Tag Archives: Indian Ocean

Flight MH370 families start fund to uncover truth about vanished jet

A Chinese relative of passengers on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 prays in front of candles.

Not satisfied with the lack of progress being made on locating Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, relatives of passengers are planning to launch a $5 million fundraising campaign aimed at triggering another investigation.

According to a report by USA Today, the campaign will seek $3 million to reward a whistleblower for coming forward with new information and $2 million for private investigators to look into any other leads that emerge.

The campaign has been dubbed “Reward MH370: The Search for the Truth,” and will officially launch on Monday through the crowd-funding website Indiegogo. Composed of families from the United States, Australia, France, India, and New Zealand, the campaign does not include the participation of Chinese or Malaysian families, whose relatives were the primary travelers on the plane.

As for why these families decided they needed to start such an effort, American Sarah Bajc – whose partner, Philip Wood, was on the plane when it disappeared – said it’s necessary considering the failure to locate the plan up to this point.

“We are taking matters into our own hands,” Bajc told USA Today. “There is no credible evidence” the plane is somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. “I’m convinced that somebody is concealing something.”

Although Bajc is certainly not alone in feeling that way, these accusations have been denied by officials conducting the search.

“Nothing important is being concealed in any way,” said Angus Houston, the head of Australia’s joint agency managing the search. “My approach has always been to be as open as I could possibly be.”

Houston acknowledged that not all the information is out in public just yet, but that a complete review is underway and should be finished sometime in June.

Meanwhile, Malaysian officials have also denied that transparency is an issue, though the country’s acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein has stated that “requests made by next-of-kin and international media cannot be accommodated 100%.”

While Bajc is hopeful and believes outside action must be taken, she is also cautioning those who donate. Even if the campaign is fully funded, results are not guaranteed.

“Granted, $2 million in investigation services won’t go very far,” Bajc told USA Today. “Clearly, they’ve already spent $100 million, and they’ve gotten nothing. But we’re not going to approach it with boats in the ocean. We’re going to approach it with human intelligence.”

As far as the official search goes, the US Navy’s deputy director of ocean engineering Micheal Dean said at the end of May that the four pings believed to have been coming from MH370’s black box were actually coming from an unrelated source. As RT reported then, Dean said there was no evidence suggesting the pings came from the black boxes, and the international group charged with finding the plane halted its search for debris in the suspected area of the Indian Ocean.

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MH370 : Drone finds nothing after scouring two thirds of search area

(CNN) — The underwater drone scanning the ocean for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 ended its eighth mission Monday, having covered about two thirds of its intended territory without finding any sign of the missing plane.

This has been the case for 45 days now, which seems like an eternity for the relatives of the 239 passengers and crew on board, still hoping for a miracle or, at least, closure.

“Emotionally, it’s up and down. You know? Sometimes, I’m OK. Sometimes, so-so. Sometimes — always — very sad,” said Nur Laila Ngah, whose husband worked on the flight’s cabin crew.

The couple had been planning to celebrate their 13th anniversary this year. They have three children, ages 12, 10 and 8.

Recalling a conversation she had with her husband before he left, Laila said: “I was asking him, ‘are we going to have the next 13 years together?’ Of course.”

About their children, she said: “They have faith that their father will be coming back.”

The Bluefin-21 is expected to began its ninth mission sometime Monday, surveying the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean for traces of the Boeing 777.

These efforts may be a main focus of the search, but they aren’t the only part.

Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre announced Monday morning that up to 10 military aircraft and 11 ships would participate in the day’s search.

Previously, acting Malaysian Transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that “experts have narrowed down the search area.”

But are they actually closer to finding anything? “It’s difficult to say,” Hishammuddin conceded, adding the search “is at a critical juncture.”

“I appeal to everybody around the world,” he said, “to pray and pray hard that we find something to work on over the next couple of days.”

The failure to find clues to the plane’s disappearance does not mean that the operation will stop, only that other approaches — such as a wider scope or the use of other assets — may be considered, Hishammuddin told reporters. “The search will always continue.”

Still, he said, “With every passing day, the search has become more and more difficult.”

Mother Nature isn’t making this task much easier.

Tropical Cyclone Jack is circulating northwest of the search area. And while it won’t hit directly, this system should increase winds and rains.

Malaysian authorities briefed families of people aboard Flight 370 behind closed doors Sunday afternoon in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Selamat Bin Omar, whose 29-year-old son was a passenger, told CNN that officials dealt with practical matters, such as how the families could make bank transactions.

Hamid Ramlan, whose daughter and son-in-law were on the plane, said he learned nothing new at the briefing.

“I believe that the government didn’t try to hide something, or hide any information from us. They are telling the truth. But then, mostly the members of victims, the families, they do not want to believe,” he said.

His wife falls into that category.

“My wife cannot accept that. She still believes that the airplane was hijacked. She believes that my daughter is still alive.”

Passengers’ relatives list questions

It was early on March 8 when Flight 370 set off from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur, destined for Beijing.

The plane never made it.

What happened has been a confounding mystery, with the frustration of passengers’ family members compounded by a scarcity of details from authorities.

New bits of information that have come out six weeks later may help round out the picture but don’t answer the main question: Why did the plane go off course, and where is it now?

These recent developments include a senior Malaysian aviation source’s assertion that the jetliner deviated from its flight path while inside Vietnamese airspace.

It turned left, then climbed to 39,000 feet — below its maximum safe limit of 43,100 feet — and maintained that altitude for about 20 minutes over the Malay Peninsula before beginning to descend, the source said.

Malaysia Airlines has declined to answer CNN’s questions on various matters — including the fact that, according to the source, the missing jet was equipped with four emergency locator transmitters. When triggered by a crash, ELTs are designed to transmit their location to a satellite.

Relatives of people aboard the jetliner have drawn up 26 questions that they want addressed by Malaysian officials, who are to meet with them next week in Beijing. Most of the Flight 370 passengers were Chinese.

Among them: What’s in the flight’s log book? Can they review the jet’s maintenance records? Can they listen to recordings of the Boeing 777 pilot’s conversations with air traffic controllers just before contact was lost?

Hishammuddin has defended his government’s handling of the operation and accused members of the media of focusing on the Chinese families. He said relatives of passengers and crew from other nations represented have not had problems.

“The most difficult part of any investigation of this nature is having to deal with the families,” he said.

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Missing Malaysian jet’s black box batteries may have died

The Associated Press

A U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon takes off from Perth Airport en route to rejoin the ongoing search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in Perth, Australia, Sunday, April 13, 2014.

Following four strong underwater signals in the past week, all has gone quiet in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, meaning the batteries in the plane’s all-important black boxes may finally have died.

Despite having no new transmissions from the black boxes’ locator beacons to go on, air and sea crews were continuing their search in the southern Indian Ocean on Sunday for debris and any sounds that may still be emanating. They are desperately trying to pinpoint where the Boeing 777 could be amid an enormous patch of deep ocean.

No new electronic pings have been detected since Tuesday by an Australian ship dragging a U.S. Navy device that listens for flight recorder signals. Once officials are confident that no more sounds will be heard, a robotic submersible will be sent down to slowly scour for wreckage.

“We’re now into Day 37 of this tragedy,” said aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas. “The battery life on the beacons is supposed to last 30 days. We’re hoping it might last 40 days. However, it’s been four or five days since the last strong pings. What they’re hoping for is to get one more, maybe two more pings so they can do a triangulation of the sounds and try and narrow the (search) area.”

Recovering the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders is essential for investigators to try to figure out what happened to Flight 370, which vanished March 8. It was carrying 239 people, mostly Chinese, while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

After analyzing satellite data, officials believe the plane flew off course for an unknown reason and went down in the southern Indian Ocean off Australia’s west coast. Investigators trying to determine what happened to the plane are focusing on four areas – hijacking, sabotage and personal or psychological problems of those on board.

Two sounds heard a week ago by the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which was towing the ping locator, were determined to be consistent with the signals emitted from the black boxes. Two more pings were detected in the same general area Tuesday, but no new ones have been picked up since then.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has expressed confidence that the pings picked up by the Ocean Shield were coming from the plane’s two black boxes, but he cautioned that finding the actual aircraft could take a long time.

“There’s still a lot more work to be done and I don’t want anyone to think that we are certain of success, or that success, should it come, is going to happen in the next week or even month. There’s a lot of difficulty and a lot of uncertainty left in this,” Abbott said Saturday in Beijing, where he was wrapping up a visit to China.

Searchers want to pinpoint the exact location of the source of the sounds – or as close as they can get – before sending the Bluefin 21 submersible down. It will not be deployed until officials are confident that no other electronic signals will come, and that they have narrowed the search area as much as possible.

The underwater search zone is currently a 1,300-square-kilometre patch of the seabed, about the size of Los Angeles.

The sub takes six times longer to cover the same area as the ping locator, and will need about six weeks to two months to canvass the current underwater zone. The signals are also coming from 4,500 metres below the surface, which is the deepest the sub can dive.

The surface area being searched on Sunday for floating debris was 57,506 square kilometres) of ocean extending about 2,200 kilometres northwest of Perth. Up to 12 planes and 14 ships were participating in the hunt.

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Two more “pings” detected in search for MH370

An Australian ship detected two new “ping signals” Tuesday, while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

An Australian ship detected two new “ping signals” Tuesday, while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Two new “ping” signals have been detected in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, reviving confidence in the month-old hunt, Australian officials said on Wednesday.

Australian ship Ocean Shield detected one ping that lasted for over five minutes on Tuesday afternoon, while a second one was detected on Tuesday night and lasted for about seven minutes, Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search, said.

“Ocean Shield has been able to reacquire the signals on two more occasions, late yesterday afternoon and later last night,” Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agency Coordination Center said.

“I believe we are searching in the right area but we need to visually identify aircraft wreckage before we can confirm with certainty that this is the final resting place of MH370,” Houston added.

The U.S. Navy “ping locater” detected two signals that were consistent with black box beacons. The first lasted for more than two hours while the second was only for about 13 minutes.

Flights’ black boxes record cockpit data, and could provide information on the fate of the plane, but the batteries in the beacons have already exceeded their 30-day life expectancy.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur on March 8 carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members. Its signal disappeared after it flew thousands of kilometers into the Indian Ocean towards Beijing, its destination.

Satellite data analysts and investigators centered the search to an approximate area of 2,261 kilometers northwest Australia’s Perth, in a remote area where they concluded the Boeing 777 could be.

The new signals may allow searchers to narrow the area even more.

“Now hopefully with lots of transmissions we’ll have a tight, small area and hopefully in a matter of days we will be able to find something on the bottom,” Houston said.

While authorities did not rule out the possibility of mechanical problems leading to the disappearance of the plane, they said evidence suggests the plane was deliberately diverted by someone familiar with the aircraft.

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 : Ship reportedly detects “pulse” signal

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PERTH, Australia — A Chinese ship involved in the hunt for the missing Malaysian jetliner reported hearing a “pulse signal” Saturday in Indian Ocean waters with the same frequency emitted by the plane’s data recorders.

China‘s official Xinhua News Agency said a black box detector deployed by the ship, Haixun 01, picked up a signal at 37.5 kilohertz (cycles per second). However, Xinhua said it had not yet been determined whether the signal was related to the missing plane, citing the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, confirmed that the frequency emitted by Flight 370’s black boxes was 37.5 kilohertz.

Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, chief coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Center – the Australian government agency coordinating the search – said Saturday the Haixun’s report of electronic pulse signals could not be verified at this time. U.S. officials from the National Transportation Safety Board and FAA were not able to confirm the report, either.

Houston also said the report of a number of white objects on the water’s surface about 90 kilometers from the signal detection area could not be confirmed to be related to the missing plane.

The deployment of Royal Australian Air Force assets to the area where the Chinese ship detected the sounds is being considered, Houston said.

CBS News transportation safety analyst Mark Rosenker, a former chairman of the NTSB, wondered why there was no report of debris from the Chinese ship that detected the signal: “When you think about what in fact they are saying, which means they believe they have the debris site where the aircraft is laying, it defies logic that we would not be seeing something on the surface as well,” Rosenker said.

But Sky News senior correspondent Ian Woods told CBS News Radio, “The reason it is being given some credibility is because even though there are many items that could be mistaken for wreckage floating round in the ocean, there is only one thing that pulses at 37.5 kilohertz, and that is a ‘black box’ recorder.”

Rosenker also said that, if the signal came from missing plane’s flight data recorder, then it could likely take weeks or possibly longer to target and recover it.

On Thursday, the British navy’s HMS Echo reported one alert as it searched for sonic transmissions from the data recorder, but it was quickly discounted as a false alarm, the Joint Agency Coordination Center overseeing the search said. False alerts can come from animals such as whales, or interference from shipping noise.

With the batteries in the black boxes’ locator beacons due to run out any day, crews are in a desperate race against the clock.

On Friday for the first time, crews launched an underwater search trying to pick up a signal from the black box flight recorders on the Beijing-bound plane before they are expected to fall silent. The batteries last only about 30 days, which would be Monday.

The search for the Boeing 777 — plagued by confusion, and agonizing to relatives of the 239 passengers — has frustrated investigators and left many wondering how long it can go on.

Two naval ships from Australia and the United Kingdom began probing the ocean along a 150-mile route on Friday that investigators hope is close to where Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went down. The Australian ship, Ocean Shield, is towing a U.S. Navy device that can detect signals or pings from the flight data and cockpit voice recorders, commonly known as the black boxes.

The U.S. Navy’s towed pinger locator can pick up signals to a depth of 20,000 feet, and so should be able to hear the plane’s data recorders even if they are at the deepest part of the search zone, about 19,000 feet.

But no wreckage from the plane has been found, so officials cannot even be sure they are looking in the right location. The 84,000-square-mile search area, about 1,100 miles northwest of Perth, was already shifted almost 700 miles to the north after investigators decided that the plane was traveling faster than originally thought.Plus, the pinger locator — consisting of a 30-inch cylindrical microphone attached to about 20,000 feet of cable — must be dragged slowly through the water at just 1 to 5 knots (or 1 to 6 mph) in a grid pattern.

Meanwhile, up to the 11 military planes, four civilian jets and 11 ships were to assist in Saturday’s search, led by the Australia Maritime Safety Authority. Australian officials continue to refine the area where the plane entered the water based analysis of satellite communication and the aircraft’s performance.

The Malaysia Airlines jet left Kuala Lumpur on Saturday, March 8, at 12:41 a.m. headed for Beijing. But investigators believe someone re-programmed the plane’s flight management system, and two minutes after the last conversation between air traffic controllers in Malaysia and the cockpit, the plane’s transponder was turned off. The plane went dark on civilian radar, and then made a left turn back toward Malaysia.

Sources have said it followed an established aviation corridor over several navigational “waypoints.”

The Malaysian military tracked an unidentified object now believed to have been Flight 370 on its radar traveling west towards the Strait of Malacca. At 2:15 a.m., it disappeared from the military radar, about 200 miles northwest of Penang.

Investigators say the plane’s antenna signaled to a satellite multiple times over the next several hours, with the last signal recorded at 8:11 a.m., about the time the plane would have run out of fuel.

Experts says the search in the southern Indian Ocean might have been easier had the plane been outfitted with so-called “deployable black box” technology, essentially flight recorders that eject and float when a plane crashes.

The U.S. Transportation Safety Administration tested the technology, employed on U.S. Navy jets such as the F/A-18 for more than two decades, and found that it would enhance safety on commercial aircraft. But three years after the study, no U.S. commercial airline has installed the technology. The price tag per plane is about $60,000.

As the search for the missing Malaysian jet entered its fifth week, Australian Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the joint agency coordinating the operation, has acknowledged the search area was essentially a best guess.

“They might be lucky and they might start smack bang right over the top of it,” said Geoff Dell, discipline leader of accident investigation at Central Queensland University in Australia. “But my guess is that’s not going to be the case and they’re in for a lengthy search.”

CBS News

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MH370 search could take years, U.S. navy official says, as nations race to find black box before its too late

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 could take years, a senior U.S. Navy official said Sunday, as search and rescue officials raced to locate the plane’s black box recorder days before its batteries are set to die.

Ten ships and as many aircraft are searching a massive area in the Indian Ocean west of Perth, in Australia, trying to find some trace of the aircraft, which went missing more than three weeks ago and is presumed to have crashed.

The Malaysian government announced moves to tighten airport security, but the head of the U.S. senate intelligence committee said there was no evidence that terrorism had any role to play in the flight’s disappearance. “There’s speculation, but there’s nothing,” said Senator Dianne Feinstein. “This is a very difficult mission.”

Among the vessels to join the search is an Australian defence force ship, the Ocean Shield, that has been fitted with a sophisticated U.S. black box locator and an underwater drone.

Captain Mark Matthews, a U.S. navy officer who is in charge of the black box pinger detector, said the search area of 123,000 square miles needs to be significantly reduced before there is any serious prospect of finding the black box.

“Right now the search area is basically the size of the Indian Ocean, which would take an untenable amount of time to search,” he said.

Todd Curtis, an aviation expert and former Boeing engineer, warned that the hunt for the plane could last for years.

He said the black box was unlikely to be found before its 30-day pinger, which helps searchers to locate both the box and the plane, runs out of battery life in about a week.

“The likelihood of finding the plane quickly, especially given the pinger will soon end, is going down astronomically,” he told The Daily Telegraph.

“Even if they found the debris today, there is the problem of estimating where it drifted over the past three weeks and then estimating the new area. It all has the potential to take much more than two years.”

Dr Curtis said the search was likely to be “very prolonged” and may end in failure. “There is a chance they will never find the plane,” he said.

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MH370 searchers struggle after days staring out at the empty Pacific expanse: ‘It is incredibly fatiguing work’

The failure to find any wreckage from the plane has been harrowing for the families of the 239 passengers, many of whom continue to cling to the hope that survivors will be found.

Twenty-nine distraught Chinese family members flew to Malaysia yesterday, demanding that the authorities “reveal the truth” and “hand over the murderer.” At an emotive press conference they chanted: “We want the evidence, we want the truth, we want our families back.”

 National Post.

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Hunt begins to find black boxes for doomed Flight MH370

 

Now that satellite data has confirmed that the missing Malaysian airliner crashed into the Indian Ocean, the race is on to find the crucial voice and data recorders, the so-called black boxes, before a battery-powered homing device runs out.

After a 17-day wait for confirmation that the Boeing 777, one of the world’s most reliable planes, was lost with 239 people on board somewhere over the southern Indian Ocean, a United Nations search team is working round the clock to try and pinpoint the so-called black boxes.

Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Tuesday that the search area had been narrowed down to an area about the size of Texas and Oklahoma combined.

But Air Marshal Mark Binskin, Australia’s deputy defense chief, issued a sobering reminder of how challenging the search will be.

“We’re not searching for a needle in a haystack – we’re still trying to define where the haystack is.”

The search is made all the more urgent because the battery-powered ping the black boxes emit, a kind of homing signal to help locate them, is only sent out for around 30 days after a crash – before the batteries run out. This leaves another 15 days or so to find them.

But so far the growing international team scouring the southern Indian Ocean has not found any wreckage or debris that can definitely be linked to the plane.

Although British satellite company Inmarsat has said for sure that Flight MH370 went down in a southern corridor of the Indian Ocean and several countries have reported finding floating debris, the exact position of where the plane crashed into the sea is still a mystery.

Eight satellite pings were sent by the aircraft between 1.11 am and 8.11 am – over eight hours after it officially lost contact with air traffic controllers.

The new method “gives the approximate direction of travel, plus or minus about 100 miles, to a track line,” Chris McLaughlin, senior vice-president for external affairs at Inmarsat, told Sky News. “Unfortunately this is a 1990s satellite over the Indian Ocean that is not GPS-equipped.”

With a lack of definite information experts in weather patterns and ocean currents will try and direct those scouring the waves to pinpoint where the plane went down.

We’ve got to get lucky. It is a race to get to the area in time to catch the black box pinger while it’s still working,” John Goglia, a former member of the US National Transportation Safety Board, told AP.

Plan A: Pinger locators from US

The US Navy’s Pacific Fleet is part of the international flotilla amassing over 2,300 kilometers west of Perth, Australia, and one of the Navy’s towed pinger locators is en route to the search area, AP reports.

This crucial bit of kit is a 30-inch long cylindrical microphone, which is towed slowly underwater in a grid pattern behind a ship. It can pick up a ping from a black box – which is actually a red cylinder – from about a mile away.

The microphone is attached to about 20,000 feet of cable and is guided deep underwater by a yellow triangular carrier with a wing span of 3 feet and a shark’s fin on top that looks akin to a stingray.

Human operators and computers on board the ship listen for any signals that may locate the ping.

As well as the towed ping locator, the Australian Navy is sending the ship Ocean Shield to the area, which is equipped with acoustic detention equipment.

Plan B: Sonars to scour seabed

If no strong signals are detected from the black boxes before their batteries run out then the search teams must move to system known as side-scan sonar.

These devises are like sonar used to detect submarines; they send a sound to the sea’s depths and analyze the echo from the seabed to map the ocean floor. They are looking for any abnormalities or unusual shapes on the ocean floor.

The devises can be fitted on unmanned mini-submarines that can dive to the depths of the ocean for up to 20 hours at a time.

Once evidence of debris from the aircraft is found on the seabed, an underwater submersible with a high resolution camera is sent down to visually inspect the area and then using remote control cutting devices and robots pulls the black box out of the wreckage.

Finally, secret intelligence from nuclear submarines may be used, if that can be done without revealing their sophisticated instruments or the location of these clandestine vessels.

Clues in history

Over the past decade there have been crashes similar to the disappearance of light MH370, which may help search teams this time around.

The most obvious is Air France Flight 447, which went down in the middle of the Atlantic, in 2009. It took $40 million, four lengthy search expeditions and a two-year wait before the black boxes were found.

The ensuing data showed that the plane went down mid-cruise largely due to a number of poor decisions by the pilots.

A second example was a Helios jet 737, which lost pressurization and oxygen over Greece in 2005, suffocating the pilot and co-pilot. The plane then flew on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed, but unlike the Malaysian Boeing, it crashed over land and not in one of the deepest and most inaccessible parts of the ocean.

This Underwater Microphone Could Find the Missing Malaysia Airlines Jet | Autopia | Wired.com.

 

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MH370 lost, plane went down in Indian Ocean, no survivors – Malaysia Airlines

malaysia-flight.si

Malaysian airlines have announced beyond any reasonable doubt that flight MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived.

The airline has informed the relatives of those on board the doomed flight that the plane is “lost” with no survivors.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has made an announcement, saying “It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

The Boeing 777-200 disappeared from civilian radar screens on the night of the March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board, en route for Beijing.

There were reports that military radar picked up an unidentified plane, after the stricken jet lost contact with air traffic controllers, which had made a sharp turn as well as descending to a much lower altitude before heading out into the Indian Ocean.

There have been no confirmed sightings of the plane or any debris that can be conclusively linked to it after an international search that has lasted two weeks. The search over the Indian Ocean entered its fifth day on Monday.

The UK Air Accidents Investigations Branch told the Malaysian authorities that the planes final location was above the southern Indian Ocean.

By this he meant satellite data automatically sent by the stricken plane, concluded that the flight ended in an air corridor over the southern Indian Ocean.

“We share this information out of a commitment to openness and respect for the families, two principles guiding this information.”

A crewman of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion aircraft looks at a screen while searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean March 24, 2014.

A crewman of a Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) AP-3C Orion aircraft looks at a screen while searching for the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean March 24, 2014.

His somber announcement comes just a few hours after the Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said that an Australian navy plane searching the area had spotted debris floating in the sea and that a ship from the Australian navy, HMAS Success, was just a few hours away and would hopefully be able to identify the floating objects.

Many theories have been put forward by a range of experts on what could have happened to the missing plane. One of the most convincing was by a Canadian pilot, Christopher Goodfellow, who said there may have been an electrical fire on board, which would have disabled many of the plane systems, although not all of them.

The pilots would have dropped altitude quickly and changed course to try and land the crippled plane at the nearest available airport, but before they could do this they and everybody else on board would have been overcome by smoke inhalation, while the plane flew on auto pilot before running out of fuel over the Indian Ocean.

Also earlier today a Chinese plane sighted objects in the search area, but different to those seen by the Australian air crew.

Three areas were identified for operations on Monday, totaling 20,000 square nautical miles with 10 aircraft being used.

While Australia is currently the only country to have a ship in the area, a number of Chinese vessels will arrive on Tuesday together with a further three aircraft – two from Japan and one from the UAE.

While 6 Malaysian ships are in the north part of the southern corridor and HMS Echo, a British survey ship, is in the Maldives refueling and will sail to the southern corridor on Monday evening.

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Malaysia flight MH370 : China jets boost Indian Ocean hunt

The two Chinese planes will join six other jets in the search team

Two Chinese military planes have arrived in Perth in Australia to join international search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

Crews are set to scour southern areas of the Indian Ocean for a fourth day.

Two sets of satellite images showing floating objects in the area have raised hopes that the jet may be there.

Most of the 239 people on board were Chinese. Beijing has criticised Malaysia’s handling of the search for the plane, now missing for 15 days.

The two Chinese aircraft have been flown in from Malaysia, where they were helping with the search further north.

Six other planes are already at the Perth base, and scoured an area of the Indian Ocean the size of Denmark on Saturday.

But the mission found no debris.

Ships supporting the search are already in the area, or are on their way.

The Australian navy’s HMAS Success, which is large enough to recover any debris if needed, has arrived in the search area.

Crews had another day of fruitless searching on Saturday

Malaysian officials suspect the plane, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, was deliberately taken off course.

The Boeing-777 disappeared on 8 March; two thirds of the passengers were Chinese.

China on Saturday released a satellite image showing an object floating in the southern Indian Ocean near to the area already being searched, some 2,500 km (1,550 miles) south-west of Perth.

The grainy image was released by China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense.

The find was announced by Malaysia’s Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein amid a routine briefing in Kuala Lumpur.

The Xinhua state news agency said the latest satellite image was taken at about 04:00 GMT on 18 March and showed objects about 120km “south by west” from the first site.

Other satellite images of possible aircraft debris in a nearby area were released earlier in the week.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the sightings were encouraging signs.

“Obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope – no more than hope, no more than hope – that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft,” he said.

After operations ended for the day on Saturday, Australia’s Maritime Safety Authority said an aircraft had reported sighting a number of small objects with the naked eye within a radius of five kilometres, including a wooden pallet.

However the floating object seen in the new satellite image was not spotted.

At his briefing, Acting Transport Minister Hussein also said investigations of the plane’s cargo manifest did “not show any link to anything that may have contribution to the plane’s disappearance”.

He also referred to the angry scenes as Malaysian officials briefed Chinese relatives in Beijing.

“Government of Malaysia, tell us the truth – give us back our loved ones,” relatives shouted at the Lido Hotel.

Mr Hussein admitted the briefing had been “tense” and an investigation was under way to try to improve the situation.

The search has been in two distinct corridors – one stretching to the north-west of the last known location in the Malacca Straits and one to the south-west.

The locations were based on a data “ping” apparently sent to a satellite from the missing plane hours after it vanished from other indicators.

However, on Saturday, Mr Hussein said that China, India, Pakistan, Myanmar (Burma) and several other nations had informed Malaysia that analysis of their radar records had revealed no evidence of flight MH370 crossing their airspace.

BBC News

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MH370 search goes on : Focus on new objects spotted by Australian aircraft

A Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion sits on the tarmac in preparation for a flight to search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, at Pearce Air Force base in Bullsbrook, 35 kms north of Perth, on March 22, 2014

An Australian aircraft spotted new objects, including a wooden pallet, during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Saturday, according to Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.

“Yesterday one of our civilian search aircraft got visuals on a number of objects in a fairly small area in the overall Australian search zone,” Abbott said on Sunday morning.“A number of small objects, fairly close together within the Australian search zone, including a wooden pallet.”

Abbott added that some of the objects would need to be recovered before anything specific could be determined.

“It’s still too early to be definite [that objects came from an aircraft] but definitely we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope — no more than hope — that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft,” he said.

Two Chinese search planes and two Japanese Orion aircraft have been deployed to join the search efforts.

The new developments come after Chinese satellites discovered a new object in the waters of the southern Indian Ocean that may be wreckage from flight MH370. The Malaysia Airlines jetliner went missing with 239 people aboard on March 8.

China’s finding was first announced by Malaysia’s defense minister and acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who was handed a note with details during a press conference in the country’s capital of Kuala Lumpur.

The discovered object is around 22 meters long and 13 meters wide, the Chinese State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense (SASTIND) said on its website.

It was spotted on March 18 in a remote area off the western Australian coast by China’s high-definition earth observation satellite, Gaofen-1, SASTIND said.

Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur on March 8 destined for Beijing, but mysteriously disappeared from radar screens around an hour after takeoff.

For the last two weeks, over 20 countries have attempted to establish what happened to the Boeing 777, but their efforts have so far proved fruitless.

In recent days, the international search switched to the southern Indian Ocean, far off Australia’s western coast, after floating objects were photographed by satellites. Australian PM Tony Abbott described the search area as “the most inaccessible spot that you can imagine on the face of the Earth.”

Six planes and two ships are currently taking part in the operation.

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