News / Asia

Australia: MH370 Likely Lost Air Pressure, Switched to Autopilot

FILE - A policeman takes a nap beside a board written with messages for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 during a closed meeting held between Malaysian representatives and Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight MH370 at Lido Hotel.
FILE - A policeman takes a nap beside a board written with messages for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 during a closed meeting held between Malaysian representatives and Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight MH370 at Lido Hotel.
VOA News

Australian officials say they are confident the missing Malaysian jet was on autopilot when it crashed and that the plane's pilots were likely unresponsive due to a lack of oxygen.

The comments Thursday are the firmest theory yet offered by officials on what may have led to the Boeing 777's disappearance, which has become one of modern aviation's greatest mysteries.

At a news conference, Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said it is "highly, highly likely" the plane was on autopilot when it ran out of fuel. Otherwise, he says the aircraft would not have followed such an orderly path seen in the satellite readings used to track its likely resting place.

In a report issued later Thursday, the Australian Transport Safety Board said the plane's steady flight path and lack of communications lead it to believe that a "hypoxia type event appeared to fit the best available evidence."

Hypoxia, which can occur when a plane loses air pressure, is caused by a lack of oxygen to the brain, resulting in confusion, unconsciousness, and eventually death. Officials and analysts have long said depressurization is one of many possible scenarios being investigated.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 was headed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 when it disappeared with 239 people on board. It did not send a distress call.

The plane stopped communicating with air traffic controllers in the Gulf of Thailand. It then inexplicably turned west and headed for the Strait of Malacca before heading south, after which investigators believe it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Since the jet's communications devices were either shut off or disabled, authorities have had to estimate the plane's final resting place by conducting a complex analysis of data sent from the plane to a communications satellite.

On Thursday, Deputy Prime Minister Truss said a "more thorough" analysis of that satellite data has led investigators to shift the search area south of where an initial underwater hunt took place.

"The new priority area is still focused on the same seventh arc in the southern Indian Ocean, where the aircraft last communicated with satellite. We are now shifting our attention to an area further south along that arc, broadly in the area where our first search efforts were focused. The area has already been subject to aerial and visual searching for wreckage and debris, but now we will move to an underwater search,” said Truss.

The new area to be searched is a 60,000 square kilometer arc in the southern Indian Ocean, about 1,800 kilometers off the southwest Australian coast.

Ships are currently carrying out a complex, bathymetric survey in the area to learn more about the depths and shapes of the underwater terrain.

The process will take around three months. Officials then expect the underwater search to begin in August and take up to 12 more months.

An underwater drone recently finished up an unsuccessful, two-month-long search of 850 square kilometers of Indian Ocean seabed.

That location was near where authorities heard faint electronic signals thought to be from the missing jet's flight data recorder.

Authorities now conclude they were likely distracted by the "pings," which turned out to be a false lead.

Malaysian authorities, who believe someone intentionally diverted the plane, have not commented on the findings announced Thursday by the Australian government.

You May Like

Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving

Feasts centering on turkeys with an array of traditional sides and desserts are part of the holiday's traditions, which falls on the fourth Thursday in November More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Paradei
X
Anush Avetisyan
November 26, 2014 10:57 PM
Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid