Dee Finney's blog  March 7, 2014  page 650  FLYING CROSSES

 

CROSSES FLYING

Flying Crosses

Movie: THE WALL

By Pink Floyd

china plane disappearance

MAP WHERE PLANE DISAPPEARED

 

Dee Finney's blog

start date July 20, 2011

today's date March 7, 2014

page 650

TOPIC:  FLYING CROSSES

THIS WAS A TREMENDOUS SERIES OF COINCIDENCES THAT CAME FROM A DREAM I HAD IN THE MIDDLE OF WATCHING A DOCUMENTARY ON TELEVISION

THREE PLANE CRASHES HAVE OCCURED SINCE I HAD THIS DREAM.

4-30-14  TWO PLANES CRASHED TOGETHER OFF THE COAST OF CALIFORNIA TODAY.

MH370 Search: Exploration firm claims wreckage found 29 Apr 2014 An exploration company, GeoResonance, has claimed it found the wreckage of the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight, MH370, six weeks after it left Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing on March 8. The Adelaide-based GeoResonance said yesterday the possible wreckage was found in the Bay of Bengal, 5,000km away from the current search location in the southern Indian Ocean off Perth, with the company beginning its own search on March 10. Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told The Star that Malaysia was unaware of the report of the finding.

http://www.legitgov.org/

 

3-18-14 - A FOURTH PLANE CRASH OCCURED IN THE CITY OF SEATTLE LATE THIS AFTERNOON.

3-24-14 - TWO MORE PLANES CRASHED IN THE U.S.  COLORADO AND FLORIDA, NO SURVIVORS

IT WAS A NEWS HELICOPTER  http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/03/18/us-usa-helicopter-seattle-idUSBREA2H1C420140318

FLIGHT 370 IS NOW BEING CRIMINALLY INVESTIGATED BECAUSE THE RADAR AND TRANSPONDERS WERE DELIBERATELY TURNED OFF, BUT THE SYSTEM WAS STILL PICKING UP THE PINGING OF THE ENGINE AND THEY KNOW THE PLANE FLEW AT LEAST 7 MORE HOURS AFTER IT DISAPPEARED OFF OF RADAR, BUT NO OTHER COUNTRY PICKED THEM UP ON RADAR, SO THEY  ARE STILL SEARCHING OCEAN WATERS FOR THE PLANE.

NEW SEARCH AREA

NEW PLANE SEARCH AREA

122 pieces of debris were found on 3-26-14 - http://www.thestar.com/news/world/2014/03/26/malaysia_plane_crash_satellite_spots_122_objects_in_ocean_that_could_be_plane_debris.html

DID THE PLANE ACTUALLY LAND AT A U.S. SECRET AIR BASE IN DIEGO GARCIA?  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lxVao1HnL1s

THIS IS THE REASON THE PLANE WAS HIGHJACKED:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrJETmm8kG0

4-6-13 - CHINESE SHIP HEARING PINGS,  BUT NOT CLOSE TOGETHER - THREE SO FAR - IN THREE DIFFERENT LOCATIONS

NOBODY BELIEVES THEY ARE THIS MH 370 AIRPLANE.

4-7-14 - MORE SHIPS ARE LISTENING FOR PINGERS.  THEY THINK THEY FOUND THE PLANE, BUT THERE IS 'NO' DEBRIS.

4-14-14 - PINGS HEARD TRIANGULATED, THEN DIED - 5 DAYS PASSED WITH NO PINGS - THEN UNDERWATER DRONE LOCATER SENT DOWN TO SEARCH FOR BLACK BOXES - ARE THEY REALLY THERE SOMEWHERE? IS THE PLANE THERE TOO? OR DID SOMEONE JUST DUMP THE BLACK BOXES INTO THE DEEPEST POSSIBLE PLACE SO THEY WOULDN'T BE RETRIEVED?

article below others in sequence

3-7-14 - DREAM - (After watching a documentary film about Bush and Cheney and the Iraq war to gain control of their oil fields.)

I was in a room with both G.W. Bush and Dick Cheney, and gave G.W. Bush a check in the amount of $780.00 to purchase from him what looked like a flag with 4 crosses flying toward the right on a slant.

I saw the flag, and gave him the check and had to follow him into the next room where I intended to have sex with him as well.

When I followed G.W. Bush into the next room, Dick Cheney came after me because he said he wanted to have sex with me instead.

I wasn't about to do that, and argued with him that I had just paid $780 to purchase the flag with the crosses on it.

I woke up before anything else happened.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Distinguished_Flying_Cross_(United_States)

THE CROSSES I SAW LOOKED SIMILAR TO THE FLYING CROSSES FROM THE MOVIE  ' THE WALL' WHICH WAS ABOUT WWII

THAT  IS THE PICTURE AT THE TOP OF THE PAGE.

Joe Mason then showed me a paper he was reading that he printed out just this morning about the number  Fibonaci sequence that comes out with the number from  Metratron's cube and the cycle of time with the number  780.

Missing Malaysian Airline plane presumed crashed

Mar 8th 2014 2:00PM



FOUND?  3-19-14?  STILL NOT KNOWN FOR CERTAIN:  AND WHY?

4-5-14
China ship hears `signal'; unclear if jet-related - story below in sequence



KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Vietnamese air force planes on Saturday spotted two large oil slicks close to where a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing earlier in the day, the first sign that the aircraft carrying 239 people had crashed.

The air force planes were part of a multinational search operation launched after Flight MH370 fell off radar screens less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday morning.

The oil slicks were spotted late Saturday off the southern tip of Vietnam and were each between 10 kilometers (6 miles) and 15 kilometers (9 miles) long, the Vietnamese government said in a statement. There was no confirmation that the slicks were related to the missing plane, but the statement said they were consistent with the kinds that would be produced by the two fuel tanks of a crashed jetliner.

Two-thirds of the missing plane's passengers were from China, while others were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said there was no indication that the pilots had sent a distress signal, suggesting that whatever happened to the plane occurred quickly and possibly catastrophically.

Asked whether terrorism was suspected, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said, "We are looking at all possibilities, but it is too early to make any conclusive remarks."

south china sea

Foreign ministry officials in Italy and Austria said the names of two nationals from those countries listed on the flight's manifest matched passports reported stolen in Thailand.

Italy's Foreign Ministry said the Italian man who was listed as being a passenger, Luigi Maraldi, was traveling in Thailand and was not aboard the plane. It said he reported his passport stolen last August.

Austria's Foreign Ministry confirmed that a name listed on the manifest matched an Austrian passport reported stolen two years ago in Thailand. It said the Austrian was not on the plane, but would not confirm the person's identity.

At Beijing's airport, authorities posted a notice asking relatives and friends of passengers to gather at a nearby hotel to wait for further information, and provided a shuttle bus service. A woman wept aboard the bus while saying on a mobile phone, "They want us to go to the hotel. It cannot be good."

Relatives and friends of passengers were escorted into a private area at the hotel, but reporters were kept away. A man in a gray hooded sweatshirt later stormed out complaining about a lack of information. The man, who said he was a Beijing resident but declined to give his name, said he was anxious because his mother was on board the flight with a group of 10 tourists.

"We have been waiting for hours and there is still no verification," he said.

The plane was last detected on radar at 1:30 a.m. (1730 GMT Friday) around where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand, authorities in Malaysia and Vietnam said.

Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam's civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane.

The plane "lost all contact and radar signal one minute before it entered Vietnam's air traffic control," Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese army, said in a statement.

The South China Sea is a tense region with competing territorial claims that have led to several low-level conflicts, particularly between China and the Philippines. That antipathy briefly faded Saturday as China, the Philippines, Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia all sent ships and planes to the region.

Najib said Malaysia had dispatched 15 planes and nine ships to the area. The U.S. Navy was sending a warship and a surveillance plane, while Singapore said it would send a submarine and a plane. China and Vietnam also were sending aircraft to help in the search.

It's not uncommon for it to take several days to find the wreckage of aircraft floating on the ocean. Locating and then recovering the flight data recorders, vital to any investigation, can take months or even years.

"In times of emergencies like this, we have to show unity of efforts that transcends boundaries and issues," said Lt. Gen. Roy Deveraturda, commander of the Philippine military's Western Command.

After the oil slick was spotted, the air search was suspended for the night and was to resume Sunday morning, while the sea search was ongoing, Malaysia Airlines said.

The plane was carrying 227 passengers, including two infants, and 12 crew members, the airline said. It said there were 152 passengers from China, 38 from Malaysia, seven from Indonesia, six from Australia, five from India, three from the U.S., and others from Indonesia, France, New Zealand, Canada, Ukraine, Russia, Taiwan and the Netherlands.

In Kuala Lumpur, family members gathered at the airport, but were kept away from reporters.

"Our team is currently calling the next of kin of passengers and crew. Focus of the airline is to work with the emergency responders and authorities and mobilize its full support," said Ahmad Jauhari, the airline CEO. "Our thoughts and prayers are with all affected passengers and crew and their family members."

Fuad Sharuji, Malaysia Airlines' vice president of operations control, told CNN that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet (10,670 meters) when it disappeared and that the pilots had reported no problem with the aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed in San Francisco in July 2013, killing three passengers, all teenagers from China.

Airliner "black boxes" - the flight data and cockpit voice recorders - are equipped with "pingers" that emit ultrasonic signals that can be detected underwater. Under good conditions, the signals can be detected from several hundred miles away, said John Goglia, a former member of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. If the boxes are trapped inside the wreckage, the sound may not travel as far, he said. If the boxes are at the bottom of an underwater trench, that also hinders how far the sound can travel. The signals also weaken over time.

Air France Flight 447, with 228 people on board, disappeared over the Atlantic Ocean en route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009. Some wreckage and bodies were recovered over the next two weeks, but it took nearly two years for the main wreckage of the Airbus 330 and its black boxes to be located and recovered.

Malaysia Airlines said the 53-year-old pilot of Flight MH370, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has more than 18,000 flying hours and has been flying for the airline since 1981. The first officer, 27-year-old Fariq Hamid, has about 2,800 hours of experience and has flown for the airline since 2007.

The tip of the wing of the same Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777-200 broke off Aug. 9, 2012, as it was taxiing at Pudong International Airport outside Shanghai. The wingtip collided with the tail of a China Eastern Airlines A340 plane. No one was injured.

Malaysia Airlines' last fatal incident was in 1995, when one its planes crashed near the Malaysian city of Tawau, killing 34 people. The deadliest crash in its history occurred in 1977, when a domestic Malaysian flight crashed after being hijacked, killing 100 people.

In August 2005, a Malaysian Airlines 777 flying from Perth, Australia, to Kuala Lumpur suddenly shot up 900 meters (3,000 feet) before the pilot disengaged the autopilot and landed safely. The plane's software had incorrectly measured speed and acceleration, and the software was quickly updated on planes around the world.

Malaysia Airlines has 15 Boeing 777-200s in its fleet of about 100 planes. The state-owned carrier last month reported its fourth straight quarterly loss and warned of tougher times.

---

Chris Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Other Associated Press journalists contributing to this report were Didi Tang and Aritz Parra in Beijing, Stephen Wright in Bangkok, Colleen Barry in Milan, Italy, George Jahn in Vienna, Jim Gomez and Oliver Teves in Manila, Philippines, Joan Lowy in Washington and Scott Mayerowitz in New York.

 

On 3-7-13 - A Chinese airplane disappeared over the South China Sea without a trace.

China: Vietnam detects signal from missing Malaysia Airlines plane

Malaysia Airlines plane vanishes over South China Sea - The ...

BEIJING — Vietnamese air force planes have spotted two large oil slicks that officials believe are from a Malaysia Airlines flight that suddenly ...

A search begins in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam after a Malaysia Airlines plane carrying 239 people vanishes on a flight to Beijing.
  • Oil Slicks Found in Hunt for Missing Malaysia Jet - ABC News

    Vietnamese air force planes on Saturday spotted two large oil slicks close to where a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing earlier in the ...
    China: Vietnam detects signal from missing Malaysia Airlines plane 17 hours ago - Malaysia Airlines said Saturday it lost contact with a plane carrying 227 ... Malaysia Airlines plane vanishes with 239 passengers aboard.

    Malaysia Airlines Flight Vanishes, Four Americans on Board - ABC ... 14 hours ago - A possible relative cries at the Beijing Airport after news of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane

     

    When I meditated on the disappearance of the Chinese plane, I recalled Joe's dream this morning about the Mayan Time Cycle.

    In my head came the words,  "IT GOES FROM CREST TO CREST".

    I was thinking about the Bermuda triangle where 19 planes vanished and were never found and then:

    When I meditated on those words, I saw 4 lists of Chinese symbols. There were about 6 symbols in each row.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/07/malaysian-airlines-plane-_n_4922705.html   plane goes missing

     

    The number 780 is on this page:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1mVWd1aLiYZQU8VvYFBnW8kxodeYim3bYDIFfh-w42eU/pub

    Once again we see a connection throughout the ancient world related to these sacred numbers.

     

    It may interest you to know that in each cycle in my rendering of Metatron’s Cube there are 60 numbers, so in total, for this entire  rendering of Metatron’s Cube using the 60 digit cycle there are 60 x 13 = 780 numbers. (See Diagram 5) But each circle has 4 zero’s so subtract 4 x 13 which is 52 you get 780 – 52 = 728.

     

    But remember the “5’s” intersect at 8 points (See Diagram 5). So we only count those numbers once. Now we have 728 – 8 = 720. And 720 is a base 10 harmonic of 72.

     

    The more I study Metatron’s Cube using the 60 digit Fibonacci repeat cycle, the more convinced I am that the ancient’s were far more knowledgeable than we ever thought.

     

    We don’t use 60 minutes and 360 degrees because it was a silly superstition or because it was convenient. No, we use these units because they point to a Perfect Universe created by a Supreme Intelligence.

     

    There are still many secrets hidden in this design. Secrets that will unlock the gates to the Messianic Age.  

    I have done a great deal of research into the Fibonacci Sequence as well as the Golden Ratio and the Golden Angle.”

    Physicists and Cosmologists calculate the age of the universe to be roughly 13.75 Billion years old.

    I tie this number directly to the Golden Angle which is 137.5 degrees.

    We are at a unique point in time where new things occur in nature. I believe we are living in a time of revelations.  

    metatrons cube

    • Jaguar Wisdom | The Sacred Mayan Calendar

      www.jaguarwisdom.org/calendar.html - Similarto Jaguar Wisdom | The Sacred Mayan Calendar

      ... after that, the energy inherent in the current cycle of time becomes more and more intense—too ... Mars takes 780 days to circle the sun, and 260 x 3=780.

      • Preterragen Era - Orion's Arm

        www.orionsarm.com/eg-topic/4858422267d00 - Similarto Preterragen Era - Orion's Arm

        Apr 11, 2003 ... 780 million years ago: the Halogenics (Interstellar Civilization ..... A generalized Sophic term for a huge period or cycle of time; e.g. the life span ...

      • Chilean - White Pup Press

        www.whitepuppress.ca/Articles/chileanminers.html

        ... which only 800 days remained until the end of the 5126 year Great Cycle of time. ... As of Oct 13, 2010 there were 3 Tzolk'in cycles (3 x 260 = 780) + 20 days  ...

      • Beyond 2012 page3 - 2012: Dire Gnosis

        www.diagnosis2012.co.uk/3.htm - Similarto Beyond 2012 page3 - 2012: Dire Gnosis

        So, the Tarot represents a cycle of time, or a circle, and the 4 creatures of the ... 15 x 20 squares, and the 780-squared grid is divisible by exactly three Tzolkins .

     

    Air force chief: Malaysia jet may have turned back

     

    Vietnam says it may have found missing jet's door



    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) - Vietnamese aircraft spotted what they suspected was one of the doors of a missing Boeing 777 on Sunday, while questions emerged about how two passengers managed to board the ill-fated aircraft using stolen passports.

    Interpol confirmed it knew about the stolen passports but said no authorities checked its vast databases on stolen documents before the Boeing jetliner departed Saturday from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing with 239 people on board.

    Warning "only a handful of countries" routinely make such checks, Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble chided authorities for "waiting for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates."

    More than two days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing, the final minutes before its disappearance remained a mystery. The plane lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam.

    However, searchers in a low-flying plane spotted an object that appeared to be one of the plane's doors, the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper said, citing the deputy chief of staff of Vietnam's army, Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan.

    Two ships from the maritime police were headed to the site about 60 miles (90 kilometers) south of Tho Chu island in the Gulf of Thailand, the same area where oil slicks were spotted Saturday.

    "From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane," Tuan said.

    The jetliner apparently fell from the sky at cruising altitude in fine weather, and the pilots were either unable or had no time to send a distress signal - unusual circumstances under which a modern jetliner operated by a professional airline would crash.

    Authorities were checking on the identities of the two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports. On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight's manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.

    "I can confirm that we have the visuals of these two people on CCTV," Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference late Sunday, adding that the footage was being examined. "We have intelligence agencies, both local and international, on board."

    The thefts of the two passports - one belonging to Austrian Christian Kozel and the other to Luigi Maraldi of Italy - were entered into Interpol's database after they were stolen in Thailand in 2012 and last year, the police body said.

    Electronic booking records show that one-way tickets with those names were issued Thursday from a travel agency in the beach resort of Pattaya in eastern Thailand. A person who answered the phone at the agency said she could not comment.

    But no authorities in Malaysia or elsewhere checked the passports against the database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents before the Malaysian Airlines plane took off.

    In a forceful statement, the Interpol chief said he hoped "that governments and airlines worldwide will learn from the tragedy."

    "Now, we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists," Noble said. "Interpol is asking why only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights."

    Details also emerged Sunday about the itineraries of the two passengers traveling on the stolen passports.

    A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline confirmed Sunday that passengers named Maraldi and Kozel had been booked on one-way tickets on the same KLM flight, flying from Beijing to Amsterdam on Saturday. Maraldi was to fly on to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany.

    She said the pair booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines, but she had no information on where they bought them.

    As holders of EU passports with onward flights to Europe, the passengers would not have needed visas for China.

    Interpol said it and national investigators were working to determine the true identities of those who used the stolen passports to board the flight. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the U.S. was looking into the stolen passports, but that investigators had reached no conclusions.

    Interpol has long sounded the alarm that growing international travel has underpinned a new market for identity theft: Bogus passports are mostly used by illegal immigrants, but also pretty much anyone looking to travel unnoticed such as drug runners or terrorists. More than 1 billion times last year, travelers boarded planes without their passports being checked against Interpol's database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents, the police agency said.

    Possible causes of the crash included some sort of explosion, a catastrophic failure of the plane's engines, extreme turbulence, or pilot error or even suicide. Establishing what happened with any certainty will need data from flight recorders and a detailed examination of any debris, something that will take months if not years.

    Malaysia's air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said radar indicated that before it disappeared, the plane may have turned back, but there were no further details on which direction it went or how far it veered off course.

    "We are trying to make sense of this," Daud said at a news conference. "The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back, and in some parts this was corroborated by civilian radar."

    Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said pilots are supposed to inform the airline and traffic control authorities if the plane does a U-turn. "From what we have, there was no such distress signal or distress call per se, so we are equally puzzled," he said.

    A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States were deployed to the area where ground controllers lost contact with the plane on the maritime border between Malaysia and Vietnam.

    Of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, two-thirds were Chinese, while the rest were from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America, including three Americans.

    Family members of Philip Wood, a 50-year-old IBM executive who was on board the plane, said they saw him a week ago when he visited them in Texas after relocating to Kuala Lumpur from Beijing, where he had worked for two years.

    "There is a shock, a very surreal moment in your life," said Wood's brother, James Wood.

    The other two Americans were identified on the passenger manifest as 4-year-old Nicole Meng and 2-year-old Yan Zhang. It was not known with whom they were traveling.

    After more than 30 hours without contact with the aircraft, Malaysia Airlines told family members they should "prepare themselves for the worst," Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director for the airline, told reporters.

    Finding traces of an aircraft that disappears over sea can take days or longer, even with a sustained search effort. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, wreckage can be scattered over a large area. If the plane enters the water before breaking up, there can be relatively little debris.

    A team of American experts was en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation into the crash. The team includes accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the safety board said in a statement.

    Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed last July in San Francisco, killing three passengers, all Chinese teenagers.

    __

    Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Associated Press writers Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Didi Tang, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt in Beijing; Joan Lowy in Washington; and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed this report.

     

    Vietnam Search Team: Spotted Object Near Oil Slick Area

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Vietnamese searchers on ships worked throughout the night but could not find a rectangle object spotted Sunday afternoon that was thought to be one of the doors of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet that went missing more than two days ago.

    Doan Huu Gia, the chief of Vietnam's search and rescue coordination center, said Monday that four planes and seven ships from Vietnam were searching for the object but nothing had been found.

    The Boeing 777 went missing early Saturday morning on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

    The plane lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam, and searchers in a low-flying plane spotted an object that appeared to be one of the plane's doors, the state-run Thanh Nien newspaper said, citing the deputychief of staff of Vietnam's army, Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan.

    The jetliner apparently fell from the sky at cruising altitude in fine weather, and the pilots were either unable or had no time to send a distress signal, adding to the mystery over the final minutes of the flight.

    There are also questions over how two passengers managed to board the ill-fated aircraft using stolen passports.

    Interpol confirmed it knew about the stolen passports but said no authorities checked its vast databases on stolen documents before the Boeing jetliner departed Saturday.

    Warning "only a handful of countries" routinely make such checks, Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble chided authorities for "waiting for a tragedy to put prudentsecurity measures in place at borders and boarding gates."

    On Saturday, the foreign ministries in Italy and Austria said the names of two citizens listed on the flight's manifest matched the names on two passports reported stolen in Thailand.

    "I can confirm that we have the visuals of these two people on CCTV," Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference late Sunday, adding that the footage was being examined. "We have intelligence agencies, both local and international, on board."

    The thefts of the two passports — one belonging to Austrian Christian Kozel and the other to Luigi Maraldi of Italy — were entered into Interpol's database after they were stolen in Thailand in 2012 and last year, the police body said.

    Electronic booking records show that one-way tickets with those names were issued Thursday from a travel agency in the beach resort of Pattaya in eastern Thailand. A person who answered the phone at the agency said she could not comment.

    But no authorities in Malaysia or elsewhere checked the passports against the database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents before the Malaysian Airlines plane took off.

    Possible causes of the crash included some sort of explosion, a catastrophic failure of the plane's engines, extreme turbulence, or pilot error or even suicide. Establishing what happened with any certainty will need data from flight recorders and a detailed examination of any debris, something that will take months if not years.

    Malaysia's air force chief, Rodzali Daud, said radar indicated that before it disappeared, the plane may have turned back, but there were no further details on which direction it went or how far it veered off course.

    "We are trying to make sense of this," Daud said at a news conference. "The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back, and in some parts this was corroborated by civilian radar."

    Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said pilots are supposed to inform the airline and traffic control authorities if the plane does a U-turn. "From what we have, there was no such distress signal or distress call per se, so we are equally puzzled," he said.

    A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States were deployed to the area where ground controllers lost contact with the plane on the maritime border between Malaysia and Vietnam.

    Of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, two-thirds were Chinese, while the rest were from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America, including three Americans.

    Family members of Philip Wood, a 50-year-old IBM executive who was on board the plane, said they saw him a week ago when he visited them in Texas after relocating to Kuala Lumpur from Beijing, where he had worked for two years.

    The other two Americans were identified on the passenger manifest as 4-year-old Nicole Meng and 2-year-old Yan Zhang. It was not known with whom they were traveling.

    After more than 30 hours without contact with the aircraft, Malaysia Airlines told family members they should "prepare themselves for the worst," Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director for the airline, told reporters.

    Finding traces of an aircraft that disappears over sea can take days or longer, even with a sustained search effort. Depending on the circumstances of the crash, wreckage can be scattered over a large area. If the plane enters the water before breaking up, there can be relatively little debris.

    A team of American experts was en route to Asia to be ready to assist in the investigation into the crash. The team includes accident investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board, as well as technical experts from the Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing, the safety board said in a statement.

    Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, as does the 777, which had not had a fatal crash in its 19-year history until an Asiana Airlines plane crashed last July in San Francisco, killing three passengers, all Chinese teenagers.

    Details also emerged Sunday about the itineraries of the two passengers traveling on the stolen passports.

    A telephone operator on a China-based KLM hotline confirmed Sunday that passengers named Maraldi and Kozel had been booked on one-way tickets on the same KLM flight, flying from Beijing to Amsterdam on Saturday. Maraldi was to fly on to Copenhagen, Denmark, and Kozel to Frankfurt, Germany.

    She said the pair booked the tickets through China Southern Airlines, but she had no information on where they bought them.

    As holders of EU passports with onward flights to Europe, the passengers would not have needed visas for China.

    Interpol said it and national investigators were working to determine the true identities of those who used the stolen passports to board the flight. White House Deputy National Security Adviser Tony Blinken said the U.S. was looking into the stolen passports, but that investigators had reached no conclusions.

    Interpol has long sounded the alarm that growing international travel has underpinned a new market for identity theft: Bogus passports are mostly used by illegal immigrants, but also pretty much anyone looking to travel unnoticed such as drug runners or terrorists. More than 1 billion times last year, travelers boarded planes without their passports being checked against Interpol's database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents, the police agency said.

    __

    Brummitt reported from Hanoi, Vietnam. Associated Press writers Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia; Didi Tang, Gillian Wong and Louise Watt in Beijing; Joan Lowy in Washington; and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed this report.

    3-10-14



    (Reuters) - The disappearance of a Malaysian airliner about an hour into a flight to Beijing is an "unprecedented mystery," the civil aviation chief said on Monday, as a massive air and sea search now in its third day failed to find any trace of the plane or 239 people on board.

    Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking attempt could have brought down the Boeing 777-200ER which took off from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

    The area of the search would be widened from Tuesday, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters.

    A senior police official told Reuters that people armed with explosives and carrying false identity papers had tried to fly out of Kuala Lumpur in the past, and that current investigations were focused on two passengers who were on the missing plane with stolen passports.

    "We have stopped men with false or stolen passports and carrying explosives, who have tried to get past KLIA (airport) security and get on to a plane," he said. "There have been two or three incidents, but I will not divulge the details."

    Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.

    Azharuddin said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

    "Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft," he told a news conference. "As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible."

    Azharuddin also said the two men with stolen passports did not look like Asians, but he did not elaborate. Airport CCTV footage showed they completed all security procedures, he said.

    "We are looking at the possibility of a stolen passport syndicate," he said.

    About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members now presumed to have died aboard the plane were Chinese. The airline said other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

    China urged Malaysia to speed up the search for the plane.

    "This incident happened more than two days ago, and we hope that the Malaysians can fully understand the urgency of China, especially of the family members, and can step up the speed of the investigation and increase efforts on search and rescue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing.

    A senior source involved in preliminary investigations in Malaysia said the failure to find any debris indicated the plane may have broken up mid-flight, which could disperse wreckage over a very wide area.

    "The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet," said the source.

    Asked about the possibility of an explosion, the source said there was no evidence of foul play and that the aircraft could have broken up due to mechanical causes.

    Still, the source said the closest parallels were the bomb explosions on board an Air India jetliner in 1985 when it was over the Atlantic Ocean and a Pan Am aircraft over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. Both planes were cruising at around 31,000 feet at the time.

    The United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by American spy satellites for evidence of a mid-air explosion, but saw none, a U.S. government source said. The source described U.S. satellite coverage of the region as thorough.

    MOSS-COVERED CABLE REEL

    Hopes for a breakthrough rose briefly when Vietnam scrambled helicopters to investigate a floating yellow object it was thought could have been a life raft. But the country's Civil Aviation Authority said on its website that the object turned out to be a "moss-covered cap of a cable reel."

    Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 ft.

    Underlining the lack of hard information about the plane's fate, a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft capable of covering 1,500 sq. miles every hour was sweeping the northern part of the Strait of Malacca, on the other side of the Malaysian peninsula from where the last contact with MH370 was made.

    No distress signal was sent from the lost plane, which experts said suggested a sudden catastrophic failure or explosion, but Malaysia's air force chief said radar tracking showed it may have turned back from its scheduled route before it disappeared.

    The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service. Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco, killing three people.

    The passenger manifest issued by the airline included the names of two Europeans - Austrian Christian Kozel and Italian Luigi Maraldi - who were not on the plane. Their passports had been stolen in Thailand during the past two years.

    An Interpol spokeswoman said a check of all documents used to board the plane had revealed more "suspect passports," which were being investigated.

    "Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol's databases," Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said.

    A European diplomat in Kuala Lumpur cautioned that the Malaysian capital was an Asian hub for illegal migrants, many of whom used false documents and complex routes including via Beijing or West Africa to reach a final destination in Europe.

    "You shouldn't automatically think that the fact there were two people on the plane with false passports had anything to do with the disappearance of the plane," the diplomat said.

    "The more you know about the role of Kuala Lumpur in this chain, the more doubtful you are of the chances of a linkage."

    A Thai travel agent who arranged the tickets for the two passengers using the stolen passports said she had booked them on the flight via Beijing because they were the cheapest tickets, the Financial Times reported.

    The travel agent in the resort of Pattaya said an Iranian business contact she knew only as "Mr. Ali" had asked her to book tickets for the two men on March 1.

    She had initially booked them on other airlines but those reservations expired and, on March 6, Mr. Ali had asked her to book them again. She told the newspaper she did not think Mr. Ali, who paid her in cash and booked tickets with her regularly, was linked to terrorism.

    (Additional reporting by Siva Govindasamy, Niluksi Koswanage, Stuart Grudgings, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Yantoultra Ngui in KUALA LUMPUR, Ben Blanchard, Megha Rajagopalan and Adam Rose in BEIJING, Martin Petty in HANOI, Robert Birsel in BANGKOK, Alwyn Scott in NEW YORK, Naomi O'Leary in ROME, Tim Hepher in PARIS, Brian Leonal in SINGAPORE and Mark Hosenball and Ian Simpson in WASHINGTON; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Nick Macfie)

     

     The disappearance of a Malaysian airliner about an hour into a flight to Beijing is an "unprecedented mystery," the civil aviation chief said on Monday, as a massive air and sea search now in its third day failed to find any trace of the plane or 239 people on board.

    Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries scoured the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam as questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking attempt could have brought down the Boeing 777-200ER which took off from the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur.

    The area of the search would be widened from Tuesday, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority, told reporters.

    A senior police official told Reuters that people armed with explosives and carrying false identity papers had tried to fly out of Kuala Lumpur in the past, and that current investigations were focused on two passengers who were on the missing plane with stolen passports.

    "We have stopped men with false or stolen passports and carrying explosives, who have tried to get past KLIA (airport) security and get on to a plane," he said. "There have been two or three incidents, but I will not divulge the details."

    Interpol confirmed on Sunday at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.

    Azharuddin said a hijacking attempt could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

    "Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft," he told a news conference. "As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft. We have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible."

    Azharuddin also said the two men with stolen passports did not look like Asians, but he did not elaborate. Airport CCTV footage showed they completed all security procedures, he said.

    "We are looking at the possibility of a stolen passport syndicate," he said.

    About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members now presumed to have died aboard the plane were Chinese. The airline said other nationalities included 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians, five Indians, four French and three Americans.

    China urged Malaysia to speed up the search for the plane.

    "This incident happened more than two days ago, and we hope that the Malaysians can fully understand the urgency of China, especially of the family members, and can step up the speed of the investigation and increase efforts on search and rescue," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang told reporters in Beijing.

    A senior source involved in preliminary investigations in Malaysia said the failure to find any debris indicated the plane may have broken up mid-flight, which could disperse wreckage over a very wide area.

    "The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet," said the source.

    Asked about the possibility of an explosion, the source said there was no evidence of foul play and that the aircraft could have broken up due to mechanical causes.

    Still, the source said the closest parallels were the bomb explosions on board an Air India jetliner in 1985 when it was over the Atlantic Ocean and a Pan Am aircraft over the Scottish town of Lockerbie in 1988. Both planes were cruising at around 31,000 feet at the time.

    The United States extensively reviewed imagery taken by American spy satellites for evidence of a mid-air explosion, but saw none, a U.S. government source said. The source described U.S. satellite coverage of the region as thorough.

    MOSS-COVERED CABLE REEL

    Hopes for a breakthrough rose briefly when Vietnam scrambled helicopters to investigate a floating yellow object it was thought could have been a life raft. But the country's Civil Aviation Authority said on its website that the object turned out to be a "moss-covered cap of a cable reel."

    Flight MH370 disappeared from radar screens in the early hours of Saturday, about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 ft.

    Underlining the lack of hard information about the plane's fate, a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft capable of covering 1,500 sq. miles every hour was sweeping the northern part of the Strait of Malacca, on the other side of the Malaysian peninsula from where the last contact with MH370 was made.

    No distress signal was sent from the lost plane, which experts said suggested a sudden catastrophic failure or explosion, but Malaysia's air force chief said radar tracking showed it may have turned back from its scheduled route before it disappeared.

    The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service. Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year when Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco, killing three people.

     

    The passenger manifest issued by the airline included the names of two Europeans - Austrian Christian Kozel and Italian Luigi Maraldi - who were not on the plane. Their passports had been stolen in Thailand during the past two years.

    An Interpol spokeswoman said a check of all documents used to board the plane had revealed more "suspect passports," which were being investigated.

    "Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol's databases," Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said.

    A European diplomat in Kuala Lumpur cautioned that the Malaysian capital was an Asian hub for illegal migrants, many of whom used false documents and complex routes including via Beijing or West Africa to reach a final destination in Europe.

    "You shouldn't automatically think that the fact there were two people on the plane with false passports had anything to do with the disappearance of the plane," the diplomat said.

    "The more you know about the role of Kuala Lumpur in this chain, the more doubtful you are of the chances of a linkage."

    A Thai travel agent who arranged the tickets for the two passengers using the stolen passports said she had booked them on the flight via Beijing because they were the cheapest tickets, the Financial Times reported.

    The travel agent in the resort of Pattaya said an Iranian business contact she knew only as "Mr. Ali" had asked her to book tickets for the two men on March 1.

    She had initially booked them on other airlines but those reservations expired and, on March 6, Mr. Ali had asked her to book them again. She told the newspaper she did not think Mr. Ali, who paid her in cash and booked tickets with her regularly, was linked to terrorism.

    (Additional reporting by Siva Govindasamy, Niluksi Koswanage, Stuart Grudgings, Raju Gopalakrishnan and Yantoultra Ngui in KUALA LUMPUR, Ben Blanchard, Megha Rajagopalan and Adam Rose in BEIJING, Martin Petty in HANOI, Robert Birsel in BANGKOK, Alwyn Scott in NEW YORK, Naomi O'Leary in ROME, Tim Hepher in PARIS, Brian Leonal in SINGAPORE and Mark Hosenball and Ian Simpson in WASHINGTON; Writing by Alex Richardson; Editing by Nick Macfie)

    3-11-14

    Malaysian military says missing jet changed course

    Mar 11th 2014 12:40PM


    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- The Malaysian military has radar data showing the missing Boeing 777

     jetliner changed course and made it to the Malacca Strait, hundreds of kilometers (miles) from the last

     position recorded by civilian authorities, according to a senior military official.

    The development injects more mystery into the investigation of the disappearance of Saturday's flight, and raises questions about why the aircraft was not transmitting signals detectable by civilian radar.

    Local newspaper Berita Harian quoted Malaysian air force chief Gen. Rodzali Daud as saying radar at a military base had detected the airliner at 2:40 a.m. near Pulau Perak at the northern approach to the strait, a busy waterway that separates the western coast of Malaysia and Indonesia's Sumatra island.

    "After that, the signal from the plane was lost," he was quoted as saying.

    A high-ranking military official involved in the investigation confirmed the report and also said the plane was believed to be flying low. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the information.

    Authorities had earlier said the plane, which took off at 12:20 a.m. and was headed to Beijing, may have attempted to turn back to Kuala Lumpur, but they expressed surprise that it would do so without informing ground control.

    The search for the plane was initially focused on waters between the eastern coast of Malaysia and Vietnam, the position where aviation authorities last tracked it. No trace of the plane, which was carrying 239 people, has been found by than 40 planes and ships from at least 10 nations searching the area.

    Earlier Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that search and rescue teams had expanded their scope to the Malacca Strait. An earlier statement said the western coast of Malaysia was "now the focus," but the airline subsequently said that phrase was an oversight. It didn't elaborate. Civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the search remained "on both sides" of the country.

    3-13-14

    Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight May Be Visible On Chinese Satellite Images

    A Chinese government agency reportedly released satellite images that could possibly show parts of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, CNN reported on Wednesday.

    plane

    Satellite Images aired on CNN could show missing Malaysia Airlines plane.


    According to the network, the images were distributed by China's State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense and were captured on March 9, one day after the plane went missing.

    The three images appear to show white objects floating in the water. Coordinates released with the images place the objects in the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam, the BBC notes.

    The Guardian notes that the site appearing on the images is located not far from the last confirmed radar contact with the plane.

    Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on Saturday after taking off from the airport of Kuala Lumpur for Beijing with 239 people on board.

    Civilian radars last picked up the flight shortly before 1:30 a.m. on Saturday. Five days later, there was still no confirmation of what happened to the Boeing 777.

    Malaysia's Defense and Acting Minister of Transport Hishammuddin Husseinsaid during a press conference on Wednesday that the search for the plane had been expanded to two areas: its last known position over the Gulf of Thailand and the area near an unconfirmed radar plotting where the Malacca Strait meets the Andaman Sea. He said 42 ships and 39 aircraft from 12 countries were searching nearly 27,000 square nautical miles.

    More from the Associated Press:

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — China's official Xinhua News Agency said Wednesday that a government website has satellite images of suspected debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane off the southern tip of Vietnam.

    The report Wednesday says the images from around 11 a.m. on March 9 appear to show "three suspected floating objects" of varying sizes.

    The report includes coordinates of a location in the sea off the southern tip of Vietnam and east of Malaysia, which apparently was part of the original search area after the plane disappeared early Saturday. The images were posted on a national defense technology website.

    The Xinhua report says the largest of the suspected pieces of debris measures about 24 meters (79 feet) by 22 meters (72 feet).



    There are three pieces of evidence that aviation safety experts say make it clear the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was taken over by someone who was knowledgeable about how the plane worked.

    TRANSPONDER

    One clue is that the plane's transponder - a signal system that identifies the plane to radar - was shut off about an hour into the flight.

    In order to do that, someone in the cockpit would have to turn a knob with multiple selections to the off position while pressing down at the same time, said John Goglia, a former member of the National Transportation Safety Board. That's something a pilot would know how to do, but it could also be learned by someone who researched the plane on the Internet, he said.

    ACARS

    Another clue is that part of the Boeing 777's Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was shut off.

    The system, which has two parts, is used to send short messages via a satellite or VHF radio to the airline's home base. The information part of the system was shut down, but not the transmission part. In most planes, the information part of the system can be shut down by hitting cockpit switches in sequence in order to get to a computer screen where an option must be selected using a keypad, said Goglia, an expert on aircraft maintenance.

    That's also something a pilot would know how to do, but that could also be discovered through research, he said.

    But to turn off the other part of the ACARS, it would be necessary to go to an electronics bay beneath the cockpit. That's something a pilot wouldn't normally know how to do, Goglia said, and it wasn't done in the case of the Malaysia plane. Thus, the ACARS transmitter continued to send out blips that were recorded by the Inmarsat satellite once an hour for four to five hours after the transponder was turned off. The blips don't contain any messages or data, but the satellite can tell in a very broad way what region the blips are coming from and adjusts the angle of its antenna to be ready to receive message in case the ACARS sends them. Investigators are now trying to use data from the satellite to identify the region where the plane was when its last blip was sent.

    GUIDED FLIGHT

    The third indication is that that after the transponder was turned off and civilian radar lost track of the plane, Malaysian military radar was able to continue to track the plane as it turned west.

    The plane was then tracked along a known flight route across the peninsula until it was several hundred miles (kilometers) offshore and beyond the range of military radar. Airliners normally fly from waypoint to waypoint where they can be seen by air traffic controllers who space them out so they don't collide. These lanes in the sky aren't straight lines. In order to follow that course, someone had to be guiding the plane, Goglia said.

    Goglia said he is very skeptical of reports the plane was flying erratically while it was being tracked by military radar, including steep ascents to very high altitudes and then sudden, rapid descents. Without a transponder signal, the ability to track planes isn't reliable at very high altitudes or with sudden shifts in altitude, he said.

     

     

    The search for the missing plane, which left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, has encompassed 35,800 square miles (92,600 square kilometers) of Southeast Asia and on Wednesday expanded toward India.

    Two-thirds of the passengers on the flight were Chinese, and the Chinese government has put increasing pressure on Malaysian officials to find solve the mystery of the plane's disappearance.

    Also, Wednesday, it was revealed that the last message from the cockpit of the missing flight was routine. "All right, good night," was the signoff transmitted to air traffic controllers five days ago.

    Then the Boeing 777 vanished as it cruised over the South China Sea toward Vietnam, and nothing has been seen or heard of the jetliner since.

    Those final words were picked up by controllers and relayed Wednesday in Beijing to anguished relatives of some of the 239 people aboard Flight MH370.

    The new Chinese reports of the satellite images came after several days of sometimes confusing and conflicting statements from Malaysian officials.

    Earlier Wednesday, the Malaysian military officially disclosed why it was searching on both sides of country: A review of military radar records showed what might have been the plane turning back and crossing westward into the Strait of Malacca.

    That would conflict with the latest images on the Chinese website.

    For now, authorities said the international search effort would stay focused on the South China Sea and the strait leading toward the Andaman Sea.

    Chinese impatience has grown.

    "There's too much information and confusion right now. It is very hard for us to decide whether a given piece of information is accurate," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in Beijing. "We will not give it up as long as there's still a shred of hope."

    "We have nothing to hide," said Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. "There is only confusion if you want to see confusion."

    Flight MH370 disappeared from civilian radar screens at 1:30 a.m. Saturday at an altitude of about 35,000 feet above the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and southern Vietnam. It sent no distress signals or any indication it was experiencing problems.

    The Malaysian government said it had asked India to join in the search near the Andaman Sea, suggesting the jetliner might have reached those waters after crossing into the Strait of Malacca, some 400 kilometers (250 miles) from the flight's last-known coordinates.

    Malaysian officials met in Beijing with several hundred Chinese relatives of passengers to explain the search and investigation, and to relay the last transmission that Malaysian air traffic controllers received before the plane entered Vietnamese airspace, according to a participant in the meeting.

    Aviation officials in Vietnam said they never heard from the plane.

    Its sudden disappearance led to initial speculation of a catastrophic incident that caused it to disintegrate. Another possibility is that it continued to fly despite a failure of its electrical systems, which could have knocked out communications, including transponders that enable the plane to be identified by commercial radar.

    Authorities have not ruled out any possible cause, including mechanical failure, pilot error, sabotage and terrorism, and they are waiting to find any wreckage or debris to determine what went wrong.

    In June 2013, Boeing issued a safety alert to Boeing 777 operators, telling them to inspect for corrosion and cracks in the crown fuselage around a satellite antenna. The alert says one airline found a 16-inch crack in one plane, then checked other 777s and found more cracking.

    "Cracks in the fuselage skin that are not found and repaired can propagate to the point where the fuselage skin structure cannot sustain limit load," Boeing said. "When the fuselage skin cannot sustain limit load, this can result in possible rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity."

    Two U.S. Federal Aviation Administration technical experts and a regional representative are in Kuala Lumpur as part of an NTSB team supporting the investigation. Experts in air traffic control and radar are providing technical help, the board said.

    Hishammuddin described the multinational search as unprecedented. Some 43 ships and 39 aircraft from at least eight nations were scouring an area to the east and west of Peninsular Malaysia.

    "It's not something that is easy. We are looking at so many vessels and aircraft, so many countries to coordinate, and a vast area for us to search," he told a news conference. "But we will never give up. This we owe to the families of those on board."

    Confusion over whether the plane had been seen flying west prompted speculation that different arms of the government might have different opinions about its location, or even that authorities were holding back information.

    Earlier in the week, Malaysia's head of civil aviation, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, was asked why the Strait of Malacca was being searched and replied, "There are things I can tell you, and things I can't," suggesting that the government wasn't being completely transparent.

    If all those on board are confirmed dead, it would be the deadliest commercial air accident in 10 years.

    Choi Tat Sang, a 74-year-old Malaysian, said his family is still holding out hope that the plane and all on board are safe. His 45-year-old daughter-in-law, Goh Sock Lay, was the chief flight attendant. Her 14-year-old daughter, an only child, has been crying every day since the plane's disappearance.

    "We are heartbroken. We are continuing to pray for her safety and for everyone on the flight," he said.

    ___

    Associated Press writers Jim Gomez in Kuala Lumpur, Isolda Morillo in Beijing, Niniek Karmini in Jakarta, Indonesia, Joan Lowy in Washington, Cara Anna in New York and Rod McGuirk in Canber.

    Malaysia Airlines announced Thursday that it has retired the flight code for the missing jetliner, The Associated Press reported.

    As a sign of respect for the 239 missing passengers and crew, the carrier will no longer use the codes MH370 or MH371.

    The search for the missing Boeing 777 continues.

    Click here for more.

    Share +

    A Vietnam search mission found no wreckage from the missing MalaysianAirlines Flight #MH370 at the site Chinese satellite images suggested may contain plane debris, according to Reuters.

    The Wall Street Journal reports that the plane may have flown on for hours after disappearing from radar:

    U.S. investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.04% Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky.

    Read the full story here.

    A Vietnam search mission found no wreckage from the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 at the site Chinese satellite images suggested may contain debris of the plane according to a Reuters witness.

    Vietnam To Search Area Of Satellite Sighting

    After the release of Chinese satellite images showing what could possibly be debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, Vietnam military officials announced that they would be sending a plane to investigate the area again.

    "We are aware and we sent planes to cover that area over the past three days," Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu told Reuters. "Today a (military) plane will search the area again," he said.
    1:55 PM – 03/12/2014
    More Unconfirmed Satellite Images
    1:36 PM – 03/12/2014
    Report: Location Of Wreckage

    3-18-14

    By 

    BANGKOK (AP) -- Thailand's military said Tuesday that its radar detected a plane that may have beenMalaysia Airlines Flight 370 just minutes after the jetliner's communications went down, and that it didn't share the information with Malaysia earlier because it wasn't specifically asked for it.

    A twisting flight path described Tuesday by Thai air force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn took the plane to the Strait of Malacca, which is where Malaysian radar tracked Flight 370 early March 8. But Montol said the Thai military doesn't know whether it detected the same plane.

    Thailand's failure to quickly share possible information regarding the fate of the plane, and the 239 people aboard it, may not substantially change what Malaysian officials know, but it raises questions about the degree to which some countries are sharing their defense information, even in the name of an urgent and mind-bending aviation mystery.

    With only its own radar to go on, it took Malaysia a week to confirm that Flight 370 had entered the strait, an important detail that led it to change its search strategy.

    When 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."

    Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12:40 a.m. Malaysian time and its transponder, which allows air traffic controllers to identify and track the airplane, ceased communicating at 1:20 a.m.

    Montol said that at 1:28 a.m., Thai military radar "was able to detect a signal, which was not a normal signal, of a plane flying in the direction opposite from the MH370 plane," back toward Kuala Lumpur. The plane later turned right, toward Butterworth, a Malaysian city along the Strait of Malacca. The radar signal was infrequent and did not include any data such as the flight number.

    He said he didn't know exactly when Thai radar last detected the plane. Malaysian officials have said Flight 370 was last detected by their own military radar at 2:14 a.m.

    The search area for the plane initially focused on the South China Sea, where ships and planes spent a week searching. Pings that a satellite detected from the plane hours after its communications went down have led authorities to concentrate instead on two vast arcs - one into central Asia and the other into the Indian Ocean - that together cover an expanse as big as Australia.

    Thai officials said radar equipment in southern Thailand detected the plane. Malaysian officials have said the plane might ultimately have passed through northern Thailand, but Thai Air Chief Marshal Prajin Juntong told reporters Tuesday that the country's northern radar did not detect it.


    Australian authorities investigate possible traces of flight MH370

    Mar 20th 2014 5:30AM

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- Four military search planes were dispatched Thursday to determine whether two large objects bobbing in a remote part of the Indian Ocean are debris from the missingMalaysia Airlines flight.

    One of the objects spotted by satellite imagery was 24 meters (almost 80 feet) in length and the other was 5 meters (15 feet). There could be other objects in the area, a four-hour flight from Australia's southwestern coast, said John Young, manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's emergency responsedivision.

    "This is a lead, it's probably the best lead we have right now," Young said. He cautioned that the objects could be seaborne debris along a shipping route where containers can fall off cargo vessels, although the larger object is longer than a container.

    Young told a news conference in Canberra, Australia's capital, that planes had been sent to the area about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth to check on the objects. He said satellite images "do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good, so we will hold our views on that until they are sighted close-up."

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott earlier told Parliament about the debris, and said Orion search aircraft had been dispatched.

    Young said visibility was poor and may hamper efforts to find the objects. He said they "are relatively indistinct on the imagery ... but those who are experts indicate they are credible sightings. The indication to me is of objects that are a reasonable size and probably awash with water, moving up and down over the surface."

    Military planes from Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand have been searching in a region over the southern Indian Ocean that was narrowed down from 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) to 305,000 square kilometers (117,000 square miles).

    Young said the depth of the ocean in the latest area, which is south from where the search had been focused since Monday, is several thousand meters (yards). He said commercial satellites had been redirected in the hope of getting higher resolution images. He did not say when that would happen. The current images are not sharp enough to determine any markings.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority released two images of the whitish objects floating on or just under the surface. The images were taken March 16, but Australian Air Commodore John McGarry said it took time to analyze them.

    "The task of analyzing imagery is quite difficult, it requires drawing down frames and going through frame by frame. The moment this imagery was discovered to reveal a possible object that might indicate a debris field, we have passed the information from defense across to AMSA for their action," he said.

    Others said it was most likely not pieces of Flight 370. "The chances of it being debris from the airplane are probably small, and the chances of it being debris from other shipping are probably large," said Jason Middleton, an aviation professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney.

    The area where the debris was spotted is about halfway between Australia and desolate islands off the Antarctic.

    Middleton also said the ocean to the west and south of Perth where the objects were spotted is notoriously stormy.

    Selamat Bin Omar, a father of a passenger on the missing plane, said he could only wait for the results of the search and accept that fate.

    "We do not yet know for sure whether this is indeed MH370 or something else," he said. "We are still waiting for further notice from the Australian government."

    The hunt for the Boeing 777 has been punctuated by several false leads since it disappeared March 8 above the Gulf of Thailand.

    Oil slicks that were spotted did not contain jet fuel. A yellow object thought to be from the plane turned out to be a piece of sea trash. Chinese satellite images showed possible plane debris, but nothing was found.

    But this is the first time that possible objects have been spotted since the search area was massively expanded into two corridors, one stretching from northern Thailand into Central Asia and the other from the Strait of Malacca down to southern reaches of the Indian Ocean.

    Abbott said he spoke to the prime minister of Malaysia, Najib Razak, about the latest developments.

    The FBI has joined forces with Malaysian authorities in analyzing deleted data on a flight simulator belonging to the pilot of the missing jet.

    Files containing records of flight simulations were deleted Feb. 3 from the device found in the home of the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu said.

    It was not clear whether investigators thought that deleting the files was unusual. They might hold hints of unusual flight paths that could help explain where the missing plane went, or the files could have been deleted simply to clear memory for other material.

    Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference Wednesday that Zaharie is considered innocent until proven guilty. He said members of the pilot's family are cooperating in the investigation.

    Zaharie was known to some within the online world of flight simulation enthusiasts.

    U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in Washington that the FBI was working with Malaysian authorities. "At this point, I don't think we have any theories," he said.

    Flight 370 disappeared March 8 on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation, but have said the evidence so far suggests the plane was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.

    Police are considering the possibility of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board, and have asked for background checks from abroad on all foreign passengers.

    A Startlingly Simple Theory About the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet

    • BY CHRIS GOODFELLOW
    • 03.18.14
    • 6:30 AM

    There has been a lot of speculation about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Terrorism, hijacking, meteors. I cannot believe the analysis on CNN; it’s almost disturbing. I tend to look for a simpler explanation, and I find it with the 13,000-foot runway at Pulau Langkawi.

    We know the story of MH370: A loaded Boeing 777 departs at midnight from Kuala Lampur, headed to Beijing. A hot night. A heavy aircraft. About an hour out, across the gulf toward Vietnam, the plane goes dark, meaning the transponder and secondary radar tracking go off. Two days later we hear reports that Malaysian military radar (which is a primary radar, meaning the plane is tracked by reflection rather than by transponder interrogation response) has tracked the plane on a southwesterly course back across the Malay Peninsula into the Strait of Malacca.

    The left turn is the key here. Zaharie Ahmad Shah1 was a very experienced senior captain with 18,000 hours of flight time. We old pilots were drilled to know what is the closest airport of safe harbor while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us, and airports ahead of us. They’re always in our head. Always. If something happens, you don’t want to be thinking about what are you going to do–you already know what you are going to do. When I saw that left turn with a direct heading, I instinctively knew he was heading for an airport. He was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi, a 13,000-foot airstrip with an approach over water and no obstacles. The captain did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000-foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier toward Langkawi, which also was closer.

    Take a look at this airport on Google Earth. The pilot did all the right things. He was confronted by some major event onboard that made him make an immediate turn to the closest, safest airport.

    The loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sensein a fire.

    When I heard this I immediately brought up Google Earth and searched for airports in proximity to the track toward the southwest.

    For me, the loss of transponders and communications makes perfect sense in a fire. And there most likely was an electrical fire. In the case of a fire, the first response is to pull the main busses and restore circuits one by one until you have isolated the bad one. If they pulled the busses, the plane would go silent. It probably was a serious event and the flight crew was occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, navigate, and lastly, communicate is the mantra in such situations.

    There are two types of fires. An electrical fire might not be as fast and furious, and there may or may not be incapacitating smoke. However there is the possibility, given the timeline, that there was an overheat on one of the front landing gear tires, it blew on takeoff and started slowly burning. Yes, this happens with underinflated tires. Remember: Heavy plane, hot night, sea level, long-run takeoff. There was a well known accident in Nigeria of a DC8 that had a landing gear fire on takeoff. Once going, a tire fire would produce horrific, incapacitating smoke. Yes, pilots have access to oxygen masks, but this is a no-no with fire. Most have access to a smoke hood with a filter, but this will last only a few minutes depending on the smoke level. (I used to carry one in my flight bag, and I still carry one in my briefcase when I fly.)

    What I think happened is the flight crew was overcome by smoke and the plane continued on the heading, probably on George (autopilot), until it ran out of fuel or the fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. You will find it along that route–looking elsewhere is pointless.

    lang-660

    Ongoing speculation of a hijacking and/or murder-suicide and that there was a flight engineer on board does not sway me in favor of foul play until I am presented with evidence of foul play.

    We know there was a last voice transmission that, from a pilot’s point of view, was entirely normal. “Good night” is customary on a hand-off to a new air traffic control. The “good night” also strongly indicates to me that all was OK on the flight deck. Remember, there are many ways a pilot can communicate distress. A hijack code or even transponder code off by one digit would alert ATC that something was wrong. Every good pilot knows keying an SOS over the mike always is an option. Even three short clicks would raise an alert. So I conclude that at the point of voice transmission all was perceived as well on the flight deck by the pilots.

    But things could have been in the process of going wrong, unknown to the pilots.

    Evidently the ACARS went inoperative some time before. Disabling the ACARS is not easy, as pointed out. This leads me to believe more in an electrical problem or an electrical fire than a manual shutdown. I suggest the pilots probably were not aware ACARS was not transmitting.

    As for the reports of altitude fluctuations, given that this was not transponder-generated data but primary radar at maybe 200 miles, the azimuth readings can be affected by a lot of atmospherics and I would not have high confidence in this being totally reliable. But let’s accept for a minute that the pilot may have ascended to 45,000 feet in a last-ditch effort to quell a fire by seeking the lowest level of oxygen. That is an acceptable scenario. At 45,000 feet, it would be tough to keep this aircraft stable, as the flight envelope is very narrow and loss of control in a stall is entirely possible. The aircraft is at the top of its operational ceiling. The reported rapid rates of descent could have been generated by a stall, followed by a recovery at 25,000 feet. The pilot may even have been diving to extinguish flames.

    But going to 45,000 feet in a hijack scenario doesn’t make any good sense to me.

    Regarding the additional flying time: On departing Kuala Lampur, Flight 370 would have had fuel for Beijing and an alternate destination, probably Shanghai, plus 45 minutes–say, 8 hours. Maybe more. He burned 20-25 percent in the first hour with takeoff and the climb to cruise. So when the turn was made toward Langkawi, he would have had six hours or more hours worth of fuel. This correlates nicely with the Inmarsat data pings being received until fuel exhaustion.

    Fire in an aircraft demands one thing: Get the machine on the ground as soon as possible.

    The now known continued flight until time to fuel exhaustion only confirms to me that the crew was incapacitated and the flight continued on deep into the south Indian ocean.

    There is no point speculating further until more evidence surfaces, but in the meantime it serves no purpose to malign pilots who well may have been in a struggle to save this aircraft from a fire or other serious mechanical issue. Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi. There is no doubt in my mind. That’s the reason for the turn and direct route. A hijacking would not have made that deliberate left turn with a direct heading for Langkawi. It probably would have weaved around a bit until the hijackers decided where they were taking it.

    Surprisingly, none of the reporters, officials, or other pilots interviewed have looked at this from the pilot’s viewpoint: If something went wrong, where would he go? Thanks to Google Earth I spotted Langkawi in about 30 seconds, zoomed in and saw how long the runway was and I just instinctively knew this pilot knew this airport. He had probably flown there many times.

    Fire in an aircraft demands one thing: Get the machine on the ground as soon as possible. There are two well-remembered experiences in my memory. The AirCanada DC9 which landed, I believe, in Columbus, Ohio in the 1980s. That pilot delayed descent and bypassed several airports. He didn’t instinctively know the closest airports. He got it on the ground eventually, but lost 30-odd souls. The 1998 crash of Swissair DC-10 off Nova Scotia was another example of heroic pilots. They were 15 minutes out of Halifax but the fire overcame them and they had to ditch in the ocean. They simply ran out of time. That fire incidentally started when the aircraft was about an hour out of Kennedy. Guess what? The transponders and communications were shut off as they pulled the busses.

    Get on Google Earth and type in Pulau Langkawi and then look at it in relation to the radar track heading. Two plus two equals four. For me, that is the simple explanation why it turned and headed in that direction. Smart pilot. He just didn’t have the time.

    Chris Goodfellow has 20 years experience as a Canadian Class-1 instrumented-rated pilot for multi-engine planes. His theory on what happened to MH370 first appeared on Google+. We’ve copyedited it with his permission.

    1CORRECTION 9:40 a.m. Eastern 03/18/14: An editing error introduced a typo in Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s name.

    For more on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370:
    How It’s Possible to Lose an Airplane in 2014
    Inside the Nearly Impossible Task of Finding an Airplane in the Ocean
    How the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet Could Have Been Hijacked

    Chinese satellites find large object that could be from MH370

     

    Purported transcript: plane's final minutes of communication normal

    By Tom Cohen, CNN
    updated 6:30 PM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014

    (CNN) -- No struggle. No panic. No clues.

    A purported transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication withMalaysia Airlines Flight 370 reveals nothing to suggest a problem -- either mechanical or man-made.

    Britain's The Telegraph obtained what it reported to be the transcript of exchanges between copilot Fariq Abdul Hamid and air traffic controllers from before the flight took off until the final transmission.

    "MH370, please contact Ho Chi Minh City 120.9, good night," is the last message from Kuala Lumpur air traffic control to the flight, according to a translated page of the document posted online by The Telegraph.

    "All right, good night," was the response at 1:19 a.m. local time. That was the last communication before the plane's transponder stopped working.

    CNN was unable to immediately verify the authenticity of the transcript. The Telegraph reported that the Malaysian government declined to release it.

    No sign of airliner after day 2 of search in southern Indian Ocean

    ccording to The Telegraph's report, nothing in the purported transcript suggests that anything unusual or untoward occurred before communications with the Boeing 777 ended.

    It said Hamid signed in at 12:36 a.m. on the flight fromKuala Lumpur to Beijing. At 1:07 a.m., Hamid says the plane was flying at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, which repeated information provided six minutes earlier, The Telegraph reported.

    A former British Airways pilot who flew the same kind of aircraft found nothing suspicious about that exchange.

    "It could be as simple as the pilot forgetting or not being sure that he had told air traffic controllers he had reached the altitude," the former pilot, Steve Landells, told The Telegraph. "He might be reconfirming he was at 350 (35,000 feet). It is not unusual. I wouldn't read anything into it."

    Nothing unusual appears in the purported transcript around the plane's final transmission, which came two minutes before the transponder halted, The Telegraph reported.

    Biggest questions about Flight 370

    Difficulties presented in 'remote corner of planet' may hamper Flight 370 search

    By Euan McKirdy, CNN
    updated 7:37 AM EDT, Fri March 21, 2014

     

    (CNN) -- Satellite imagery that may show debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is raising hopes that investigators can narrow what has been a needle-in-a-haystack search operation.

    The images, obtained and analyzed by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation as "a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation," according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, were taken above a remote part of ocean thousands of kilometers south-east of Australia.

    Two objects, one of approximately 24 meters (78.7 ft) in length and another around five meters (16.4 ft) long have been spotted, leading to hopes that more information regarding the missing airliner has come to light.

    Beforehand, search corridors had extended both through central Asia and as far south as the depths of the Indian Ocean. The new find gives cause that the search operations can zero in on a much more focused field.

    However, the area of southern Indian Ocean, 2,350 kilometers (1,460 miles) to the southeast of Perth inwestern Australia is a remote, potentially inhospitable area of sea which will not necessarily aid search operations -- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the search area Friday as the "about the most inaccessible spot you could imagine on the face of the earth."

    New Day's Chris Cuomo illustrated the difficulty of the task ahead. "They are saying it's the most challenging of things. It's far, it's remote, it's very deep and you're in the storm season so it's inclement there as well... it's a tough set of constraints," he told Richard Quest.

    The distance from Australia means that the search time of aircraft "on station" -- within the reduced search zone -- will be limited to only a couple of hours.

    Weather will also potentially be an issue. Already, the first aircraft on the scene which was dispatched early Thursday to assess the site, has reported "poor visibility," despite "moderate weather conditions," according to the AMSA's John Young, who spoke at a media briefingThursday. "This will hamper both air and satellite efforts," he said.

    CNN meteorologist Pedram Javaheri says that weather in the region, especially at this time of year, can be unpredictable. "Today marks the first day of autumn down under, so it's not unusual to see the weather in this part of the world start to pick up in intensity.

    "We have very limited (weather) info in this remote corner of the planet. In fact, it is so remote that (weather) satellites are even a bit choppy that far south."

    A key to the search is the height of the waves and whether there are whitecaps present, former flight commander Rick Burgess told CNN's Becky Anderson. "Those high waves... are very disruptive on your search pattern when you're trying to look for objects in the water."

    He estimated that the search crews would have a window of three to four days. "Then from there I don't see much hope in finding anything in the near term."

    The average depth in that area of the ocean is around 13,000 feet, which is slightly less than the average depth worldwide. The area's depth could still present significant problems for retrieving wreckage -- should the objects seen on satellite be confirmed as part of the missing plane. There are volcanic ridges underwater which rise up from the ocean floor, which can reduce the depth to 3,000 feet.

    Also, this part of the Indian Ocean is the location of the Indian Ocean Gyre, one of five major gyres worldwide. A gyre is an area of circular ocean current where water does not circulate particularly freely. The Indian Ocean Gyre is known to trap large volumes of debris in the southern Indian Ocean as currents here are very weak and show little to no movement over long periods of time, Javaheri said.

    However, "at these very high latitudes (where the debris was spotted)... westerly winds are typically very strong and they can certainly impact large-scale debris and move them along," meaning that wind patterns may have influenced the location of the sighted objects.

    LIVE: Latest updates on the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner

    What can we tell from fresh lead?

    If this is the debris, what happens next?

    Opinion: Search for MH370 highlights need for trust, unity in Asia


    Chinese satellites find large object that could be from MH370

    China debris sattelite photo

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) -- While possible clues about the fate of a Malaysia Airlines jet missing for more than two weeks keep coming from satellite images, it has been as frustrating as ever to turn the hints from space into actual sightings.

    China on Saturday released a satellite image showing an object floating in a remote stretch of the southern Indian Ocean near where planes and ships have been crisscrossing since similar images from an Australian satellite emerged earlier in the week. China's image, showing an object that appeared to be 22 meters (72 feet) by 13 meters (43 feet), was taken around noon Tuesday.

    "The news that I just received is that the Chinese ambassador received a satellite image of a floating object in the southern corridor and they will be sending ships to verify," Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters.

    Australian officials said the location was within the 36,000-square-kilometer (14,000-square-mile) area they searched on Saturday, but the object was not found. Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Andrea Hayward-Maher said she did not know whether the precise coordinates of the location had been searched, but added that coordinators will use the information to refine the search area.

    The authority, which is overseeing the search in the region, said a civil aircraft reported seeing a number of small objects in the search area, including a wooden pallet, but a New Zealand military plane diverted to the location found only clumps of seaweed. The agency said in a statement that searchers would keep trying to determine whether the objects are related to the lost plane.

    Despite the frustrating lack of answers, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Sunday suggested the sightings were a positive development.

    "Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope - no more than hope, no more than hope - that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft," Abbott told reporters in Papua New Guinea.

    The latest satellite image is another clue in the baffling search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which dropped off air traffic control screens March 8 over the Gulf of Thailand with 239 people on board.

    After about a week of confusion, Malaysian authorities said pings sent by the Boeing 777-200 for several hours after it disappeared indicated that the plane ended up in one of two huge arcs: a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia, or a southern corridor that stretches toward Antarctica.

    The discovery of two objects by the Australian satellite led several countries to send planes and ships to a stretch of the Indian Ocean about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Australia. But three days of searching have produced no confirmed signs of the plane.

    One of the objects spotted in the earlier satellite imagery was described as 24 meters (almost 80 feet) in length and the other was 5 meters (15 feet).

    The Boeing 777-200 is about 64 meters (209 feet) long with a wingspan of 61 meters (199 feet) and a fuselage about 6.2 meters (20 feet) in diameter, according to Boeing's website.

    In a statement on its website announcing China's find, the State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense did not explain why it took four days to release the information. But there was a similar delay in the release of the Australian satellite images because experts needed time to examine them.

    Two military planes from China arrived Saturday in Perth and were expected on Sunday to join Australian, New Zealand and U.S. aircraft in the search. Japanese planes will arrive Sunday and ships were in the area or on their way.

    Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, said the currents in the area typically move at about one meter (yard) per second but can sometimes move faster.

    Based on the typical speed, a current could theoretically move a floating object about 173 kilometers (107 miles) in two days.

    But even if both satellites detected the same object, it may be unrelated to the plane. One possibility is that it could have fallen off a cargo vessel.

    Warren Truss, Australia's acting prime minister while Abbott is abroad, said before the new satellite data was announced that a complete search could take a long time.

    "It is a very remote area, but we intend to continue the search until we're absolutely satisfied that further searching would be futile - and that day is not in sight," he said.

    "If there's something there to be found, I'm confident that this search effort will locate it," Truss said from the base near Perth that is serving as a staging area for search aircraft.

    Aircraft involved in the search include two ultra-long-range commercial jets and four P3 Orions, the maritime safety authority said.

    Because the search area is a four-hour flight from land, the Orions can search for about only two hours before they must fly back. The commercial jets can stay for five hours before heading back to the base.

    Two merchant ships were in the area, and the HMAS Success, a navy supply ship, had also joined the search.

    A small flotilla of ships from China will also join the hunt, along with a refueling vessel that will allow ships to stay in the search area for a long time, Truss said.

    Hishammuddin, the Malaysian defense minister, said conditions in the southern corridor were challenging.

    The area where the objects were identified by the Australian authorities is marked by strong currents and rough seas, and the ocean depth varies between 1,150 meters (3,770 feet) and 7,000 meters (23,000 feet). In addition, Hishammuddin said a low-level warning had been declared for Tropical Cyclone Gillian, although that was north of Australia and closer to Indonesia.

    The missing plane, which had been bound for Beijing, carried 153 Chinese passengers. In the Chinese capital on Saturday, relatives of the passengers rose up in anger at the end of a brief meeting with Malaysia Airlines and Malaysian government officials.

    "You can't leave here! We want to know what the reality is!" they shouted in frustration over what they saw as officials' refusal to answer questions. The relatives gave reporters a statement saying they believe they have been "strung along, kept in the dark and lied to by the Malaysian government."

    Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet, but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.

    Police are considering the possibilities of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board.

    Malaysia asked the U.S. for undersea surveillance equipment to help in the search, said Rear Adm. John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel promised to assess the availability of the technology and its usefulness in the search, Kirby said. The Pentagon says it has spent $2.5 million to operate ships and aircraft in the search and has budgeted another $1.5 million for the efforts.

    ---

    Griffith reported from Perth, Australia. Associated Press writers Todd Pitman and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney and Didi Tang and Christopher Bodeen in Beijing contributed to this report.

     

    Chinese plane spots objects in Indian Ocean


    PERTH, Australia (AP) - 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, while theUnited States separately prepared to send a specialized device that can locate black boxes.

    The crew aboard an IL-76 plane sighted the object in the southern Indian Ocean and reported the coordinates to the Australian command center, which is coordinating the multinational search, as well as the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon, which is en route to the area, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

    The spotters saw two larger floating objects and some smaller, white debris scattered over several square kilometers (miles), the report said. It gave no other details.

    Satellite images released by Australia and China had earlier identified possible debris in the area that may be linked to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

    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 20,000 feet (6,100 meters), Cmdr. Chris Budde, a U.S. Seventh Fleet operations officer, said in a statement.

    "This movement is simply a prudent effort to preposition equipment and trained personnel closer to the search area so that if debris is found we will be able to respond as quickly as possible since the battery life of the black box's pinger is limited," Budde said.

    The ocean depth in the search area ranges between 1,150 meters (3,770 feet) and 7,000 meters (23,000 feet).

    An Australian defense official said an Australian navy support vessel, the Ocean Shield, was also moving into the search zone and would arrive in three or four days. The ship is equipped with acoustic detection equipment that can search for the missing plane's black box.

    There was no sign the moves was linked to any breakthrough in the mystery of the plane, but rather as a preparation.

    "The time for the battery life (of the pinger) is potentially only a month," said Jason Middleton, aviation professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. "If debris was found, it would be terrible not have anything on site and waste time" getting a ping detector to the region. "I think they're planning ahead and getting it ready."

    The Chinese plane was one of two Ilyushins that joined the search Monday from Perth, increasing the number of aircraft to 10 from eight a day earlier.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said the objects spotted Monday were "within today's search area and attempts will be made to relocate them."

    Bad weather was threatening the search efforts in the area, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology reported increased winds, low cloud and a reduction in visibility. On Tuesday, a cold front was expected to move through the search area from the west, bringing showers, more low cloud and less visibility. Tropical Cyclone Gillian, which is further to the north, will not impact the area.

    The search was given added momentum when a French satellite detected potential debris on Sunday, after Australia and China earlier released satellite images identifying suspect objects.

    Australian authorities had sent planes and a ship to try to locate a wooden pallet that was spotted on Saturday from a search plane, but the spotters were unable to take photos of it.

    Wooden pallets are most commonly used by ships but are also used in airplane cargo holds, and an official with Malaysia Airlines said Sunday night that the flight was, in fact, carrying wooden pallets. The official spoke on condition of anonymity in keeping with company policy.

    In Paris, French Foreign Ministry spokesman Romain Nadal said in an interview with The Associated Press that the satellite radar echoes "identified some debris that could be from the Malaysian Airlines plane."

    The spokesman said that these echoes "are not images with a definition like a photograph, but they do allow us to identify the nature of an object and to localize it."

    Gathering satellite echo data involves sending a beam of energy to the Earth and then analyzing it when it bounces back, according to Joseph Bermudez Jr., chief analytics officer at AllSource Analysis, a commercial satellite intelligence firm.

    Satellite radar echoes can be converted into an image that would look similar to a black-and-white photo, though not as clear, he said. "You'd have to know what you're looking at," Bermudez said.

    Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said the French radar data located the objects about 850 kilometers (520 miles) north of the current search area, and that "we need to check that out as well."

    The southern Indian Ocean is thought to be a potential area to find the jet because Malaysian authorities have said pings sent by the Boeing 777-200 for several hours after it disappeared indicated that the plane ended up in one of two huge arcs: a northern corridor stretching from Malaysia to Central Asia, or a southern corridor that stretches toward Antarctica.

    Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet, but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.

    Authorities are considering the possibilities of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

    Malaysia's police chief, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar reiterated at a news conference Monday that all the passengers had been cleared of suspicion.

    But he said that the pilots and crew were still being investigated. He would not comment on whether investigators had recovered the files that were deleted a month earlier from the home flight simulator of the chief pilot.

    In the U.S., Tony Blinken, President Barack Obama's deputy national security adviser, said on CNN: "There is no prevailing theory."

    "Publicly or privately, we don't know," he said. "We're chasing down every theory."

     

    PASSENGERS

    Lives, not numbers: Snapshots of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 passengers

    By Eliott C. McLaughlin, CNN
    updated 10:47 PM EDT, Mon March 24, 2014

    HERE ARE 25 PASSENGERS - WHO WERE THE REST OF THEM? 

    (CNN) -- Amid the void of information on their fates, it seems at times that the passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have been reduced to a number.

    Two hundred and thirty-nine.

    Yet, as their families and others who love and miss them can attest through their anguish, they are so much more. Hailing from at least a dozen nations, they represent a vast gamut of humanity.

    The youngest is 2, the oldest 76. Five passengers haven't seen their fifth birthdays.

    They are engineers, an artist and a stunt man, along with Buddhist pilgrims, vacationers and commuters. To those who wait for them, they are fathers, mothers, children, soulmates and the dearest of friends.

    Snapshot of the passengers on Flight 370
    Family member: Too many questions
    The anguish of waiting
    The passengers of flight 370

    Days pass: No word of loved ones

    As could be said of any large, random group, they are many things, individuals with 239 unique backgrounds, idiosyncrasies and lives.

    Here are a few of their stories:

    Moheng Wang, Rui "Rory" Wang and Weiwei "Vivia" Jiao

    Two-year-old Moheng was the youngest passenger on the flight. He was traveling with his parents, Rory Wang and Vivia Jiao, both in their early 30s, back to Beijing. The family had been in Malaysia on a vacation.

    Just a week before Rory boarded the plane that would go missing, he sent an e-mail to former classmates telling them about the vacation he was taking before returning to Beijing to work on a project. He regularly sends e-mails about his travel experiences and shares photos that he took with the latest cameras, his MBA classmate Saleel Limaye said.

    "The pictures he would send in the e-mails were just fantastic pictures," he said.

    A friend of Vivia's, Weina Shi, said the two instantly connected when they met.

    "She's just so warm, very sweet, so caring, that we just immediately connected and became pretty good friends," she said.

    The pair would hang out and shop together as well, Shi said. Vivia was a caring wife, the kind who leaves a note for her husband when she goes out to run errands, she said.

    Dai Shuling and Jiao Wenxue

    Dai and Jiao are Vivia's parents and the grandparents of Wang Moheng.

    They had joined their daughter and son-in-law in Malaysia for vacation.

    Both are 58 years old.

    Wen Yongsheng

    Wen is a 34-year-old businessman.

    His father has been one of the family members who has spoken with the media about what the relatives are going through.

    "Come back quickly. You have made everyone in the family very nervous," Wen's father says he would like to tell his son. "Everyone in the family is waiting for you to return. He has to come back, everyone on board. He can't come back by himself."

    Puspanahtan Subramaniam

    The 34-year-old information technology specialist and father was leaving his home to board Flight 370 when his two young children clung to his legs and didn't want him to go. He had to promise them to bring chocolates and presents when he returned from his trip to Beijing, said his father, Gurusami Subramaniam.

    "He was responsible for everything, these clothes I'm wearing, even. Whatever country he was in, he would call. Once a week, he would come see us with the whole family. He really took care of us."

    Gurusami Subramaniam says he worked 20 years as a security guard to put his only son through college.

    Ju Kun

    Ju's social media account has been flooded with well-wishers praying for his safe return. Many know the 35-year-old martial arts expert from his stand-ins as a stunt man in films like "The Grandmaster" and "The Forbidden Kingdom." The latter starred genre luminaries Jackie Chan and Jet Li. Ju was slated to begin filming on the Netflix series "Marco Polo" in coming weeks.

    Chinese actress Zhang Ziyi wrote on Weibo that Ju "is a sincere, kind and hardworking man," while Netflix said he is "an integral part of our production team and a tremendous talent."

    Chandrika Sharma

    K.S. Narendran considered going to Kuala Lampur for more information on his wife, but ultimately, he didn't see the point. No information in Chennai, India, is the same as no information in Kuala Lampur, so he'd prefer to be "surrounded by family and friends."

    Sharma, the executive secretary of the International Collective in Support of Fishworkers, was en route to Mongolia for a U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization conference. Narendran says he's received little information from authorities and, like most of the world, has relied on news reports, which "thus far amounted to nothing," he said.

    Paul Weeks

    Weeks left his wedding ring and watch at home when he took a mining job in Mongolia. The New Zealander instructed his wife, Danica, to pass them on to his two sons "should anything happen."

    Danica clutched her husband's wedding ring and fought back tears as she explained to CNN that her husband was aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, en route to Mongolia. She describes him as "the most amazing husband and the most amazing father," who always spends time with his boys. She says the hardest part is the cruel mystery: not knowing what happened to the plane.

    "He had strength, character. He's just so much. He's my best friend and my soulmate, and I just can't wait for him to come back. I hope. I hope."

    Weeks' brother Paul also called him a best friend.

    "He's definitely a leader. He's a leader in the family. He has so many friends, more than you could count. People love Paul. And in general, he's just a wonderful man," he said.

    Zaharie Ahmad Shah

    Zaharie is the airline captain who was piloting the plane. He is a central figure in the investigation. He is under scrutiny, as investigators searched his home, but nonetheless he is among the missing.

    Malaysia's main opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, knows the captain and said "he is against any form of extremism."

    The captain attended political meetings and is quite passionate about justice and democracy, Zaharie said.

    Some media outlets have reported that the plane's pilot had attended the court hearing for Ibrahim and speculated that the flight's disappearance may have been a political act in response to the verdict.

    "But he's known to be a great professional pilot, a great family man, and I don't see him to be in any way controversial or taking any radical stance," Ibrahim said. "And I have great difficulty in understanding why they are casting aspersions against him purely because I'm known to him."

    Mohammed Khairul Amri Selamat

    The 29-year-old Malaysian civil aviation engineer works for a private jet charter company. Police are investigating all passengers and crew, but he is likely to be of particular interest because of his aviation knowledge. "I am confident that he is not involved," his father said. "They're welcome to investigate me and my family."

    Pouria Nourmohammadi and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Reza

    The two Iranians initially came under suspicion because both were traveling on stolen passports, one Austrian and the other Italian. But Interpol says it believes this to be a human trafficking issue.

    Nourmohammadi, 18, posted on Facebook on March 4 that he was "feeling excited," along with a picture of him standing in front of the Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur. A few days earlier, he'd checked in at the city's airport with a post saying, "For everyone that said a prayer for me, thank you so much. I am safe and well."

    Malaysian police believe Nourmohammadi was trying to emigrate to Germany using the stolen Austrian passport. He and Reza, 29, entered Malaysia on February 28 using valid Iranian passports, Interpol said.

    Mohammed Mallaeibasir, an 18-year-old Iranian student who sent CNN iReport a picture of himself with the two men, said he knows Nourmohammadi from high school, having met him a few years ago in Tehran. Nourmohammadi told him his mother lived in Frankfurt, Germany.

    He'd met Reza only on the day the pair were flying from Malaysia, Mallaeibasir said. They all went for dinner and then he dropped them off at the airport for the flight, he said.

    Gu Naijun and Li Yuan

    Gu, 31, uses her Weibo account to keep her oft-traveling husband, Li, 32, apprised of the goings-on of their two "princesses," whether the daughters are swimming, playing on the slide, dressing in frilly costumes or just enjoying a lunch outing, The Sydney Morning Herald reported.

    The Chinese couple fell in love in Sydney and moved to its suburbs. They had recently sold their Sylvania home and were spending most of their time in China, the paper reported. Li, who went by Carlos, is a partner with Beijing Landysoft Technology, where one longtime employee said he and his coworkers were shocked. "He's a good boss, kind, and extremely hard-working,'' the employee said.

    Muktesh Mukherjee and Xiaomo Bai vacationed in Vietnam.
    Muktesh Mukherjee and Xiaomo Bai vacationed in Vietnam.
    A portrait of missing passengers
    Remembering the missing on Flight 370

    Muktesh Mukherjee and Xiaomo Bai

    Mukherjee, 42, is vice president of China operations for Xcoal Energy & Resources. He and his wife, Xiaomo Bai, 37, whom broadcaster CTV identified as Canadians who once lived in Montreal, left their two young boys with Bai's mom in Beijing while they went on vacation in Vietnam, according to Bai's Facebook page.

    Matthew McConkey, a friend of the couple, said Mukherjee "was very much in love with" Bai, and "as parents, nothing was more important to them than those kids."

    Mao Tugui

    Hu Xianquan last spoke to her husband, Mao, a painter, March 2 as he was boarding a plane to attend an exhibition for his work. Like Danica Weeks, she finds the dearth of information frustrating, and her grief has morphed to agonizing frustration.

    Mohd Sofuan Ibrahim and Ch'ng Mei Ling

    Hasif Nazri, 33, was doubly sad upon learning of the plane's disappearance. Not only did he live in the same dorm as 33-year-old Ibrahim during their school days in Malaysia, but Mei Ling, also 33, is another former classmate.

    While Nazri acknowledges losing hope as the days drag on, he has fond memories of his old friends. Ibrahim, who posted a Facebook photo before boarding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, was traveling to Beijing to begin work for Malaysia's Ministry of International Trade and Industry. A good student and speaker, Ibrahim is also "a good, kind-hearted friend, very helpful, cheerful and definitely no wallflower," Nazri said.

    Nazri remembers Mei Ling, meanwhile, as a funny woman with an infectious laugh. She's a "very cheerful girl." Mei Ling works for Flexsys America LP, an Ohio-based manufacturer of chemicals for the rubber industry, and has lived in Pennsylvania since 2010. She "was very adaptable," Nazri recalled from his days doing coursework with her.

    Li Yuchen

    Li, 27, is a Ph.D. engineering student at Britain's prestigious Cambridge University, according to the Cambridge News. He recently married Mingfei Ma, the report said, but she was not traveling with him.

    "Heartbreaking news this morning -- Yuchen Li (alum) was on the missing Malaysian flight. Our thoughts are with Mingfei Ma, his friends and family," his college is quoted as saying.

    Swawand Kolekar

    In Mumbai, India, Archit Joshi, 23, desperately sought information on his classmate, Kolekar, whose family in Beijing was also desperate for any information on his whereabouts.

    Joshi described Kolekar as "very reserved but very, very intelligent ... a bit of a techno-freak and he made a lot of circuits and projects at engineering college."

    "He didn't have many friends -- he was a bit of a loner -- but he had all the attributes a good friend should have."

    Li Yan

    Li's aunt, Zhang Guizhi, traveled from central China to Beijing and was hoping to obtain a passport to travel to wherever the plane is found. She wasn't sure how to go about the process and began weeping when she explained that Li, 31, had traveled with her husband and four friends to Malaysia for vacation.

    Philip Wood is an IBM executive.
    Philip Wood is an IBM executive.

    Philip Wood

    The 51-year-old father of two graduated from Oklahoma Christian University in 1985 with a Bachelor of Science in math and computer science, said school spokeswoman Risa Forrester. On the school's Facebook page, a man wrote that Wood, an IBM executive, is "gentle, kind, had great taste in music and was a wonderful artist."

    "His word was gold," his family said in a statement. "Incredibly generous, creative and intelligent, Phil cared about people, his family, and above all, Christ."

    Mary and Rodney Burrows

    Neighbors Mandy Watt and Don Stoke say the Burrowses are the hard-working parents of three "successful, all happy" adult children: two daughters and a son. Rodney Burrows had planned his trip to China after being laid off last year, the Australian Associated Press reported.

    Watt further said of the Middle Park, Australia, couple, "I hate to use the cliche, but they were soulmates."

    Catherine and Robert Lawton

    The Lawtons, a Springfield Lakes, Australia, couple, in their mid-50s, are passionate travelers, parents to three daughters and doting grandparents, according to the Australian Associated Press.

    Robert's brother, David, described him as a "very good father, such a good person." Robert's sister-in-law said the Lawtons had planned their trip with their good friends, the Burrowses. Cathy's last Facebook post before leaving was, "Off to China."

    CNN's Jessica King, Catherine E. Shoichet, Atika Shubert, Ray Sanchez, Steven Jiang, Bharati Naik, Mariano Castillo, Laura Smith-Spark, Peter Shadbolt, Dayu Zhang, Serena Dong, Sophie Brown, Anjali Tsui, Euan McKirdy, Piers Morgan and Anderson Cooper contributed to this report.

    Passengers

    Two-thirds of the 227 passengers were Chinese citizens, including a group of 19 artists with six family members and four staff returning from a calligraphy exhibition of their work in Kuala Lumpur; 38 passengers were Malaysian. The remaining passengers were from 13 different countries. Of the total, 20 were employees of Freescale Semiconductor, a company based in Austin, Texas – 12 were from Malaysia and 8 from China.

    Under a 2007 agreement with Malaysia Airlines, Tzu Chi – a foreign Buddhist organisation – immediately sent specially-trained teams to Beijing and Malaysia to give emotional support to passengers' families. The airline also sent its own team of caregivers and volunteers and agreed to bear the expenses of bringing family members of the passengers to Kuala Lumpur and providing them with accommodation, medical care, and counselling. Altogether, 115 family members of the Chinese passengers flew to Kuala Lumpur. Some other family members chose to remain in China, fearing they would feel too isolated in Malaysia. The airline offered an ex gratia condolence payment of US$5,000 to the family of each passenger, but relatives considered the conditions unacceptable and asked the airline to review them.

    Crew

    All the crew members were Malaysian citizens. The flight's captain was 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah of Penang; he joined MAS in 1981 and had 18,365 hours of flying experience. Zaharie was also an examiner qualified to conduct simulator tests for pilots.

    The first officer was 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid, an employee of MAS since 2007, with 2,763 flying hours. Fariq was transitioning to the Boeing 777-200 after having completed his simulator training.

    3-26-14

    Malaysia plane crash: Satellite spots 122 objects in ocean that could be plane debris

    A dozen planes and five ships are searching an estimated 1.6 million square kilometres in the Indian Ocean.

    PERTH, AUSTRALIA—A French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of a missing jetliner found a possible plane debris field containing 122 objects, a top Malaysian official said Wednesday, calling it “the most credible lead that we have.”

    Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the objects were more than 2,500 kilometres southwest of Australia, in the area where a desperate, multinational hunt has been going on since other satellites detected possible jet debris.

    Clouds obscured the latest satellite images, but dozens of objects could be seen in the gaps, ranging in length from one metre to 23 metres. Hishammuddin said some of them “appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid materials.”

    The images were taken Sunday and relayed by French-based Airbus Defence and Space, a division of Europe's Airbus Group; its businesses include the operation of satellites and satellite communications.

    Various floating objects have been spotted by planes and satellites over the last week, including on Wednesday, when the Australian Maritime Safety Authority sent a tweet saying

    three more objects were seen. The authority said two objects seen from a civil aircraft appeared to be rope, and that a New Zealand military plane spotted a blue object.

    Photos View photos

    • The desperate hunt for Flight 370 resumed Wednesday after fierce weather delayed search efforts.zoom

    None of the objects were seen on a second pass, a frustration that has been repeated several times in the hunt for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, missing since March 8 with 239 people aboard. It remains uncertain whether any of the objects came from the plane; they could have come from a cargo ship or something else.

    “If it is confirmed to be MH370, at least we can then we can move on to the next phase of deep sea surveillance search,” Hishammuddin said.

    The search resumed Wednesday after fierce winds and high waves forced crews to take a break Tuesday. A total of 12 planes and five ships from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand were participating in the search, hoping to find even a single piece of the jet that could offer tangible evidence of a crash and provide clues to find the rest of the wreckage.

    Malaysia announced Monday that a mathematical analysis of the final known satellite signals from the plane showed that it had crashed in the sea, killing everyone on board.

    The new data greatly reduced the search zone, but it remains huge — an area estimated at 1.6 million square kilometres, about the size of Alaska.

    “We're throwing everything we have at this search,” Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Nine Network television on Wednesday.

    “This is about the most inaccessible spot imaginable. It's thousands of kilometres from anywhere,” he later told Seven Network television. He vowed that “we will do what we can to solve this riddle.”

    In Beijing, some families held out a glimmer of hope their loved ones might somehow have survived. About two-thirds of the missing were Chinese, and their relatives have lashed out at Malaysia for essentially declaring their family members dead without any physical evidence of the plane's remains. Many also believe Malaysia has not been transparent or swift in communicating information with them about the status of the search.

    Wang Chunjiang, whose brother was on the plane, said he felt “very conflicted.”

    “We want to know the truth, but we are afraid the debris of the plane should be found,” he said while waiting at a hotel near the Beijing airport for a meeting with Malaysian officials. “If they find debris, then our last hope would be dashed. We will not have even the slightest hope.”

    China dispatched a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, who met Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak and other top officials Wednesday, the official Xinhua News Agency reported.

    China, which now has Chinese warships and an icebreaker in the search zone, has been intent on supporting the interests of the Chinese relatives of passengers, backing their demands for detailed information on how Malaysia concluded the jet went down in the southern Indian Ocean.

    That also is the likely reason why Chinese authorities — normally extremely wary of any spontaneous demonstrations that could undermine social stability — permitted a rare protest Tuesday outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, during which relatives chanted slogans, threw water bottles and briefly tussled with police who kept them separated from a swarm of journalists.

    The plane's bizarre disappearance shortly after it took off from Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing has proven to be one of the biggest mysteries in aviation.

    Investigators have ruled out nothing so far — including mechanical or electrical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

    The search for the wreckage and the plane's flight data and cockpit voice recorders will be a major challenge. It took two years to find the black box from an Air France jet that went down in the Atlantic Ocean on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009, and searchers knew within days where the crash site was.

    There is a race against the clock to find Flight 370's black boxes, whose battery-powered “pinger” could stop sending signals within two weeks. The batteries are designed to last at least a month.

    On Wednesday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is co-ordinating the southern search operation on Malaysia's behalf, said a U.S. Towed Pinger Locator arrived in Perth along with Bluefin-21 underwater drone. The equipment will be fitted to the Australian naval ship, the Ocean Shield, but AMSA could not say when they would be deployed.

    Various pieces of floating objects have been spotted by planes and satellite, but none have been retrieved or identified. Wednesday's search focused on an 80,000 square kilometre swath of ocean about 2,000 kilometres southwest of Perth.

    David Ferreira, an oceanographer at the University of Reading in Britain, said little is known about the detailed topography of the seabed in the general area where the plane is believed to have crashed.

    “We know much more about the surface of the moon than we do about the ocean floor in that part of the Indian Ocean,” Ferreira said.

    Kerry Sieh, the director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore, said the seafloor in the search area is relative flat, with dips and crevices similar to that the part of the Atlantic Ocean where the Air France wreckage was found.

    He believes any large pieces of the plane would likely stay put once they have completely sunk. But recovering any part of the plane will be tough because of the sheer depth of the ocean — much of it between about 3,000-4,500 metres in the search area — and inhospitable conditions on the surface where intense winds and high swells are common.

    Australia's Bureau of Meteorology warned that weather was expected to deteriorate again Thursday with a cold front passing through the search area that bring rain thunderstorms, low clouds and strong winds.

     

    was it suicide?

    The captain of the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was heartbroken after separating from his wife and may have taken the plane on a "last joyride" before crashing it into the Indian Ocean, a friend and fellow pilot told a New Zealand newspaper.

    Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was not in the right state of mind to fly the Boeing 777 the day it vanished, due to the devastating breakup of his marriage and relationship problems with a new girlfriend, said the longtime associate who wished to remain anonymous.

    He told The New Zealand Herald that Zaharie was "terribly upset" when his wife,
    Faiza Khanum Mustafa Khan, told him she was moving out of the family home, and the friend believed he may have decided to take the aircraft to a part of the world he’d never flown in before and fly risky maneuvers. 

    "He's one of the finest pilots around, and I'm no medical expert, but with all that was happening in his life, Zaharie was probably in no state of mind to be flying," said the friend. 

    His shocking claims came as a French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of a missing jetliner found a field of possible plane debris containing 122 objects. 

    Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the objects were more than 1,550 miles southwest of Australia, in the area where a desperate, multinational hunthas been going on since other satellites detected possible jet debris.

    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said that satellite data showed the plane, carrying 239 people, crashed into the southern Indian Ocean on March 8 eight hours after leaving Kuala Lumpur. With nowhere to land, the jet is presumed to have crashed, killing everyone on board. 

    The friend told the newspaper that he’d had several conversations with Zaharie after meeting him through work and said the pilot was a fanatic for "the three Fs" — food, family, and flying.

    He said Zaharie spent countless hours cooking and using his homemade flight simulator while practicing conditions he could face at the helm of a commercial airliner, such as flying at high or low altitudes. The simulator was seized by authorities, and is being examined by the FBI.

    According to reports, the aircraft made a sharp turn soon after the co-pilot had told Malaysian air traffic controllers, "All right, good night." Military radar has since shown that it flew as high as 45,000 feet and as low as 12,000 feet before vanishing and starting a worldwide mystery.

    The associate also told the Herald that he believed that somehow the co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, other members of the crew, and the passengers may have been prevented from entering the cockpit.

    "It is very possible that neither the passengers nor the other crew onboard knew what was happening until it was too late," added the friend.

    He also pointed out that the troubled captain may have taken Flight 370 on a joyride while trying high-risk maneuvers he'd perfected on his flight simulator, according to theDaily Mail.

    Related Stories:

    China ship hears `signal'; unclear if jet-related

    Apr 5th 2014 2:57PM


    By NICK PERRY and EILEEN NG

    PERTH, Australia (AP) - A Chinese ship involved in the hunt for the missing Malaysian jetliner reported hearing a "pulse signal" Saturday in southern Indian Ocean waters with the same frequency emitted by the plane's data recorders, as Malaysia vowed not to give up the search for the jet.

    The Australian government agency coordinating the search for the missing plane said early Sunday that the electronic pulse signals reportedly detected by the Chinese ship are consistent with those of an aircraft black box. But retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the head of the search coordination agency, said they "cannot verify any connection" at this stage between the electronic signals and the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

    Military and civilian planes, ships with deep-sea searching equipment and a British nuclear submarine scoured a remote patch of the southern Indian Ocean off Australia's west coast, in an increasingly urgent hunt for debris and the "black box" recorders that hold vital information about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370's last hours.

    After weeks of fruitless looking, officials face the daunting prospect that sound-emitting beacons in the flight and voice recorders will soon fall silent as their batteries die after sounding electronic "pings" for a month.

    A Chinese ship that is part of the search effort detected a "pulse signal" in southern Indian Ocean waters, China's official Xinhua News Agency reported. Xinhua, however, said it had not yet been determined whether the signal was related to the missing plane, citing the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.

    Xinhua said a black box detector deployed by the ship, Haixun 01, picked up a signal at 37.5 kilohertz (cycles per second), the same frequency emitted by flight data recorders.

    Malaysia's civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, confirmed that the frequency emitted by Flight 370's black boxes were 37.5 kilohertz and said authorities were verifying the report.

    Earlier Saturday, Xinhua reported that a Chinese military aircraft searching for the missing aircraft spotted "white floating objects" not far from where the electronic signals were detected.

    Houston said the Australian-led Joint Agency Coordination Centre heading the search operation could not yet verify the Chinese reports and had asked China for "any further information that may be relevant." He said the Australian air force was considering deploying more aircraft to the area where the Chinese ship reportedly detected the sounds.

    "I have been advised that a series of sounds have been detected by a Chinese ship in the search area. The characteristics reported are consistent with the aircraft black box," Houston said, adding that the Australian-led agency had also received reports of the white objects sighted on the ocean surface about 90 kilometers (56 miles) from where the electronic signals were detected.

    "However, there is no confirmation at this stage that the signals and the objects are related to the missing aircraft," Houston said.

    Still, Malaysia's defense minister and acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, was hopeful. "Another night of hope - praying hard," he tweeted in response to the latest discoveries.

    There are many clicks, buzzes and other sounds in the ocean from animals, but the 37.5 kilohertz pulse was selected for underwater locator beacons on black boxes because there is nothing else in the sea that would naturally make that sound, said William Waldock, an expert on search and rescue who teaches accident investigation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Prescott, Arizona.

    "They picked that (frequency) so there wouldn't be false alarms from other things in the ocean," he said.

    Honeywell Aerospace, which made the boxes in the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, said the Underwater Acoustic Beacons on both the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder operate at a frequency of 37.5 kilohertz plus or minus 1 kilohertz.

    Waldock cautioned that "it's possible it could be an aberrant signal" from a nuclear submarine if there was one in the vicinity.

    If the sounds can be verified, it would reduce the search area to about 10 square kilometers (4 square miles), Waldock said. Unmanned robot subs with sidescan sonar would then be sent into the water to try to locate the wreckage, he said.

    John Goglia, a former U.S. National Transportation Safety Board member, called the report "exciting," but cautioned that "there is an awful lot of noise in the ocean."

    "One ship, one ping doesn't make a success story," he said. "It will have to be explored. I guarantee you there are other resources being moved into the area to see if it can be verified."

    The Boeing 777 disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing with 239 people aboard. So far, no trace of the jet has been found.

    Hishammuddin, the Malaysian defense minister, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that the cost of mounting the search was immaterial compared to providing solace for the families of those on board by establishing what happened.

    "I can only speak for Malaysia, and Malaysia will not stop looking for MH370," Hishammuddin said.

    He said an independent investigator would be appointed to lead a team that will try to determine what happened to Flight 370. The team will include three groups: One will look at airworthiness, including maintenance, structures and systems; another will examine operations, such as flight recorders and meteorology; and a third will consider medical and human factors.

    The investigation team will include officials and experts from several nations, including Australia - which as the nearest country to the search zone is currently heading the hunt - China, the United States, Britain and France, Hishammuddin said.

    A multinational search team is desperately trying to find debris floating in the water or faint sound signals from the data recorders that could lead them to the missing plane and unravel the mystery of its fate.

    Finding floating wreckage is key to narrowing the search area, as officials can then use data on currents to backtrack to where the plane hit the water, and where the flight recorders may be.

    Beacons in the black boxes emit "pings" so they can be more easily found, but the batteries last for only about a month.

    Officials have said the hunt for the wreckage is among the hardest ever undertaken, and will get much harder still if the beacons fall silent before they are found.

    "Where we're at right now, four weeks since this plane disappeared, we're much, much closer," said aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas, editor-in-chief of AirlineRatings.com. "But frustratingly, we're still miles away from finding it. We need to find some piece of debris on the water; we need to pick up the ping."

    If it doesn't happen, the only hope for finding the plane may be a full survey of the Indian Ocean floor, an operation that would take years and an enormous international operation.

    Hishammuddin said there were no new satellite images or data that can provide new leads for searchers. The focus now is fully on the ocean search, he said.

    Two ships - the Australian navy's Ocean Shield and the British HMS Echo - carrying sophisticated equipment that can hear the recorders' pings returned Saturday to an area investigators hope is close to where the plane went down. They concede the area they have identified is a best guess.

    Up to 13 military and civilian planes and nine other ships took part in the search Saturday, the Australian agency coordinating the search said.

    Because the U.S. Navy's pinger locator can pick up signals to a depth of 6,100 meters (20,000 feet), it should be able to hear the plane's data recorders even if they are in the deepest part of the search zone - about 5,800 meters (19,000 feet). But that's only if the locator gets within range of the black boxes - a tough task, given the size of the search area and the fact that the pinger locator must be dragged slowly through the water at just 1 to 5 knots (1 to 6 mph).

    Australia's Houston acknowledged the search area was essentially a best guess, and noted the time when the plane's locator beacons would shut down was "getting pretty close."

    The overall search area is a 217,000-square-kilometer (84,000-square-mile) zone in the southern Indian Ocean, about 1,700 kilometers (1,100 miles) northwest of the western Australian city of Perth.

    ___

    Ng reported from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Associated Press writers Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, Kristen Gelineau and Rohan Sullivan in Sydney, and Joan Lowy in Washington contributed to this report.

     

    4-14-14

    PERTH, Australia (AP) — Search crews will for the first time send a robotic submarine deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday to try to determine whether underwater signals detected by sound-locating equipment are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, the leader of the search effort said.

    The crew on board the Australian navy's Ocean Shield will launch the unmanned underwater vehicle Monday evening, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search off Australia's west coast. The Bluefin 21 autonomous sub can create a three-dimensional sonar map of the area to chart any debris on the seafloor.

    The move comes after crews picked up a series of underwater sounds over the past two weeks that were consistent with an aircraft's black boxes, which contain flight data and cockpit voice recordings. The devices have beacons that emit "pings" so they can be more easily found, but the beacons' batteries last only about a month, and it has been more than a month since the plane vanished.

    "We haven't had a single detection in six days, so I guess it's time to go under water," Houston said.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott raised hopes last week when he said authorities were "very confident" the four underwater signals that have been detected are coming from the black boxes on Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

    But Houston warned that while the signals are a promising lead, the public needs to be realistic about the challenges facing search crews, who are contending with an extremely remote, deep patch of ocean — an area he dubbed "new to man."

    "I would caution you against raising hopes that the deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle will result in the detection of the aircraft wreckage. It may not," Houston said. "However, this is the best lead we have, and it must be pursued vigorously. Again, I emphasize that this will be a slow and painstaking process."

    The Ocean Shield has been dragging a U.S. Navy device called a towed pinger locator through the water to listen for any sounds from the black boxes' beacons. Over the past 10 days, the equipment has picked up four separate signals.

    The Bluefin sub takes six times longer to cover the same area as the ping locator, and the two devices can't be used at the same time. Crews were hoping to detect additional signals before sending down the sub, so they could triangulate the source and zero in on where exactly the black boxes may be.

    But it has been 38 days since the plane disappeared, and search crews haven't picked up any new sounds since Tuesday, suggesting that the devices' batteries may now be dead. That is why officials will now begin using the Bluefin, Houston said.

    The submarine will take 24 hours to complete each mission: two hours to dive to the bottom, 16 hours to search the seafloor, two hours to return to the surface, and four hours to download the data, Houston said. In its first deployment, it will search a 40-square-kilometer (15-square-mile) section of seafloor.

    The black boxes could contain the key to unraveling the mystery of what happened to Flight 370 after it disappeared with 239 people on board. Investigators believe the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean based on a flight path calculated from its contacts with a satellite and analysis of its speed and fuel capacity. But they still don't know why.

    Meanwhile, officials were investigating an oil slick not far from the area where the underwater sounds were detected, Houston said. Crews have collected a sample of the oil and are sending it back to Australia for analysis, a process that will take several days.

    The oil does not appear to be from any of the ships in the area, but Houston cautioned against jumping to conclusions about its source.

    A visual search for debris on the ocean surface was continuing on Monday over 47,600 square kilometers (18,400 square miles) of water about 2,200 kilometers (1,400 miles) northwest of the west coast city of Perth. A total of 12 planes and 15 ships would join the two searches.

    But Houston said that the visual search operation would be ending in the next two to three days. Officials haven't found a single piece of debris linked to the plane, and Houston said the chances that any would be have "greatly diminished."

    "We've got no visual objects," he said. "The only thing we have left at this stage is the four transmissions and an oil slick in the same vicinity, so we will investigate those to their conclusion."

    Complicating matters further is the depth of the ocean in the search area. The seafloor is about 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) below the surface, which is the deepest the Bluefin can dive. Officials are looking for other vehicles that could help to retrieve any wreckage, should the Bluefin find any.

    Searchers are also contending with a thick layer of silt on the bottom that is tens of meters deep in places, which could hide debris that has sunk.

    U.S. Navy Capt. Mark Matthews said the silt may not have hidden everything, however.

    "Our experience shows that there will be some debris on top of the silt and you should be able to see indications of a debris field," Matthews said. "But every search is different."

    A British vessel, the HMS Echo, has equipment on board that can help to map the seafloor, which is more flat than mountainous, Houston said.

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    Associated Press writer Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, and Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, contributed to this report. Follow Margie Mason on Twitter: twitter.com/MargieMasonAP