Wings Magazine

News
Japan latest country to locate debris path: MH370

March 27, 2014, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - Hints about the lost Malaysian jetliner piled up Thursday, but there was precious little chance to track them down. Bad weather cut short the air and sea hunt for the aircraft as satellite data revealed hundreds more objects that might be wreckage.


March 27, 2014
By The Associated Press

Not one piece of debris has been recovered from the plane that went
down in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8. For relatives of the 239
people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, it was yet another
agonizing day of waiting.

 

"Until something is picked up and analyzed to make sure it's from
MH370 we can't believe it, but without anything found it's just clues,"
Steve Wang, whose 57-year-old mother was aboard the flight, said in
Beijing. "Without that, it's useless."

Advertisment

 

Japan said it provided Malaysia with information from satellite
images taken Wednesday showing about 10 objects that might be debris
from the plane, with the largest measuring about four metres by eight
metres. The objects were located about 2,500 kilometres southwest of
Perth, Japan's Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office said.

 

A Thai satellite spotted about 300 objects, ranging from
two metres to 16 metres long, about 2,700 kilometres southwest of Perth,
said Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand's space technology
development agency. He said the images, taken Monday by
the Thaichote satellite, took two days to process and were relayed to
Malaysian authorities on Wednesday.

 

The objects were about 200 kilometres southwest of the area where a
French satellite on Sunday spotted 122 objects. It's unknown whether the
two satellites detected the same objects; currents in the ocean can run
a metre per second and wind also could move material.

The announcements came after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority
said it had to pull back all 11 planes scheduled to take part in the
search Thursday because of heavy rain, winds and low clouds. Five ships
continued the hunt.

 

All but three of the planes — a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese
P-3 Orion and a Japanese Gulfstream jet — reached the search zone, about
2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth, before the air search was
suspended, AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said.

 

They were there "maybe two hours" and found nothing, Cardwell said.
"They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no
visibility."

 

In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected to last 24 hours.

 

Planes have been flying out of Perth for a week, seeing a few small
objects that might or might not be from the plane and nothing of the
possible debris fields viewed by the Thai and French satellites. Even
the few objects the planes saw seemed to vanish when aircraft went back
for another look.

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight MH370 is recovered and
identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of
the Boeing 777 and its black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why
the jet flew so far off-course. The plane was supposed to fly
from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing but turned away from its route
soon after takeoff and flew for several hours before crashing.

 

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data
confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. On Thursday,
Malaysia Airlines ran a full-page condolence advertisement with a black
background in a major Malaysian newspaper.

 

"Our sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239
passengers, friends and colleagues. Words alone cannot express our
enormous sorrow and pain," read the advertisement in the New Straits
Times.

The extreme remoteness of the search area, its frequent high seas and bad weather all complicate the search.

 

"This is a really rough piece of ocean, which is going to be a
terrific issue," said Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of
Singapore. "I worry that people carrying out the rescue mission are
going to get into trouble."

 

Malaysia has been criticized over its handling of one of the most
perplexing mysteries in aviation history. Much of the most strident
criticism has come from relatives of the Chinese passengers, some of
whom expressed outrage that Malaysia essentially declared their loved
ones dead without recovering a single piece of wreckage.

 

China dispatched a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur, Vice Foreign
Minister Zhang Yesui, to deal with the crisis. Zhang met with Malaysian
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Wednesday and received a
briefing on the satellite data that "led to the conclusion that MH370
ended in the southern Indian Ocean," Malaysia's Ministry of Transport
said in a statement.

 

On Thursday, Malaysian officials met with China's ambassador to
Malaysia, Huang Huikang, "to request the government of China to engage
and clarify the actual situation to the affected families in particular
and the Chinese public in general," the statement said.

 

Officials still don't know why Flight MH370 disappeared.
Investigators have ruled out nothing — including mechanical or
electrical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to
the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

 

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that
his investigators should finish in a day or two their analysis of
electronics owned by the pilot and co-pilot, work that includes trying
to recover files deleted from a home flight simulator used by Capt.
Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

 

Some speculation has focused on Zaharie and his state of mind, but
his son, in an interview published Thursday in the New Straits Times,
rejected the idea that his father might be to blame.

 

"I've read everything online. But I've ignored all the speculation. I know my father better," Ahmad Seth said.