News / Asia

Hunt for Missing Malaysian Plane Expands to Indian Ocean

Search for Plane Expandingi
|| 0:00:00
...  
🔇
X
March 14, 2014 4:08 AM
The Malaysian government is still leading the search for the missing flight MH370, but the U.S. government’s role is increasing. The White House indicates the U.S. Navy might begin searching a wide area of the Indian Ocean. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti explains.
Related video report by Carolyn Presutti
The search for a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, which vanished last Saturday, has expanded -- with more seemingly conflicting information emerging about its last known position.  Vessels from various coast guard agencies and navies, including the United States, are expanding the search across a vast swath of southern Asia for any trace of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

The Boeing 777 was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. But the search for the aircraft, which was carrying 239 people, now includes areas far off its scheduled flight path.

Flight MH370 Timeline

  • Mar. 8: Departs Kuala Lumpur at 12:41am local time for Beijing
    Air traffic controllers lose contact with the plane around 1:30am
    Vietnam launches search operation, two oil slicks are spotted but are not related to plane

  • Mar. 9: Malaysia suggests plane may have strayed off course
    Debris spotted off Vietnam, but it is not from the airplane

  • Mar. 10: Search radius expanded, as China urges Malaysia to speed up investigation
     
  • Mar. 11: Search extended to western side of Malaysian peninsula
     
  • Mar. 12: Chinese satellite images of possible debris are released and determined not to be related to the plane
     
  • Mar. 13: Malaysia rejects Wall Street Journal report that MH370 flew for four hours after its last known contact
     
  • Mar. 14: Search now includes South China Sea, Malacca Strait and Indian Ocean
    Media reports say MH370 communications system continued to ping a satellite hours after plane disappeared
     
  • Mar. 15:  Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says someone on MH370 likely turned off its communications systems
     
  • Mar. 17: 26 countries now involved in the search
     
  • Mar. 19: FBI analyzes flight simulator data from the home of the MH370 pilot
     
  • Mar. 20: Australian aircraft investigate possible debris in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean
Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Friday unspecified "circumstances" forced the search, which currently involves 13 countries, to expand to the Indian Ocean, thousands of kilometers from the spot where the aircraft vanished from civilian radar last week.  He said the search has also been expanded to remote parts of the South China Sea.

"Together with our international partners we are now pushing further east into the South China Sea and further into the Indian Ocean," he announced.

India's coast guard is looking along the shores of the Andaman and Nicobar islands in case any debris washed up there. Besides the Indian Ocean, its vessels and aircraft are also inspecting part of the Bay of Bengal.

Click to enlargeClick to enlarge
x
Click to enlarge
Click to enlarge
Why so far away from the large jet's last known position? There are reports the plane continued to transmit routine data about its engines and performance to satellites long after the last radar contact with air traffic controllers. That suggests the plane could have remained in the air or was on the ground somewhere.

Malaysian officials stress they cannot confirm such information and that is why it would be irresponsible to end the search in the South China Sea.

Mystery deepens

Aviation Mysteries

  • 1937: Amelia Earhart disappears during flight over Pacific, no trace of plane found
  • 1996: TWA Flight 800, en route to Paris from New York, explodes over Long Island, questions remain over cause
  • 1999: EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into Atlantic while headed to Cairo from New York;   US questions if pilot comments indicated suicide mission
  • 2009: Air France Flight 447 goes down over Atlantic while traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crash report indicates pilot confusion
The Reuters news agency quotes sources as saying military radar evidence suggests the plane was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman isle chain.

The mystery continues to baffle experienced airline pilots and other experts. Adding to the confusion and to the frustration of passengers' families have been conflicting statements and the delayed release of pertinent information by Malaysian authorities.

Since the jet disappeared on March 8 there have been few credible clues about what happened.

Potential eyewitness interviewed

Vietnamese authorities say they are studying information provided to them by an offshore oil rig worker, identified as Michael McKay of New Zealand.

Foreign affairs department director Nguyen Ngoc Hung, speaking to reporters in Vung Tau, says McKay's eyewitness account of seeing a burning jetliner above the South China Sea about 50 to 70 kilometers away from his position is being taken seriously.

Nguyen says he has forwarded the information to higher authorities and it will be studied and used in the search for Flight 370.

McKay declined to speak with reporters but an e-mail he sent Wednesday to his supervisors describes observing from the Songa Mercur drilling platform what he believed was the plane in the sky afire in one piece for about 10 to 15 seconds. This, he claims, was around the time the Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared.
  • A family member of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 talks to reporters in a hotel in Beijing, March 14, 2014.
  • Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak leaves after Friday prayers that included special prayers for passengers of flight MH370 at a mosque near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, March 14, 2014.
  • Malaysia's Minister of Transport Hishamuddin Hussein, center, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, left and Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, right, at a press conference in Sepang, March 14, 2014.
  • A Vietnamese Air Force colonel uses binoculars on board a flying aircraft during a mission to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Gulf of Thailand, March 13, 2014.
  • A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane watches TV as she waits for the latest news in a hotel room in Beijing, China, March 13, 2014.
  • Students light candles to express hope and solidarity for the passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Manila, Philippines, March 13, 2014.
  • Children read messages and well wishes for all involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370 on the walls of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, March 13, 2014.
  • A Vietnam Air Force aircraft AN-26 flies over Con Dao island during a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, March 12, 2014.
  • Vietnamese military personnel take part in the search for a missing Malaysian airliner off Vietnam's Tho Chu island, March 10, 2014.
  • A child reacts to the camera as others light candles during a vigil for missing Malaysia Airlines passengers at the Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur, March 10, 2014.
  • An officer stands guard near Vietnam aircraft before a mission to find the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Phu Quoc Airport on Phu Quoc Island, March 10, 2014.

Growing frustration among passengers' families

Many of the family members of those on the plane are growing frustrated with what they feel is incomplete information from Malaysian authorities. A man who identified himself as Gao spoke with media Friday after meeting Malaysian officials in Beijing.

"Their [Malaysian] spokespeople should be responsible for what they are saying and keep their promises, instead of giving us the impression that it is a rogue state and that it just makes irresponsible remarks without thinking," he said in Mandarin.

About two-thirds of the people on board were Chinese nationals, with the remainder from other Asian countries, Europe and North America.

The plane's disappearance has become one of the most puzzling cases in modern aviation history. Authorities have ruled nothing out, including a massive technical failure, hijacking, an explosion, or the possibility that the pilot wanted to commit suicide.



Steve Herman

A veteran journalist, Steve Herman is VOA's Southeast Asia Bureau Chief and Correspondent, based in Bangkok.

You May Like

How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

As the digital world becomes more mobile, so too do concerns about eroding privacy and increased hacking More

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe

Film by Richard Raymond is based on true story of Afshin Ghaffarian and his friends More

Researcher: Obesity Poses Complex Problem

Professor at Symposium on Obesity, Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome says problem involves more than calorie intake, warns of worldwide health impact More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: muffadal from: india
March 15, 2014 5:29 AM
200% I believe flight mh370 is safe at some strange place.

by: Collince from: Kenya
March 14, 2014 1:01 PM
Hard to tell what went wrong.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thoughti
X
George Putic
May 26, 2015 9:26 PM
Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Scientists Say Plankton More Important Than Previously Thought

Tiny ocean creatures called plankton are mostly thought of as food for whales and other large marine animals, but a four-year global study discovered, among other things, that plankton are a major source of oxygen on our planet. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Kenyans Lament Losing Sons to al-Shabab

There is agony, fear and lost hope in the Kenyan town of Isiolo, a key target of a new al-Shabab recruitment drive. VOA's Mohammed Yusuf visits Isiolo to speak with families and at least one man who says he was a recruiter.
Video

Video US-led Coalition Gives Some Weapons to Iraqi Troops

In a video released Tuesday from the Iraqi Ministry of Defense, Iraqi forces and U.S.-led coalition troops survey a cache of weapons supplied to help Iraq liberate Mosul from Islamic State group. According to a statement provided with the video, the ministry and the U.S.-led coaltion troops have started ''supplying the 16th army division with medium and light weapons in preparation to liberate Mosul and nearby areas from Da'esh (Arabic acronym for Islamic State group).''
Video

Video Amnesty International: 'Overwhelming Evidence' of War Crimes in Ukraine

Human rights group Amnesty International says there is overwhelming evidence of ongoing war crimes in Ukraine, despite a tentative cease-fire with pro-Russian rebels. Researchers interviewed more than 30 prisoners from both sides of the conflict and all but one said they were tortured. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Washington Parade Honors Those Killed Serving in US Military

Every year, on the last Monday in the month of May, millions of Americans honor the memories of those killed while serving in the armed forces. Memorial Day is a tradition that dates back to the 19th Century. While many people celebrate the federal holiday with a barbecue and a day off from work, for those who’ve served in the military, it’s a special day to remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice. Arash Arabasadi reports for VOA from Washington.
Video

Video Kenya’s Capital Sees Rise in Shisha Parlors

In Kenya, the smoking of shisha, a type of flavored tobacco, is the latest craze. Patrons are flocking to shisha parlors to smoke and socialize. But the practice can be addictive and harmful, though many dabblers may not realize the dangers, according to a new review. Lenny Ruvaga has more on the story for VOA from Nairobi, Kenya.
Video

Video Rolling Thunder Run Reveals Changed Attitudes Towards Vietnam War

For many US war veterans, the Memorial Day holiday is an opportunity to look back at a divisive conflict in the nation’s history and to remember those who did not make it home.
Video

Video Female American Soldiers: Healing Through Filmmaking

According to the United States Defense Department, there are more than 200-thousand women serving in the U.S. Armed Forces.  Like their male counterparts, females have experiences that can be very traumatic.  VOA's Bernard Shusman tells us about a program that is helping some American women in the military heal through filmmaking.
Video

Video Iowa Family's Sacrifice Shaped US Military Service for Generations

Few places in America have experienced war like Waterloo. This small town in the Midwest state of Iowa became famous during World War II not for what it accomplished, but what it lost. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the legacy of one family’s sacrifice is still a reminder today of the real cost of war for all families on the homefront.
Video

Video On Film: How Dance Defies Iran's Political Oppression

'Desert Dancer' by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of a group of young Iranians, who form an underground dance troupe in the Islamic Republic of Iran. This is the latest in a genre of films that focus on dance as a form of freedom of expression against political oppression and social injustice. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Turkey's Ruling Party Trying to Lure Voters in Opposition Stronghold

Turkey’s AK (Justice and Development) Party is seeking a fourth successive general election victory, with the goal of securing two-thirds of the seats in Parliament to rewrite the constitution and change the country's parliamentary system into a presidential one. To achieve that, the party will need to win seats in opposition strongholds like the western city of Izmir. Dorian Jones reports.
Video

Video Millions Flock to Ethiopia Polls

Millions of Ethiopians cast their votes Sunday in the first national election since the 2012 death of longtime leader Meles Zenawi. Mr. Meles' party, the Ethiopian People's Revolutionary Democratic Front, is almost certain of victory again. VOA's Anita Powell reports from Addis Ababa.

VOA Blogs