Flight MH370 includes 12 Malaysian Freescale staff, and KL-based IBM executive

AvantiKumar | March 10, 2014
(UPDATED: 27 May 2014) DCA and Inmarsat release 'raw data' public; relatives of passengers list questions.

MAS Boeing 777-200 (filepic) modified 

Photo - (filepic) A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200

 

[Updated: 27 May 2014. Please scroll to the end of this article for the latest update.]

 

Texas-based semiconductor firm Freescale Semiconductor has confirmed that 20 employees, 12 of them Malaysian nationals, are among the 239 passengers and crew on the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which was reported to have lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at 2.40am local time (8 March 2014).

The Boeing 777-200ER aircraft left Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) en route to Beijing at 12.41 am on Saturday, 8 March 2014 and was expected to land at 6.30 am local time on the same day.

Communication with the flight was suddenly lost about 250 kilometres off a tiny Vietnamese island with no distress signals, according Malaysia Airlines' chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya during his first statement to media at 7.24 am on the same day.  "We deeply regret that we have lost all contacts with flight MH370, which departed Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 am earlier this morning bound for Beijing."

Freescale Semiconductor's Malaysian branch is not able to reveal details of their staff members on board MH370, according to local news reports. However, Freescale's president and chief executive officer Gregg Lowe, in a statement, confirmed that "Twelve are from Malaysia and eight are from China."

"At present, we are solely focused on our employees and their families," said Lowe. "Our thoughts and prayers are with those affected by this tragic event."

Freescale Semiconductor's vice president, global communications and investor relations, Mitch Haws told media that: "The 20 employees were people with a lot of experience and technical background. It's definitely a loss for the company."

The sole adult American, Philip Wood, 51, is an IBM technical storage executive who started working in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, just three months ago, according to his LinkedIn profile.

According to the passenger manifest released earlier by Malaysia Airlines, the flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew - comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants), and 12 crew members. The passengers were of 14 different nationalities including 153 Chinese nationals, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians, six Australians,  five Indians, four French nationals,  three Americans (including two toddlers), and three French nationals.

At the time of writing, no signs of the aircraft have been found though Malaysia's Defence and acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein  said in a morning media conference at KLIA on 9 March 2014 that international search and rescue units are investigating two oil slicks - one about 9 miles long, and the other about 6 miles long,

 Passport theft

According to the New York Times, "the names of two passengers listed on the flight's manifest, passengers 63 and 101, match the names of two passports that were stolen in Asia a few years ago. The passports belonged to two men - one Austrian and one Italian - who authorities have confirmed were not on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and are in fact alive."

In a later media conference from KLIA (at 11am local time MYT,  Sunday 9 March 2014), Malaysia's Hishamuddin said Malaysian authorities have contacted counterterrorism organisations including the FBI about passport issues.

Hishamuddin added that no other signs have been spotted and that they are looking at all the possibilities. He did not confirm the number of passports under suspicion. "The whole manifest is being investigated. The main concern for the families is for us to first find the aircraft."

Malaysia Airlines's chief executive Jauhari earlier said that the airline is doing its utmost to provide support to the affected family members, this includes immediate financial aid. The airline has deployed a team of 94 caregivers consisting of well-trained staff and also Tzu Chi Foundation members to provide emotional support to the families. The airline also be deployed a senior management team to support family members of passengers in Beijing.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines will set up a command centre - response control centre [RCC] - at Kota Bharu, Malaysia or Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam as soon as the location of the aircraft is established and the airline will make the necessary arrangements to support the needs of the families of passengers and crew of the flight.

 Updates: search and rescue

[07.00pm local time MYT, Sunday 9 March 2014]  Minister Hishamuddin said that according to a military radar, there may have been a possibility that the missing flight MH370 made an "air turn back."

They are looking into all possible reasons for this around turn including the possibility of terrorism, he said. "Malaysia is working with foreign intelligence agencies including the FBI and counter-terrorism units on this."

At least two passengers - one Italian, the other Austrian had boarded the flight with stolen passports, Hishamuddin confirmed.  The flight tickets for these two passengers were reportedly purchased consecutively using Thai currency. He also said that so far two other names in the manifest of flight MH370 are also under investigation.

According to CNN, Italy and Austria have said that none of their citizens were on board the plane. And officials say the Italian and Austrian, whose names were on the passenger manifest, both had their passports stolen in Thailand in recent years.


[08.46 am MYT, Monday 10 March 2014]  The international search and rescue fleet of 40 ships and 34 aircraft from eight countries  - including the US, Malaysia, Singapore, China, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Thailand, and Australia -  is widening its search zone to include the Straits of Malacca. At the time of writing, there has been no official confirmations of any signs of the missing flight MH370.

[11.49 am MYT, 10 March 2014] Local media reports that the Malaysian Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi has called for an internal proble on KLIA immigration officers to uncover why the Italian and Austrian passengers with stolen passports were able to board flight MH370.

Earlier, the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency [MMEA] has sent samples of the oil slick in the South China sea (about 100 nautical miles from the Tok Bali Beach, Kelantan) to be analysed by the Chemistry Department in Petaling Jaya. The results are expected Monday afternoon.

In addition, Malaysia Airlines is offering "financial assistance over and above their basic needs" to all families of passengers on the flight.

Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman modified

Photo (filepic) - Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman

[12.00 pm MYT, Monday, 10 March 2014]  During the official media conference, Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (pic), who is heading the search and rescue [SAR] operations, confirmed that the international search and rescue team has widened its search to the Strait of Malacca.

"The air search is being conducted from 7am to 7pm while the ships continue around the clock," Azharuddin said. "So far, there has been no sign of anything that can be connected to the missing aircraft, he said. There have been various reports in media - citing Vietnamese authorites: such as the inner part of the door of the aircraft. But that report is not verified officially by the Vietnamese authorities as of last night."

"The MMEA has sent samples of the oil slick to the labs," he said. "We will reveal the report when received. No reported signs so far are not verified. There are many theories in the media including expert opinions from around the world about what may have happened. We are equally puzzled. Our prime minister used the word 'perplexing.'"

"We need hard evidence, we need parts of the aircraft to determine what has happened," he added. "We have not secured any part of the aircraft to date. We are intensifying our search to include the possibility of an 'air turn back.' We are not discounting any possibilities. There is a lot of work that has to be done in this unprecedented mystery. Malaysia Airlines and experts around the world are helping us."

The priority is to find the aircraft," said Azharuddin. "The incident of the two passengers flying with stolen passports is being investigated including all footage. There is talk of a possible highjacking. This is not discounted. We are looking at every possibility and at all angles," he said. "We have to get concrete evidence, we have to find the aircraft."

[04.00 pm MYT, Monday 10 March 2014]  Malaysia's Defence and Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein confirmed no trace of trace of the aircraft has yet been found. He said the Chinese delegation has arrived and have made positive comments about the conduct of the search and rescue operation so far.

The most recent reports of a sighting of yellow object in the waters by Vietnamese forces has not been confirmed. The stolen passports are under investigation with various agencies.

In response to a question from the media, Hussein dismissed an open letter from a group, calling itself the ‘China Martyr Brigade’, that claimed responsibility. “I have seen the open letter. I don’t think there is any sound ground that it is true."

He said we are investigating all allegations but the focus remains on locating the aircraft and that no possibilities are being ruled out.

[08.00pm local MYT, Monday, 10 March 2014]  The official media conference included the following points by Civil Aviation Director-General Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman who said:

- Oil slick sample: Azharuddin has confirmed that oil sample from the oil slicks, which was tested by MMEA's Petaling Jaya laboratory this afternoon, is not from an aircraft and is not linked to the missing flight MH370.

- Debris: Spotted by Vietnamese search and rescue is being checked.

- Stolen passports: One of the two passengers who had boarded the missing MH370 aircraft using stolen passports have been identified, according to Malaysia's Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar, speaking at Kajang police headquarters earlier to media. “We cannot link the missing aircraft with terrorism activities yet but let us investigate all possibilities.”

Commenting on this, Azharuddin said all security protocols had been followed. The two passengers with stolen passports are "not Asian looking men."

From tomorrow morning and for the following days, the search area is to be be expanded beyond 100km and will include land on the west coast of Malaysia, he said. "It is very important that we find the aircraft first."

 Day Four

[08.30 pm local time MYT, Tuesday 11 March 2014]
The international search and rescue team is continuing its efforts and widened its search zone. So far there are no verified signs of the aircraft.

- Some families of Chinese national passengers of the flight have started arriving in Malaysia. Chinese speaking counsellors are being sought to support the families. So far, there are only 11 Chinese speaking counsellors among the 47 on duty.

Day Five: contradictory reports?

[9.30am, local time MYT, Wednesday 12 March 2014]

- Traces of MH340: At the time of writing, sightings of oil slicks and possible debris are not linked to the missing flight.

- Last signal from MH340: Initially it was announced by authorities that the Subang air traffic control's last link with the craft was 2.40am Saturday 8 March 2014 has been revised to 1.30am on the same day.

- "Turn back" : According to local media, the Malaysian military said radar evidence showed the missing Boeing 777 jetliner changed  course and made it to the Malacca Strait.  Malaysian military radar (Malaysias Air Force Butterworth) detected the craft near the island of Pulau Perak off the west coast – hundreds of kilometres north-west of Kuala Lumpur – at 2.40am; the time first indicated by Malaysia Airlines.

However, according to Reuters, Malaysia’s Royal Malaysian Air Force [RMAF] chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud has since denied he told local media Berita Harian that the military last tracked a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with Subang air traffic control . “I wish to state that I did not make any such statements,"  Rodzali said in a written statement earlier roday.  "What I stated was that the RMAF has not ruled out the possibility of an air turn back on a reciprocal heading before the aircraft vanished from the radar and this resulted in the Search and Rescue Operations being widen to the vicinity of the waters of Pulau Pinang.Our current efforts are focused upon on finding the aircraft as soon as possible."

Stolen passports: During a media briefing in Lyon, France, Interpol secretary-general Ronald K Noble showed security stills of two Iranian men boarding a plane at the same time and said the men travelled to Malaysia on their Iranian passports, then are thought to have switched to the stolen Austrian and Italian documents.

- The international search and rescue team continues its search in a wider zone including the Andaman sea. China has deployed 10 high resolution satellites and vessels from India have been added to the air and sea fleet.

[05.35 pm local, 12 March 2014]
China's ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Huang Huikang attended the official media conference at KLIA led by Malaysia's defence and acting transport minister, Hishamuddin Hussein together with SAR [search and rescue] director Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.

Minister Hishamuddin read out a brief statement, which led with the assurance that international search and rescue efforts comprising 42 ships and 35 aircraft will be sustained across two areas across 27,000 square nautical miles in the South China Sea  (about 14,440 sq nautical miles) and the Straits of Malacca (about 12,425 sq nautical miles).

The SAR operations now involve 12 countries with recent additions of resources from India, Japan and Brunei.

He iterated that "We have been consistent in what we have said so far," and confirmed the following:

- 'Turn back': Military radar's last signal was picked up at  02.15am local, 202 miles north west of Penang, but it is confirmed whether this is MH340 as we are analysing data from both civil and military radar, said Hishamuddin.

Hussein added: "We welcome more expert assistance. We are now working with experts from Boeing, Federal Aviation Administration [FAA], and US National Transportation Board."

SAR director said the chances of survival "depends on different criteria depending on where the aircraft is."

Responding to questions from the media on speculations, Hishamuddin said the prime focus is on finding the craft and the 'black box" in order to find out what happened and "we have been very transparent with the media and everyone concerned. The primary focus is on finding the aircraft."

Hishamuddin added that he intends to attend the media briefing daily each day at the same time of day (5.30-6.00pm local time).

Day Six: Possible sighting via satellite imagery

[10.30am local, Thursday 13 March 2014]  Reports in several media this morning:

- Chinese satellite sighting:  Chinese news agency CCTV has released four-day-old sightings of 3 spots based on remote-sensing satellite images, which have been detected n the suspected crash site of MH370.

According to China's state science and technology administration, a Chinese satellite had seen the objects in a "suspected crash sea area" in the South China Sea on March 9, and that the images are being analysed but that there "no proof yet that the debris is linked to the missing jet."

As 01.06pm local time MYT, Vietnamese aircraft have not found any traces of the objects apparently spotted by China's satellite imagery. According to an Associated Press tweet, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said" no plane debris has been found at the spot identified in Chinese satellite images." Earlier tweets were quoting Vietnamese authorities saying they too had searched the area in the photographs without any results..

- Malaysia's military has traced what could have been the jetliner missing for almost five days to an area south of the Thai holiday island of Phuket, hundreds of miles to the west of its last known position, Malaysia's air force chief said on late Wednesday. Search for missing Malaysia Airlines moves to west of peninsula as records show it flew another 350 miles after disappearing.

Wall Street Journal reported that U.S.  investigators "suspect that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles."

- According to The New Scientist, Rolls Royce's Derby global engine health monitoring centre , UK, receibed "two data reports from flight MH370. One was broadcast as MH370 took off from KLIA, the other during the 777's climb towards Beijing." Under Civil Aviation Organisation rules, reports are kept secret until air investigator require them.

- FAA Order: (Reuters, 12 March 2014) The Boeing Company said the MH370 craft was not subject to a new U.S. safety directive that ordered additional inspections for cracking and corrion on certain 777 planes. The Federal Aviation Administration told airlines to inspect U.S. registered aircraft for cracking, corossion and potential repairs in the fuselage skin underneath an adapter for the airplane's satellite communications antenna, Reuters reported.

However, an FAA spokesperson told Reuters that this directive does not apply to MH307 (Boeing 777-200ER) as that craft did not have that antenna installed and is therefore not subject to the FAA order.

Hishamuddin: ACARS data from Rolls Royce Centre

[05.30pm local MYT, 13 March 2014] Official new briefing headed by Malaysia's Defence and acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein, who first read out a statement, which included the following points:

- ACARS transmission: "The media reports of machine data being sent for four hours - after MH340 went offline - to Rolls Royce in Derby, UK, are not accurate. Rolls Royce received last transmission 01.07 am, 8 March 2014." c[ACARS refers to the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS), which automatically collates and files four t3chnical reports during every flight so that engineers can spot problems.]
 
 - Four-day old China satellite imagery: Hishamuddin read out a statement by the China official that the satellite imagery :is not confirmed to be connected to MH340. The images do not show plane debris."

-  Radar raw data: Though this is not normally released by military for security reasons; this data has been shared with international partners including US and China.

- Police investigation into pilots: Despite reports to the contrary, Malaysian police have not searched the homes of the pilots.

- Malaysia's response to crisis: "This situation is unprecedented. MH370 went completely silent over the open ocean. We now have more than 80 ships and aircraft from multiple countries in a complex operation. Our focus has been only on finding the air craft. There are times when we have not been able to reveal information because such information needed to be verified by other agencies. Malaysia has nothing to hide and spared no expense or effort. From day one, we have accepted all international offers of help. We have followed all protocols for search."

Day Seven: Military radar, satellite 'blips'

[02.00pm local, Friday 14 March 2014]

Media reports (Bloomberg, WSJ) that three unnamed U.S. government officials said that a satellite transmitter on MH340 was active for about five hours, showing that the plane was operational after its transponder shut down about an hour after take off from KLIA. These satellite 'blips' have extended the search zone to include the Indian Ocean.

Sources familiar to the investivation told Reuters that MH370 was following a route between 'navigational waypoints when it was last plotted on military radar off the country's north-wesr coast. The last plot on the military radar tracking suggested the plane was flying towards the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said.'India's navy has sent five ships and four aircraft, according to a Bloomberg report, focusing on the Andaman Sea.

[0530pm local, 14 March 2014] At the SAR media briefing, minister Hishamuddin read out a statement, which included the following points:

- Engine data: Yesterday, we rejected a report that an unnamed person said the machine data from the engine indicated the craft could have been running for four hours beyond the point it went offline. We checked with Rolls Royce and they concur with this statement regarding the engine health monitoring data.

- Oil slicks: The slick 16 nautical miles south of the last point. Tiny traces of jet fuel were detected but these are not linked to MH370.

"This is not a normal investigation," he said. "We are looking further afield. We have worked hand in hand with all the relevant authorities including international experts and followed the protocol set up by the International civil aviation authortity. We want nothing more than to find the plane. Our focus remains on finding the aircraft and the black box."

During the question and answer session, on the matter of 'aircraft turn back', Hishamuddin said, "The chief of the Air Force said on Saturday, that  there was evidence of a turn back but the data could not be identified as belong to flight MH370.:

SAR director Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman added that they are working on getting the relevant messages from the satellite data from the US investigations. "The UK accident investigation board and Rolls Royce are also here in Malaysia and studing the possibility of satellite date. And we cannot reveal anything more until the data has been confirmed."

Under the international protocol, they categorised as 'missing aircraft.' The state of registration needs to make efforts to find the aircraft, he added,

"I cannot confirm that there is no hijacking - we are looking at all possibilities. We have to confirm the military radar and satellite data is linked to MH370," said Hishamuddin. "We are sharing information we normally do not share with international experts."
 

Day Eight: Classified data analysis, possible 'dark scenario'

[10.00 am local MYT, Saturday 15 March 2014]

- CNN reported earlier today that classified intelligence analysis of electronics and satellite data suggests that the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight may have crashed either in the Bay of Bengal or somewhere in the Indian Ocean.

- The United States has sent its guided missile destroyer USS Kidd into the Indian Ocean while Indian officials say they are expanding their search efforts in to the Bay of Bengal, according to CNN, which said the data "points toward speculation in a dark scenario in which someone took the plane for some unknown purpose, perhaps terrorism."

- In addition, The Guardian 's latest update said there were reports that Malaysian military radar indicated the plane made at least two distinct changes of course after apparently turning back from its route towards Beijing. US officials indicated that they believed the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean and said that an aerial search of the area would begin on Saturday. Malaysian officials said they were investigating the possibility that the plane's communications systems had been deliberately shut down.

A total of 57 ships, 48 aircraft and 13 nations are taking part in the search and rescue mission

Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak modified

Photo - Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak

Malaysian PM: MH340 flight was 'deliberately deviated'

[0200 pm local MYT, 15 March 2014] Update
SAR media briefing was headed by the Malaysian PM Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak (pic) who read a statement, which included:

- Seven days ago, MH340 disappeared. We realise this is excruciating time for the families of those on board. No words describe the pain they must be going through. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.

- I ordered the search area to be broadened and instructed the Malaysian authorities to share knowledge with the wider investigation team and invited friends and allies to join the search and rescue operation. The Malaysian authorities have worked hand in hand with neighbouring coutnries and experienced experts. We have been working non stop to assist the investigation and put our national security second to the search operation. This has been a situation without precedence.

- We acted on the basis at every stage of verified information and followed every credible lead. There has been intense speculation. We understand the desperate need for information. Our primary motivation has always been to find the missing plane.

- New information that shares further light on what happened to MH370. Based on new satellite communications, we can say with a high degree of certaintly that the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) was disabled just before the aircraft reached the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.

- Just before Vietnamese airspace, the aircraft transponder was switched off. From this point, Royal Malaysian Air Force military data showed (then unconfirmed) indications the plane turned back and turned north-west.

- These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.We can confirm that the aircraft shown was MH370 after much forensic work and verification by separate agencies on the same data.

- According to the new data, the last confirmed communication was at 0811am 8 March 2014. The team is making further calculations to indicate how far the aircraft may have flown. This will help us to refine the search.

- Due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the flight when it last made contact with satellites.

- However, we have determined that the plane's last communication with the satelllite is one of two corridors (a) a northern corridor from Kazakhstan to Northern Thailand or (b) a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the Southern Indian Ocean. We are working to further refine this information.

- As a result, Malaysian authorities are intensifying the investigation of the crew and all on board. We are still unable to confirm what was the cause of the deviation of the flightpath of MH340. We are ending our operations in the South China seas and redeploying our assets.

- As the two new corridors involve many countries, the relevant authorities have been invited to a  new briefing with technical experts and the Malaysian Foreign Ministry. Families of passengers and crew have already been briefed.
 

Day Nine: Search shifts to two corridors, crew and passengers investigation

DS Hishamuddin Hussein (filepic) modified 

[02.40 pm Malaysia local time, Sunday 16 March 2014]

The Malaysian defence and acting minister of transport Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein (filepic) delivered the following statement in a series of Tweets (@H20Comms):

MH370 PRESS STATEMENT
BY MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT, MALAYSIA

1. Search and rescue operational update
a. The search and rescue operation continues to be a multi-national effort, led by Malaysia.

b. Malaysian officials are contacting countries along the northern and southern corridors about MH370. These countries include: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and France. Officials are requesting assistance from these countries.

c. Malaysian officials are currently discussing with all partners how best to deploy assets along the two corridors.

d. Malaysian officials are also asking countries to provide further assistance in the search for the aircraft, including: satellite data and analysis; ground-search capabilities; radar data; and maritime and air assets.

e. Both the northern and southern corridors are being treated with equal importance.

2. Update on the police investigation into MH370’s crew and passengers

a. As per normal procedure, the Royal Malaysia Police are investigating all crew and passengers on board MH370, as well as engineers who may have had contact with the aircraft before take-off.

b. Police searched the home of the pilot on Saturday 15 March. Officers spoke to family members of the pilot and experts are examining the pilot’s flight simulator. On 15 March, the police also searched the home of the co-pilot.

c. We appeal to the public not to jump to conclusions regarding the police investigation.

 A new phase

IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar modified 

[05.30 pm local MYT,  16 March 2014]  The SAR media conference included Malaysian'sInspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar (filepic) who gave updates on the renewed focus into crew and passengers of MH370.

Minister Hishamuddin confirmed the points of his afternoon statement and added that the search was already a highly complex, international effort. "It has now become more complex and the nature has changed to include large sections of land of 11 countries and the oceans of the two corridors, both of which are being treated with equal importance."

"The search and rescue continues to be a multinational effort. Since the Prime Minister Najib's address yesterday, the foreign minister has briefed 22 countries and requested assets, and satellite and other data to help narrow the search," he said.

He said he will not comment on speculations regarding the investigation into crew and passengers on board MH370 as well as all ground staff handling the craft.

Yesterday, the Royal Malaysian police visited the homes of the pilot and co-pilot. It was confirmed the two did not ask to fly together.

There are now new leads and we will keep the media fully briefed as much as possible, he said.

The Q&A session included the following responses:

- Malaysian military radar: Why was 'blip' of MH370 flying across mainland missed?  The minister said there was no breach of national security. This is an unprecedented case and there are lessons to be learned by everybody and may change aviation history.

- Police investigation: IGP Khalid Abu Bakar said personal problems, psychological problems of all involved, terrorism are all being investigated. The investigation has now been intensified due to suspicion of acts of terrorism, sabotage and offences against the aviation act.

Hishamuddin confirmed that the passenger and crew were under investigation from the beginning and that no group has made any demands for MH370. Also asked when the transponder stopped functioning, he said it was after (presumably) a pilot wished '...All right. Good Night,' during the switchover from Malaysian to Vietnamese ATC (air traffic control).

IGP Khalid said they are still awaiting background checks on all on board. The flight simulator belonging to the chief pilot has been removed for further investigation; but all the people on board and on ground are being investigated.

- Interpol help denied? Minister Hishamuddin said we have cooperation from many intelligence agencies around the world.

- Fuel: The Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari said MH370 took off with just the planned fuel for the KL-Beijing route. In addition, the craft had been fully serviced, according to all the required safety levels.

-Reenactment of flight and cargo manifest: Malaysia Airlines’ Jauhari said the reenactment used a 777 and the cargo manifest of flight MH340 did not include any hazardous materials.

In addition, SAR director and Civil Aviation Defence chief Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that the experts from the US and UK have used the satellite data from multiple sources to estimate the search zones. The teams determined their findings separately and these concur.

- SAR assets: Currently, the Search and Rescue (SAR) operations now include 43 ships and 58 aircraft.

Day 10: Malaysia asks for more international help

[0940am local, Monday 17 March 2014]

As the search intensifies along the two corridors, the investigation into passengers and crew on board as well as ground staff is continuing. Media such as The Guardian today said the authorities are gathering information to answer:: (a) Who was flying the plane when it disappeared? (b) What do we know about the crew and passengers? (c) Why did no one on board act to intervene? and (d) What will we learn from the cockpit recorders?

If the plane came down into the southern Indian Ocean as some officials say, the SAR team has to cover an ocean with "powerful currents much of which is not covered by radar, so tracking the aircraft's last known movements could be extremely tough.

There is also a possibility that the person who said "All right. Good night." knew the Acars system had been shut off.

Yesterday, Malaysian minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said Malaysia has asked for more international help for both satellite and military radar as well as assets to search both land and sea. There are thought ot be 634 runways that could be used by a Boeing 777-200.

In addition, Malaysian Inspector General Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that they are waiting for some countries to complete their background checks on their passengers.

 Last voice assumed to be co-pilot

[0530pm local, Monday 17 March 2014] The official media briefing update was headed by Malaysian defence and acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein who read out a statement, which included the following:

Hishamuddin said that Malaysia has been working in the past 48 hours with diplomatic, technical and logistical issues. Demarcations have been agreed, according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) demarcations, among the 26 countries.  The PM has spoken with leaders of countries and the Foreign Ministry has set diplomatic messages to sets of countries: to support search and rescue efforts in the two new corridors and the second group to request satellite, radar and other intelligence to help narrow the search.

"Kazakhstan has already started searching. Australia's navy has started deploying assets into the southern area," said Hishamuddin.

"Malaysia has been working with international investigators from day one. Yesterday, officials from China joined the team. Today, investigators from France joined the team," he said.

"On Saturday, 8 March, the Royal Malaysian Police [PDRM] started investigation into the crew and ground handling staff. Malaysia has been cooperating with Interpol, FBI and other international agencies since day one," he said.

"We would not hold back any information that would help - but we would not release information unless that information has been verified and corroborated," Hishamuddin said.

"We are not at liberty to reveal information from specific countries. As the co-coordinating authority we are gathering all information as part of the on-going search and rescue operation," he added.

"The search to Straits of Malacca was based on verified information and each search effort has been re-calibrated. A more detailed map of the southern and northern corridor will be released," he said.

The families of passengers and crew have each been assigned a caregiver and more than 100 staff have been sent to Beijing as well as in Malaysia, he added.

Hishamuddin said that over the past two days, "we have been recalibrating our search and we are grateful to the heads of government we have spoken to you and all have expressed their support. Search and rescue operations in the new areas have begun."

He said Malaysia has already requested radar and satellite data from countries affected by the corridors. This is to supplement the radar, satellite and SAR team data already under investigation.

The Q&A session included the following:

- Psychological tests for pilots: Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari said psychometric tests and other tests are already standard procedure for pilots. However, we will be reviewing all processes moving forward. Code Tango, which is what Malaysia Airlines is under now, is heightened security so we are looking at every possible security leads and shortcomings.

Malaysia Airlines CEO Jauhari (reuters) modified 

Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya (Photo: Reuters)

- Last Voice Recorded: The last recording on 8 March 2014 with Malaysia air traffic control (ATC) - ["All right. Good night."} -  is being examined and believed to be the voice of the co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid. The Acars was probably disabled prior to this last voice recording (01.19am) but we do not know exactly when it was switched off but it would be anytime between 01.07 am and the next 30 minutes, said Malaysia Airlines' Jauhari.

The SAR director and Malaysia's civil aviation chief Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman confirmed that 01.19 was the last transmission from the cockpit (the voice handover).

- Passengers with aviation experience?: The passenger manifest has been passed to the police to do background checks in cooperation with foreign agencies, said Hishamuddin. The passenger manifest was originally cleared by Chinese authorities but Chinese intelligence has been asked to relook the manifest.

"We have to think of what the families are going through, which is why we have to be careful of what is reported," added Hishamuddin.

Day 11: Search continues

[1029 am local MYT, 18 March 2014]

According to Reuters, it is unlikely that the missing Malaysia Arlines MH370 could have been diverted along a northern route via Thailand.

Reuters said Kazakhstan Civil Aviation Committee released a statement signed by the committee's deputy head Serik Mukhtybayev: "Even hypothetically thinking, before reaching Kazakhstan's territory this plane would have had to fly over other countries along its route, where the flight zone is also closely monitored, so we would have received information from these countries."

"Even if all on-board equipment is switched off, it is impossible to fly through in a silent mode. There are also military bodies monitoring the country's air space," the statement continued.

Malaysia Airlines had nine regular flights to and from Europe over Kazakhstan's territory on March 8, Mukhtybayev said.

Kazakhstan’s neighbouring country, Kyrgyzstan's main civilian airport Manas near the capital Bishkek said that the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished with 239 people aboard, did not fly over Kyrgyzstan's territory.

The plane would have been detected by two military air bases - a U.S. and a Russian one - deployed in the country, it said.

Earlier, India rejected suggestions that it could have been the intended target of a 9/11-style attack by the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. The Times of India said security sources had "rubbished" the idea that the plane could have got anywhere close to an urban centre and insisted it would have been detected by a naval base on the Andaman islands, more than 1,000 kilometres (600 miles) off the Indian mainland.

'Change of direction was deliberate'

[0530 pm local MYT, Tuesday, 18 March 2014]

Minister Hishamuddin's update included the following points:

-  Switch off of Acars: With a high degree of certainty, Acars was disabled just before the aircraft reached the East coast of Peninsular Malaysia. Yesterday, Malaysia Airlines clarified that the system on MH370 was switched off between 01.07 and 01.37 and this clarification was in conjunction with other agencies. Our position remains that the change of direction was deliberate.

This does not impact the search zones of the northern and southern corridors. The cooperation from supporting countries has been excellent. He added that he has requested US defence secretary Chuck Hagel for specialist help in the search in the southern corridor.

In the northern corridor, we have divided the search area into seven quadrants. Each of the seven quadrants is 400 nautical miles by 400 nautical miles – or 160,000 square nautical miles in total. We have also divided up the southern corridor into seven quadrants. Just like in the north, each quadrant covers an area of 160,000 square nautical miles. The entire search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles.

- Royal Malaysian Police: the investigation into the passengers, crew and ground staff is ongoing and the IGP [Inspector General of Police] will give updates on any findings.

"The search is bigger than politics," he added. "The aim is to find the plane and this is the top priority."

During the briefing, Malaysian Foreign Ministry's Datuk Seri Amifah Aman confirmed that 25 countries are involved and that they "have responded excellently to our diplomatic notes."

"The operation is complex and we fully appreciate all the cooperation and assistance that has been given. Politics is not important. I do not think that anybody should seek cheap publicity," said Amifah.

The Q&A included the following:

- Northern corridor or southern corridor?  "Military primary data and confirmation from international agencies information was used to identify the northern and southern corridors," said Hishamuddin. He added the certain countries have been asked to relook data to help narrow the search zones.

Southern corridor: Indonesia and Australia (which announced a 600,000 sq km search zone earlier) are among those countries searching this corridor, said Hishamuddin.

The northern and southern corridors search zones was identified with international partners, said SAR director Azharuddin.

- Pilot link to Anwar and opposition politics? Hishamuddin said: "We did not bring this issue up. This was brought up by foreign media such as the UK's Daily Mail and CNN. Our concern remains on finding the plane. The focus from day one has been to search and rescue of MH370."

- Electrical fault? SAR director Azharuddin said the team is not discounting any possibility including a loss of cabin pressure and the aircraft must find the aircraft.

- Was the 'turn back' programmed into computer beforehand? Hishamuddin said he could not comment on this. Malaysia Airlines chief executive Jauhari said the preprogrammed flight was for KL to Beijing though "once on the aircraft anything is possible."

Day 12: Vast search area

[01.06 pm local, Wednesday 19 March 2014]

As of writing, media reports the search area has widened to a total of 2.24 million nautical square miles, with Australia taking the lead in the 'southern corridor,' witrh Malaysian officials saying that international cooperators have taken 'an increasing role' in the operation. 

Issues such as Indonesia's 'no flight over land' ban has left some of the search assets grounded in Malaysia, according to The Guardian. While theThai military made a late handover of radar data, which may have tracked MH370 early hours.

No major breakthroughs

[0530pm local time, 19 March 2014] The briefing included the Malaysian IGP [Inspector-General of Police] Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and headed by Minister Hishamuddin, and included the following points:

- The search continues and is a truly international effort, which is working on narrowing the search corridors by gathering satellite data, radar data, and increasing air and sea assets and international experts.

“The main technical team has been broken into (a) diplomatic team led by the foreign office (b) assets deployment led by the military (c) technical group led by civil aviation department,” said Hishamuddin.

“The search is coordinated by Malaysia; however, we welcome that our partners are increasing their roles,” he said.

- Radar data: I can confirm we have received some radar data but I am not at yet at liberty to reveal the findings of the data. All countries contacted have been willing to cooperate, given that this is an "unprecedented incident."

- Maldives sighting? Following reports from Maldives of the sighting of a low flying 777, Maldives Civil Aviation Authority chief executive Hussain Jalee  told AFP that “We are looking at everything from radar reports and records of the air traffic control." In an earlier statement today,, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) said that studies of military radar had yielded nothing so far.

Hishamuddin said: The authorities have been contacted and the sighting is not confirmed and "it not true."

- Additional waypoints on flight management system? The waypoint IGARI was the last waypoint programmed into the system; the only other waypoints are those to Beijing.

- Police investigation: The investigation is classified but that the information is being shared with international agencies, as required.

"We have received background checks from all countries (in connection with their nationals travelling on board MH370) except for Ukraine and Russia to date," said Hishamuddin.

Pilot's flight simulator: We are retrieving some deleted data from the pilot Zaharie's flight simulator. "The pilots, crew and passenger remain innocent unless proven otherwise."

A high level team is being sent to Beijing to give the latest updates to the relatives of passengers, he added.

The Q&A session included the following clarifications:

- Passengers’ families support: Malaysia Airlines support: In its latest briefing issued minutes after relatives stormed a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur the company announced it would be sending out regular text messages to the families and keep its support centre open around the clock, reported the Guardian.

- Police Investigation: IGP Khalid said the four areas mentioned in an earlier briefing remain the focus. Regarding the chief pilot Zaharie's flight simulator, "The games data log was cleared on 3rd February. The experts are now examining what was cleared," said the IGP.

- Waypoints after” turn back”: SAR director Azharuddin said the investigation is only focused on finding the plane at this point. As regards the 'turn back," an accident still not ruled out of all the possible scenarios, he added.

Day 13: Two possible objects found in southern Indian Ocean

(11.40 am Malaysia time, Thursday 20 March 2014]

The Guardian has reported that Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has told parliament of "two possible objects related to the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have been found in the southern Indian Ocean."

“I would like to inform the house that new and credible information has come to light in relation to the search for Malaysia airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean,” Abbott said. “The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has received information based on satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search."

“Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified, " he said. “I can inform the house that a Royal Australian Air Force Orion has been diverted to attempt to locate the objects. This Orion is expected to arrive in the area at about this time. Three more aircraft will follow this Orion. They are tasked for more intensive follow-up search."

Tony Abbott - Australia (filepic) modified 

Photo - Tony Abbott, Prime Minister, Australia

The Australian prime minister held a media conference together with the general manager of Australia’s maritime authority John Young: craft are now searching for the two objects.

PM Abbott's press statement: "The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Air Force and the United States Navy.

"AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia has received satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for the missing aircraft, flight MH370. RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery on Thursday.

"The images were captured by satellite [apparently dated 16 March 2014[. They may not be related to the aircraft. The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation as a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation. The imagery is in the vicinity of the search area defined and searched in the past two days.

"Four aircraft have been reoriented to the area 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth as a result of this information.A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft arrived in the area about 1.50pm.A further three aircraft have been tasked by RCC Australia to the area later today, including a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion and United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft.

"The Poseidon aircraft is expected to arrive at 3pm. The second RAAF Orion is expected to depart RAAF Base Pearce at 6pm. The New Zealand Orion is due to depart at 8pm. A RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft has been tasked by RCC Australia to drop datum marker buoys. These marker buoys assist RCC Australia by providing information about water movement to assist in drift modelling. They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted.

"A merchant ship that responded to a shipping broadcast issued by RCC Australia on Monday is expected to arrive in the area about 6pm. Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is en route to the area but is some days away from this area. She is well equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be from MH370. The focus for AMSA is to continue the search operation, with all available assets.The assets are searching for anything signs of the missing aircraft.

"Weather conditions are moderate in the Southern Indian Ocean where the search is taking place. Poor visibility has been reported.

"AMSA continues to hold grave concerns for the passengers and crew on board."

Reduced area of search due to a credible lead

[0530 pm MY time, 20 March 2014]

Minister Hishamuddin confirmed the details of Australian prime minister Tony Abbott's earlier statement. He said RCC Australia received an expert assessment of the objects about 2,600 km south west of Perth. Four aircraft were dispatched to that area.

An RAAF Hercules craft has been tasked to drop marker buoys to help with drift modelling, he said.

HMAS Success is on route to the area but is some days away. Every effort is being made to locate the sightings. While the sightings are credible, they have yet to be confirmed. Hishamuddin said 26 countries are now involved in the search mission. 25 aircraft have been deployed in the southern corridor. In the northern corridor, a number of countries - China (using 21 satellites), Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - are searching within their own territories.

A high level team is leaving for Beijing to build up support for the families of passengers.

The Q&A session included the following responses:

- We are intensifying the search area of the 'credible' lead from the Australian authorities, said Hishamuddin.

- Flight simulator: Yesterday, the IGP said international and local agencies are still examining the simulator taken from the senior pilot Zaharie's home.

- Deep sea surveillance: We are already looking into deep sea surveillance and sonar technology. And if the black box battery goes dead (30 day life) we will need to look into submarine, said Hishamuddin


Day 14: Search for 'credible' objects in southern Indian Ocean

[02.00pm MY time, Friday 21 March 2014]

Australian maritime safety authorities's statement this morning:  "Five aircraft will be involved in today’s search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

- A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion departed for the search area at around 9.15am AEDT.

- A civil Gulfstream jet and a second RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart for the search area at approximately 11am AEDT.

- A third RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart for the search area at approximately 1pm AEDT.

- The United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft is due to depart for the search area at approximately 4pm AEDT.

- Due to the distance to and from the search area, the aircraft involved have an endurance of approximately 2 hours of search time.

- One merchant vessel is currently in the search area. A second merchant vessel is due to arrive tonight."

Media (Guardian, AP, CNN etc) report that five aircraft will be scanning the search zone where four days ago satellite images showed debris that could belong to the missing flight. China has sent three warships to the area to assist in the search, but there is no indication when they will arrive.

 This is going to be a long haul

[0530pm MYT local, 21 March 2014] The Malaysia search operation update, which was managed by Minister Hishamuddin, confirmed the following points in a statement:

- Malaysia continues to work on the diplomatic, technical and logistical issues of the search operation. "This is going to be a long haul," he added.

"We are still waiting for more developments in connection with the two objects sighted yesterday in the southern Indian Ocean. China has deployed 3 ships and 3 ship-borne helicopters to add to the craft already being used," he said.

Hishamuddin has spoken with the French delegation, which includes the person who led the search for the Air France 447 crash investigation.

He said the they have been in touch with the UK's acting High Commissioner who has pledged help from HMS Echo, which is already on its own way and the UK has offered other assets to the search. In addition, Kazakhstan said there is no sign of the plane, and Hishamuddin said Kazakhstan has been requested to allow the country to be used as a staging post.

- Police investigation: Ukraine passengers have been cleared by the Ukrainian police.

"We welcome all assistance as we follow every credible lead," Hishamuddin said.

The Q&A session included:

- Malaysia Airlines chief executive Jauhari said MH370's cargo included lithium ion batteries (these can be unstable at altitude) but that they were packed according to regulations and was a normal practice by many airlines.

Hishamuddin: "Breaking news item"

[0530 pm MY time, Saturday 22 March 2014] Minister Hishamuddin headed the official update of the international search and rescue mission included the following:

"Diplomatic, logistical and other efforts are being used to intensify search efforts in both corridors," he said.

Northern corridor: China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos and Kurdistan are searching the northern corridor and have no signs on radar so far.

Southern corridor: His statement also said six aircraft including four Orion anti-submarine surveillance aircraft joined the search today for debris from the aircraft over a stretch of the the southern Indian Ocean 1,500 miles (2,500km) south-west of Perth. Chinese, British and Australian naval ships were all headed to the same area where two floating objects – possibly plane wreckage – were picked out on satellite pictures. With planes from China and Japan also expected to join. HMS Echo is en route to the area from the Persian Gulf.

"The briefing for families in KL went well but the briefing in Beijing did not go so well," he said, adding that he has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Chinese counterparts to work towards a more conducive environment for these briefings. We appeal to all parties to be understanding during these difficult times. We will do everything in our power.

Transcript between MH370 pilots and ATC in the last hour before the plane went missing is already with the investigation team and cannot be publicly released yet but he can confirm there was nothing 'suspicious' in this transcript.

In addition, all cargo on MH370 was handled in compliance with international air transport standards, he said.

We are following every lead and every possibility. We are being updated on an hourly basis by the Australian authorities on the 'credible sightings' shown on the satellite imagery dated 16 March 2014.

"Malaysia is immensely grateful for the efforts by all international teams," said Hishamuddin, and gave his personal assurance to the families that the team will continue their search.

The Q&A period included the following assertions:

- The "last hour" transcript betwen ATC and the pilots reported in certain media (Daily Mail and so forth) is not accurate, said the SAR director Azharuddin.

 Hishamuddin: Chinese satellite spots 'suspicious object' in southern corridor

China Ambassador note to Hishamuddin

During the Q&A session, Hishamuddin was handed a  "breaking news" note (pic: Reuters) that Chinese satellite SASTIND has located a 22m long x 30m wide object and that the note said  "The Beijing Government will announce this within a couple of hours."

Hishamuddin corrected the dimensions to 22.5m x 13m at 06.39 pm (MY time), according to Malaysian news channel Awani.

Meanwhile, media reports (AP. Xinhua, CCTV) indicate a satellite image (dated 18 March 2014) has been released by China of a "new object located about 2630km from Perth," which has been made publicly available today.

Ships are now being sent to the location, according to China's ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang (as reported by Astro Awani). A Reuters flash said the new "suspicious object" is about 120km from the position shown on the satellite imagery of "two credible" objects (dated 16 March) announced by the Australian prime minister Tony Abbott last Thursday. 

According to a 06.39pm (MY time) tweet [@HishamuddinH20, Minister Hishamuddin's communication team), China has relayed the satellite images to RCC Australia. "Two aircraft from Beijing have arrived in Perth and ships are on the way."

Day 16: French authorities send new satellite images

[05.37 pm MYT, 23 March 2014] 
Minister Hishamuddin's official Twitter communication sent the following at Kuala Lumpur, which was headed by Minister Hishamuddin, included the following:(05.37 MYT today): "This AM, Msia received new satellite images from French authorities showing potential objects in southern corridor."

There is no official SAR updare conference, the following statement has been released:

MH370 PRESS STATEMENT

BY MINISTRY OF TRANSPORT, MALAYSIA

SUNDAY, 23 MARCH 2014, 5:30PM

1. Search and rescue operational update

a. The search and rescue operation remains an international effort, co-ordinated by Malaysia. A number of countries are leading in their respective search areas and all countries involved are displaying unprecedented levels of co-operation.

b. This morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities showing potential objects in the vicinity of the southern corridor. Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre.

c. Two Chinese Ilyushin IL-76s have arrived in Perth, and will depart for the search and rescue operation tomorrow at 05:00 and 06:00.

d. Two Japanese P3 Orions today left Subang airport for Perth.

e. The Australian rescue co-ordination centre will deploy eight aircraft (four military and four civilian) to the southern corridor today, to conduct visual searching.

f. The Australian Defence Vessel ‘Ocean Shield’, which has a sub-sea remotely operated vehicle, is currently en route to the southern corridor.

g. As of 2:30pm Malaysia time, Australian officials have informed us that they have not made any new sightings regarding MH370.

h. One Indian Navy P8 Poseidon and one Indian Air Force C130 left Subang airport today to join the search and rescue operation in the northern part of the southern corridor, which is being led by Indonesia.

i. A number of other sorties from Subang airport to the southern corridor were cancelled today due to bad weather caused by tropical cyclone Gillian.

j. Australia, China and France have now released satellite images that show potential objects, which may be related to MH370, in the vicinity of the southern corridor. All this information has been forwarded to Australia, as the lead country in the area of concern.

2. Family briefing

a. The Malaysian high level team started a briefing in Beijing this morning for relatives of those on board MH370. The meeting lasted more than 6 hours. This is the third such meeting that has been held. The team presented information to the relatives and answered questions. The Government wishes to reiterate its commitment and continued engagement with the relatives of those on board MH37

3. Update on ACARS transmission

a. The last ACARS transmission, sent at 1.07am, showed nothing unusual. The 1.07am transmission showed a normal routing all the way to Beijing.

-ENDS-


Day 17: Update: Two objects should be retrieved in next few hours

[0537 pm MYT, 24 March 2014]

At the Putra World Trade Centre [PWTC], Kuala Lumpur: Minister Hishamuddin delivered the following update, which included:

The search mission based in Australia has sighted two objects - one circular and one rectangular - in the search area. A ship maybe able to retrieve the objects by Tuesday, he said.

- Police investigation: More than a 100 people - including families of crew and ground support - have been interviewed.

- The team is considering releasing the full transcipt of the last hour before MH370 went offline, he said.

During the Q&A session, Hishamuddin said many lessons can be learned by all authorities including the aviation industry once the search mission has ended.

Parallel investigations are being conducted so Hishamuddin said the team will not speculate.

At about the same time, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority [AMSA] has more on the latest sighting of potential debris by an Australian plane

"HMAS Success is on scene and is attempting to locate the objects in the search for missing Malaysia Aircraft flight MH370.

The objects were spotted in the search area about 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth by the RAAF Orion about 2.45pm (AEDT).

The crew on board the Orion reported seeing two objects – the first a grey or green circular object and the second an orange rectangular object.

The objects identified by the RAAF Orion are separate to the objects reported by the Chinese Ilyushin IL- 76 to AMSA earlier today.

The objects reported by the Chinese were also within today’s search area.

The US Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft sought to relocate the objects reported by the Chinese aircraft but were unable to do so.

The US Navy P8 is remains in the search area, while a second RAAF P3 and a Japanese P3 are en route to their assigned search areas."

A third official update today is that the Malaysian prime minister Najib (@NajibRajak) has "Just received a call from Australian prime minister (@tonyabbott) that the 2 objects were located &will be retrieved in the next few hours."

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib delivers new update based on new analysis

[10.00 pm MYT, 24 March 2014]

At the Putra World Trade Centre [PWTC], Kuala Lumpur: Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak delivered a new statement starting 0945 pm Malaysia time.

Here's the prime minister's statement in full:

"This evening I was briefed by representatives from the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB). They informed me that Inmarsat, the UK company that provided the satellite data which indicated the northern and southern corridors, has been performing further calculations on the data. Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path.

Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.

This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

We will be holding a press conference tomorrow with further details. In the meantime, we wanted to inform you of this new development at the earliest opportunity. We share this information out of a commitment to openness and respect for the families, two principles which have guided this investigation.

Malaysia Airlines have already spoken to the families of the passengers and crew to inform them of this development. For them, the past few weeks have been heartbreaking; I know this news must be harder still. I urge the media to respect their privacy, and to allow them the space they need at this difficult time."

Day 18: Bad weather delays sea search for MH370

[12.30 MYT, Tuesday 25 March 2014]

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority [AMSA] has issued a statement that bad weather and sea search for MH370. So far, no debris has been pulled out from the water, Australian defence ministerSenator David Johnston told media in Perth (Astro Awani).

It has been reported (Guardian) that Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has told the Australian parliament that "what has been a search has moved into a recovery phase."

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority just issued this statement:

"A search and recovery operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean will resume on Wednesday, March 25.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott confirmed on Tuesday the focus is now on search and recovery of any objects related to the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

A visual search will resume tomorrow when the weather is expected to improve after gale force winds and heavy swells resulted in the suspension of the search operation on Tuesday.

As many as twelve aircraft are expected to be involved in the search tomorrow, including seven military aircraft and five civil aircraft.

HMAS Success will return to the search area and conduct a surface sweep of an area identified on Monday afternoon by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion as the location for several objects of interest.

A total of six countries are now assisting in the search – Australia, New Zealand, the United States, Japan, China and the Republic of Korea.

India has also offered to join the search and recovery operation.

China’s polar supply ship Xue Long (Snow Drag