News / Asia

Malaysia Expands Search for Missing Plane

A member of Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) uses a binocular to scan the horizon during a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 conducted on the waters of the Strait of Malacca off Sumatra island, Indonesia,
A member of Indonesian National Search and Rescue Agency (BASARNAS) uses a binocular to scan the horizon during a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 conducted on the waters of the Strait of Malacca off Sumatra island, Indonesia,
Marianne Brown
Malaysia has again expanded the vast area where it is looking for a Boeing 777 jetliner with 239 people on board that went missing Saturday. Malaysian authorities acknowledge it is likely a search mission rather than a rescue effort.

Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said ships and aircraft from 12 countries are now searching more than 90,000 square kilometers of water, and that the fifth day of the search, first focused on the Strait of Malacca and the South China Sea, now also extends far to the northwest to waters near India's Andaman and Nicobar islands.

Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein answers questions between Chief of Armed Forces General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin (L) and Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe (R) on the missing Malaysia AirlineMalaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein answers questions between Chief of Armed Forces General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin (L) and Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe (R) on the missing Malaysia Airline
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Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein answers questions between Chief of Armed Forces General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin (L) and Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe (R) on the missing Malaysia Airline
Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Tun Hussein answers questions between Chief of Armed Forces General Zulkifeli Mohd Zin (L) and Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe (R) on the missing Malaysia Airline
The minister rejected criticism from some aviation experts outside Malaysia that the search has become mired in confusion, with Malay officials issuing contradictory reports about the effort.

On Tuesday Malaysia's Berita Harian newspaper quoted Air Force chief Rodzali Daud as saying, "The last time the flight was detected close to Pulau Perak, in the Melaka Straits, at 2:40 a.m. by the control tower before the signal was lost."

Pulau Perak is an island at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca.

But on Wednesday, Rodzali denied the military had tracked the missing flight in the vicinity of Pulau Perak.

“I request this misreporting be amended and corrected to prevent further misinterpretations of what is clearly an inaccurate and incorrect report,” Rodzali said in a statement.

Hishammuddin said officials have turned over military radar information to American air safety experts to try to determine whether Flight 370 reached the Strait of Malacca, hundreds of kilometers to the west from its last known sighting on civilian radar north of Malaysia.  He said officials are still not sure whether the two radar systems are both detecting the missing jet.

Hishammuddin said authorities have an obligation to the families of those aboard the jet to find the missing aircraft.

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"So many vessels and aircraft, so many countries to coordinate, and a vast area for us to search," he said. "And each time that passes, I fear that the search and rescue becomes just a search, but we will never give up hope. And this we owe to the families."

The minister said the country is dealing with an "unprecedented" situation and will do "whatever it takes" to find the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

"My heart reaches out to the families of the passengers and crew, and I give you my assurance that we will not reduce the tempo and that we will not spare any effort to find the missing plane," he promised.

The minister said 42 ships and 39 aircraft from 12 countries have so far "found nothing" in their search, which now spans over 50,000 kilometers.

The last known signal detected from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was reported one minute before entering Vietnamese airspace, prompting a massive international search effort in the sea between Vietnam and Malaysia.

Vietnam scales back search

Amid the confusion over the possible whereabouts of the aircraft, Vietnam announced early Wednesday it was scaling back its search operations.  But hours later, Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the Vietnam People's Army, Vo Van Tuan, said the search was back on.

He said search activities are being deployed as normal, expanding to the east and south of the plane’s last known trajectory between Vietnam and Malaysia.

Search teams have been scouring thousands of kilometers of water since Saturday without finding any trace of the missing plane.

In Hong Kong, Commander William Marks of the U.S. Navy’s 7th fleet said the effort is becoming more difficult.
 
"Time is not on our side. As every hour goes by, the search area gets bigger and bigger," he said. "From a typical standpoint, a person can survive in the water for at least 72 hours due to sheer willpower. A human being can survive without food or water if they are determined to survive. After that the chances of survival get less and less, and that's what we're concerned with right now."

Passenger nationalities, Malaysia Flight MH370Passenger nationalities, Malaysia Flight MH370
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Passenger nationalities, Malaysia Flight MH370
Passenger nationalities, Malaysia Flight MH370
Safety record

Despite the worldwide concern over the aircraft and bewilderment over how a plane could disappear in an age of instant communications, experts say flying has never been safer.
 
The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) voted 2013 the safest on record in terms of fatalities involving commercial flights. Last year 173 people were killed in scheduled commercial flights, compared to 372 the previous year, according to the ICAO.

Greg Waldron, Asia managing editor of Flightglobal, a trade publication for the aviation sector says flying is safe.

“It’s completely safe to fly, I’m going to be flying tonight and I’m not even thinking twice about it. That’s why these things like MH370 are such a shock because they are so rare when they do happen,” he said.

He said it would be “a long road” before any answers the mystery of the fate of Flight MH370 are found.

  • A Malaysian police official displays a photograph of 19-year-old Iranian Pouri Nourmohammadi, one of the two men who boarded missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight using stolen European passports.
  • A Malaysian police woman holds up a picture of Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, an Iranian who boarded the now missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 with a stolen passport.
  • This combination of images released by Interpol and displayed by Malaysian police in Sepang, Malaysia, on March 11, 2014, shows Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, (left) and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29, who allegedly boarded the now-missing Malaysia Airlines jet
  • Military officer Duong Van Lanh works onboard a Vietnamese airforce AN-26 during a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off Tho Chu islands March 11, 2014.
  • A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane looks out as she waiting for the latest news inside a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing airplane in Beijing, China, March 11, 2014.
  • Family members comfort Chrisman Siregar, left, and his wife Herlina Panjaitan, the parents of Firman Siregar, one of the Indonesian citizens registered on the manifest of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner flight MH370 that went missing, Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, March 9, 2014.

  • Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman briefs reporters at a press conference on search and recovery efforts within existing and new areas for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane,Sepang, Malaysia, March 10, 2014.




  • A family member of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane wipes her tears at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, March 10, 2014. 
  • Chinese relatives of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane wait for the latest news inside a hotel room, Beijing, China, March 10, 2014. 
  • CEO of Malaysia Airlines Ignatius Ong, center, gestures as he prepares to speak to the media near a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines airplane, Beijing, China, March 10, 2014. 
  • People hold a banner and candles during a candlelight vigil for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 10, 2014. 
  • Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation director general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, second from left, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, March 10, 2014. 
  • Italian Luigi Maraldi, left, whose stolen passport was used by a passenger boarding a missing Malaysian airliner, shows his passport as he reports himself to Thai police Lt. Gen. Panya Mamen, right, at Phuket police station in Phuket province, southern Thailand, March 9, 2014.
  • A U.S. Navy helicopter lands aboard Destroyer USS Pinckney during a crew swap before returning to a search and rescue mission for the missing Malaysian airlines flight MH370 in the Gulf of Thailand, March 9, 2014. 

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Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Lydia from: Texas
March 13, 2014 8:00 AM
I believe the plane went through a black hole


by: Krinderhagen from: Hemet CA
March 13, 2014 4:19 AM
After discovering that the flight monitoring system can be manipulated I had expanded the search here after the airplane MAS370 disappears from flight it shows in Belize

MAS 370 shows up in Belize
Same flight pattern disappears and reappears in Belize


by: Roger from: Cyprus
March 12, 2014 5:33 PM
"If" and I am assuming that the pilot-co-pilot have in their possession a mobile phone? Surely “if” the plane lost all electrical power, and radio contact, they could have communicated to someone on the ground using their mobile phone? Or would their phone be out of range? At point (B) (see below) however, if they were in the Malacca area they would have passed over land from point (B), so it begs the question why didn't they use their phone? Or if they were in a panic situation, give the job to another crew member.


The 777 I believe has 10 generators on board, it seems very unlikely to me that all 10 generators went belly up, assuming they are not all sited in the same area of the plane. (If there was a problem, like a fire).

From the time of take-off, to point B ( 35,000 feet) above the sea level, took approximately 1hour.It is muted that the plane turned left towards a westerly direction for about an hour, I believe the plane’s altitude dropped to 14,000 feet or there about.

It doesn't strike me that the pilot/s where planning to commit suicide! Why turn left, drop your altitude, and then keep going for another hour? Why not, nose down and full throttle?


Why didn't the authorities ask the military to scramble a jet to intercept? Or to fly over the area (B) when they knew they had lost radar contact?

The authorities say "they" lost radar contact, and yet they say the plane”could have" turned back, there is something in my mind that is saying this isn’t quite right. I used to operate radar when I was in the RN, (40years ago) a contact is a contact, and if you are tracking a contact you see it on the display, or you don't, if the contact disappears its surely telling you something.

The contact has gone out of range of your radar, (remember the earth’s curvature) or the contact is below your radar capability, or the contact has downed. For contacts on the water this used to be a problem with sea clutter, (close range) you could see ghosts on radar, or you used to, but not with large objects like a ship, however an aircraft of this size, would look something like a fairly large object, contact on the ship's/radar, depending how long it stayed on the surface in more or less one piece, (imo) however, if it was in pieces well not sure on that, probably you would see very little on radar, if anything,. In principle, as far as I can remember radar needs to bounce off of something, like, let’s say land, steel, a building. Let’s not get into Stealth that’s a different kettle of fish.


Today the computer computes speed, direction and height. Is it possible the person tracking this aircraft took his eye of the ball for a minute? Or two? And then saw a contact heading Westerly and got confused?


There was no radio contact, what is that telling you? Save for a mumbled voice on the plane (370) to another jet which was ahead of flight 370. I believe the pilot of the jet in front of 370 thought he was talking to the co-pilot, "thought", so in reality he could have been talking to anyone, with a radio transmitter.


In my mind, there are only 2 options left now (1) it would make some sense that the plane has possibly been "hijacked" if you were going to hijack this plane; you wouldn’t turn it around to West immediately you took off! (Or would you?) As suspicion and hopefully the alarms would go off, so you allow it to go an hour on its proper course, then you spring your ready thought- out plan.







In Response

by: Chinthake from: Colombo
March 13, 2014 4:10 AM
Isn't there a possibility of analyzing log files of the messages communicated from the flight to control rooms

In Response

by: Miranda from: Los Angeles USA
March 13, 2014 3:50 AM
Perhaps, you should if you have't already, write a book? Your post really captured my imagination. FANTASTIC!

In Response

by: johnnyse from: philadelphia
March 13, 2014 1:25 AM
I agree with one of your theory's the one of the plane being possibly hijacked and changed course of direction west because that is where Iraq is located and what better place to hold hostage's


by: annon from: colombo
March 12, 2014 12:31 PM
If the missing peoples phones are still ringing try to locate them with telecommunication provider signals.


by: Popsiq from: Buganda
March 12, 2014 10:31 AM
"Mars" ???? Now there's a clue.


by: Kitagawa Keikko from: Nagasaki
March 12, 2014 10:28 AM
We can even find a car with a good resolution by the Google Earth. Why the USA has not used thier good spy satelites to find the missing airplane? That's because the accident was occurred to Malaysia's airplane and the US people does not have any interest in Malaysia and Malaysian people's lives. They are interested in only oil and money.

In Response

by: Glo from: NJ, USA
March 13, 2014 3:56 AM
Then why are they there now

In Response

by: Rambo from: Arizona
March 12, 2014 12:01 PM
Finding a plane in the ocean is not easy. You still have to know where to look, even with spy satellites. Did the plane veer off course, attempted to turn back, fly through a blackhole, nose dived straight down, etc... Also, there were 3 Americans on board so the USA is involved. Maybe you didn't hear about the humanitarian efforts during Japan's tsunami, Haiti earthquake, etc... Oil was not involved.


by: Anonymous
March 12, 2014 3:29 AM
I suggest that HE of Rwanda be called upon. He is damn good in matter of intelligency.


by: Bernard Kima from: mombasa - kenya
March 12, 2014 3:25 AM

It is very shocking what we have been reading about this missing jet. It sounds inconceivable. May God really comfort the hearts all the relatives involved. We are praying for you all.

In Response

by: msb from: nversailles pa
March 14, 2014 10:15 AM
Maybe Ufo is involved

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