Tag Archives: Malaysia

Malaysia Flight MH370 : 11 Terrorists Arrested on Suspicion of Involvement in Disappearance of Flight

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  • Suspects were arrested in the capital Kuala Lumpur and the state of Kedah
  • Said to members of violent new terror group said to be planning attacks
  • Interrogations came after demands from agencies including FBI and MI6
  • Manifest revealed presence of consignment but did not reveal its contents
  • Airline has admitted 200kg of lithium batteries was among the items
  • It refused to say what else, citing ‘legal reason’ related to ‘ongoing’ probe

Terrorists with links to Al Qaeda may have been behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

11 terrorists, who were reportedly arrested in the capital Kuala Lumpur and in the state of Kedah last week, have been interrogated on suspicion of being involved in the disappearance of the missing aircraft.

The suspects are said to be members of a violent new terror group who have been planning bomb attacks in Muslim countries.

Aged from 22 to 55, the militants are said to comprise students, odd-job workers, a young widow and business professionals.

An officer with the Counter Terrorism Division of Malaysian Special Branch said the arrests had heightened suspicion that the flight’s disappearance may have been an act of terrorism.

“The possibility that the plane was diverted by militants is still high on the list and international investigators have asked for a comprehensive report on this new terror group,” the officer said.

News of the interrogations comes two months after the Beijing-bound plane with 239 passengers on board disappeared from trace on March 8.

An international search operation was implemented with ships and planes deployed to scour the seas to find the wreckage of the aircraft, which was believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean.

However, the rescue effort, costing hundreds of millions of pounds, has failed to recover any debris or signs that the aircraft had indeed crashed.

Explanations for its possible disappearance have been focused on a range of theories, from equipment failure, damage to the fuselage, a suicide mission and a terror attack implicating the pilots.

The mystery of the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight took a new twist with the international team probing the incident, considering the possibility that the plane may have landed rather than ended up in the Indian Ocean.

A Russian newspaper had earlier claimed that flight MH370 was hijacked and landed in Afghanistan where passengers were being held hostage.

The theory has been attributed to an alleged source within the country’s FSB secret service, according to newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets.

In interviews conducted so far, suspects have admitted to planning “sustained terror campaigns” in Malaysia, but denied being involved in the disappearance of the airliner.

It was reported that during the trial of Sulaiman Abu Ghaith, Osama Bin Laden‘s son-in-law, Saajid Badat, a British-born Muslim from Gloucester, trained at a terrorist training camp in Afghanistan, said he had been instructed to give a shoe bomb to the Malaysians.

“I gave one of my shoes to the Malaysians. I think it was to access the cockpit,” he said.

Badat, who spoke via video link and is in hiding in the UK, told the New York court the Malaysian plot was being masterminded by Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, the principal architect of 9/11.

Investigators were earlier exploring the possibility that pilot Zaharie Ahmed Shah had ‘deliberately’ redirected the plane off course.

Shah was also known to be a ‘fanatical supporter’ of Anwar Ibrahim’s People’s Justice Party, the opposition party which has been the principal thorn in the side of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO), which has ruled Malaysia for 56 years.

Relatives of the 239 passengers and crew on board missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were recently issued with death certificates.

The latest reports of possible terrorist involvement in the flight’s disappearance will further fuel the speculation that the passengers may have been held captive by a terrorist organisation.

The news comes as Malaysia Airlines said it will close assistance centres in Beijing and Kuala Lumpur for the families of the 239 passengers and crew on board the Boeing 777-200ER jet.

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Bluefin submersible fails to find Boeing 777 on designated search area

Bluefin-21 submersible

SYDNEY, April 28

Bluefin-21 submersible has finished the exploration of the area, which was initially designated for it to search for missing Malaysian Boeing 777 and failed to find any objects of interest, according to representatives of the search coordination center that continues operating in Australia’s Perth.

Despite lack of results, the rescuers decided to continue using the submersible: at present, Bluefin-21 is making its 16th immersion and explores the bottom of neighboring sections.

On Sunday, there were no search operations involving planes and ships due to a strong storm in the ocean. On Monday, weather conditions improved, and it made possible to go on with the search operation. In the course of the day, nine planes and 12 ships will be monitoring a 54,920 square km area in some 1,670 km from Perth.

Vanished airliner

Boeing 777-200 of Malaysian Airlines was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing March 7. It carried 227 passengers and 12 crewmembers onboard. Communication with the jet was interrupted nearly two hours after its departure from the Malaysian capital. Since then, there was no information about the missing airliner.

March 24, the air carrier issued a statement informing about the death of all people who were onboard of the missing plane.

According to experts, the search operation involving 26 countries may become the most expensive in aviation’s history. $44 million are already spent on the search, and the overall expenditures may reach several hundreds of millions of dollars.

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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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Australian PM says MH370 black box within scope of one kilometer

SHANGHAI, April 11 (Xinhua) — Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said here on Friday that the missing Malaysian flight MH370’s black box is within the scope of one kilometer.

According to earlier media reports, Abbott, who is on an official visit to China, said he was “very confident” that the signals detected are from the missing flight.

In a luncheon in Shanghai, he said the information does not mean that the debris of the plane can be found.

Australia, along with China and other countries involved, will try every effort to continue the search, according to sources who quoted Abbott at the luncheon site.

The plane disappeared on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, including 154 Chinese passengers.

The plane’s black box, or flight recorder, could be used to solve the mystery of why the plane veered so far off course.

 Xinhua 

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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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French data show possible debris from jetliner

PERTH, Australia (AP)France provided new satellite data Sunday showing possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, as searchers combing a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean tried without success to locate a pallet that could be a key clue in solving one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries.

The new information given to Malaysia’s government and forwarded to searchers in Australia shows “potential objects” in the same part of the ocean where satellite images previously released by Australia and China showed objects that could be debris from the plane, Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement without providing further details.

Flight 370 went missing over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, setting off a multinational search effort that has turned up nothing conclusive so far on what happened to the jet.

Sunday’s search was frustrating because “there was cloud down to the surface and at times we were completely enclosed by cloud,” Royal Australian Air Force flight Lt. Russell Adams told reporters at the military base where the planes take off and land on their missions.

Nothing of interest to searchers was found, he said, adding that the search is worth it because “we might do 10 sorties and find nothing, but on that 11th flight when you find something and you know that you’re actually contributing to some answers for somebody.”

Details on the French data were not immediately released. The statement from Malaysia called the information “new satellite images,” while a statement from France’s Foreign Ministry said “radar echoes taken by a satellite” had located floating debris but made no mention of imagery.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is leading the search in waters off Australia, declined to offer details about the information from France. The authority did not respond to multiple requests by The Associated Press for access to the data.

“Any satellite images or other new information that comes to AMSA is being considered in developing the search plans,” AMSA said.

But a Malaysian official involved in the search mission said the French data consisted of radar echoes captured Friday and converted into fuzzy images that located objects about 930 kilometers (575 miles) north of the spots where the objects in the images released by Australia and China were located.

One of the objects located was estimated to be about the same size as an object captured Tuesday by the Chinese satellite that appeared to be 22 meters (72 feet) by 13 meters (43 feet), said the official, who declined to be identified because he isn’t authorized to speak to the media. It was not possible to determine precise dimensions from the French data, the official said.

Information about the new data emerged as authorities coordinating the search, which is being conducted about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, sent planes and a ship to try to “re-find” a wooden pallet that appeared to be surrounded by straps of varying lengths and colors. It was spotted Saturday by spotters in a search plane, but no images were captured of it and a military PC Orion military plane dispatched to locate the pallet could not find it.

“So, we’ve gone back to that area again today to try and re-find it,” said Mike Barton, chief of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority’s rescue coordination center. An Australian navy ship was also involved in the search.

Wooden pallets are commonly used in shipping, but can also be used in cargo containers carried on planes.

AMSA said the aircraft that spotted the pallet was unable to take photos of it.

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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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Chinese satellite spots possible MH370 flight debris

Australian Flight Lieutenant Jason Nichols (L), on board a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion, looks ahead towards the HMAS Success as they search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 debris or wreckage in the southern Indian Ocean on March 22, 2014.

Chinese satellites have discovered a new object in the waters of the southern Indian Ocean that may be wreckage from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which went missing with 239 people on board.

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

“The news that I just received is that the Chinese ambassador received satellite images of floating objects in the southern corridor and they will be sending ships to verify,” he said. “Beijing is expected to make an announcement in a few hours.”

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.

According to the Chinese side, the new finding has been spotted about 120 kilometers from the location where possible wreckage was sighted by another satellite on March 16, and south by west of the possible debris, which was announced by Australia on Thursday.

A satellite image of an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean by the Gaofen-1 high-resolution optical Earth observation satellite CNSA

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 239, people 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 been making efforts to establish what happened to the Boeing 777 plane, but their efforts have so far proved fruitless.

In recent days, the international search has switched to the southern Indian Ocean far off Australia’s western coast, after floating objects were photographed by the satellites in the area, described by Australian PM, Tony Abbott, 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, with two Chinese aircrafts arriving in Perth on Saturday and two more planes from Japan expected on Sunday.

“This search is an intensive operation,” Warren Truss, Australian deputy prime minister, is cited as saying by the Guardian newspaper. “While these aircraft are equipped with very advanced technology, much of this search is actually visual.”

Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein holds up a note that he has just received on a new lead in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, during a news conference at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 22, 2014. (Reuters / Edgar Su)

The search will go on as long as necessary because “it is important from the perspective of those who have families… and indeed for the future of the aviation,” Warren promised.

Several people familiar with the matter told Reuters that India has informed Malaysian investigators that it hadn’t any evidence of the missing plane flying through its airspace, which makes the satellite debris lead more solid.

Meanwhile, the hunt has also resumed in the Andaman Sea between India and Thailand (areas already exhaustively swept), to be re checked for possible leads.

The plane ordeal has reportedly sparked tensions between China and Malaysia, with Beijing slamming Kuala Lumpur for not treating the relatives of the flight MH370 passengers well enough, and demanding a step-up in the search.

The Beijing families of those on board the plane issued a statement on Saturday, accusing the Malaysian delegation of “concealing the truth” and “making fools” of the relatives, after they failed to get all the answers during a meeting.

“This kind of conduct neglects the lives of all the passengers, shows contempt for all their families, and even more, tramples on the dignity of Chinese people and the Chinese government,” the statement is cited by Reuters.

Investigators suspect flight MH370 was deliberately diverted thousands of miles from its scheduled path, and are focusing on hijacking or sabotage, adding that technical problems aren’t also ruled out as well.

 RT News.

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Missing Malaysia Plane Forces Countries to Weigh Security Secrets

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The disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 launched an international hunt for any sign of the plane, causing dozens of countries to wrestle with putting aside national security and military secrets to try and find the plane.

After Malaysia admitted that its civilian air radar lost contact with the plane early Saturday morning, attention quickly turned to more advanced methods of detection, including military radar and satellites.

Now, all of the countries involved in the search – numbering at least 25 – are wrestling with how to share helpful information without giving away data that could threaten their safety later.

  • Malaysia was accused of being coy with satellite and radar data in the early days of the investigation, not releasing key radar data showing the plane’s turn-around until four days after the disappearance. The Minister of Foreign Defense said that the country was willing to put its own national security aside to try and find the plane.
  • Thailand waited 10 days after the plane disappeared to mention publicly that its military radar detected a plane that may have been Flight 370. Thai authorities said they didn’t share the information earlier because they weren’t specifically asked for it.  
  • China’s proposal to send four warships to help search for the plane was in jeopardy by India, which said it didn’t want to allow Chinese military access to its strategic Andaman and Nicobar islands, where India has a military base, according to the Times of India.
  • As the search moved from the South China Sea and Strait of Malacca to the Indian Ocean off Australia, Australian authorities would not describe what satellite imagery they used to determine where to search for plane wreckage. Australian and U.S. military have satellites controlled from Australia, but the investigators would not answer questions about the satellites due to proprietary state secrets.
  • The search has also forced countries with tense relationships to work together, including the United States, Pakistan and Iran. As U.S. investigators focused on hijacking as a possible cause for the disappearance, they quickly vetted two Iranian nationals who used fake passports to get on the plane, casting suspicion that Iranian terrorists had hijacked 370.
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