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,
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.
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."
[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
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
[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
[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 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."
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
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.
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)
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:
MH370 measured data against predicted tracks:
- 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::
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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) 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
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.
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.
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).
Week 9: A new phase in the search operation
[Friday 2 May 2014] Minister Hishamuddin released the following statement summarizing recent moves:
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.
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.