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 Dragon) and three other Chinese ships are expected to arrive in the search area on Wednesday."

[1230 pm MYT, PWTC Kuala Lumpur] The media conference held by Malaysia Airlines chairman Tan Sri Md Nor Yusof and the chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya confirmed the Air Accidents Investigation Branch's [AAIB] new analysis of UK's Immarsat calculations that MH370 ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean.

Sri Md Nor Md Yusof, chairman of Malaysia Airlines delivered the following statement:

"As you will be aware, last night the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najjib Razak, announced new evidence regarding the disappearance of MH370 on 8th March.

Based on this evidence, the Prime Minister’s message was that we must accept the painful reality that the aircraft is now lost and that none of the passengers or crew on board survived.

This is a sad and tragic day for all of us at Malaysia Airlines. While not entirely unexpected after an intensive multi-national search across a 2.24 million square mile area, this news is clearly devastating for the families of those on board. They have waited for over two weeks for even the smallest hope of positive news about their loved ones.

This has been an unprecedented event requiring an unprecedented response. The investigation still underway may yet prove to be even longer and more complex than it has been since March 8th. But we will continue to support the families – as we have done throughout. And to support the authorities as the search for definitive answers continues. I will now ask our Group Chief Executive¸ Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, to provide you will with fuller details of our support for the families."

The group chief executive officer, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, also provided a statement:

"I stand before you today not only as the Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines, but also as a parent, as a brother, as a son. My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families. There are no words which can ease that pain. Everyone in the Malaysia Airlines family is praying for the 239 souls on MH370 and for their loved ones on this dark day. We extend our prayers and sincere condolences.

We all feel enormous sorrow and pain. Sorrow that all those who boarded Flight MH370 on Saturday 8th March, will not see their families again. And that those families will now have to live on without those they love. It must be remembered too that 13 of our own colleagues and fellow Malaysians were also on board.

And let me be very clear on the events of yesterday evening. Our sole and onlymotivation last night was to ensure that in the incredibly short amount of time available to us, the families heard the tragic news before the world did. Wherever humanly possible, we did so in person with the families or by telephone, using SMSonly as an additional means of ensuring fully that the nearly 1,000 family members heard the news from us and not from the media.

Ever since the disappearance of Flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines’ focus has been to comfort and support the families of those involved and support the multi-national search effort. We will continue to do this, while we also continue to support the work of the investigating authorities in the Southern Indian Ocean.

Like everyone else, we are waiting for news from those authorities. We know that while there have been an increasing number of apparent leads, definitive identification of any piece of debris is still missing. It is impossible to predict how long this will take. But after 17 days, the announcement made last night and shared with the families is the reality which we must now accept. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery areas if they so wish. Until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation. And may I express my thanks to the Government and all of those involved in this truly global search effort.

In the meantime, Malaysia Airlines’ overwhelming focus will be the same as it has been from the outset – to provide the families with a comprehensive support programme. Through a network of over 700 dedicated caregivers, the loved ones of those on board have been provided with two dedicated caregivers for each family, providing care, support and counsel. We are now supporting over 900 people under this programme and in the last 72 hours, we have trained an additional 40 caregivers to ensure the families have access to round-the-clock support.

In addition, hotel accommodation for up to five family members per passenger, transportation, meals and others expenses have been provided since 8th March and that will continue.

Malaysia Airlines has already provided initial financial assistance of USD 5,000 per passenger to the next of kin. We recognize that financial support is not the onlyconsideration. But the prolonged search is naturally placing financial strain on the relatives. We are therefore preparing to offer additional payments as the search continues.

This unprecedented event in aviation history has made the past 18 days the greatest challenge to face our entire team at Malaysia Airlines. I have been humbled by the hard work, dedication, heartfelt messages of concern and offers of support from our remarkable team. We do not know why, and we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened. But as the Malaysia Airlines family, we are all praying for the passengers and crew of Flight MH370."

The Q&A session included the following responses:

- Validity of last night's new analysis:  "As you would also appreciate the prime minister came out himself to share that he has been given fairly credible leads that would point to where the plane ended its flight," said Jauhari. "As he mentioned that position is very far away, very remote from the nearest landmass. After 17 days we could only bring ourselves to one conclusion."

- Handling of families: "Our focus is really to ensure that we provide care with the families as we move forward. It's not very easy, it has been 18 days and yesterdays announcement was really painful, a very painful fact for us," he said.


Operational update: the Doppler effect ised in the new calculation

[0530pm MYT, 25 March 2017]  Minister Hishamuddin led the SAR update, which included the Civil Aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the Malaysia Airlines chief executive Jauhari and Inspector-General of Police [IGP] Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

Hishamuddin delivered a  statement, which included the following:

- The investigation has now turned into a complex phase with the release of technical and logistical information. New challenges including managing resources in the search effort,

Last night, the prime minister announced the new calculation from Immarsat and AAIB. Immarsat developed a second innovative technique, which made use of the Doppler Effect, and the flight's velocity was calculated and concluded the final position in the southern part of the South Indian Ocean west of Perth.

This is not the final position. There is evidence of a partial handshake, which is subject to ongoing examination. At 0011 to 01.15 UTC,  the aircraft no longer was able to communicate. "More work needs to be done ... this is a developing situation," he said.

This type of analysis has never been done before in accident analysis, he added.

Operational updates: the search in the northern corridor has been called off. All search efforts are now focused in the southern part of the South Indian Ocean covering a reduced area of 469,407 sq nautical miles.

Two Korean aircraft left to go to Perth. Due to bad weather, no flights from Perth took place today.

The Doppler Effect

News release on Malaysian Ministry of Transport's Facebook page follows: - 

INFORMATION PROVIDED TO MH370 INVESTIGATION BY UK AIR ACCIDENTS INVESTIGATION BRANCH (AAIB)

25/03/14


On 13 March we received information from UK satellite company Inmarsat indicating that routine automatic communications between one of its satellites and the aircraft could be used to determine several possible flight paths.

Inmarsat UK has continued to refine this analysis and yesterday the AAIB presented its most recent findings, which indicate that the aircraft flew along the southern corridor.

As you have heard, an aircraft is able to communicate with ground stations via satellite.

If the ground station has not heard from an aircraft for an hour it will transmit a 'log on / log off' message, sometimes referred to as a ‘ping’, using the aircraft’s unique identifier. If the aircraft receives its unique identifier it returns a short message indicating that it is still logged on. This process has been described as a “handshake” and takes place automatically.

From the ground station log it was established that after ACARS stopped sending messages, 6 complete handshakes took place.

The position of the satellite is known, and the time that it takes the signal to be sent and received, via the satellite, to the ground station can be used to establish the range of the aircraft from the satellite. This information was used to generate arcs of possible positions from which the Northern and Southern corridors were established.

Refined analysis from Inmarsat
In recent days Inmarsat developed a second innovative technique which considers the velocity of the aircraft relative to the satellite. Depending on this relative movement, the frequency received and transmitted will differ from its normal value, in much the same way that the sound of a passing car changes as it approaches and passes by. This is called the Doppler effect. The Inmarsat technique analyses the difference between the frequency that the ground station expects to receive and that actually measured. This difference is the result of the Doppler effect and is known as the Burst Frequency Offset.

The Burst Frequency Offset changes depending on the location of the aircraft on an arc of possible positions, its direction of travel, and its speed. In order to establish confidence in its theory, Inmarsat checked its predictions using information obtained from six other B777 aircraft flying on the same day in various directions. There was good agreement.

While on the ground at Kuala Lumpur airport, and during the early stage of the flight, MH370 transmitted several messages. At this stage the location of the aircraft and the satellite were known, so it was possible to calculate system characteristics for the aircraft, satellite, and ground station.

During the flight the ground station logged the transmitted and received pulse frequencies at each handshake. Knowing the system characteristics and position of the satellite it was possible, considering aircraft performance, to determine where on each arc the calculated burst frequency offset fit best.

The analysis showed poor correlation with the Northern corridor, but good correlation with the Southern corridor, and depending on the ground speed of the aircraft it was then possible to estimate positions at 0011 UTC, at which the last complete handshake took place. I must emphasise that this is not the final position of the aircraft.

There is evidence of a partial handshake between the aircraft and ground station at 0019 UTC. At this time this transmission is not understood and is subject to further ongoing work.

No response was received from the aircraft at 0115 UTC, when the ground earth station sent the next log on / log off message. This indicates that the aircraft was no longer logged on to the network.

Therefore, some time between 0011 UTC and 0115 UTC the aircraft was no longer able to communicate with the ground station. This is consistent with the maximum endurance of the aircraft.

This analysis by Inmarsat forms the basis for further study to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. Accordingly, the Malaysian investigation has set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward.

In Annex I (attached) there are three diagrams, showing:

Doppler correction contributions:
Doppler Correction contributions modified
MH370 measured data against predicted tracks:

M370 measured data against predicted tracks (2)

- The blue line is the burst frequency offset measured at the ground station for MH370.
- The green line is the predicted burst frequency offset for the southern route, which over the last 6 handshakes show close correlation with the measured values for MH370.
- The red line is the predicted burst frequency offset for the southern route, which over the last 6 handshakes does not correlate with the measured values for MH370.

Example of Southern Tracks::

Example Southern Tracks (3)

 

Hishamuddin: New satellite images show '122 potential objects'

[0530 pm MYT, Wednesday 26 March 2014] Minister Hishamuddin's update from PWTC also included the Chief Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.

Hishamuddin's statement included the following points:

- The search for MH370 by a multinational team continued today in the southern Indian Ocean. Malaysia will not give up on its search for the aircraft.

- There is a new lead consisting of four new satellite images from France (23rd March 2014) focused on a 440 sq metre area about 2,557 km from Perth, which showed 122 potential objects, according to analysis by MRSA. "The objects ranged in size from 1m to 23m. We can not yet tell if these objects are related to MH370."

These four satellite images will also help reduce the search zone (divided into east and west sectors) led by Australia.

Satellite images (4 images) MH370 modified

A satellite photo, showing the locations and coordinates of unknown objects reported by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency in the Indian Ocean. (Photograph: Handout/Reuter)

"Malaysia continues to play a coordinating role. All countries are showing an 'unprecedented level of cooperation,' continued Hishamuddin. Twelve aircraft are searching the area. The Australian ship HMAS Success is in the west sector and the Chinese ice breaker, Snow Dragon is in the east sector.

He said the Malaysian prime minister Najib met with envoys from China -  including His Excellency Zhang Yesui -  to reassure them of Malaysia's commitment. AAIB also briefed the envoys on the new information, which was announced by the PM Najib on Sunday night at 10.00 pm MYT.

Malaysia Airlines is continuing to communicate with the families and is holding its own announcements, he said.

With the improved weather in the southern Indian Ocean, Hishamuddin said the search has resumed.

The Q&A period included:

- Not many countries in the world can get 26 countries to work together with the most sophisticated equipment, said Hishamuddin in response to a question about Malaysia's handling of the crisis from certain media. "History will judge as well."


Day 20: SAR stalled by weather, new images from Thai satellite show 300 floating objects

[0830pm MYT 27 March 2014]

Minister Hishamuddin has updated via his official communication Twitter channel as both the Ministry of Transport and Malaysia Airlines media updates were cancelled today. A Tweet earlier this afternoon said the weather in the search zone was 'not good today SAR stalled again."

The search team in the southern Indian Ocean now includes 11 planes and five ships.

According to AFP, another development is the sighting of 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean caught by new images from a Thai satellite.

The objects, AFP said, range from two to 15 metres (6.5 to 50 feet) in size, andscattered over an area about 2,700 kilometres (1,680 miles) southwest of Perth, according to the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency.

"But we cannot -- dare not -- confirm they are debris from the plane," the agency's executive director, Anond Snidvongs, told AFP. 

Thai Satellite images modified 

Satellite images provided by Thailand's Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency show floating objects in the Indian Ocean. Photograph: Xinhua/Landov/Barcroft Media

 

Day 21: A new credible lead refines search zone

AMSA released the following announcement - Search operation for Malaysia Airlines aircraft -  earlier today at 1130 AEDT:

"The search area for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been updated after a new credible lead was provided to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

As a result today’s search will shift to an area 1,100 kilometres to the north east based on updated advice provided by the international investigation team in Malaysia.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Australia’s investigation agency, has examined this advice and determined that this is the most credible lead to where debris may be located.

The new search area is approximately 319,000 square kilometres and around 1,850 kilometres west of Perth.

The new information is based on continuing analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost.

It indicated that the aircraft was travelling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage and reducing the possible distance the aircraft travelled south into the Indian Ocean.

ATSB advises the potential flight path may be the subject of further refinement as the international investigative team supporting the search continues their analysis.

The Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation is re-tasking satellites to image the new area.

Weather conditions have improved in the area and ten aircraft are tasked for today’s search.

They include two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese Coast Guard jet, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a Republic of Korea C130 Hercules, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, a Chinese military Ilyushin IL-76, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft, and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.

A further RAAF P3 Orion has been placed on standby at Pearce to investigate any reported sightings.

There are now six vessels relocating to the new search area including HMAS Success and five Chinese ships."

According to earlier media reports (Awani and others), Japanese satellite images spotted about10 floating objects, "which may belong to the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370. The objects measuring up to eight metres (26.4 feet) in length and four metres wide were reported to have been spotted roughly 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth, Kyodo and Jiji. apan's Cabinet Satellite Intelligence Center's study showed that the images were captured by a satellite between 9 am and 3 pm (0000 GMT and 0600 GMT) on Wednesday and could possibly be from the missing plane as the objects were found in an area where previous debris have been found."

[06.00 pm MYT 28 March 2014] The KL operations update was headed by Minister Hishamuddin, and included the Civil Aviation chief Azharuddin. The points included:

- Confirmation of the new data and satellite images from Japanese and Thai satellites as detailed in the AMSA release above and puts the focus on an area about 1680 km west of Perth. The search conditions are easier than before but remain challenging.

- There are lessons to be learned by everyone by this tragedy including the whole aviation industry, said Hishamuddin. This is an ongoing process with people from 26 countries risking life and limb, said Hishamuddin.

The full statement follows here:

MH370 PRESS BRIEFING BY HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN,

MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND ACTING MINISTER OF TRANSPORT: 28 MARCH 2014, 5:30PM

Introductory statement

Today, the search for MH370 has been further refined. The international investigation team continue working to narrow the search area, and shed further light on MH370’s flight path.

We are, as always, grateful for the continuing co-operation of our partners in this difficult and intensive search.

Whilst search operations are on-going, we continue to focus our efforts on caring for the families. In Cabinet this morning, we discussed the importance of continuing to support the relatives of the passengers and crew.

Refined search area

On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that based on new data analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB had concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.

On Tuesday, I confirmed that further study of this data would be undertaken to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. The Malaysian investigation team set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward.

The international working group included representatives from the UK, namely Inmarsat, AAIB, and Rolls Royce; from China, namely the CAAC and AAID; from the US, namely the NTSB, FAA, and Boeing; as well as the relevant Malaysian authorities.

The group has been working to refine the Inmarsat data, and to analyse it – together with other information, including radar data and aircraft performance assumptions – to narrow the search area.

Information which had already been examined by the investigation was re-examined in light of new evidence drawn from the Inmarsat data analysis.

In addition, international partners – who continue to process data in their home countries, as well as in the international working group – have further refined existing data. They have also come up with new technical information, for example on aircraft performance.

Yesterday, this process yielded new results, which indicated that MH370 flew at a higher speed than previously thought, which in turn means it used more fuel and could not travel as far. This information was passed to RCC Australia by the NTSB, to help further refine and narrow the search area.

The Australian authorities have indicated that they have shifted the search area approximately 1,100 kilometres to the north east. Because of ocean drift, this new search area could still be consistent with the potential objects identified by various satellite images over the past week.

This work is on-going, and we can expect further refinements. As the Australian authorities indicated this morning, this is standard practice in a search operation. It is a process of continually refining data which in turn further narrows the search area. With each step, we get closer to understanding MH370’s flight path.

Searches must be conducted on the best information available at the time. In the search for MH370, we have consistently followed the evidence, and acted on credible leads. Our search and rescue efforts have been directed by verified and corroborated information. This latest refinement of the search area is no different.

Satellite images

Last night, Japanese authorities announced they had satellite images which showed a number of floating objects approximately 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth. Early this morning we received separate satellite imagery from the Thai authorities which also showed potential objects.

These new satellite images join those released by Australia, China, France, and Malaysia, all of which are with RCC Australia. The range of potential objects, and the difficulty in re-identifying them shows just how complex this investigation is. We remain grateful to all our partners for continuing to assist in the search operations.

Concluding remarks.

The new search area, approximately 1,680 kilometres west of Perth, remains in the Australian area of responsibility.

Australia continues to lead the search efforts in this new area, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority gave a comprehensive operational update earlier today. As more information emerges, they will be issuing frequent operational updates, including on assets deployed.

I would like to echo their statements that the new search area, although more focused than before, remains considerable; and that the search conditions, although easier than before, remain challenging.

For the families of those on board, we pray that further processing of data, and further progress in the search itself, brings us closer to finding MH370."

AMSA handout (Getty images) - 28March2014 modified 

AMSA handout (Getty Images) showing refined search zone (28 March 2014)


Day 22: Five aircraft spot multiple obkects of various colours, ships to locate

Media reports (Guardian) include that Australian authorities are analysing photographs of the objects taken by the aircraft on Friday. A Chinese patrol ship, Haixun 01, one of six ships in the area, had made it to the new search zone on Friday.

In addition, (Awani) reported that Minister Hishammuddins said nothing suspicious was found on the MH370 pilot’s Captain Azaharie's flight simulator, which has been investigated by the Malaysian police working with the FBI. He said the final information will come from the Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar.

[11.30am AEDT, Saturday, 29 March 2014] AMSA issued the following announcement summarising the search update this morning:

"Search operation for Malaysia Airlines aircraft: Update 26 

Friday’s search area for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was shifted north after international air crash investigators in Malaysia updated their previous analysis of the likely aircraft movements.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) assessed this update as credible, and advised AMSA of the new basis for a revised search area.

AMSA then applied the effects of weather and currents to develop today’s search area.

Five aircraft spotted multiple objects of various colours during Friday’s search.

The objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by ships. It is not known how much flotsam, such as from fishing activities, is ordinarily there. At least one distinctive fishing object has been identified.

Today’s weather is expected initially to be suitable for searching but conditions are expected to deteriorate later in the day.

The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration ship Haixun 01 has been on scene for relocating objects from first light.

Search activities today will involve a total of 8 aircraft.

They include three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese Coast Guard jet, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.

The first aircraft to depart was the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, which departed at 9:05am.

The first RAAF P3 Orion departed at 9:50am, with two others scheduled to depart about 12pm and 2pm.

The civil jet is scheduled to depart about 1pm.

The Japan Coast Guard jet is scheduled to depart about 2pm.

The Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion is scheduled to depart about 3pm.

The Japanese P3 Orion is scheduled to depart about 4pm

Six ships are expected to reach the search area today, tasked with relocating the objects sighted, but will arrive late in the day or after dark."

 

Day 23: Despite weather, 10 aircraft join search today

[0200 pm MYT, Sunday 30 March 2014]

Media (Awani, and others) said the Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has appointed retired Australian defence force chief Angus Houston to co-ordinate efforts from Perth to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, ahead of a fresh attempt to locate the aircraft’s debris.

This morning, Australian Maritime Safety Authority [AMSA] is 10 aircraft are included in today's search. The full statement follows:

"30 March 2014: 1115(AEDT)
 
Search and recovery operation for Malaysia Airlines aircraft: Update 29
 
Today’s search and recovery operation in the Australian Search and Rescue Region for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is now underway.
 
Search activities today will involve a total of 10 aircraft.
 
They include three Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orions, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, two Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.
 
The first aircraft to leave Perth for the search area was the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft at 9am.
 
The US Navy P8 Poseidon is scheduled to depart at 11am
 
The Republic of Korea P3 Orion is scheduled to depart at 11am .
 
The civil jet acting as communications relay is due to depart at 12pm
 
A RAAF P3 Orion is scheduled to depart at 12pm
 
Two Malaysian C130 Hercules are scheduled to depart at 1pm
 
A RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart at 2pm
 
A RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart at 3pm
 
The Japanese P3 Orion is scheduled to depart at 4pm
 
A total of eight ships have also been tasked to today’s search."


Day 24: 10 ships, 10 aircraft resume search

[09.30 am MYT, Monday 31 March 2014]

AMSA issued the following statement this morning:

"Search operation for Malaysia Airlines aircraft: Update 31

Today’s search and recovery operation in the Australian Search and Rescue Region for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is scheduled to commence about 9am AEDT this morning.

Today’s search activities will involve a total of 10 aircraft.

They include one Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF)  P3 Orion, one Japanese P3 Orion, a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet, a Chinese People’s Liberation  Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, two Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.

The Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft is scheduled to depart about 9am.

The US Navy P8 Poseidon and RNZAF P3 Orion are scheduled to depart about 11am.

The Republic of Korea P3 Orion is scheduled to depart about 11.30am.

The civil jet acting as communications relay is due to depart about 12pm.

A RAAF P3 Orion is scheduled to depart about 2pm.

The two Malaysian C130 Hercules aircraft are scheduled to depart about 1pm.

A RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart about 2pm.

The Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet is due to depart about 2.30pm following by the Japanese P3
Orion at about 3pm.

A total of 10 ships have also been tasked to today’s search. This includes HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba, seven Chinese ships and a merchant vessel.

The ADV Ocean Shield is scheduled to depart from Perth today. It has now been fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle.

Some parts of the search area will experience low cloud and rain throughout the day."


Hishamuddin: We will not give up hope

[05.30 pm MYT, 31 March 2014] Today's Malaysia briefing from PWTC, headed by Minister Hishamuddin, confirmed the earlier AMSA statement:

- Nine military aircraft and a civilian aircraft worked in the the fefined search area, which covers about 254,000sq km, said Hishammuddin.

- A further 11 ships were deployed to the area. At the time of writing, none of the objects recovered in this area are connected to MH370.

- We are considering deploying more military assets to intensify the mission further as well as to conduct a deep sea search, he said, He will travel to Hawaii

to talk with US officials about intensifying the operation.

- International experts will help to further brief the families of passengers and crew on MH370.

The full statement follows:

"MH370 PRESS BRIEFING BY HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN,

MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND ACTING MINISTER OF TRANSPORT

31 MARCH 2014, 5:30PM

Introductory statement

Before I begin today’s briefing, I would like to reiterate what Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said this morning. The international co-operation underway in the search for MH370 is nothing short of tremendous.

The militaries of Malaysia, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, China, Japan and Korea are all working to find the missing plane.

I should also like to point out that Indonesia has given clearance for 94 sorties - by aircraft from nine different countries - to fly in their airspace, as part of this search.

As Prime Minister Abbot said, it is heartening to see so many different countries working together for a humanitarian cause; to resolve this extraordinary mystery; and to bring closure for the families of those on board.

Prime Minister’s trip to Perth

This morning, the Prime Minister spoke with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot. Prime Minister Abbot gave a full update on the status of the search operations, headed out of Perth.

Our Prime Minister has decided to travel to Perth on Wednesday for a working visit to Pearce Air force base, to see the operations first hand and also to thank the personnel involved in the multinational search effort, including the Malaysian personnel.

Operational update

This afternoon, the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia briefed me on the creation of a new, Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC), which will be based out of Pearce Air force base in Perth.

The JACC will be headed by Air Chief Marshal (ret.) Angus Houston, the former Chief of the Defense Force Australia.
The JACC will co-ordinate operations between all Australian government agencies and international search teams.

As per the information that we have received from the Australian authorities, the area of search today is 254,000 square kilometres.

Today, nine military aircraft and one civilian aircraft travelled to the search area. These planes were:

• two Malaysian C-130.
• one Chinese Ilyushin IL-76.
• one Japanese Coast Guard G5.
• one Australian P3 Orion.
• one New Zealand P3 Orion.
• one New Zealand civilian aircraft.
• one American P8 Poseidon.
• one Japanese P3 Orion.
• one Korean P3 Orion.

Today eleven ships were also deployed to the search area:

• Eight Chinese ships:
- the Xue Long,
- the Kunlunshan,
- the Haikou,
- the Qiandaohu Jian,
- the Jing Gang Shan,
- the Haixun,
- the Dong Hai Jian,
- and the Nan Hai Jian.
• Three Australian ships:
- the HMAS Success,
- the HMAS Toowoomba
- and MV Barkley Pearl, which is currently transiting in the search area.

The Malaysian ship, the KD Lekiu, is expected to arrive in the search area on 3 April.

The ADV Ocean Shield - fitted with the towed pinger locator and a Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle - is due to arrive in the search area on 3 April.

In terms of the sightings of potential objects:

On Saturday, five objects were retrieved by HMAS Success and the Haixun. However, it was found that none of these objects were related to MH370.

On Sunday, an Australian P3 Orion made visual sightings of seven potential objects. A Korean P3 Orion also made visuals of three potential objects.

The Chinese ship, the Haixun, was tasked on Monday to retrieve these potential objects.

3. ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting

In my capacity as Malaysian Defence Minister, I will leave tonight for the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii. I will attend the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting, which will be held from 1st to the 3rd of April.

The meeting is being convened by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I will share with my ASEAN counterparts, and the Government of the United States, the latest developments regarding the search for MH370.

I will convey to our ASEAN neighbours and the United States, Malaysia’s utmost appreciation for their invaluable help in the multi-national search effort.

I will also use this opportunity to discuss the possibility of deploying more specific military assets, in the event that we need to embark on a more complex phase of the operation. I shall be discussing with the United States, and our other friends and allies, how best we can acquire the assets needed for possible deep sea search and recovery.

Meeting with the Indonesian Special Envoy

Today, I held a meeting with the Indonesian Special Envoy and Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister, Madam Wiwiek Setyawati Firman, and her delegation. The delegation included H.E. Mr. Herman Prayitno, the Ambassador of Indonesia to Malaysia.

The Special Envoy expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Government of Malaysia and the multinational team conducting the search operation.

The Special Envoy also stated that Indonesia fully understands the complexity and the magnitude of the challenge ahead, and reaffirms its unshakeable support for Malaysia.

Next of Kin

Yesterday a group of families, whose loved ones were on board MH370, arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Beijing.

The Government is due to hold a high-level briefing soon for these families, to update them on the latest developments regarding the search for MH370.

The briefing will include international experts who were not available during the briefings in Beijing, including experts from China. It will also be broadcasted live to other families in Beijing.

The search for MH370 continues to be a large, complex, multinational effort involving many countries and international agencies.

Much of the research that has been used to track MH370 has been provided to the Malaysian investigators by our international partners.

This research is extremely complicated, involving teams of highly specialised experts, many of whom are based in different countries around the world.

The briefing will provide an opportunity for the families to hear directly from some of these experts. The experts will be able to explain the research, the data and the methodology that has informed the search operation.

Concluding remarks

We understand that it has been a difficult time for all the families. And we appreciate that many families want to see physical evidence before they will accept that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

We find ourselves in a difficult position. I repeat: the question that the families principally want answered, is the question we simply do not have the answer to - namely, where their loved ones are, and where is MH370.

On Saturday I met with the Malaysian and Chinese families based in Kuala Lumpur. It was the most difficult meeting I’ve ever attended.

The families are heartbroken. For many, the strain of the past few weeks has been unbearable. But the one message they delivered to me again and again is not to give up hope. And I promised the families that Malaysia, working with our international partners, will not give up hope. We will continue with all our efforts to find MH370.

This is a promise that Malaysia intends to keep. We will continue searching, and we will keep investigating, and we will never give up until we find out what happened to MH370."

Day 25: Joint Agency Coordination Centre, correction to 'last words' from cockpit

[05.50 pm MYT, Monday 1 April 2014]

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre [JACC] based in Perth, announced on 30 March 2014 by the Australian prime ministerTony Abbott, said this morning that "the search and recovery process may take some time."

The JACC will continue the close cooperation with the Government of Malaysia, which under international law has overall responsibility for the search, and with Malaysia Airlines, continued the statement. The JACC will not be performing any search, recovery or investigation activities. These will remain the responsibility of the expert agencies. Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC (Ret'd) will be leading the JACC to coordinate various aspects of the search on the ground.

Earlier this morning, JACC released a statement, which included the following:

"Ten planes and nine ships will assist in Tuesday's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 120,000 square kilometres, west of Perth.

Ten military planes—two Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orions, two Malaysian C-130s, a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, a Japanese Gulfstream jet, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3, a Japanese P3 Orion—will assist in the search, with a civil jet providing a communications relay.

Nine ships have been tasked to search in four separate areas. Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield departed HMAS Stirling on Monday night, with a pinger locator."

"Good night Malaysian three seven zero"

[0530 pm 1 April 2014]  The Malaysian SAR update was a written statement released by Minister Hishamuddin's official communication Twitter channel [@HishamuddinH20], as the minister will be in Hawaii where he is expected to ask for more technical help from the US. (Guardian, Awani).

Hishamuddin said he has instructed the release of the full transcript of the final communication between the pilots of MH370 and air traffic control. This corrects the final sign off as  "Goodnight Malaysian 370" not "all right Goodnight" as previously reported. The co-pilot is assumed to be delivering this signoff though the minister said this is still under forensic investigation.  

The official statement follows:

"MH370 PRESS STATEMENT BY HISHAMMUDDIN HUSSEIN,

MINISTER OF DEFENCE AND ACTING MINISTER OF TRANSPORT

1 APRIL 2014

1. Briefing for families

Tomorrow a closed-door briefing meeting for the families will be held in Kuala Lumpur.

The Department of Civil Aviation and Malaysia Airlines will lead the briefing, which will be moderated by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China. Technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia will participate in the briefing, and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia will attend.

2. Transcript

Today we are releasing the full transcript of communications between flight MH370 and Air Traffic Control Kuala Lumpur. The transcript has been shared with the families, and is attached as an Annex to this press release. There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript.

The transcript was initially held as part of the police investigation. Previously, Malaysia Airlines had stated initial investigations indicated that the voice which signed off was that of the co-pilot. The police are working to confirm this belief, and forensic examination of the actual recording is on-going.

The international investigations team and the Malaysian authorities remain of the opinion that, up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, MH370’s movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.

-ENDS-"

The transcript can be found here.

Day 26: British submarine HMS Tireless joins the search team

[10.30 am MYT, Wednesday 2 April 2014]

According to media (Guardian, Awani and others), British submarine HMS Tireless has joined the search zone today, which is now an area of 98,999 sq miles off Perth, Australia. Another British survey ship HMS Echo will also join the efforts to locate MH370's flight recorders.

Meanwhile, The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) released the following statement earlier:

"Search and recovery continues for Malaysian flight MH370

2 April 2014

Up to ten planes and nine ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 221,000 square kilometres,1504 kilometres North West of Perth.

Nine military planes will assist in the search, while one civil jet will provide a communications relay. The first aircraft departed for the search area at 6am WST.

Nine ships have been tasked to search.

The weather forecast for today's search is for marginal conditions, with areas of broken cloud, sea fog and isolated thunderstorms, reducing visibility."

Chinese government on Malaysia's handling of MH370 crisis

Following a closed door briefing for families of MH370 passengers today, the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia Huan Huikang told media that the Chinese government is "not upset with Malaysia regarding the handling of the MH370 crisis."

The ambassador blamed "Western media for fanning the emotions of the relatives of the Chinese national passengers. The Western media has been spreading false, inaccurate information and rumours as well as damaging the ties between Malaysia and China."

The ambassador also criticised netizens and Chinese celebrities who had condemned Malaysia over the missing plane, it was reported.



Day 27: Malaysian PM in Perth, search and rescue mission continues

[05.30 pm MYT, Thursday 3 April 2014]


Today's morning update from JACC [daily mission updates can be found at the Joint Agency Coordination site] follows:

"Up to eight planes and nine ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 223,000 square kilometres, 1680 kilometres west north-west of Perth.

Eight military planes will assist in the search. One of these planes will be tasked to drop self locating datum marker buoys within the search area. The first aircraft departed for the search area at 6am WST.

Nine ships have been tasked to search.

The weather forecast for today's search is fair, with visibility approximately 10 kilometres, however the southern area may experience some isolated showers.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia."

 Malaysian and Australiam PMs briefed

The Malaysian prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak arrived Wednesday night in Western Australia to meet the Australian prime minister Tony Abbott. Both PMs attended the Royal Australian Air Force base at Pearce, near Perth, today and received updates from Angus Houston, the former Australian defence force chief, who is now coordinating the search for MH370, which went missing on 8 March.

It was also reported that during the briefing, Houston said : “I want to assure you that Australia is doing everything it can to assist Malaysia to find MH370 and recover what we can from the Indian Ocean,”

Najib thanked the search team during his address, which included the following.  "I would like to start by thanking the men and women who are giving their all to find MH370 Over the past three weeks, hundreds of people have journeyed thousands of kilometres to help. They have searched through stormy seas and freezing fog. They have sailed through storms to find the plane. We owe them each a debt of gratitude."

"This has been a remarkable effort, bringing together nations from around the world. When MH370 went missing, dozens of countries answered the call for help. Their commitment will not be forgotten.

"In a time of great tragedy – for the countries with citizens on board, and the families whose loved ones are missing – this co-operation has given us all heart. Differences have been set aside, as 26 nations have united behind a common cause. The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent; so too is the search."

Day 28:  Pinger locator equipment commences operation

[Friday 4 April 2014]

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Australia issued the following update earlier:

Pinger locator equipment commences operation:

The Royal Australian Navy and Royal Navy have today commenced a sub-surface search for emissions from the black-box pinger from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Using the Towed Pinger Locator (TPL) from the United States Navy on Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield and a similar capability on HMS Echo, the two ships will search a single 240 kilometre track, converging on each other.

This will be the first time that a sub-surface search will have been conducted in the search, in an attempt to detect the signal from the black-box of MH370.

The Commander of Joint Task Force 658, Commodore Peter Leavy, said the two ships and their towed-pinger equipment would be operating at significantly reduced speed to search at depths of three thousand metres or more.

“There has not been any change in the search,” Commodore Leavy said.

“No hard evidence has been found to date so we have made the decision to search a sub-surface area on which the analysis has predicted MH370 is likely to have flown.

“While the preference for search operations is to use physical evidence and then drift modelling to determine a smaller sub-surface search area, the search track is considered to be the best estimate possible for an area likely to contain the crashed aircraft.

“The equipment on Australian Defence Vessel (ADV) Ocean Shield and HMS Echo can only operate effectively at reduced speed, around three knots.

“The search using sub-surface equipment needs to be methodical and carefully executed in order to effectively detect the faint signal of the pinger.”

Functionality tests were carried out on the TPL, Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and transducer pole to prove its effectiveness during transit to the search area. All the acoustic sensors, GPS positioning, tracking and frequency systems and positioning of the equipment completed a functionality test. [Ends]

Asean ministers: Malaysia has done its level best

Meanwhile, Asean defence ministers in Honolulu is reported to have said that "Malaysia has done its level best in responding to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 and subsequent efforts to locate the missing plane."  

"We believe that Malaysia has done its level best in its response to this unprecedented predicament given the sheer scale of the search and rescue (SAR) operation, the biggest and most complex we've ever seen," they said.  

Speaking during the first United States-Asean Defence Ministers Forum convened by US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel, the ministers confirmed that Asean's unity "remained solid and the 10-member group of Southeast Asian nations was totally committed to assisting Malaysia in coordinating the massive SAR operation to find MH370."

Day 29: Search and recovery continues

[Saturday, 5 April 2014] JACC issued this statement earlier today:

"Search and recovery continues for Malaysian flight MH370:

Up to 10 military planes, three civil jets and 11 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Today ADV Ocean Shield and HMS Echo continue underwater search operations.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has determined a search area of about 217,000 square kilometres, 1700 kilometres north west of Perth.

Today's search area will focus on three areas within the same vicinity.

The weather forecast for today's search is fair, with possible showers in the search area.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia."

Hishamuddin: Search will continue with full vigour

[0530 pm MYT] Minister Hishamuddin headed the media conference today in Kuala Lumpur with the following statement:

"1. Introduction

It’s been almost a month since MH370 went missing.

The search operation has been difficult, challenging and complex.

In spite of all this, our determination remains undiminished.

We will continue the search with the same level of vigour and intensity.

We owe this to the families of those on board, and to the wider world.

We will continue to focus, with all our efforts, on finding the aircraft.

2. Investigation into MH370

As per the requirements set out by the ICAO in Annex 13 of the International Standards and Recommended Practices, Malaysia will continue to lead the investigation into MH370.

As per the ICAO standards, Malaysia will also appoint an independent ‘Investigator In Charge’ to lead an investigation team.

The investigation team will include three groups:

· an airworthiness group, to look at issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems;

· an operations group, to examine things such as flight recorders, operations and meteorology;

· and a medical and human factors group, to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors.

The investigation team will also include accredited countries.

Malaysia has already asked Australia to be accredited to the investigation team, and they have accepted.

We will also include China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France as accredited representatives to the investigation team, along with other countries that we feel are in a position to help.

3. Formation of committees

In addition to the new investigation team mentioned above, the Government - in order to streamline and strengthen our on-going efforts - has established three ministerial committees.

Firstly, we have established a Next of Kin Committee. Hamzah Zainuddin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads this committee.

This committee will oversee all aspects regarding the Next of Kin of those on board MH370, providing families with information on the search operation, and offering support after the search operation has been concluded.

The committee will co-ordinate with relevant foreign governments, and will complement the work already being done for the families by Malaysian Airlines.

The second committee oversees technicalities, specifically, the formation and the appointment of the investigation team. Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, the Deputy Minister of Transport, leads this committee.

The third committee takes over issues related to the deployment of assets for the search operation. Abdul Rahim Bakri, the Deputy Minister of Defence, leads this committee.

This committee will work with foreign counterparts involved in the search operation, and liaise closely with the Australian Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre.

4. US-ASEAN Defence Forum

This morning, I returned from the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, which I attended in my capacity as Defence Minister.

At the forum, I updated our ASEAN counterparts, and the United States, on the latest developments in the search for MH370.

I also spoke to officials from other countries involved in the multi-national search operation.

The spirit of co-operation at the meeting, and the support offered, was commendable.

During my bilateral meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary Hagel reiterated his commitment that the United States would continue to support the search operation, and will provide whatever assets are deemed necessary.

I thanked Secretary Hagel for the United States’ unwavering support, which has included both the deployment of naval and air assets, sophisticated underwater search equipment, and assistance from the FBI, the NTSB and the FAA.

At the Forum, I also received strong support from our ASEAN partners in the search for MH370.

I would like to read out the joint statement issued by the ASEAN Ministers, which I believe underscores the tremendous spirit of co-operation within ASEAN, in the face of this difficult search operation:

“We, the Defence Ministers of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations express our deepest sympathies to the family members of the passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

“We acknowledge that the member nations of ASEAN have participated in the search operations directly and indirectly since the plane went missing on 8th March 2014.

“From the South China Sea, the Andaman Sea to the Indian Ocean - ASEAN has continued to assist in every way possible, true to the spirit of regional cooperation and friendship without any hesitation in sharing of information, assets and expertise.

“We believe that Malaysia has done its level best in its response to this unprecedented predicament given the sheer scale of the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation which is the biggest and most complex we have ever seen.

“We reaffirm our commitment for greater cooperation between each member nation especially in the field of disaster management under the framework of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response. This incident stressed upon us the importance of information and resource sharing as we strive to be in the utmost state of readiness in mitigating potential calamities and risks.

“ASEAN’s unity will remain solid and is totally committed to assisting Malaysia in coordinating this massive SAR to locate MH370. We are resolute in finding a closure to this tragic chapter in aviation history. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families in these difficult times.”

5. Concluding remarks

Before I end, let me touch on some unfounded allegations made against Malaysia.

These allegations include the extraordinary assertion that Malaysian authorities were somehow complicit in what happened to MH370.

I should like to state, for the record, that these allegations are completely untrue.

As I have said before, the search for MH370 should be above politics.

And so I call on all Malaysians to unite; to stand by our armed forces as they work in difficult conditions, with their foreign counterparts, thousands of miles from home; and to support all those who are working tirelessly in the search for MH370.

Lastly, as I mentioned on Wednesday, while I was at the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, I spoke by telephone to the British Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond, regarding the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Tireless.

I hereby confirm that the submarine is now in the search area and helping in the search operation.

I shall now invite the Chief of the Defence Force to update you on the submarine’s capabilities. END:"

The Q&A session included the following:

- The police investigations are ongoing, said Hishamuddin. As far as I know all passengers and crew have not been cleared.

- Aircraft fuel: The aircraft took 8 hours of fuel, said Malaysia Airlines chief executive Jauhari.

- Cost of SAR operations: Hishamuddin said the focus is on finding the MH370. "This goes beyond dollars and cents," he added.

 

Chinese ship picks up possible pulse in south Indian Ocean

[07.59 pm MYT, 5 April 2014]

Media reports (AFP, ABC, Xinhua, CNBC etc) that a Chinese ship Haixun 01 has picked up a possible pulse signal  with a frequency of 37.5kHz in south Indian Ocean waters late Saturday. At the time of writing, a link to MH370 has not been confirmed.

The frequency is the same as that sent out by flight recorders, it is reported. The 30-day battery life for MH370's flight recorder means the signal could cease as early as Monday.

Day 30: Third detection of possible 'black box' ping

[1440 MYT, Sunday, 6 April 2014]

Retired Australian air chief marshall Angus Houston, who is chief coordinator of Joint Agency Coordination Centre [JACC] said earlier this morning Australian and Chinese vessels have picked up acoustic 'pings' that may be from the black box - flight recorders - of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Various media reports [Guardian, Awani, etc] said a Chinese patrol ship detected signals - 37.5kHz, which is the frequecy emitted by a flight recorder's beacon. Chinese state media agency, Xinhua, first put out a report late Saturday that Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 picked up an ultrasonic pulse for about 90 seconds at about25 degrees south and 101 degrees east, within the 216,000 square kilometre search zone.

Houston told media that there had been another "fleeting signal pickued up 24 hours earlier by the Haixun 01 on Friday afternoon." The two detections were about two kilometres apart. “In an ocean that size two kilometres is not a large distance,” said Houston. The lead was “encouraging [but] unverified until such time as we can provide unequivocal determination”.

The third signal was detected on Sunday morning by the Australian navy ship ADV Ocean Shield, located around 300 nautical miles away from the Chinese ship, said Houston.The frequency for this third detection has not been verified yet as 37.5kHz.

Up to 12 aircraft and 13 ships have been sent out today, focused on three large stretches of ocean about 2,000km from Perth.

Day 31: Flight recorder signals picked up twice by Ocean Shield


[21.30 MYT, Monday 7 April 2014]

At noon (MYT) today, Joint Agency Coordination Centre [JACC] held a news conference in Perth, which included the JACC chief Angus Houston's confirmation that for more than two hours the Australian defence vessel Ocean Shield detected two separate signals in the northern part of the search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

“Today I can report some very encouraging information which has unfolded over the last 24 hours," Houston told the media. "The towed pinger locator deployed from the Australian vessel Ocean Shield has detected signals. Significantly this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.”

“All of the search underwater is being enabled by that wonderful work by the expert team in Kuala Lumpur," he said. "Their work has allowed us to come up with an underwater search area that is narrowly focused."

It still has to be confirmed whether these signals are connected to flight MH370, said Houston, adding that these amounted to the "most promising lead" so far in the search and recovery mission.

Earlier this morning, the JACC update said "up to nine military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships will assist

in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. The search area is expected to be approximately 234,000 square kilometres.

"ADV Ocean Shield is continuing investigations in its own area. HMS Echo is en route to assist the Chinese vessel Haixun 01, which detected pulse signals in the Indian Ocean," the statement included.

Day 32: Unable to relocate underwater signals


[2010 MYT, Tuesday 8 April 2014] The Joint Agency Coordinator Centre [JACC] chief Angus Houston told media that the team were not able to relocate the 'pings' possibly attributed to MH370 flight recorders. He said submersible equipment will not be used until another transmission is received.

Earlier, this morning, JACC issued the following update:

"Search and recovery continues for Malaysian flight MH370

Up to eleven military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

AMSA has directed the search of one large search area today of approximately 77,580 square kilometres, 2268 kilometres north west of Perth.

The first flight is expected to depart at 6:00am WST.

Good weather is expected for searching throughout the day.

The underwater search continues today, with ADV Ocean Shield at the northern end of the defined search area, and Chinese ship Haixun 01 and HMS Echo at the southern end.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau continues to refine the area where the aircraft entered the water based on continuing ground-breaking and multi-disciplinary technical analysis of satellite communication and aircraft performance, passed from the international air crash investigative team comprising analysts from Malaysia, the United States, the UK, China and Australia."

Day 33: Two more underwater signals help reduce the search area, says JACC


[1900 MYT Wednesday 9 April 2014]

Angus Houston, chief of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), told media today that the Australian vessel Ocean Shield relocated two further 'pings consistent with those of a black box from a plane' in the afternoon and evening of Tuesday 8 April 2014. The relocation of the signals has helped to further reduce the search zone in the southern Indian OCean 75,000 sq miles, he said.

“I can now tell you that Ocean Shield has been able to reacquire the signals on two further occasions; late yesterday afternoon and late last night,” Houston said, adding that the refined area made the search mission more manageable. He was confident that "we are searching in the right area but we need to identify wreckage to be sure that this is the final resting place of MH370."

“We are not yet at the point of deploying the autonomous underwater vehicle … it is important to note that Ocean Shield can search six times the amount of area with the towed pinger locator than can be done with the sonar on the autonomous underwater vehicle,” Houston said.

Earlier this morning, JACC's statement said "Up to 11 military aircraft, four civil aircraft and 14 ships would assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.Today AMSA has planned a search area of about 75,423 square kilometres. The centre of the search area is approximately 2261 kilometres north west of Perth."

Day 34: Fifth signal picked up near Ocean Shield today

[1845pm MYT Thursday 10 April 2014] The following update from JACC confirmed another signal has been picked up today:

The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd), has confirmed that whilst conducting an acoustic search this afternoon a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft has detected a possible signal in the vicinity of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield.

“The acoustic data will require further analysis overnight but shows potential of being from a man-made source,” Air Chief Marshal Houston (Ret'd) said. “I will provide a further update if, and when, further information becomes available.”

In an earlier update, JACC said 14 planes and 13 ships were looking for floating debris across the 57,900 sq km (22,300 sq mile) search zone, about 2,300km (1,400 miles) north-west of Perth. The search zone has been refined to a quarter of the size it was a few days earlier, Houston told media.

A Computerworld today article said if Australia's Ocean Shield can narrow the search area, the crew will drop an autonomous underwater vehicle, the Bluefin-21, in the southern Indian Ocean to try and find the airplane.

Day 35: The signal picked up by RAAF Orion not related to an aircraft underwater

[1245 pm MYT Friday 11 April 2014] Update from JACC dated 11th April 2014: The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd), said an initial assessment of the possible signal detected by a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft yesterday afternoon has been determined as not related to an aircraft underwater locator beacon.

“The Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre has analysed the acoustic data and confirmed that the signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes,” Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd), said.

“Further analysis continues to be undertaken by Australian Joint Acoustic Analysis Centre.

“Today Ocean Shield is continuing more focussed sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals that may be related to the aircraft's black boxes. It is vital to glean as much information as possible while the batteries on the underwater locator beacons may still be active.

“The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield, with three more missions planned for today.

“A decision as to when to deploy the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle will be made on advice from experts on board the Ocean Shield and could be some days away.

“On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370. I will provide a further update if, and when, further information becomes available.”

Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said up to 12 military aircraft, three civil aircraft and 13 ships will be involed in today’s search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Day 36, 37: No confirmed signals for 24 hours, visual search planned

[12 and 13 April 2014] The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) chief coordinator Angus Houston told media that no more possible flight recorder signals have been detected in the target area for more than 24 hours on Saturday 12th April 2014. Later on Saturday, the Australian prime minister confirmed to media that the search and recovery mission would be 'a long haul.'

JACC's update on Sunday 13 April 2014 saw the inclusion of a visual-based search approach. The update included:

"Up to 11 military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 14 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 57,506 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2200 kilometres north west of Perth.

Today, Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield continues more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to the aircraft's black boxes. The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield. The oceanographic ship HMS Echo is also working in the area with Ocean Shield.

This work continues in an effort to narrow the underwater search area for when the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is deployed.

There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours."

Mid-flight mobile calls

Police investigation: Meanwhile, Malaysia's Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar told media today (13 April 2014) that all passengers and crew were still under investigation including the ground crew, catering companies and others with links to the missing flight. More than 200 statements have so far been taken, said Khalid.

Malaysian English language daily New Straits Times and AFP reported late Friday 11 April 2014 that the co-pilot and chief stewardess may have tried to make mid-flight calls near to Penang after MH370 had turned west and just before the plane vanished from radar screens on 8 March.  The call ended abruptly possibly "because the aircraft was fast moving away from the [telecommunications] tower," the New Straits Times quoted a source as saying. However, the Malaysian daily also quoted another source saying that while Fariq Abdul Hamid's "line was reattached", there was no certainty that a call was made from the Boeing 777.

Malaysia's defence and acting transport minister Hishamuddin said this information is not verified and 'like all other leads, will be investigated.' "I cannot comment, because if it is true, we would have known about it much earlier," he said to media on Sunday."We received numerous leads and we followed them but unfortunately, it was a roller-coaster ride, whereby we received information and investigated but they were baseless."

Week 6: Visual search continues

[Monday 14 April 2014] As the search mission enters the sixth week, The Joint Agency Coordination Centre issued the following this morning:

"Up to 11 military aircraft, one civil aircraft and 15 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 47,644 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2,200 kilometres north west of Perth.

Today, Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield continues more focused sweeps with the Towed Pinger Locator to try and locate further signals related to aircraft black boxes. The AP-3C Orions continue their acoustic search, working in conjunction with Ocean Shield. The oceanographic ship HMS Echo is also working in the area with Ocean Shield.

There have been no confirmed acoustic detections over the past 24 hours."

[1900 MYT, Monday 14 April 2014]  In a media conference in Perth earlier today, JACC's chief coordinator Angus Hoston said the Australian Ocean Shield found an oil slick within the search area for flight MH370. The oil slick is about 5,500 metres downwind and downsea from the signals picked up by Ocean Shield recently, said Houston.

"A sample of about 2 litres has been collected and we have a number of days before it lands ashore and conclusively tested," he said, adding that the oil has been sent for analysis.
 

In addition, the mini-sub Bluefin-21 is being prepared for an underwater search, said Houston. "We haven't had a single detection in six days so I guess it's time to go underwater."

He said Houston said a manageable search zone on the ocean floor has been made possible by the examination of the four acoustig signals detected recently. "The Bluefin-21 is equipped with side scan sonar. Once deployed, it will begin searching the sea floor in the vicinity of the detected signals."

Bluefin-21 exceeds depth limit, aborts first dive

[1108 MYT Tuesday 15 April 2014]  JACC issued the following update:

"Up to nine military aircraft, two civil aircraft and 11 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 62,063 square kilometres. The centre of the search areas lies approximately 2,170 kilometres north west of Perth.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle deployed last night from ADV Ocean Shield.

After completing around six hours of its mission, Bluefin-21 exceeded its operating depth limit of 4,500 metres and its built in safety feature returned it to the surface.

The six hours of data gathered by the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle is currently being extracted and analysed.

Bluefin-21 is planned to redeploy later today when weather conditions permit.

The weather forecast for today is south easterly winds with scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms, sea swells up to two metres and visibility of five kilometres.

The Chief Coordinator of the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (Ret'd), will provide further updates if, and when, more information becomes available."

[13.00pm MYT 15 April 2014]  During a media conference from Putra World Trade Centre (PWTC) in Kuala Lumpur today, defence and acting transport minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin confirmed JACC's earlier update and included the following points:

- Photographs taken by Bluefin-21 in its first dive lasting six hours are being analysed.

- A two-litre sample of an oil slick is also being analysed.

- Three ministerial committees set up recently by the Malaysian government to coordinate the search and investigation of the MH370 aircraft may soon be presenting its first memorandum to the Cabinet. "We might be able to table the memorandum to the Cabinet during its meeting next week," said Hishamuddin.

Bluefin-21 forced to resurface again today but later resumes search

[1600 MYT, Wednesday 16 April 2014]  JACC's update: "The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was forced to resurface this morning to rectify a technical issue. While on deck, its data was downloaded.

Bluefin-21 was then redeployed and it is currently continuing its underwater search.

Initial analysis of the data downloaded this morning indicates no significant detections."

Data analysed from Bluefin-21's first dive yesterday yielded no signs of the missing airliner, according to an AP report.

JACC said 14 planes are involved in the search today along with 11 ships over an area of 55,151 square kilometres (21,288 square miles) more than 2,000 kilometres (1,250 miles) northwest of Perth.

 Bluefin-21 completes first full mission, oil sample results

[1900 MYT Thursday 17 April 2014] JACC's morning statement said that up to ten military aircraft, two civil aircraft and 11 ships would assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Menwhile, Bluefin-21 AUV has completed a full mission in the search area and was currently planning for its next mission. Bluefin-21 has searched approximately 90 square kilometres to date and the data from its latest mission is being analysed.

During a later media conference, JACC chief coordinator Angus Houston said:  "Preliminary analysis of the sample collected by ADV Ocean Shield has confirmed that it is not aircraft engine oil or hydraulic fluid.

"Additionally, Phoenix International, with the assistance of Bluefin, have assessed that there is a small but acceptable level of risk in operating the vehicle in depths in excess of 4,500 metres. This expansion of the operating parameters allows the Bluefin-21 to search the sea floor within the predicted limits of the current search area.

"Since the US Navy provided comment some days ago, the underwater search has been significantly narrowed through detailed acoustic analysis conducted on the four signal detections made by the Towed Pinger Locator on ADV Ocean Shield.

This analysis has allowed the definition of a reduced and more focused underwater search area. This represents the best lead we have in relation to missing flight MH370 and where the current underwater search efforts are being pursued to their completion so we can either confirm or discount the area as the final resting place of MH370."

Bluefin-21's first complete dive has not yielded any MH370-related data.

In an interview with The Wall St Journal, the Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said: "We believe that search will be completed within a week or so. If we don't find wreckage, we stop, we regroup, we reconsider."

Day 42: Bluefin-21 completes five missions

[1830 MYT Friday 18 April 2014] On day 42 of the SAR mission, JACC's update is:

"Up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 51,870 square kilometres, across three areas.

Overnight Bluefin-21 AUV completed another mission in the underwater search area and has commenced mission five. Bluefin-21 has searched approximately 110 square kilometres to date. Data analysis from the fourth mission did not provide any contacts of interest."

JACC's chief coordinator Angus Houston said no wreckage of MH370 has yet been found. Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott told media earlier that the min-sub will continue the search for one week after which "If we don't find wreckage, we stop, we regroup, we reconsider."


Day 43: Bluefin-21's seventh mission starts, no contacts of interest so far, said JACC.

[1130 MYT, Saturday, 19 April 2014] JACC has issued the following update:

"Up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totalling approximately 50,200 square kilometres, across three areas.

Overnight Bluefin-21 AUV completed mission six in the underwater search area. Bluefin-21 has searched approximately 133 square kilometres to date. Data from the sixth mission is currently under analysis. No contacts of interest have been found to date.

Bluefin-21 AUV's seventh mission has commenced. The weather forecast for today is isolated showers and south easterly winds."

Meanwhile, media (AFP) has reported that Malaysia and Australia will sign a deal to clarify who handles any wreckage from missing flight MH370 that may be recovered, including the crucial 'black box' flight data recorders."

The Malaysian government's draft is "to safeguard both nations from any legal pitfalls that may surface during that (recovery) phase."

Week 7: Days 44, 45: Underwater search to last for another 5-7 days

[1255 MYT Sunday 20 April 2014]

On Saturday, 19 April 2014, Malaysian defence and acting transport minister Hishamuddin Hussein in Kuala Lumpur told media that the next 24-48 hours are "critical in the search for MH370. Based on my discussion with JACC and Angus Houston, the narrowing of the search for today and tomorrow is at a very critical juncture.”

The immediate search area that the Bluefin–21 is now scouring should be completed within the next week," Hishamuddin said,

“Whatever the outcome of the next few days, we need to regroup and reconsider the operations.  But it doesn’t mean we are going to stop the operations,” he said, adding that the search team is ready to review the satellite, Inmarsat, radar, ping locator and other data provided by the 26 countries involved in the search and recovery mission.

On Sunday morning, 20 April 2014, JACC issued the following update:

"Up to 11 military aircraft and 12 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 48,507 square kilometres, across two areas.

Early this morning, Bluefin-21 AUV completed mission seven in the underwater search area. Bluefin-21 has searched approximately 50 per cent of the focused underwater search area to date.

The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April

No contacts of interest have been found to date.

Bluefin-21 AUV's eighth mission has commenced."

Day 46: Bluefin-21 has completed two-thirds of underwater search, no signs of MH370

[2000 MYT Monday 21 April 2014]  JACC issued the following:

"Up to 10 military aircraft and 11 ships will assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 49,491 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1741 kilometres north west of Perth.

This morning, Bluefin-21 AUV completed mission eight in the underwater search area. Bluefin-21 has searched approximately two thirds of the focused underwater search area to date. No contacts of interest have been found to date.

The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April.

Bluefin-21 AUV's ninth mission will commence later this morning.

The weather forecast for today has conditions deteriorating, particularly in the north of the search area, as Tropical Cyclone Jack continues its track southwards. Wide spread showers are developing with isolated thunderstorms to the north and east south-easterly winds."

Day 47: Air search suspended due to poor weather, Bluefin-21 completes ninth mission

[2100 MYT Monday 22 April 2014] JACC issued the following update today:

"Planned air search activities have been suspended for today due to poor weather conditions in the search area as a result of Tropical Cyclone Jack.

It has been determined that the current weather conditions are resulting in heavy seas and poor visibility, and would make any air search activities ineffective and potentially hazardous.

The 10 ships involved in today's search will continue with their planned activities."

Meanwhile, the autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) Bluefin-21 completed its ninth mission and has searched about two-thirds of the focused underwater search area, defined as a 10km radius around second Towed Pinger Locator detection by Ocean Shield on April 8. No contacts of interest have been found so far.

Day 48: Unidentified material washed ashore: Western Australian police

[1945 MYT Wednesday 23 April 2014] JACC has sent out an official update on unidentified materials reported by Western Australia police washed ashore:

"Western Australia Police have attended a report of material washed ashore 10 kilometres east of Augusta and have secured the material.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) is examining the photographs of the material to determine whether further physical analysis is required and if there is any relevance to the search of missing flight MH370.

The ATSB has also provided the photographs to the Malaysian investigation team.

No further information is available at this time.

Any further information will be made available if, and when, it becomes available."

Search mission: Meanwhile, JACC said the planned air search activities have been suspended today due to poor weather conditions in the search area. "Three aircraft had already departed for today's search area prior to the suspension taking effect. They have been recalled," continued the statement. However, the 12 ships involved in today's search will continue with their planned activities.

 Search will not be abandoned: Australian PM

So far, no verified signs of MH370 have been found in the search zone. However, when speaking to reporters in Canberra, prime minister Tony Abbott said: "Our expert advice is that the aircraft went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean where they have identified a probable impact zone which is about 700 kilometres (435 miles) long, about 80 kilometres wide," he said.

"We haven't finished the search, we haven't found anything yet in the area that we're searching, but the point I make is that Australia will not rest until we have done everything we humanly can to get to the bottom of this mystery," Abbott added.

 Malaysian Cabinet approves international investigation team

Meanwhile, in Malaysia the Malaysian Cabinet has approved the involvement of an international investigation team, the country's defence minister and acting transport minister, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein, said during a media conference at the Hotel Royal Bintang. He said the investigations will be in accordance to standards stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO).

Day 49: Search continues, ASTB advises material washed ashore is not connected to MH370

[0945 MYT Thursday 24 April 2014]  JACC issued the following this morning:

"Up to 11 military aircraft and 11 ships are planned to assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 49,567 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1584 kilometres north west of Perth.

Prior to the commencement of today's air search operations, an assessment of current weather conditions will be made as ex-Tropical Cyclone Jack moves south.

The weather forecast for today is for heavy rain and low cloud, with south easterly winds up to 35 knots, sea swells of three to four metres and visibility of one kilometre.

Bluefin-21 AUV is currently completing mission 12 in the underwater search area. Bluefin-21 has now completed more than 90 per cent of the focused underwater search area. No contacts of interest have been found to date.

The focused underwater search area is defined as a circle of 10km radius around the second Towed Pinger Locator detection which occurred on 8 April.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has advised that after examining detailed photographs of material washed ashore 10 kilometres east of Augusta, it is satisfied it is not a lead in relation to the search for missing flight MH370."

Week 8: No contacts of interest to date

Up to 8 military aircraft and 11 ships assisted in the searches for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on April 25 and 26, 2014. Bluefin-21 has completed about 95 per cent of the focused underwater search area.

Preliminary report to be released: Malaysia PM

[1200 MYT Sunday 27 April 2014] Malaysian prime miniser Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak in his Facebook account announced that:  The preliminary findings on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are likely to be released next week."

"In the government's commitment to the unrelenting search for MH370, I have also commissioned an internal investigation experts team and the preliminary findings are likely to be released next week," Najib said.

Meanwhile, JACC issued the following update this morning that: "Due to deteriorating weather conditions, the planned air and surface search has been suspended for today. Bluefin-21 has completed mission 14 and is expected to commence mission 15 this morning.

No contacts of interest have been found to date.

Bluefin-21 is expected to complete the focused underwater search area and continue examining the areas adjacent to it during mission 15."


President Obama supports Malaysia MH370 efforts

During U.S. president Barack Obama's visit to Malaysia, he voiced support for Malaysia's efforts in the MH370 search and recovery efforts. "I can't speak for all the countries in the region, but I can say the U.S. and other partners have found the Malaysian government eager for assistance, have been fully forthcoming with us in terms of the information they have, and this is a joint effort," he told media in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday 27 April 2014.

"If in fact the plane went down in the ocean in this part of the world, that is a big, big place. And it is a very challenging effort, and very laborious effort that's going to take some time," said Obama.

Day 53:  Intensifying undersea search is new focus, says Australian PM

[2045 MYT Monday 28 April 2014] Australian prime minister Tony Abbott told media this morning, "I am now required to say to you that it is highly unlikely at this stage that we will find any aircraft debris on the ocean surface. What we are going to do is to enter a new phase of search focusing under the sea. The Bluefin-21 submersible will continue in operation.

"We are looking to intensify underwater search involving different technology in particular using specialised side scan sonar equipment to scan the seabed for evidence of wreckage," said Abbott, adding that the Australian and Malaysian authorities are going to commission commercial companies for some of this work.

Meanwhile, JACC's update of the mission this morning:  "Up to 9 military aircraft and 12 ships are planned to assist in today's search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Today the Australian Maritime Safety Authority has planned a visual search area totaling approximately 54,921 square kilometres. The centre of the search area lies approximately 1667 kilometres north west of Perth.

Bluefin-21 has completed mission 15 and has commenced mission 16 this morning.

No contacts of interest have been found to date.

Bluefin-21 will continue to examine the areas adjacent to the focused underwater search area during mission 16.

The weather forecast for today indicates the cold front will move out of the search area and be replaced by a southerly trade flow, sea swells of four to five metres."

Day 54: Australia based says it may have found plane wreckage in Bay of Bengal

[2000 MYT Tuesday 29 April 2014] According to media reports [The Star, Awani, and others], an Australia-based exploraton company GeoResonance claims to have found plane wreckage that may be the linked to MH370 in the Bay of Bengal about 5000km from the current multinatioinal search and recovery zone.

The company representative David Pope said they had started their search of more than 2,000,000 square kilometres on March 10 and that their analysis, using 20 technologies, showed materials consistent with that of an aircraft. “The technology that we use was originally designed to find nuclear warheads, submarines… our team in the Ukraine decided we should try and help."

GeoResonance’s Pavel Kursa was also reported that they had identified chemical elements and materials that make up a Boeing 777. The company said it had forwarded this information to the search authorities in March.

This claim may also be linked by another reported sighting of a what she said ewas a partly submerged plane in the Andaman sea by a Malaysian woman Raja Dalelah Raja Latife returning to Malaysia on a Saudi Airlines flight (reported widely by media including Awani on 28 March 2014),

When asked about GeoResonance's claims, Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told media that 'Malaysia was unaware of the report of the finding.' “We will have to check and verify this report,” he said.

Malaysian defence minister and acting transport minister Hishamuddin told media today that:  "In line with Malaysia’s consistent stand of verifying and corroborating any new lead since day one of the search operations, we are aware of a report citing the detection of potential aircraft wreckage in the Bay of Bengal. China and Australia are also aware of this report. Malaysia is working with its international partners to assess the credibility of this information."

[1715  MYT 29 April 2014] Malaysia's acting minister of transport and defence minister Hishammuddin gave the following statement:

“The fact that MH370 has still not been found underscores the complexity and difficulty of this search operation. We are tremendously grateful for the effort the Australian authorities have made, leading the search for MH370 off the coast of Perth.

“Malaysia will discuss with our international counterparts, including Australia, how the new search operation, as announced by Prime Minister Abbott on Monday, will proceed. This discussion will include issues such as the deployment of assets with deep sea search capabilities, the cost of the operation and how best authorities can ensure the next of kin of those onboard MH370 are properly informed of the latest developments.

“In line with Malaysia’s consistent stand of verifying and corroborating any new lead since day one of the search operations, we are aware of a report citing the detection of potential aircraft wreckage in the Bay of Bengal. China and Australia are also aware of this report. Malaysia is working with its international partners to assess the credibility of this information.

Updates on the International Investigation Team

“We have also appointed the Investigator in Charge for the International Investigation Team – Dato Kok Soo Chon. He is the former Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation and also a former permanent representative to the ICAO Council in Montreal. The International Investigation Team, which has already commenced its work, has accredited representatives from the US National Transport Safety Board (NTSB), the UK Air Accident Investigation Bereau (AAIB), China’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Department (AAID) of The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC), France’s Bureau d'Enquêtes et d'Analyses (BEA), the Austrialia Transport Safety Bereau (ATSB) and representatives of ASEAN from Singapore and Indonesia. Included in the team are also Boeing, who is under the US Accredited Representative and Rolls Royce and Inmarsat, who are under the UK Accredited Representative.

“The main purpose of the International Investigation Team is to evaluate, investigate and determine the actual cause of the incident so similar incidents could be avoided in the future. I would like to stress that this investigation is not aimed at apportioning blame or liability with regards to the incident. It is imperative for the government to form this independent team of investigators which is not only competent and transparent but also highly credible.

“This investigation will be carried out in accordance with Annex 13 - Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) as implemented by the Civil Aviation Regulations 1996, which requires each party to investigate air accidents independently with full powers in their respective countries.”

 

Preliminary report released, a new phase in the search announced

A preliminary report, which was released on Thursday 1 May 2014 by the Malaysian government shows a 17 minute delay for air traffic controllers to query MH370, and four  hours before launching  rescue operations.

The detailed step by step outline of the actions between 01.38 am and 06.14 am on 8 March 2014 can be found here while page 2 is here on the Malaysian Ministry of Transport's official Facebook page.

The report also called on the  International Civil Aviation Organisation to consider real-time tracking of passenger airplanes.

The release included a recording of the conversation between the cockpit and Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control, as well as a passenger seating plan, and the cargo manifest.

Conversation between the cockpit MH370 and Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control

MH370 Passenger seating plan

MH370 Cargo Manifest


Week 9: A new phase in the search operation
 

[Friday 2 May 2014]  Minister Hishamuddin released the following statement summarizing recent moves:

"Introduction
It has now been 56 days since MH370 went missing. The fact that MH370 is still not found after more than seven weeks of searching on land, air and sea, indeed highlights the complexity of this entire mission. Nevertheless, we are resolute in our commitment to find MH370 and will continue to intensify the search efforts.

On that note, as promised by the Prime Minister last week, we have released the Preliminary Report that was sent to ICAO along with additional information. This is consistent with our stand that in the interests of openness and transparency‐ all information which does not jeopardize the investigation or the search operation; should be made public. It must be stressed that the report made public yesterday, is a preliminary report.

Nevertheless, as I have repeatedly stressed since the beginning, we have nothing to hide.

Meeting with Angus Houston and Jean Paul Troadec
Earlier today I met with Retired Air Marshall Angus Houston‐ who has been leading the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Perth, coordinating the search of MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean and Mr Jean Paul Troadec, the Head of the French Investigation Team for Air France Flight 447 and the former Head of the Aviation Accident Investigation Bureau.

The presence of these two individuals in Kuala Lumpur is to discuss the new phase we are entering in the search operation.

The meeting was a testament to Malaysia’s inclusiveness in coordinating the next phase of this “unprecedented” search effort and it reaffirms our relentless commitment as well as that of the international community in searching for MH370.

Sub Committee Progress The three sub committees led by the three deputy ministers have been meeting and efforts have been intensified to prepare ourselves for the next phase. Let me now update you on their progress.

I) Technical Committee
The International Investigation Team which is led by Dato Kok Soo Chon ‐ the former Director General of the DCA and a former permanent representative to the ICAO Council in Montreal ‐ has commenced investigations on the incident as stipulated by the Terms of Reference laid out by ICAO. The investigation team has convened 5 times so far and progress will be reported in due course.

II) Next of Kin Committee
Yesterday, Malaysia Airlines had announced it will make advanced compensation payments as soon as possible to the nominated next‐of‐kin who are entitled to claim compensation. The compensation package is aimed to meet the immediate economic needs of the families.

I would like to reaffirm the government’s stand as iterated yesterday by Hamzah Zainuddin, the Deputy Foreign Minister who heads the next of kin subcommittee, that we are confident in Malaysia Airlines’ commitment in assisting and supporting the families of those on board MH370.

On that note, I would also like to record our sincerest appreciations to the Chinese Government for their strong support on this matter.

I strongly urge that Malaysia Airlines continue to engage the families of the passengers as we enter this new phase. It is imperative for MAS to maintain and improve the communication platforms and channels which have been
established between the airline and the families in the past eight weeks.

The designated family members of the passengers, wherever they are, must be kept informed consistently and timely on significant developments relating to the search. We owe it to the families to keep them abreast with the progress and to get to the bottom of this incident.

III) Asset Deployment Committee
On the asset deployment front, we have had detailed discussions with several Malaysian companies namely Petronas, DEFTECH, Boustead and Sapura Kencana in the past few days on deploying specialized assets.

These highly specialised underwater systems and platforms include the Autonomous Unmanned Vehicles (AUVs), Deep‐water towed side scan sonars, Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs), and support vessels to deploy these assets to join in the new phase of this search mission. It is important for all the Malaysian entities involved in this effort to be on the same page‐ working as one team, flying the Malaysian flag to find MH370.

Trip to Canberra Next week, I will lead a delegation to Canberra to attend the Trilateral Ministerial Meeting which will be hosted by our Australian counterparts on 5 May 2014. The meeting will be chaired by Hon Deputy Prime Minister of Australia and the Minister of Infrastructure and Industry. I will be accompanied by the heads of three sub committees, the Deputy Minister of Defence, Deputy Minister of Transport and the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs along with Dato Azharuddin from the DCA, Ahmad Jauhari from MAS and other relevant representatives from the respective Ministries.

In addition, a Chinese delegation will also be joining us for the meeting led by the Transport Minister, HE Yang Chuantang, and accompanied by the Vice Minister of Transport, HE He Jianzhong and the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, HE Xie Hangsheng and other senior government officials.

Bay of Bengal Allegation

On the Bay of Bengal allegation, we agree with Angus Houston’s statement that this claim is highly unlikely. Many leads in the past have proven to be negative and this is similar to what we have done before. There is nothing new but we have informed the littoral states to verify this claim.

Currently, there are 3 naval ships from Bangladesh including a survey ship in the search area. To date, nothing has been found.

Concluding Remarks

As we enter the new phase of this search, we are grateful for the continuous support that we have received from the international community as well as stakeholders domestically. We are also heartened by the new support from countries who have come forward but were not in the initial phase of the SAR operation. We will strive to overcome the new challenges facing the search operations in this new phase which requires expensive, sophisticated and complex underwater assets. As always, our thoughts and prayers remain with those on board MH370 and their families and the search goes on."

[Monday 5 May 2014]

Malaysia, Australia and China: evidence to be reviewed, new deep underwater search phase announced

Earlier today in Canberra following a trilateral meeting, Australian deputy prime Minister Warren Truss together the transport ministers from both Malaysia and China, Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and Yang ChuanTang respectively held a media briefing. They will be meeting with international experts on Wednesday to revaluate all existing data.

This decision 'to go back to the drawing board," said Truss comes at the end of almost two months of searching that has yet to find any verified remains of flight MH370.

“We would be gathering, analysing, all data and information that we have collected since the beginning of the search,” said Truss and experts will want to make sure that satellite information has been accurately interpreted.”

In addition, the Wednesday meeting is to call for more appropriate assets to conduct a deep undersea search, he said. “One of the key elements of the next stage is to undertake more detailed oceanographic mapping as much of this area has never been mapped. It requires significant effort for us to understand the terrain. We know the water is very deep."

Malaysia's Hishammuddin added that new phase of the search will “give opportunities” for other nations, research institutes and private entities to come forward to help. “I believe we are on the right track. There is a sense of urgency."

Speaking in Mandarin, China's Tang said Tang all three countries were in agreement that: “The search will not be interrupted, not suspended, not given up on, and there will be no slack. We know clearly that the area is now even broader, and the task is more difficulty and tougher.".

JACC: Ocean Shield resupplies and continues the search

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre [JACC] has issued the following update: "Ocean Shield will today return to Fleet Base West to replenish its supplies and conduct routine maintenance and software modifications to Phoenix

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle ‘Artemis’ Bluefin-21. On completion of the short port visit, Ocean Shield will return immediately to the search area where the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will continue.

The just-completed deployment began on 31 March with 56 personnel and specialist search equipment including a Towed Pinger Locator and Phoenix Autonomous Underwater Vehicle ‘Artemis’ Bluefin-21.

Although the search to date has not uncovered any evidence of possible aircraft debris during operations, the data collected during the 35 days at sea will assist in narrowing the search area for the final resting place of MH370.

The Australian Government is proud of the combined efforts of the Royal Australian Navy, United States Navy, civilian contractors from Phoenix International, Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the ship's crew.

Also at the request of the Australian Government, the U.S. Navy will continue supporting the MH370 sub-surface search effort with the Bluefin-21 side scan sonar for approximately 4 more weeks."

14 May 2014: Ocean Shield returns to acoustic signals area, Immarsat offers 'free' airline tracking

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre has posted a new update [previous dated 5 May 2014] as follows:

"After a short port visit, the ADV Ocean Shield yesterday returned to the vicinity of the acoustic signals acquired by the Towed Pinger Locator in April to continue the underwater search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was deployed from Ocean Shield yesterday afternoon but was recovered about two hours later to investigate communications problems. Work continues to rectify the issue and to date, Bluefin-21 has not redeployed.

The international search effort presently includes assets from Australia, the People's Republic of China, Malaysia and the United States.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) has relocated from Perth to Canberra and is based at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development.

The JACC now includes a Military Coordination and Sub-Surface Planning Cell, which includes a Royal Australian Navy Hydrographer and US Navy Sea Systems Command representative.

Preparations to conduct the bathymetric survey are continuing. A Chinese survey ship is now in the search area and will assist in preparations for future operations.

Vessels from Australia, Malaysia and China and a RAAF aircraft remain on standby should any debris on the surface require investigation."

Inmarsat offers 'free' airline tracking service

Also on 14 May 2014, the British satellite tracking firm Inmarsat, which helped to reveal the last position of flight MH370 using 'Doppler' effect mathematics in April, has announced a 'free' airline tracking service to almost all of the commercial long haul flight operators.

Inmarsat's chief executive Rupert Pearce was reported by media [Guardian] as saying that: "Inmarsat has been providing global aviation safety services for over 20 years and we are confident that the proposals we have presented to ICAO and IATA (International Air Transport Association) represent a major contribution to enhancing aviation safety services on a global basis.

"In the wake of the loss of MH370, we believe this this is simply the right thing to do. Because of the universal nature of existing Inmarsat aviation services, our proposals can be implemented right away on all ocean-going commercial aircraft using equipment that is already installed."

Australia allocates search budget of almost $90 million

During Australia budget announcements on 14 May 2014, the country's treauser Joe Hockey said almost $90 million has been allocated over the next two years in the federal budget for the ongoing search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. Earlier in April, Australia's prime minister Tony Abbott said Australia would be requesting contributions from other countries to help in the search.

20 May 2014: Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen to conduct bathymetric survey, Inmarsat's raw satellite data to be released

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC), which has relocated from Perth to Canberra and is based at the Department of Infrastructure and Regional Development, issued the following update on the afternoon of 19 May 2014:

"ADV Ocean Shield arrived at Geraldton, Western Australia, yesterday to begin preparations to receive spare parts related to the transponder mounted on the Ocean Shield and the transponder mounted on the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21.

The repairs are necessary to correct a hardware issue affecting the ability of the transponders to communicate with each other during a dive. The problem became apparent during Bluefin-21's last mission on Tuesday.

Ocean Shield was originally going to Dampier to await the transponder parts, however, it was determined that the parts could be delivered to the ship more quickly via the port of Geraldton.

The spare parts are expected to arrive in Geraldton later today.

Once the replacement parts are installed, testing will be conducted at Geraldton prior to Ocean Shield transiting back to the search area.

Malaysian, Australian and Chinese authorities met over the weekend in Fremantle to discuss the bathymetric survey.

It was agreed that the Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen will conduct the bathymetric survey of the areas provided by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

Zhu Kezhen is scheduled to sail for the survey area on Wednesday, weather permitting."

DCA and Inmarsat will make 'raw data' public

Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), assisted by the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), is now in talks with UK-based satellite company Inmarsat, it was announced to media today (20 May 2014).

"In line with our commitment towards greater transparency, all parties are working for the release of the data communication logs and the technical description of the analysis for public consumption," Inmarsat and the DCA said in a joint statement.

Inmarsat’s data was important in narrowing the last position of MH370 through "Doppler effect" analysis on the brief electronic 'pings' or handshakes from the plane.

On Monday, Malaysia's defence minister and acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammudddin Hussein told media that Malaysia was not able to release the data as it was with Inmarsat.

"In moving forward it is imperative for us to provide helpful information to the next of kin and general public, which will include the data communication logs as well as relevant explanation to enable the reader to understand the data provided," added the statement.

May 27 2014: Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation and Inmarsat release 'raw data' while families of MH370 passengers pose questions.

On 26 May 2014, the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) and British satellite firm Inmarsat have released the raw satellite data communications logs used to used to determine the path of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

"The data communication logs from Inmarsat as well as the relevant explanation to enable the reader to understand the data provided is being released," said Malaysia's defence minister and acting transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on 19 May 2014, adding that this data was released following the request from families of the missing MH370 passangers.

The 47 page-long data communications log [MH370 Data Communication Logs], among others, includes time information and frequency.

Prior to this move, some relatives of the MH370 passengers also started circulating a series of questions [Analysis of the Preliminary Report on MH370] in response to the Preliminary Report, which was released by the Malaysian government on 1 May 2014. 

Flight MH370, which carried 227 passengers and 12 crew members, left Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) en route to Beijing at 12.41 am local time on Saturday, 8 March 2014 and was expected to land at 6.30 am local time on the same day. The Boeing 777-200ER disappeared from radar about an hour after take-off.