Tag Archives: Vietnam

China satellites spot suspected Malaysia Airlines plane debris

This aerial picture taken from aboard a Vietnamese Air Force Russian-made MI-171 helicopter shows a ship, as seen from the cockpit, sailing below during a search flight some 200 km over the southern Vietnamese waters off Vietnam’s island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014 as part of continued efforts aimed at finding traces of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370.

Chinese satellite images show three floating objects suspected to be debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, according to reports. Coordinates place the fragments in the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam

The three objects are sized 13×18, 14×19, and 24×22 (meters), according to CNN.

The images, from China’s State Administration for Science, Technology and Industry for National Defense, were taken on Sunday morning but only released Wednesday, the BBC reported.

Flight MH370 went missing on Saturday morning local time. The China-bound plane left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with 239 people on board. The plane lost communication about an hour after taking flight.

If the location holds true, it would indicate that the plane crashed not far from the last confirmed radar contact with MH370. It would also contradict reports this week that the plane had turned around, heading back to Malaysia as far as the Strait of Malacca.

“It also ties in with an earlier claim from an oil rig worker who claimed he saw a plane on fire over the South China Sea, southeast of Vietnam,” the Guardian wrote.

Malaysian authorities who met with the relatives of the flight’s passengers on Wednesday told them that the last radio transmission from MH370 was either “All right, roger that,” or “All right, good night,” according to different reports.

RT News.

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Malaysia Airlines jet disappearance an ‘unprecedented aviation mystery’

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A helicopter prepares to land on board the China Maritime Safety Administration ship Haixun-31 in southern China’s Hainan province Sunday, March 9. The ship is expected to join an ongoing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines’ passenger plane that vanished on Saturday. (The Associated Press)

Updated :

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A Vietnam rescue team sent to investigate a “yellow object” floating in Vietnam’s waters said it is not a life raft from a Malaysian plane that went missing with 239 people aboard.

Earlier Monday a minister said Vietnam has scrambled rescue helicopters to check the object.

A Vietnamese jet had seen the object earlier on Monday but was unable to get close enough to determine what it was, Pham Quy Tieu, Vice Transport Minister and deputy head of the country’s rescue committee, told Reuters.

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The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said on its website searches were being conducted about 140 kilometres southwest of Tho Chu island, which is located about 200 kilometres off the coast of southern Vietnam.

‘Unprecedented aviation mystery’

The disappearance of the jetliner is an “unprecedented aviation mystery”, a senior official said on Monday, with a massive air and sea search now in its third day failing to find any confirmed trace of the plane or 239 people aboard.

The head of Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said a hijacking could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories for the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route to Beijing.

“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.”

As dozens of ships and aircraft from seven countries scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down the Boeing airliner.

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

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 10,670 metres.

A Vietnamese navy plane reported seeing what could have been a piece of the aircraft as darkness fell across the Gulf of Thailand and South China Sea on Sunday, but ships and aircraft returning in daylight have so far found nothing.

malaysia-airlines-map

Underlining the lack of hard information about the plane’s fate, a U.S. Navy P-3 aircraft capable of covering nearly 3,900 square kilometres every hour was sweeping the northern part of the Strait of Malacca on Monday, on the other side of the Malay peninsula from where the last contact with MH370 was made.

“Our aircraft are able to clearly detect small debris in the water, but so far it has all been trash or wood,” said U.S. 7th Fleet spokesman Commander William Marks in an emailed statement.

Shares in Malaysia Airlines fell as much as 18 per cent to a record low on Monday morning.

No distress signal

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.

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

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“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, such as a bomb, the source said there was no evidence yet of foul play and that the aircraft could have broken up due to mechanical causes.

Still, the source said the closest parallels were the explosion on board an Air India jetliner in 1985 when it was over the Atlantic Ocean and the Lockerbie air disaster in 1988. Both planes were cruising at around 9,500 metres when bombs exploded on board.

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.

Boeing declined to comment and referred to its brief earlier statement that said it was monitoring the situation.

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.

Stolen passports investigated

About two-thirds of the 227 passengers and 12 crew 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, three Americans and two Canadians.

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.

Malaysia’s state news agency quoted Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying the two passengers using the stolen European passports were of Asian appearance, and criticised the border officials who let them through.

“I am still perturbed. Can’t these immigration officials think? Italian and Austrian, but with Asian faces,” he was quoted as saying late on Sunday.

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.”

via Malaysia Airlines jet disappearance an ‘unprecedented aviation mystery’ – World – CBC News.

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Malaysia launches terror probe over missing plane, debris may be spotted

Passengers queue up for customs checks at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 9, 2014

Malaysia has launched a terror attack probe into the disappearance of the passenger plane carrying 239 people, which vanished from radars en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early Saturday.

Malaysian authorities are checking CCTV footage at the airport and investigating the identities of four passengers, at least two of whom got on the flight using stolen passports.

At this point, no further developments regarding MH370 has been confirmed. We are waiting for new updates from DCA on the SAR efforts.

Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) March 9, 2014

The country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said airport security procedures were being reviewed.

“We will enhance them if necessary, because we still do not know the cause of the incident,” he told reporters, Reuters cited.

Meanwhile, Interpol is “examining additional suspect passports.”

The agency confirmed on Sunday that at least two passports – an Austrian and Italian – recorded in its database were used by passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Both passports were stolen in Thailand in 2012 and 2013 respectively, the agency said in a statement.

No checks of the stolen passports were made by any country between the time they were entered into Interpol’s database and the departure of flight MH 370, according to Interpol. Therefore, Interpol said, it is currently unable to determine on how many other occasions these passports were used to board flights or cross borders.

“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,” said Secretary General Ronald K. Noble, the agency’s press service reports.

As the search for the missing Boeing 777 continues – with a total of 40 ships and 22 aircraft from an array of countries including China and the US involved – Interpol criticized loose security measures at international airports.

“For years Interpol has asked why should countries wait for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates,” said Noble. “Now, we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists,” the agency said, adding that it would like to know why“only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights.”

Hunt for debris, ‘mid-air disintegration’ suspicions

Almost two days after the flight MH370 lost touch with Subang Air Traffic Control, no wreckage has been found.

On Sunday, a floating object was spotted 100km south-southwest of Vietnam’s Tho Chu island. However, Vietnamese vessels sent to the site discovered it was not wreckage from the missing flight.

#MH370 Vietnam search and rescue aircraft spotted new floating object. Authorities are not sure what it is. pic.twitter.com/m0peec6DVm

— Vu Trong Khanh (@TrongKhanhVu) March 9, 2014

Soon after, Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority said a navy plane found parts suspected of belonging to the missing jet. But it was too dark to be certain so officials are waiting until daylight in Vietnam to send more aircraft.

“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,” a source involved in the investigations in Malaysia, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, China has sent two more navy ships to join the search, reported China Central Television. Earlier, the US was also reported to have dispatched additional aircraft.

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Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight: Stolen Passports Deepen Mystery

U.S. officials are working to find out as much as possible about two apparently stolen passports connected with the missing Malaysia Airlines jet that vanished this morning near Vietnam.

Confirmation of the safety of two passengers, one Italian and one Austrian national, whose names appeared on the plane’s passenger manifest but were not in fact on board the flight, has added to the mystery surrounding missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which was carrying 239 people.

The fact that there were apparently two males on board the flight posing as an Austrian and an Italian is tantalizing and suspicious, and could be meaningful, or it could have nothing at all to do with what happened to the plane, sources said.

An Austrian Foreign Ministry press spokesperson confirmed via Twitter today that the Austrian passenger supposedly on the flight was in fact “safe and sound in Austria,” and had his passport stolen in 2012.

Meanwhile, an Italian Foreign Ministry press office official told ABC News that no Italian was on the plane. The parents of Italian Luigi Maraldi, whose name is also on the passenger manifest, told Italian TV station RAI that their son had called them early this morning from Thailand where he is vacationing. Maraldi’s passport was stolen about a year ago while he was on vacation in Thailand, his parents said.

Official sources told ABC News today they are investigating the two stolen passports and hoping that the Malaysian airport has security cameras that recorded passengers headed to the flight. Those images can be compared to various databases, provided they exist and the Malaysians will share them.

Flight path of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China

The U.S. government is also planning to review all the names of passengers and crew on the flight manifest, sources said. The names, which are available through open source, will be run through all relevant terrorism and criminal databases the government has access to. A formal request may have already been made through the TSA or State Department, one official said.

U.S. officials emphasized that there is no evidence of terrorism, but it is conducting the review to check for any potential leads. They are not ruling anything out at this stage, especially considering so few facts have been revealed in the case and no wreckage has been recovered, sources said.

Authorities volunteered tonight that stolen passports and counterfeit passports are often used for drug smuggling in that area of the world.

Meanwhile, a massive search and rescue operation is currently under way for the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, more than 24 hours after air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane.

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A spokesman for Malaysia Airlines said Friday that the passengers included travelers from America, Canada, Britain, Australia, France, India, the Netherlands, Russia and several other countries.

“An international search and rescue mission from Malaysia, Singapore and Vietnam was mobilized this morning. At this stage, they have failed to find evidence of any wreckage. The sea mission will continue overnight while the air mission will recommence at daylight,” Malaysia Airlines said in a statement posted on its website at 2 a.m. local time Sunday.

The three Americans on board the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing in Southeast Asia have been identified as Philip Wood, 51; Nicolechd Meng, 4; and Yan Zhang, 2, according to the flight’s manifest.

The Vietnamese government reported today that air force pilots spotted large oil slicks off the country’s southern coast, according to The Associated Press. There was no confirmation that the slicks were related to the missing plane, but the statement said the slicks were consistent with the kinds expected to be left by a crashed jetliner.

China has dispatched two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deployed three air force planes and three navy patrol ships to help. The Navy’s USS Pinckney is also on its way to help the search effort, the 7th Fleet announced on Twitter this morning.

Flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:55 a.m. local time Saturday, and was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m., the airline said. It went missing two hours into the flight and disappeared off the radar.

The plane’s route would take the aircraft from Malaysia across to Vietnam and China. Vietnam said on its official website that its air traffic controllers lost contact with the plane “in Ca Mau province airspace before it had entered contact with Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control.” Ca Mau is near the southern tip of Vietnam.

The plane was meant to transfer to Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control at 1722 GMT but never appeared, the statement said, citing a senior Ministry of Defense official.

Malaysia’s defense minister told a news conference, “We are trying to do everything in our power to [determine] where the plane is.”

Malaysia Airlines said the captain of the airliner, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was an experienced 53-year-old pilot who had 18,365 hours of flying since joining the airline in 1981. The first officer on the flight was identified as Fariq Hamid, 27, and had about 2,800 flight hours since 2007.

Meanwhile, the flight information board at the airport in Beijing indicated the flight was delayed.

An airport official wrote on a white board near the arrivals customer service desk that families of the missing passengers should go to the Lido Hotel. The notice was put up about four hours after the plane was overdue.

“Friends and families should go to the Lido Hotel for more information,” Eric Yangchao, customer service representative for Beijing International Airport, told ABC News. Family members took a shuttle bus to the hotel.

In a statement on Twitter, Boeing said it was watching the situation closely. The Malaysian aircraft, a Boeing 777-200, is 11 years and 10 months old. The 777 model had not had a fatal crash in its 20-year history until the Asiana crash in San Francisco in July 2013.

via Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight: Stolen Passports Deepen Mystery – ABC News.

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Breaking News: Vietnam Navy official says Malaysian plane crashed into sea near Vietnam’s Tho Chu island: state media

reuters

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