rahman, Deputy Minister of Agriculture and Agro-based Industry.
“Nearly 20,000 fishermen on 1818 vessels have volunteered to join in the operation to find MH370,” said Tajuddin at a press conference at The Everly Hotel, where the families of those on board MH370 have been staying for the past five days.
“At the start of the SAR operations, there were only 1788,” he revealed, showing the increase in the number of vessels taking part, adding that the fishermen will alert the authorities if they come across any debris or signs of wreckage. (read story here)
Officials involved in the search and rescue mission has denied a rumour that is being circulated via social networks that the plane has been found in Pulau Perak, on the Straits of Malacca.
“My wife is sad,” explained Zamani Zakaria, 56, father of Razahan Zamani, a passenger on board MH370.
Zamani spoke to the press after his wife was seen crying as she walked from the lobby of Everly Hotel into the hotel’s coffee house.
“It is just that Razahan calls home so often and now we have not heard from him for five days,” he said.
He stated that they still have not heard any new information regarding the disappearance of the aircraft.
“My wife longs to see him,” he added before joining his wife in the coffee house.
Razahan was in the plane with his wife, Norli Akmar Hamid.
It was said that “tempers flared” in Beijing today when Malaysian ambassador to China Datuk Iskandar Sarudin declined to reveal more information with regards to the missing flight MH370.
It was reported earlier that he had told the relatives of those on board MH370 in the meeting that the last words one of the pilots uttered before the aircraft went off the grid was, “Alright, good night.”
According to Singapore Straits Times, the meeting was held at Beijing’s Metropark Lido Hotel and was the first one since the aircraft disappeared. (read story here)
“Alright, good night.”
These were reportedly the last words that came from one of the pilots of MH370 before the aircraft went off the grid early Saturday morning.
Malaysian ambassador to Beijing Datuk Iskandar Sarudin reportedly told this to the family and friends of those on board MH370 at a meeting with them in China.
Singapore Straits Times quoted Iskandar as saying that in the meeting, and the words were believed to have been uttered as the aircraft switched from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace. (read story here)
Iran’s IRNA news agency quoted the country’s foreign ministry spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham as saying that Iran’s embassy in Kuala Lumpur is prepared to help Malaysia find MH370.
China’s ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang is grateful for Malaysia Airlines’ offer to provide financial assistance to families of Chinese nationals on board its missing jetliner.
However, he stressed that the top priority now was to continue with the rescue mission.
“We appreciate the offer. We are going to take care of the passengers’ relatives,” he said after paying a courtesy call on Dewan Negara Speaker Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang at Parliament House, here, this morning. (read story here)
The press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel which is scheduled for 3pm has been called off and postponed to 5pm.
This follows claims of new information received and a meeting was called between the Police, the department of civil aviation (DCA) and the transport ministry some ten minutes ago.
The Rakyat Post was told that the press conference at 5pm will be led by Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
In another press statement by MAS, they reiterate that their main concern at present is also to care for the families of those on board missing flight MH370.
“This means providing them with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation, meals, medical and emotional support,” adding that all these costs are being borne by MAS.
“As of now, we have 115 family members in Kuala Lumpur and they are taken care of by 72 different caregivers. At least one caregiver is assigned to each family together with a Mandarin translator for the families from China.
“Equal amount of initial financial assistance are being given out to all families of passengers and crew over and above their basic needs. This amount is extended to families of all crew and passengers in Malaysia as well those from other nations,” the statement reads.
The mood at Everly Hotel Putrajaya on the fifth day of the disappearance of MH370 remains sombre, with the noise in the lobby only coming from the tables occupied by the media or caregivers and the routine of the hotel employees.
The Rakyat Post noticed that at the side of the main lobby, another smaller lobby has been reserved as a quiet room, with a sign that says “No media allowed”.
It is in this quiet room that some family members of the crew members and passengers of MH370 have come to sit and take a moment to be by themselves, to escape for a while from their constant worries. (read story here)
Experts doubt that cell phones belonging to those on board missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 are ringing.
Reports of family members calling their loved ones and hearing a ringing tone have been trickling in over the internet since news broke that the flight had lost contact with air traffic controllers early Saturday morning.
The Rakyat Post spoke to a telecommunications expert who said that the only way the phones could be working is if they were near some signal source and this is very unlikely. (read story here)
Some 600,000 people have utilized the website Tomnod to scan satellite images for clues as to what happened to MH370.
Called ‘crowdsourcing’ the images were provided by an American company who has trained the cameras of its five satellites since Saturday on the location of where the aircraft was supposed to have been last.
According to the company, users can tag images on the website if they see wreckage, life rafts, oil slicks or other evidence.
In the report byPress Trust of India (PTI) detailing this news, it added that US government agencies also have access to the images uploaded on Tomnod.
Japan has dispatched its disaster relief team for the search and rescue operation of the missing MH370, according to Japanese Embassy in Kuala Lumpur.
In the latest display of worldwide solidarity, the Indian Navy on patrol in the Straits of Malacca has joined the search and rescue operation to locate MH370.
It was reported by The Times of India that the country has also activated its satellite Rukmini or GSAT-7 to pick up any clue that may lead investigators to the aircraft.
In its Facebook posting the Republic of Singapore Air Force (RSAF) said it will continue to be part of the search and rescue operation for missing flight MH370.
Channel News Asia, Singapore’s local television station also flew on board the island nation’s C130 Hercules aircraft to find out more on what goes on in the operation.
In its latest media statement, MAS stated that they were aware of the allegations being made against MH370’s First Officer, Fariq Ab Hamid, and they have not been able to confirm the validity of the pictures and videos of the alleged incident.
MAS added that they were shocked by the claims and they are taking it seriously.
The airline has urged the media and members of the public to respect the privacy of the families of their colleagues currently effected by the disappearance of MH370.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak pledged that “all-out efforts were being made to search for missing flight MH370”.
He also called for everyone to pray for the operation’s success.
Speaking at an interview on al-Hijrah television station, Najib wants people to be united and pray for information that can finally lead to the discovery of the aircraft.
“We must face this great challenge from Allah calmly, we must try our level best, with all the resources and strength that we have. This is what the government is doing,” the prime minister said in the interview as reported by Bernama. (read story here)
Due to conflicting reports and confusion over MH370’s last known position, as well as insufficient information, Vietnam has suspended its involvement in the search and rescue operation for the missing aircraft.
In a press conference at the Phu Quoc airport, the country’s deputy transport minister Pham Quy Tieu was quoted by The Malay Mail Online as complaining that “a Malaysian official with whom Vietnam is liaising was not providing sufficient information.”
Pham however did say a few planes will still patrol the area, but major involvement in the operation is currently temporarily suspended.
Channel News Asia reported the same deputy minister as saying that air search will be suspended and sea search will be scaled down.
“We’ve decided to temporarily suspend some search and rescue activities, pending information from Malaysia,” the Singapore news agency quoted him as saying.
This information comes as RMAF denies earlier reports that said the aircraft was last spotted over the Straits of Malacca.
With the search and rescue operation for MH370 entering its fifth day, new twists are popping up causing more confusion in attempts to locate the missing aircraft.
Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud has denied that the military radar at the Butterworth air force base tracked MH370 until 2.40am early Saturday morning before it disappeared.
In a statement last night, Rodzali denied the report by Berita Harian which said the military radar last tracked the aircraft over Pulau Perak along the Straits of Malacca. (read story here)
— — — —
9.00pm (March 11)
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today was at a briefing today on the progress of the search and rescue operation to locate MH370, reported Bernama.
The hour and a half briefing was given by the Department of Civil Aviation’s (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman at the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre at the DCA Air Traffic Control Centre in Subang.
Also in attendance were Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Mohd Zin and MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya.
Reuters quoted a military source saying that MH370 was last tracked over the Strait of Malacca.
The official was reported to have told Reuters that MH370 “changed course after Kota Bharu and flew at a lower altitude before making it into the Strait of Malacca.”
Meanwhile, local daily Berita Harian today also reported an almost similar news, however they had quoted RMAF chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud. (read story here)
At a press conference in France, Interpol’s secretary-general Ronald Noble said they are “inclined to believe that the disappearance of MH370 does not appear to be related to terrorism.”
He was quoted by CNN as saying that with the information that they have been getting, particularly that there are no evidence to link the two Iranians to terrorist organizations, it is unlikely that this incident is an act of terrorism.
Noble also cited another evidence pointing in that direction; that one of the impostors was heading to Frankfurt to be with his mother.
Bernama reported that “Qatar is ready to assist Malaysia in search and rescue missions to find the MH370”.
Qatar’s ambassador to Malaysia Essa Mohamed Al-Mannai conveyed this message to Dewan Negara President Tan Sri Abu Zahar Ujang during a courtesy call at the Parliament House earlier today.
The Star reported that Google Malaysia has said the images of Google Maps are not in real time.
This means members of the public should not rely on the service to search for signs of missing flight MH370.
The Star added that a Google Malaysia spokesperson said “pictures of airplanes will be there at various locations throughout” however the spokesperson reiterated that these are not live images, provided to them weeks or months ago.
In its latest statement, MAS dismissed reports that five people had checked in but did not board MH370 last Saturday.
It said four with tickets did not turn up to check in, therefore the issue of “off-loading unaccompanied baggage did not arise”.
Interpol has identified the impostor who used the stolen Italian passport as Iranian Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, 29.
Meanwhile, checks on the internet revealed that CNN’s iReport had flashed a photo of the two Iranians on their website yesterday, attached with a message from the person who allegedly shared the photo along with the names of the two impostors that matches what was revealed by the inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and the Interpol today.
Washington correspondent for The Telegraph Raf Sanchez tweeted the link with the message: “Unvetted CNN iReport claims to have picture of the 2 men travelling on #MH370 on stolen passports” at 4.30am Tuesday morning.
The two impostors to board MH370 “slipped into the country on the night of February 28” at 8.28pm, according to Immigration director-general Datuk Aloyah Mamat.
Bernama reported that the other person arrived at KLIA about three minutes later, from Phuket, Thailand via Qatar Airways QR849.
The BBC UK found a photo of the two impostors with their friends, which shows a clearer view of their faces. One of them has been identified as 19-year-old Iranian Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehdad with no suspected terrorist links.
His friend, who was using the stolen passport of Luigi Maraldi from Italy, has yet to be identified.
The BBC said that this latest development supports the account they carried earlier related by an Iranian in Kuala Lumpur who said he played host to the two in Malaysia.
Eight residents of Kampung Pantai Seberang Marang claimed they heard a loud bang early Saturday morning coming from the north east of Pulau Kapas.
Believed to be related to the missing flight, the residents made a police report at Marang district police headquarters at 10.30am this morning.
Bernama reported that one of the residents, Alias Salleh, 36, said at about 1.20am early Saturday morning, he was sitting with seven of his friends about 400 metres Marang beach when they were startled by something loud that sounded like an airplane fan.
Alias said along with his friends, they scoured Pantai Rhu Muda to determine what made the sound but found nothing.
When asked why wasn’t a report lodged earlier, he said after four days of the flight’s disappearance, he felt it was his responsibility to disclose to authorities about the sound he heard.
The search for missing flight MH370 has yielded no results so far, said acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.
He was quoted by Bernama as saying that “efforts would be intensified by widening the search area, as well as with the participation of various quarters, including fishermen.”
Retired English teacher Wan Tom Wan Chik, 74, has not been watching the television news at all.
She and her ex-headmaster husband Ibrahim Abdul Razak, 76, believe their government officer son, Mohamad Sofuan Ibrahim who was on board MH370 will come home safely.
“I’m a mother, my instincts tell me…he is alive. He will come home,” she told The Rakyat Post in an interview today. (read story here)
There was a light scuffle between a family member of one of the Chinese passengers on board the still missing MH370at a hotel in Cyberjaya here earlier.
The woman, who came in a group of three people, screamed at pressmen who waited to catch a glimpse of the first batch of approximately 12 people, flown in at about 9am from Beijing.
Journalists however stayed calm and the woman was taken away into her room.
The next batch of next-of-kin is expected to arrive this evening.
A photofit of the Iranian impostor using a stolen Austrian passport was released to the media by authorities after a press conference with the inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Immigration director-general Datuk Aloyah Mamat.
Still at the press conference, Khalid denied there were five people who checked-in but failed to board MH370.
He maintained that everyone who checked-in boarded the aircraft, adding that they only person who missed the flight was a female student reported on Sunday.
Jessie Yee Wai Ching told Astro Awani that she was prone to missing flights as she always mistook the dates.
This denial is the latest development in contradicting statements given by officials involved in the investigation of missing flight MH370. (read story here)
Previously, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said five passengers had checked into the flight but did not board.
In compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization regulations, the checked-in bags of these passengers were removed from the plane.
He said when airport police scanned the bags earlier, they had not found anything unusual and described them as “clean”.
At the latest press conference at Sama-Sama Hotel, the inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar revealed the name of the impostor who was using the stolen Austrian passport to board MH370.
He is an Iranian by the name of Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehdad, 19.
Khalid said a background check was done and authorities are in contact with his mother in Germany who was expecting her son to arrive from Beijing.
“We have checked with our counterparts worldwide and we believe it is unlikely that he is a member of any terrorist group. We believe that he was trying to migrate to Germany,” Khalid told reporters.
“When he did not arrive in Frankfurt, his mother contacted the authorities,” Khalid said, adding that the mother was aware her son was travelling on a stolen passport.
Khalid also informed members of the press that photofits of the impostors would be shared with the media.
He also announced that investigations are proceeding based on four criteria; hijacking, sabotage, psychological and personal problem faced by passengers and crew.
Khalid confirmed that he will obtain profiles of the 153 passengers from China to be cross-checked with.
An American company launched an effort to ‘crowdsource’ the search for missing flight MH370 using high resolution satellite images from its five orbiting satellites.
The satellite imaging company, via its website Tomnod, asks the public for help in analyzing the images for signs of the missing aircraft.
On Saturday, the company trained the cameras from its satellites on the Gulf of Thailand where MH370 was last heard from.
In its latest press statement, Malaysia Airlines (MAS) said the search and rescue operations are now “expanding beyond the flight path”, adding that they are focusing on the west coast of the Peninsular.
MAS confirmed that searches on land are also being conducted.
Meanwhile, the airline said MH370 had undergone maintenance 10 days before this particular flight.
“The next check is due on 19 June 2014. The maintenance was conducted at the KLIA hangar and there were no issues on the health of the aircraft,” the statement read.
It added that in Beijing, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak’s special envoy to China, Tan Sri Ong Ka Ting “is there to assist and coordinate all operational matters with Malaysia Airlines.”
The morning press conference has officially been cancelled without any reasons given.
There is still no news as to what time the press conference will be called for.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that 6 delegates, believed to be from Beijing arrived at KLIA this morning.
They were escorted to a special room before leaving the airport in a China embassy vehicle.
10 China government officials arrived yesterday to help Malaysia in investigations into missing flight MH370.
China’s Xinhua reported that a second Chinese naval vessel has joined the hunt for missing flight MH370.
The vessel, “Jinggangshan formed a unit with Mianyang, which arrived Monday, and promptly started searching operations.”
The agency also reported earlier that the first batch of family members of passengers on board MH370 arrived at KLIA from Beijing this morning.
Muslim parliament members recited the ‘Al-Fatihah’ while the non-Muslims took a moment of silence before the start of the parliament session this morning, in praying for MH370 to be found.
The morning press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel has been delayed, no reasons were given, and reporters have been told by officers to wait.
It was reported by Bernama that MAS regional Senior Vice president for China Joshua Law Kok Hwa stated that the airline will allocate 31,000 Yuan (RM16,577) in initial financial assistance to all families over and above their basic needs.
The Malaysian government welcomes any help to trace missing flight MH370, including from “bomoh” (shamans), so long as their methods do not contravene Islam, as reported by Bernama.
“We appreciate all help…but when it comes to mysticism, the methods used must conform to Islamic teachings,” the Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom said.
Jamil Khir was commenting on the case of Ibrahim Mat Zin, a well known local bomoh, who went to the KLIA yesterday, claiming to be invited by one of the country’s top leaders, to help locate the missing plane using spiritual methods.
The CNN reported that the FBI was already running the thumbprints of the two impostors through their database after obtaining it from Malaysian officials.
The report said a US intelligence official “noted that the circumstances surrounding the use of the stolen passports follows a pattern similar to human smuggling rings and might not have anything to do with the plane’s disappearance.”
China has also deployed 10 satellites to aid in search and rescue operations of the missing aircraft.
This was stated on China’s defence ministry website, adding that the satellites will use high-resolution earth imaging capabilities and visible light imaging among other technology to help locate MH370.
BBC Persia reported that the two impostors have been identified as Iranian nationals.
It was said that an Iranian friend of one of the men came forward saying he “had hosted the pair in Kuala Lumpur after they arrived from Tehran in the days preceding their flight to Beijing.”
Earlier, Thai police officials said an Iranian Kazem Ali bought the tickets for MH370 for the impostors, however the validity of the information has yet to be proven. (read story here)
— — — —
Reuters reported that Malaysian authorities have expressed doubt that the crash was caused by a terrorist attack.
A spokesperson for the Chinese investigation officials, Guo Shao Chun said, “We are here to work with Malaysia and to ensure more effort is being put in for the search and rescue operations.
“We also want to coordinate with other countries to speed up the search, and we want to help Malaysia be better prepared to accommodate the Chinese families coming soon to Kuala Lumpur. We will start our work tonight,” he told reporters.
Guo is the deputy director of consular affairs for China.
The family members of missing passengers are much stronger mentally, compared to the first day of MH370’s disappearance.
Still devastated and reeling from shock, however they started seeking solace in one another and helping each other to stay strong.
“The families have formed a strong bond with the rest of the passengers’ families since the day they arrived and have their own circle from which they draw strength,” Putrajaya’s Psychology Management Division director, Dr Abd Halim Mohd Hussin told The Rakyat Post today.
Abd Halim said that while no serious problems such as hysteria or severe trauma was recorded, the families initially had problems sleeping and very poor appetite.
“However, they seemed to have quickly recovered, thanks to the spirit of togetherness they fostered among themselves,” he said.
“They are much stronger now.”
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak confirmed that New Zealand Prime Minister John Key has offered to send a P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft to join in the search and rescue operations of missing flight MH370.
Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman has confirmed to the media that the two impostors “are not asian-looking.”
He said this at the latest press conference held at the Sama-Sama Hotel to provide the latest update on missing flight MH370.
Azharuddin maintained that the operation is still termed as search and rescue despite entering its third day today.
He also said that the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) confirmed the oil slick sample tested by the Chemistry Department was not from MH370.
He added that debris has been spotted south of Hong Kong and ships have been deployed to the area to confirm it, adding that the findings could be known tomorrow.
“We will intensify search to 100 nautical miles around Igari.”
With regards to news coming out of Vietnam, he described the Vietnam media as having speculated most of the aspects of their news, because when authorities contact their counterpart in Vietnam, most of the reports were denied.
Azharuddin confirmed that one of the impostors have been identified and it is a man.
“We can’t reveal his identity because it involves a passport stealing syndicate,” he told reporters.
The director-general added that weather conditions for the last few days have been fair for search and rescue operations.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya repeated that the airline follows every protocol and security measure and responded to questions on the cockpit, saying cockpit door is always kept locked, and cannot be opened from the outside, adding that the pilots in the cockpit will be able to see who is outside the door via a video feed.
Bernama reported that MAS will deploy an additional aircraft to bring families of those on board missing MH370, from Beijing to Malaysia tomorrow.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said flight details of their arrival were confidential.
Meanwhile, he said that “once the missing aircraft was located, a response coordination centre would be established within the vicinity to support the needs of the families.”
The earlier reported floating “yellow object” turned out to be a moss-covered cap of a cable reel, according to Vietnam’s civil aviation authority.
The country’s rescue helicopter was despatched to retrieve it after it was said to have looked like an inverted life raft.
Earlier, acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, in response to the open letter circulated to the media in China of a group calling themselves “China Martyrs Brigade” claiming responsibility for the disappearance of MH370, he said “unverified information will do nothing but distract us.”
Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad arrived at the Everly Hotel, Putrajaya to meet with the family members of those on board MH370.
“Every incident teaches a lesson, so it’s up to them,” he said when asked by reporters to comment on reports of security lax in the airport.
However, Dr Mahathir, a fierce critic of the current establishment, said that it is also unfair to point fingers at the authorities in a bid to hurl blames, in anticipating news of the still mysteriously missing MH 370.
“No, I think they have done their very best. Pointing fingers at others will not help.”
Dr Mahathir was accompanied by his wife, Tun Dr Siti Hasmah Mohd Ali and son, Datuk Seri Mukhriz Mahathir and his wife Datin Paduka Norzietah Zakaria, who arrived shortly after.
It was reported that one of the impostors who had gotten on board MH370 with stolen passports had been identified.
The Star quoted the inspector-general of police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar as saying that the impostor was not Malaysian.
However he said he could not divulge information on which country the person is from.
The test conducted on the oil slick sample showed that it was not jet fuel, but ship oil.
According to Bernama, the results were announced by the East Coast Marine enforcement chief Datuk Nasir Adam.
In the latest development on MH370, it was reported that Taiwan’s spy chief revealed that last week, they “received a warning of possible terrorist attacks in China.”
In a news report by South China Morning Post, the National Security Bureau chief Tsai De-sheng was said to have informed a legislative committee today that “the agency had passed on a warning of planned attacks on Beijing airport and the city’s subway system to Chinese authorities”.
Tsai said the warnings were received on March 4.
Meanwhile China Airlines released a statement earlier which stated that it had received calls on March 4 claiming to provide intelligence on terror organisations, referring to mainland China, adding that Beijing airport will be under terrorist attacks.
However there were no indications to tie the warnings to the disappearance of MH370.
Pavilion shopping mall erected a wall of tribute for the crew members and passengers of the missing flight MH370 at their complex.
Joyce Yap, Retail CEO of Pavilion, toldThe Rakyat Postthat the idea came from activist Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir.
“Marina has a good heart… She was the one who called us and gave us this idea,” said Yap, who immediately mobilised her team to realise Marina’s idea,” Yap said. (read story here)
As reported by Indonesia’s Antara News, the families of the Indonesians on board MH370 are leaving for Kuala Lumpur to follow the search of the missing aircraft.
This was reportedly said by the Indonesian ambassador to Malaysia, Herman Prayitno.
Acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told a press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang that authorities are currently in touch with its Vietnamese counterparts to verify on reports that say a floating object was spotted in the sea.
“We are not taking anything for granted and we are focused on our mission to find MH370,” Hishammuddin said.
He added that security at airports have not been tightened, affirming that what happened with MH370 was not a security lapse.
He also confirmed that photographs of the two impostors who boarded MH370 with stolen passports have been released to intelligence agencies and will be released to the media later.
Hishammuddin also made a plea to the media not to disseminate unverified news.
“The authorities have nothing to hide and are sharing every news as it comes in,” he said.
He added that Malaysia has been taking the lead in the search and rescue efforts, adding that New Zealand is now the latest country to join in the efforts to locate MH370.
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) confirmed that they received reports of an object floating in the sea which resembles an inverted life raft, adding that investigations are being carried out right now.
“Boeing officials have also arrived in Malaysia to assist in investigations and discussions with local authorities will take place soon,” the DCA told the press conference.
Earlier, Reuters quoted the vice transport minister of Vietnam, Pham Quy Tieu as saying that the country’s jet had spotted the yellow object but was not able to get close enough to determine what it was.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam reported on its website that search and rescue efforts were being done 140 kilometres southwest of Tho Chu island.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak has decided to postpone his official visit to the Republic of Mauritius, according to a statement released by his office today.
Najib was initially scheduled to visit Mauritius from 11 to 13 March, and according to the statement, the trip has been postponed in light of the MH370 incident.
Youth and Sports minister Khairy Jamaluddin is expected to attend a congregation of ‘hajat’ prayers and recital of the yassin at the Kajang Jamek Mosque at 8pm tonight.
Datin Paduka Marina Mahathir today tweeted that a wall will be set up at the Pavilion shopping complex for members of the public to post messages of support, prayer and hope for the passengers and crew on board missing flight MH370.
Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble expressed frustration that few of Interpol’s 190 member countries “systematically” search the database to determine whether documents being used to board a plane are registered as lost or stolen.
“This is a situation we had hoped never to see. For years Interpol has asked why countries wait for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates,” he said.
“What is important at the moment is to find out what caused Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 to go missing.
“In this regard, Interpol is making all needed resources available to help relevant authorities in Malaysia and elsewhere find out what happened,” he said in a statement on Sunday. (read story here)
According to the Chemistry Department’s director Ahmad Ridzuan Ibrahim, the oil slick sample would “undergo testing under three procedures to test for traces of kerosene and to ensure that the sample could be classified as ‘mineral oil’ typically used in aircraft fuel,” as reported by Bernama.
“The second test will then ascertain the density of the oil, to classify it as ‘light oil’ or ‘heavy oil’, and the third test will reveal the exact category or profile of the sample whether kerosene, diesel or petrol.”
DAP Selangor secretary Ean Yong Hian Wah tweeted a photo of the party’s leader Lim Kit Siang holding a press conference at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) today.
“The priority is to search for aircraft and find out what happen, and give support to families,” Ean wrote.
United Arab Emirates (UAE) President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan conveyed his sadness to the King Tuanku Abdul Halim and China’s president Xi Jinping on the missing flight MH370, as reported by the Emirates News Agency.
The Rakyat Post caught up with family members of 34-year-old engineer S. Pushpanathan who is one of the passengers on board missing flight MH370 at the Everly Hotel in Putrajaya.
His family said they are not expecting any mercy funding or monetary aid.
“Just bring him home. I don’t want anything else. Please bring him home,” his mother-in-law S. Selvi said.
The father of two sons aged three and one was Beijing bound for a business meeting. (read story here)
Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai wants the search and rescue operation for MH370 to continue round the clock.
As reported by Vietnam News Agency, Hoang also wants the search to be expanded to the West.
Meanwhile, in a report by CNN, search and rescue efforts are now including the Andaman Sea near Thailand’s border.
China’s state-run media lashed out at Malaysia and MAS over their handling of missing flight MH370, calling for a swifter response effort and a tightening of airport security.
“The Malaysian side cannot shirk its responsibilities,” the Global Times newspaper, which is close to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, wrote in a scathing editorial, as picked up by international news agency AFP.
The Chemistry Department said results of the tests conducted on the oil slick sample will be ready latest by this evening.
The Rakyat Post called the Chemistry Department under the Ministry of Health to check on the status of the oil slick sample which was sent to them.
The department’s director Ahmad Ridzuan Ibrahim confirmed receiving the sample and said they are working as fast as they can to get the samples analysed.
“However it is not up to us to announce the results to the media.
“We will send the results to the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and they will be responsible to make any sort of announcement on the matter,” Ahmad Ridzuan told The Rakyat Post in a phone conversation.
With regards to the five people who checked in but did not board the flight, The Rakyat Post spoke to a spokesperson from the Department of Information, who said it was quite common for people to miss their flights despite having checked in especially if they checked in at KL Sentral in Kuala Lumpur.
“The Queen and I together with the people would like to take this opportunity to express our heartfelt concern over what had happened to MAS flight MH370 to Beijing on Saturday,” the King Tuanku Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah said today, as quoted by Bernama.
He said that when opening the first meeting of the second session of the 13th Parliament sitting.
Tuanku Abdul Halim expressed hope that the family members of the passengers and crew to remain calm and courageous in going through this difficult time.
It is now close to 60 hours since MH370 went off the radar.
In its latest press conference at the Sama-Sama Hotel in Sepang, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said search and rescue operations are still ongoing in South China Sea.
The DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters. stated that as of right now, they have not found anything that can be confirmed as belonging to MH370.
With regards to reports on the Vietnamese finding a door panel believed to be part of the aircraft, the DCA said this hasn’t been confirmed by the Vietnamese authorities.
“There are reports of tail of the aircraft being found but it was discovered to be logs after we dispatched our assets to look into it.”
“We are equally puzzled as to what happened to the flight. We need hard and concrete evidence to carry out forensic studies, however until now, we have not been able to secure any parts of MH370,” Azharuddin said.
Meanwhile, Azharuddin confirmed that the oil slick obtained from the South China Sea is being tested.
It deserves to be pointed out that the PC today was not a sit down affair, the officials were standing up, hinting at the urgency of the situation.
Azharuddin said a search in the Straits of Malacca is also ongoing as they do not want to discount the possibility that the aircraft might have turned back, as suggested by military and civilian radar.
“Search and rescue teams will double check areas that have been covered.
“We have received good cooperation from neighbouring countries to locate the missing aircraft,” he said.
At present, the DCA said 34 aircraft, 40 ships and 1000 personnel are involved in the search and rescue operation.
“We are increasing our efforts. We are getting help from many, including experts from around the world,” he added.
On the possibility of the flight being hijacked, Azharuddin told reporters that nothing was being ruled out including the possibility of mid-air disintegration, however they need concrete evidence to proceed.
He reiterated that from the time the aircraft lost contact, no signal was received from it.
It was also pointed out again that all bags on MH370 were screened and found to be clean.
The DCA also answered several questions posed by the media:
1. Will authorities release the pictures of the two impostors who used the Italian and Austrian stolen passports?
Azharuddin: This would have to be discussed with authorities, we are unable to reveal more at the moment.
2. Tell us more about the two impostors.
Azharuddin: The authorities will have to comment on this, I can’t say much.
3. What about the impostors’ Asian appearance as pointed out by Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi?
Azharuddin: I am not prepared to comment on their appearances. This is up to the investigating team to find out what happened.
Malaysian Airlines’ (MAS) share price dropped 10 per cent in early trading, in light of its missing 777-200 aircraft, MH370 (Wall Street Journal).
According to Bernama, MAS however was “still the most actively traded stock, with its price falling two sen to 23 sen.”
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) has sent samples of the oil slick found in the South China Sea to the Chemistry Department in Petaling Jaya this morning.
— — — —
11.15pm (March 9)
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang wants Malaysia to act quickly in its search and rescue operations to locate missing flight MH370.
According to Channel News Asia, in a phone conversation with prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak, Li said “efforts should be intensified” to grab the window of opportunity for finding survivors.
The US Navy has deployed its SH-60R Seahawk “to aid in the search efforts of the missing airliner.”
Meanwhile, a report by The Star said authorities are not ruling out the possibility of Uighur involvement.
The official was quoted as saying that Uighurs with fake passports have been sent back before.
However the official said it is too early to establish a link.
Another report by Reuters quotes a senior source as saying that authorities investigating MH370 are looking at the possibility that the plane may have disintegrated mid-air at 35,000 feet.
This is based on the fact that they have yet found any debris.suggest that the plane may have disintegrated mid-air, as said by a senior source.
The source who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, said “if the plane had plunged intact from such a height, breaking up only on impact with the water, search teams would have expected to find a fairly concentrated pattern of debris.”
Reuters disclosed that Malaysian investigators, assisted by the FBI are probing the identities of four passengers on board missing flight MH370.
Saying that they obtained the information from “two Malaysian officials with knowledge of the investigation”, Reuters said the four are made up of the known Italian and Austrian passports, and the others are on European passports, possibly Ukrainian.
One of the officials was quoted as saying that “early indications are showing some sort of a security lapse” but declined to elaborate further right now.
Interpol says it is “examining additional suspect passports” used by passengers on MAS flight, according to a breaking news report by Sky News.
In the latest press conference on the situation of missing flight MH370, the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that “after more than 24 hours, the search and rescue operation has yet to locate the missing aircraft and that debris reportedly discovered by the Vietnamese is not part of MH370.”
He added that there is also no confirmation that the oil slicks found belonged to the missing flight.
“We are not ruling out anything including hijacking and terrorism.
“Finding the MAS MH370 is of utmost importance as it will reveal the reason of the aircraft’s disappearance,” he told a roomful of international and local reporters.
“There has been no signal from the aircraft’s Emergency Locator Transmittor (ELT),” Azharuddin added.
On reports from China about groups claiming responsibility to the incident, Azharuddin said Chinese authorities have not informed them on the matter.
On the possibility of the aircraft turning back, the DCA confirmed that search is being conducted in the Straits of Malacca as well.
A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships are involved in the search and rescue operation as at 8.30pm tonight.
At present, other countries involved in the search and rescue are: the United States, China, Singapore, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines and Vietnam.
The search radius has been increased to 50 nautical miles.
The DCA reiterated that aircraft search will take place from 7am to 7pm while naval vessels will continue operations throughout the night.
CNN reported that family members in China’s capital Beijing are growing increasingly frustrated in waiting for answers.
The news agency reported that more than 100 people signed a petition demanding truth from Malaysia Airlines (MAS) by tonight.
They have also “asked for help from the Chinese government to help them deal with Malaysian authorities.”
Meanwhile according to The New York Times, preliminary data claimed to have been examined by the Pentagon suggests that MH370 did not explode mid-air.
The newspaper quoted a US government official who did not want to be identified as “suggesting a system that looks for flashes around the world had not identified any sign of a blast.”
However, no other sources have verified this claim.
Meanwhile, NBC News spoke to John Goglia, a former board member of the National Transportation Safety Board in the US who implied that “lack of a distress call suggested that the plane either experienced an explosive decompression or was destroyed by an explosive device.”
“It had to be quick because there was no communication,” Goglia was quoted as saying.
Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said the stolen passports managed to get through airport security because the documents “could have lacked sophisticated security features.”
The Star reported that Ahmad Zahid had also instructed the Immigration director-general Aloyah Mamat to initiate investigations into how the two impostors managed to get on board MH370.
Meanwhile, Bernama said investigations will be done on the Immigration Department itself following reports of the stolen Italian and Austrian passports used by the impostors.
Ahmad Zahid said the detailed investigation into the matter will give special focus on the KLIA branch of the Immigration Department.
“I am still puzzled how come (immigration officers) cannot think, an Italian and Austrian (passengers) but with Asian facial features,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
There were no significant changes in the weather over Malaysian waters which could have threatened MH370, said the Malaysian Meteorological Department’s National Weather Centre meteorological officer, Khairul Najib to Bernama.
“This was based on satellite images obtained from Japan’s Meteorological Agency (MTAT).”
Unconfirmed reports have emerged of a China national whose passport number appears on the MH370’s flight manifest, but under a different name.
Xinhua said the man is alive and has not left the Fujian Province.
UK Mirror said the passport number in the manifest belongs to a Zhao Qiwei, however the owner of the passport number in Fujian is Yu.
It added that according to Yu, he has never lost his passport and has not used it since it was issued in 2007.
The Associated Press reported that revelations of stolen passports would “strengthen speculation of foul play”.
Jason Middleton, the head of the Sydney-based University of New South Wales’ School of Aviation, said terrorism or some other form of foul play would appear as a likely explanation at the moment.
“You’re looking at some highly unexpected thing, and the only ones people can think of are basically foul play, being either a bomb or some immediate incapacitating of the pilots by someone doing the wrong thing and that might lead to an airplane going straight into the ocean.”
The international news agency also quoted Greg Barton, a terrorism expert who opined if the plane’s disappearance was linked to terrorism, there was no obvious suspect but expected China to blame separatists from the ethnic Uighur minority.
Word had spread on the internet earlier about alleged passenger 84 whose name was said to have been blurred out on the earlier flight manifest.
When pictures of the manifest spread in China, some linked passenger 84 to the Uighurs. (read story here)
Inspector-general of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said the police will take action against those who spread baseless rumours of missing flight MH370 on social networks.
The Star Online said Khalid urged those on social media to be sensitive towards the families of those on board MH370.
“Don’t just say whatever you like. Think before you speak,” he was quoted as saying.
The US embassy in Kuala Lumpur confirmed that USS Pinckney had already arrived on the scene of the search and rescue operations this afternoon.
Another navy ship, USNS John Ericsson has been despatched as well.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the Australian government will send two P-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft to help trace missing flight MH370, as reported by Bernama.
He also said that the security protocols for air travelers at all the airports in Malaysia will be reviewed, following reports that two stolen passports were used to board MH370.
He added that upon the review, security protocols will be enhanced if there is a need to do so.
New information has surfaced on the two stolen passports that were used to board MH370.
CNN reported that the passports, one Italian and one Austrian, bought the tickets from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing together from China Southern Airlines in Thai baht at identical prices.
This information came to light after checks were made with China’s official e-ticket verification system Travelsky.
“The ticket numbers are contiguous, which indicates the tickets were issued together,” the CNN report read.
Meanwhile, at least two relatives of each of the passengers on board missing flight MH370 in Beijing will be flown to Kuala Lumpur today.
NBC News reported that an airline representative relayed this information to the family members currently waiting for updates on their loved ones at the Lido Hotel in China’s capital.
Famed international nasyid singer Maher Zain, expressed his sadness over missing flight MH370.
Via his official Twitter account, Maher wrote: “May Allah give patience to and protect the families of flight #MH370 #Malaysia :(“
Wife of the prime minister, Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor, spent some two hours with family members of the passengers and crew of missing flight MH370.
According to Bernama, Rosmah arrived at the Everly Hotel in the afternoon and “gave the assurance that the authorities were doing their best and that they had the assistance of several neighbouring countries” in locating the missing flight.
It is believed that investigations into the two stolen passports that were used to get on board MH370 has brought to light a popular tourism spot, Phuket.
Both passports belonged to Luigi Maraldi and Christian Kozel were reported stolen in the Thai holiday island.
Earlier reports say that Italian Maraldi lost his passport in August last year, while Austrian Kozel lost his two years ago.
According to Phuket Wan Tourism newsportal, Maraldi reported his passport was stolen from a Phuket car rental company.
After it emerged that Maraldi’s name was on the flight manifest, Italy’s foreign ministry then came out with a statement saying that they have spoken to the man and he is alive and well.
“Six men from Syria and Lebanon were still being held at Phuket International Airport last week after being arrested for carrying fake Greek passports in Beijing,” the newsportal reported.
It is learnt that the only American adult on board missing flight MH370 is Philip Wood, an IBM employee from Texas.
USA Today quoted his mother, Sandra Wood as saying, “I know in my heart that Philip’s with God.”
The other Americans on board MH370 are children: Nicole Meng, 4, and Yan Zhang, 2.
At the latest press conference on missing flight MH370, the DCA says they are looking at the incident from every angle, and have nothing new to report.
They have sent out a ship to obtain sample of the oil slick if it has not evaporated by now.
Meanwhile, acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Singapore sent their Submarine Rescue Vessel (ASR) – which is designed for sub-surface rescue operations.
He reiterates that it is a surface vessel, and not a submarine.
That explanation brings to light why Malaysia has not deployed its submarine to be involved in the search and rescue efforts.
The Royal Malaysian Navy had also explained earlier that it will not be deploying its Scorpene submarines; KD Tunku Abdul Rahman and KD Tun Abdul Razak because it was not equipped with search and rescue capabilities.
Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) director-general Datuk Mohd Amdan Kurish has confirmed the agency’s plane spotted oil slick about 20 nautical miles south of MH370’s last known location.
He said a ship was en route to the location to obtain samples in order for tests to be conducted.
He has also instructed MMEA’s AW139 helicopter to cover 90 nautical miles off the coast of Tok Bali, Kelantan.
“Samples will be analysed to determine if the oil came from MAS Flight MH370 or a passing ship,” he told a press conference at MMEA’s Search and Rescue (SAR) operations centre at the agency’s Tok Bali base here, as reported by Bernama.
Based on recording of the radar, it is believed that the missing flight MH370 might have turned back, and authorities are not discounting the possibility of it making a turnback to KLIA.
Based on this, the search area has been expanded to include the west coast of Penang.
Air Force chief Tan Sri Rozali Daud told reporters that military radar shows there could have been a turnback, and this is confirmed in part by civilian radar.
They are now getting help from international agencies to confirm this, and they will conduct a forensic study of the radar recording of the possible turn back.
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya meanwhile said for the pilot to make a return to KLIA, he would have had to alert the Air Traffic Controller and he did not.
Ahmad Jauhari also said there are no plans to ground the 777 fleet in light of this incident as MAS was happy with the fleet.
Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said it is confirmed that they are only looking at two questionable passengers on board MH370, and not four as earlier believed.
He also confirmed they have CCTV recordings of the two passengers from check-in to departure.
On the five passengers who did not board the flight, the DCA confirmed that their bags were removed from the aircraft.
When asked if there had been any threats to the country in the past six months, the DCA said no.
With regards to the aircraft’s minor accident it endured several years ago, Ahmad Jauhari said the plane was involved in a minor collision with another aircraft in 2012 which caused a clipped wing.
He maintained that repair works were carried out by Boeing and the plane was approved for usage by relevant authorities.
13 ships from neighbouring countries are now involved in the search and rescue operations; China (3), US (1), Singapore (3), Indonesia (5), Thailand (1).
As for aircrafts, Thailand has sent one and the Singapore has sent two.
From Malaysia, at present there are 14 ships and one helicopter from the Royal Malaysian Navy, 11 aircraft from the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), five aircraft from the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and one aircraft from the police.
Malaysian Armed Forces chief Tan Sri Zulkifeli Mohd Zin also said that “these are not taking into consideration those ships deployed by Vietnam to conduct research in the area.”
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) said a team has been dispatched to help investigate missing flight MH370.
According to a Reuters, the team is made up of technical advisers from the US Federal Aviation Administration, the US Air Safety Regulator and Boeing (the company that manufactures the 777-200 aircraft).
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein told a press conference that authorities were now investigating the possibility of four stolen passports used to board MH370.
Earlier, it was reported that the Italian and Austrian on board MH370 used stolen passports, as the actual owners Luigi Maraldi and Christian Kozel were reported to be safe and sound by their respective countries’ authorities.
He said they were also checking the entire manifest again, adding that he has spoken to international intelligence agencies on the matter.
“All those I have spoken to have activated their counter terrorist units,” Hishammuddin told reporters.
He also confirmed earlier reports that FBI has deployed a team to investigate the missing flight, saying that he had spoken to FBI officials in Kuala Lumpur and they will be offering their assistance.
“We are looking at all possibilities. Right now it is more important for us to find out what happened than to assign blame.”
With regards to the oil slick reportedly spotted earlier, Hishammuddin confirmed the sighting and said Vietnam planes are already en route to find out if it belongs to the missing 777-200.
“No debris had been found at the search and rescue location.”
Meanwhile, Hishammuddin said that search and rescue operations are being extended based on the possibility of a flight turnback.
“We are not deploying our submarine as it does not have search and rescue capabilities.”
MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told reporters that the airline had been in contact with all pilots around MH370’s last known location, and no pilot reported to have been in contact with the missing plane just before it went missing.
In a Facebook posting on the official account of the Republic of Singapore Navy, its MV Swift Rescue will join the search effort for missing flight MH370 in the South China Sea.
The MV Swift Rescue is a submarine support and rescue vessel, equipped with naval divers and medical personnel and can perform underwater searches in a search and locate operation.
They have also deployed their frigate, missile corvette and Sikorsky S-70B naval helicopter earlier this morning to aid in search and rescue efforts.
A report in the Los Angeles Times states that the US’ Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is deploying agents and technical experts to assist in investigating the missing aircraft.
The report said that this was based on the three Americans on board MH370.
Quoting a law enforcement official in Washington who said the Americans on board “gives us entree” to the case, the report said the official was speaking confidentially because the FBI investigation is just beginning.
Meanwhile, US officials are believed to be looking into this incident and whether it could be terrorism, “as they would with any plane crash until proved otherwise”.
However, the official told the LA Times that there was “no evidence” of terrorism so far.
A press conference conducted by MAS and the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) told reporters that the search and rescue operation using three aircraft restarted at 7am Sunday (March 9) morning.
DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the aircraft are in the search and rescue area and nothing has been spotted yet.
“The overnight operation using ships did not spot any wreckage.”
Azharuddin confirmed that prior to the flight going off grid, no anomalies were detected on the aircraft.
“We are investigating all angles in the disappearance of the aircraft,” he said.
Meanwhile with regards to the stolen passports, Azharuddin said it was being investigated.
He added that the DCA has also obtained all documents from MAS and were looking into claims that the plane had been involved in a minor collision in 2011 at Beijing International Airport, China.
In a media statement, MAS assured that it was doing its “utmost to provide support to the affected family members, including immediate financial aid.”
“The airline has deployed a team of 94 caregivers consisting of well-trained staff and also Tzu Chi Foundation members to provide emotional support to the families,” the statement read, adding that it will also be deploying another set of caregivers to Beijing later today.
It also confirmed that a senior management team is already in Beijing to address the media and meet with family members.
A command centre at either Kota Bharu or Ho Chi Minh in Vietnam will be set up soon as the location of the aircraft is established, the statement read.
It added that a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, United States, would assist the airline “in this crucial time”.
Richard Quest, CNN’s international anchor and reporter, related his experience of shooting a video for CNN Business Travel with First Officer Fariq Abd Hamid who was also one of the crew member on MH370.
He said the first officer was experienced and in the process of transitioning from his previous aircraft to the 777 fleet.
Meanwhile, Quest said he would be “astonished if any form of weather was involved” in this incident.
“Weather itself doesn’t bring down planes. It creates an environment in the cockpit and the pilot responds to it,” he told CNN Live.
Before wrapping up his interview on the missing aircraft, Quest said, “The airline may know more than they’re telling us at the moment” with regards to the distress calls that they plane may have sent out prior to losing contact.
— — — —
11.10pm (March 8)
It has been reported that the “Austrian national” on board MH370 was also travelling under a stolen passport.
A spokesman from the Freescale regional office contacted The Rakyat Post regarding their staff on the flight.
“We can confirm that there were members of the Freescale team on the flight. We’re continuing to monitor the situation and will have more information as it becomes available.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those affected by this event and we are doing our best to help them with this tragedy.
“Counsellors and other professionals are available through our Employee Assistance Program with a round-the-clock assistance for those who are experiencing difficulty with this incident,” read the statement. (read story here)
The New York Times reported that Fredrik Lindahl, the chief executive of Flightradar24, in an email to them, said that “an online aircraft tracking service, said that the missing plane had been equipped with a transponder that regularly transmitted its position, as calculated by GPS.”
He said that the last recorded position of MH370 was 150 kilometers, or 93 miles, northeast of Kuala Terengganu.
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and deputy transport minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, said, at a press conference, that no wreckage has been found so far.
He also said the authorities are looking into reports that a passenger boarded MH370 with a stolen passport.
“Reports out of Bangkok state that an Italian national reported his stolen passport was used to board the flight to Beijing.”
Meanwhile, Abdul Aziz told reporters that search and rescue (SAR) operations will be extended to include the west coast of the Peninsular, adding that this was part of the SAR standard operating procedure.
“The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has deployed an aircraft with night search capability,” he said.
DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abd Rahman said they have looked at recordings of baggage being loaded on the flight and are satisfied as nothing was amiss.
On claims of oil shine reportedly discovered by the Vietnamese, he said Vietnam authorities have not confirmed it yet.
“We are looking at all aspects and have not ruled anything out yet.” (read story here)
CNN has quoted a search and rescue official as saying that “a Vietnamese aircraft flying over those waters spotted “rubbish” and liquid floating on the ocean’s surface”.
Those waters could refer to to the southern coast of Vietnam.
“It is too early to know whether the finding is related to the missing airliner,” the news agency wrote.
The Sky News team just flashed an update via their official Twitter account that “Italian media reports that one of the passengers on missing Malaysian aircraft was travelling on the stolen passport of an Italian citizen.”
Earlier, MAS officials did confirm there is one Italian national on board the flight.
The Rakyat Post checked the passenger manifest and the Italian national on board is listed as Maraldi Luigi.
This claim however has yet to be verified by local authorities.
However , the UK Mirror reported that according to Italian news agency ANSA, the real Mr Maraldi from Cesena, Italy, called his parents and told them he was fine and is currently in Thailand.
Twitter user @mrbrown shared a picture and wrote on his account: “A sombre moment of silence for #MH370 at the Singapore-Kelantan #MSL match. (@ Jalan Besar Stadium).“
A picture was also shared of the players and fans taking a quiet moment for those on board missing flight MH370, before the match started at the Jalan Besar Stadium in Singapore.
An officer in the International Trade and Industry Ministry, Mohamad Sofuan Ibrahim is among the passengers of MH370.
Minister Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed has met with his family at the airport.
“I just saw the father, mother, and sisters of Mohamad Sofuan at the KLIA.
“He is an outstanding officer who is on the way to report for duty as the second economic secretary at our embassy in Beijing,” Mustapa told The Rakyat Post in a text message.
Mohamad Sofuan is a senior assistant director in the Investment Policy and Trade Facilitation – Investment Policy and Investment Incentives Unit.
The direct flight for the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing-Kuala Lumpur route are not affected by the incident.
MAS said the airline had two return flights to Beijing daily and there had been no rescheduling or cancellation of flights yet.
The New York Times reported that a 12-mile long oil slick was spotted between Malaysia and Vietnam and could be the first sign of missing flight MH370.
It quoted Lai Xuan Tanh, the director of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam as saying that an “AN26 aircraft of the Vietnam Navy has discovered an oil slick about 20 kilometers in the search area, which is suspected of being a crashed Boeing aircraft.”
Lai also said that the information has been passed on to Singapore and Malaysia as they continue with the search and rescue effort.
According to a post on the official Facebook page of the United States embassy in Kuala Lumpur, the US’ seventh fleet has deployed the USS Pinckney P-3C to assist in search and rescue efforts of missing flight MH370.
The USS Pinckney is an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, and is en route to the southern coast of Vietnam.
The statement said that the Pinckney was conducting training and maritime security operations in international waters of the South China Sea, adding that the ship carries two MH-60R helicopters which is equipped for search and rescue missions.
“A P-3C Orion aircraft will also depart shortly from Kadena Air Base in Okinawa, Japan bringing long-range search, radar and communications capabilities to the efforts,” the statement read, adding that their thoughts and prayers go out to all of those affected by this tragic event.
It was reported at the press conference that no aircraft will be involved in the search and rescue operation at night. It will resume at first light.
Meanwhile, sea search will continue overnight.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng who just landed at the KLIA airport earlier from Bangkok told reporters that he hoped the authorities will be able to expedite the procedure to look for the missing flight.
“Let’s all pray for the best,” he said.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak addressed the media in a press conference saying that the search and rescue operation area has been extended as there is still no sign of the aircraft at the point where they lost contact.
More asset are reportedly being added to the operation; 15 planes and nine ships.
Najib said they are working to get help from Vietnam to search in their waters.
“Singapore has deployed their C130 Hercules to help in the search and rescue efforts, and the United States navy will also be sending planes,” Najib added.
With regards to earlier reports by the Vietnamese media about the plane crashing, Najib said Vietnam navy has also denied the reports.
Director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the control tower last made contact with the pilot of MH370 at 1.30am to transfer control to Vietnam and he acknowledged it.
He added that after Vietnam lost contact with the plane, they contacted neighbouring countries and informed MAS at 2.30am.
“Rescue control centre was activated at 5.30am,” he told reporters.
“Boeing has also offered to help us and we have also set up an investigation team to study what has happened,” he added.
Meanwhile, MAS CEO Datuk Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said they were making preparations to fly family members to Beijing if the families wanted to.
He added that they will also facilitate the flight of family members from other parts of the world.
Family members waiting at the KLIA will be taken to the Everly Hotel in Putrajaya.
It is already nightfall where search and rescue operations are ongoing to look for missing flight MH370.
MAS told family members at KLIA that four people for each cabin crew, and two people for each passenger, will be able to be ferried to a location that has yet to be disclosed.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is preparing to give a statement at a press conference at the Sama-Sama hotel in Sepang.
Twitter account @planesaroundtheglobe shared a photo of a message that has been trasnmitted to all vessels in the vicinity of where the plane lost contact to assist in any way they can.
It was reported by AFP that two couples from Brisbane, Australia were reportedly travelling together onboard MH370.
The couples are Mary and Rodney Burrows and Catherine and Robert Lawton.
The report quoted one of the Lawtons’ neighbours as saying that they were “a lovely couple who enjoyed travelling”.
According to the Republic of Singapore Air Force’s Facebook post, the island nation has deployed its C130 Hercules aircraft to help in the search of missing flight MH370.
Meanwhile, Hamid Ramlan, 56, a policeman told AFP that his daughter and son-in-law were on board MH370.
“My wife is crying. Everyone is sad. My house has become a place of mourning. This is Allah’s will,” he was quoted as saying.
Hamid said that his daughter and her husband were on the flight to Beijing for a holiday.
The Rakyat Post met Ronnie Liu, former DAP assemblyman, who is currently at the KLIA airport awaiting news on his good friend who is on board missing flight MH370.
Ronnie said he found out about it when he looked at the passenger manifest list online and saw his friend’s name on it.
Stanley Wong Sai Song is a 52-year-old senior marketing manager with two children, and Ronnie says he is a very helpful and caring friend.
“Stanley just celebrated his birthday yesterday,” Ronnie said, adding that he last spoke to Stanley two weeks ago.
“I am shocked and deeply saddened by this news,” he said.
The aircraft’s last known coordinates are 065515N and 1833443E.
Maxis has announced that its customers who call the MAS hotline at +603 7884 1234 to get information on missing flight MH370 will not be charged.
In its latest media statement, MAS said they were still unable to establish any contact or determine the whereabouts of MH370.
They also released an updated list of the number of passengers based on nationalities on board the flight.
Malaysia (38), China/Taiwan (154 – including infant), India (5), Indonesia (7), Australia (6), France (4), USA (3 – including infant), New Zealand (2), Ukraine (2), Canada (2), Russian (1), Italy (1), Netherlands (1), Austria (1).
Aircraft manufacturers Boeing have released a statement on their website regarding missing flight MH370 and have offered their assistance.
“Boeing offers its deepest concern to the families of those aboard missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
“Boeing is assembling a team to provide technical assistance to investigating authorities,” read the brief statement.
As updated by Reuters, a Vietnam admiral who said he was earlier quoted by Vietnamese media as saying that the plane has crashed, denied he made the claim.
However, he did say that based on calculations, the missing plane ‘could have’ crashed in Malaysian waters.
The Rakyat Post was told that Malaysia naval and air assets will be allowed to enter Vietnamese water to conduct search and rescue.
Night time search will proceed as the search and rescue aircrafts deployed are equipped with infrared to detect oil spills.
Ahmad Jauhari says that other MAS flights will continue operations as normal.
Puteh Idris who is at the airport to await news on her daughter-in-law Nor Fazilah Mat Rahim who was on board flight MH370 told The Rakyat Post that she got the call at 9am and that she was headed to Beijing for work purposes.
“I hope she will be found alive, I am praying hard that she is okay,” Puteh said.
Another passenger Suhaili Mustafa’s brother told The Rakyat Post that MAS informed family members of the passengers to send two next of kin with valid travel documents to the airport to be taken closer to the site.
“We don’t know the exact location as they haven’t told us that yet,” he said.
Suhaili is reported to be the niece of Kuching OCPD Asst Comm Roslan Bek Ahmad.
Roslan told Bernama that he was informed of the incident by his sister who lives in Shah Alam.
“I pray for everyone’s safety,” he was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Sources told The Rakyat Post that at least eight staff from a semi conductor company in Malaysia have been identified to be among the passengers of missing flight MH370.
However, the source claims that there may be more than two dozen members of staff from the same company on the flight en route to an annual company trip.
Attempts to contact the regional office for the company have been unsuccessful as at press time.
Meanwhile, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi told The Rakyat Post in a text message that he is unable to confirm reports that the plane has crashed.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein has identified a director of the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) as the point person to update on this incident.
He pledged that press conferences will be held every two hours on the matter.
“We are doing everything we can from every angle,” he told reporters.
Hishammuddin said at this point, reports of the wreckage being found is mere speculation, and said that he is still waiting for confirmation.
He also dismissed claims that local authorities took their time to report the disappearance of the flight.
Hishammuddin assured Malaysians that the authorities were doing their best to handle the situation.
Meanwhile, MAS has sent a flight to Beijing to assist family members of passengers of flight MH370 there.
It was reported by The Star that among those on board flight MH370 is a group of 24 artistes from China who had attended an art exhibition “Chinese Dream: Red and Green Painting” in Kuala Lumpur.
The artistes are reported to be from Beijing and Shanghai, and among the notable names are Meng Gaosheng, Wang Linsi and Liu Rusheng.
According to MMEA Tok Bali operations director Lt Commandant (M) Mohd Nor Hafizi, the search location is 380 kilometres off Tok Bali, Kelantan.
Four marine ships, KM Amanah (20 officers), KM Segantang (20 officers), KM Sebatik (20 officers) and KM Langkawi (50 officers) including a speed boat (10 officers) are enroute to the location.
Vietnamese newsportal Tuoi Tre (tuoitrenews.vn) has quoted the Vietnamese High Command of Navy as saying that MH370 has crashed off Vietnam’s Tho Chu Island, northwest off the country’s southernmost Cape Ca Mau.
It quoted a statement from the High Command of the Navy that said the plane went down at the waters between Vietnam and Malaysia, some 153 nautical miles (300km) off Tho Chu Island in Kien Giang Province.
However MAS has yet to confirm this. Our reporters are at KLIA waiting for the latest announcement on this matter.
Family members have gathered at the airport to await for news on the incident.
Flight MH370 has now been missing for almost 12 hours.
AFP reported that Vietnam has launched a search effort to locate the aircraft.
“The plane lost contact near Ca Mau province airspace as it was preparing to transfer to Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control,” a statement on the official Vietnamese government website said.
Ca Mau province is in southernmost Vietnam.
Meanwhile, according to Reuters, if the plane has crashed, “the United States could have a role in any investigation because the plane was built there.”
This was said by a spokeswoman for the US National Transportation Safety Board, Kelly Nantel.
“We won’t know who would lead the investigation until the location is identified,” she was quoted as saying.
It was reported by a daily in Vietnam, Tuoi Tre News, Vietnam Navy says the plane has crashed into the ocean, off Tho Chu Island. (source: Twitter @tuoitrenewsvn)
A satellite image of eastern Asia shows no significant weather in the area where flight MH370 went missing. (source Twitter @typhoonfury)
The Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) deputy director-general (Operations) Vice-Admiral Datuk Ahmad Puzi Abd Kahar said the agency has deployed two aircrafts, Bombardier CL-415 amphibious turboprops, and four ships (one ship is already patroling Malaysian waters where the aircraft went missing).
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has sent a C-130 Hercules aircraft along with two helicopters to the area.
They are all patroling a 50 mile radius of where the aircraft went missing, they will increase the radius if the plane is still not found.
Airline sources told The Rakyat Post that the aircraft just disappeared off the radar at 32,000 feet.
Hong Kong control tower said they have no information on the flight and the aircraft within the area of where the plane was last seen saw nothing amiss in the airspace.
It was reported by Reuters that “China has dispatched two maritime rescue ships to the South China Sea to help in rescue work for the missing aircraft, state television reported on Saturday on one of its official microblogs.”
According to The Aviation Herald’s website, it stated that “their radar data showed that the aircraft was last regularly seen about half way between KL and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam) over the Gulf of Thailand 40 minutes into the flight, followed by anomalies in the radar data of the aircraft over the next minute (the anomalies may be related to the aircraft but could also be caused by the aircraft leaving the range of the receiver).”
The website cited aviation sources in China that reported the radar data “suggested a steep and sudden descent of the aircraft, during which the track of the aircraft changed from 024 degrees to 333 degrees. The aircraft was estimated to contact Ho Chi Minh Control Center (Vietnam), but contact was never established.”
It is said that acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein will hold a press conference at the KLIA with regards to this matter.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak tweeted: “My thoughts and prayers are with the family members of [Malaysia Airlines] flight MH370. I’ve asked all measures possible to be taken.”
Vietnam Air Traffic Controller confirmed receiving distress signal from a plane, according to officials at MAS. Other nationalities on board the plane are one each from Italy, Taiwan, Holland and Austria.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi told The Rakyat Post when contacted that the status of flight MH370 is still unknown.
Malaysia Airlines is currently holding its press conference.
The flight is a code share with China Southern Airlines. The Boeing 777-200 has been in operation for 11 years and ten months.
A Beijing response centre has been set up.
The national carrier confirms that passengers on the missing flight were from Malaysia (38), China (152 plus one infant), Indonesia (12), Australia (7), France (3), US (3 plus one infant), New Zealand (2), Ukraine (2), Canada (2), Russia (1).
It told reporters the tower lost contact with the flight about 120 nautical miles off Kota Bharu.
Search and rescue has been mounted with Vietnam’s authority as they believe the plane is lost at the border of Malaysia-Vietnam airspace.
Fuel onboard is enough to last the plane until 8.30am this morning.
The pilot on board is believed to be Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah who joined MAS in 1981 and has recorded over 18,000 hours of flying time.
His co-pilot, Fariq Abd Hamid joined MAS in 2007 and has over 2000 flying hours.
China’s state-owned Xinhua news agency said the plane was lost in airspace controlled by Vietnam.
The agency also reported that the plane did not enter airspace controlled by China and did not make any contact with Chinese controllers.
Meanwhile,AFPquoted a spokesman from China’s foreign ministry as saying that relevant authorities were being contacted in attempting to confirm relevant information.
Aircraft engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce was quoted as saying to CNBC that they “are aware of the situation and are giving MAS the support they need.”
American Airlines Captain Jim Tilmon told CNN’s AC360 with Anderson Cooper that the plane is “about as sophisticated as any commercial airplane could possibly be, with an excellent safety record.”
Mystery of Flight MH370
Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 lost radio contact early Saturday morning and authorities are scrambling to locate the aircraft along with its 239 passengers and 12 crew members.
A widespread search and rescue operations in the South China Sea is underway, particularly the Gulf of Thailand to locate the missing aircraft.
It was earlier reported that the flight had made an emergency landing in Nanming, however MAS officials have denied the claim.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft was carrying 239 passengers along with 12 crew members.
It left KLIA at 12.41am early this morning and was expected to land in Beijing at 6.30am.
Tower however lost contact with the flight about 120 nautical miles off Kota Bharu, Kelantan.
The aircraft’s last known coordinates are 065515N and 1833443E.
It was reported that the air traffic controllers in Subang lost all communications with the plane at about 1.30am.
“MAS is working with the authorities who have activated their Search and Rescue team to locate the aircraft,” a MAS statement said.
MAS said they will provide regular updates on the situation and the public are advised to contact +603 7884 1234 for further information.
Meanwhile, MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya in a statement said their team is calling the next-of-kin of passengers and crew.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members.”