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, Steven L Herman is the Voice of America Asia correspondent.

You May Like

Israelis Quietly Expand Enclave in Palestinian District of Jerusalem

Estimated 500 settlers, armed or protected by paramilitary police, live in Silwan among 50,000 Palestinians More

Video US, Iran Face Similar Challenges in Syrian Fight Against IS

Both Washington, Tehran back fighters battling Islamic State militants in Iraq -- but in Syria they support opposing sides in country’s civil war More

China Boosts Efforts to Help Afghan, Regional Stability

Observers say China’s increased regional involvement are due to concerns that Afghan instability and the presence of anti-China militants in Pakistani border areas could fuel Xinjiang troubles 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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid