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Thread: The missing Malaysian plane

  1. #1
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    Default The missing Malaysian plane

    Confusion Over Plane’s Route Frustrates Families and Search


    MARCH 11, 2014

    SEPANG, Malaysia — Malaysian authorities now believe that a jetliner missing since Saturday may have radically changed course around the time that it lost contact with ground controllers, news that added to the air of confusion and disarray surrounding the investigation and search operation. But they gave conflicting accounts of the apparent course change and of what may have happened afterward.

    As criticism mounted of the Malaysian authorities’ inability to find any trace of the jet, they have repeatedly insisted that they were doing their best to solve the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with scarce data and almost no precedent. Yet the government and the airline have also released imprecise, incomplete and sometimes inaccurate information, with civilian officials sometimes contradicting military leaders.

    On Tuesday, three days after the plane disappeared while on an overnight flight to Beijing, the country’s air force chief, Gen. Rodzali Daud, was quoted in a Malaysian newspaper as saying the military received signals on Saturday that after the aircraft stopped communicating with ground controllers, it turned from heading northeast to heading west, lowered its altitude and flew hundreds of miles across Peninsular Malaysia and out over the Strait of Malacca before the tracking went blank.

    The rest of this NY Times article here.

  2. #2


    ‘All right, good night’: Final words from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 revealed

    Video of water bottles thrown at Malaysia Airlines officials during a meeting in Beijing earlier this week has surfaced as authorities continue to be baffled as to what happened to the doomed Boeing 777 carrying 239 people.

    Read more:

  3. #3


    Radar suggests Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 diverted towards Andaman Islands as U.S. official says 'act of piracy' a possibility and plane may have LANDED safely

    The international search for the missing Malaysian jetliner expanded further into the Indian Ocean on Friday amid signs the aircraft may have flown for hours after its last contact with air-traffic control nearly a week ago. Investigators were also examining if lithium batteries in the plane's cargo hold had been a factor in the disappearance.

    Read more:

  4. #4


    I'm surprised that with all the high technology in aviation, they haven't found this plane yet.

    Why Didn't the MH370 Passengers Call Anyone?

    Reuters: Kham
    Clouds hover outside the window of a Vietnam Air Force search and rescue aircraft An-26 on a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, off Vietnam's Tho Chu island March 10, 2014. The disappearance of a Malaysian airliner about an hour into a flight to Beijing is an "unprecedented mystery", head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said, as a massive air and sea search has failed to find any trace of the plane or 239 people on board

    One of the many pressing mysteries surrounding the disappearance of flight MH370 is the question of how a plane could have been diverted without contact from any of the passengers.
    There are a few possible reasons for this. It’s possible that the plane’s altitude—as high as 45,000 feet—made it difficult to get a signal from a cell tower.

    Even at low altitude, tower signal density is low along MH370’s flight path. Tower signals spread and grow weaker as they travel further. Couple that with the high altitude and velocity of a passenger plane and that makes it very difficult to get a strong or consistent signal.

    On social media, no mid-flight interactions have emerged. Some pre-flight posts have possibly been unearthed on Weibo, a Chinese network. According to one site, “26-year-old passenger Yue Wen Chao posted a picture of his girlfriend and this note, ‘See you in Beijing.’”

    Even if cell phone signals were stronger, that doesn’t do much for a plane full of unconscious passengers. If the cabin depressurized quickly, a lack of oxygen would have made it nearly impossible for passengers to remain awake.

  5. #5


    This is new, significant data:

    Missing Jet's U-Turn Programmed Before Signoff, Sources Say

    By Tom Costello

    The missing Malaysia Airlines jet's abrupt U-turn was programmed into the on-board computer well before the co-pilot calmly signed off with air traffic controllers, sources tell NBC News.

    The change in direction was made at least 12 minutes before co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid said "All right, good night," to controllers on the ground, the sources said.

    The revelation further indicates that the aircraft's mysterious turnaround was planned and executed in the cockpit before controllers lost contact with Flight 370. But it doesn't necessarily indicate an ulterior motive.

    "Some pilots program an alternate flight plan in the event of an emergency," cautioned Greg Feith, a former National Transportation Safety Board crash investigator and NBC News analyst.

    "We don't know if this was an alternate plan to go back to Kuala Lumpur or if this was to take the plane from some place other than Beijing," the doomed flight's intended destination, Feith said.

    Malaysian military radar last detected Flight 370 in the northern mouth of the Strait of Malacca, south of Phuket Island, Thailand, and west of the Malaysian peninsula — hundreds of miles off course.

    Authorities said for the first time Saturday that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 veered sharply off its flight plan because of “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”

    The course of the flight was changed by entering navigational instructions into the Flight Management System (FMS), the cockpit computer that directs the plane along a flight plan chosen by pilots.

    Information from the FMS is among the data transmitted by the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) which sends information back to the airline’s maintenance base.

    That system later stopped working. It is not clear whether it shut off before or after Flight 370’s last verbal contact with the ground, Malaysia Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told reporters Monday.

    Sources tell NBC News that whoever turned the plane around programmed the FMS and knew exactly what they were doing.

    "This would be a very elaborate scheme," said Ross Aimer, a retired United Airlines pilot who few the Boeing 777. They would've needed "very, very extensive training to pull this off," he added.

    Meanwhile, authorities continued to scour for the vanished aircraft.

    The search area has grown to a massive 2.24 million square nautical miles, Malaysian officials said Tuesday. It has been divided into a 14-section grid, with Australia, China, Indonesia and Kazakhstan spearheading efforts in those areas to which they are closest.

    First published March 18th 2014, 6:22 pm

    © 2014

  6. #6


    Chances are this one will remain a mystery forever. A random ship may find some floating debris tomorrow or a month from now but I doubt they'll ever find the answers to what actually happened.

  7. #7


    Two Objects Spotted Near Australia Are ‘Credible’ Evidence of Missing Jet

    1:35 AM ET

    Australia's Prime Minister said his country spotted two objects potentially connected to the missing Malaysian Airlines 777 on satellite imagery before sending aircraft to check a new search area miles off the country's western coast

    Two objects, possibly debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, have been spotted via satellite imagery of the Indian Ocean.

    An Australian Air Force Orion aircraft is currently in the area and searching for the objects, one of which is 24 m (78 ft) long. Three additional aircraft are due to follow shortly to aid the search operation.

    An Australian Air Force Orion aircraft is currently in the area and searching for the objects, one of which is 24 m (78 ft) long. Three additional aircraft are due to follow shortly to aid the search operation.

    Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament in Canberra Thursday that the evidence was “credible,” while also cautioning “it may turn out that they are not related to the search for flight MH370.”

    However, analysts do not believe that the Australian premier would choose to inform Parliament in person, rather than simply issuing a statement, unless there is a strong possibility that debris from the missing Boeing 777-200 had finally been found.

    The task of locating the objects will be extremely difficult. Although weather is good, visibility is currently hampering search efforts, according to officials. Once found, data marker buoys will be dropped to allow drift modeling and an ongoing reference point to follow.

    Military planes from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand are currently combing 305,000 square kilometers (117,000 square miles) of the Indian Ocean, narrowing the field from 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) yesterday. The U.S. 7th Fleet is also in the vicinity, and commercial satellites have been redirected here.

    Military planes from the U.S., Australia and New Zealand are currently combing 305,000 square kilometers (117,000 square miles) of the Indian Ocean, narrowing the field from 600,000 square kilometers (232,000 square miles) yesterday. The U.S. 7th Fleet is also in the vicinity, and commercial satellites have been redirected here.

    MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 7:41 am on March 8 with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board. After passing over the eastern coast of Malaysia and into the Gulf of Thailand, contact was lost and the plane apparently performed a U-turn and headed back over the northern part of Malaysia.

    Subsequent data communications indicate the plane may have traveled on for up to seven hours after this point, with search efforts centered on a northern corridor stretching from northern Thailand over western China towards Kazhakstan, and a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia and into the southern Indian Ocean by the western coast of Australia.

  8. #8


    117,000 square miles.

    Nevada. Poland.

  9. #9


    Malaysian Leader Says Flight 370 Ended in Indian Ocean


    PEARCE AIR FORCE BASE, Australia — Malaysia’s prime minister said Monday that further analysis of satellite data confirmed that the missing Malaysian airliner went down in the southern Indian Ocean with its passengers and crew. The announcement narrowed the search area but left many questions unanswered about why it flew to such a remote part of the world.

    Experts had previously held out the possibility that the jet could have flown north instead, toward Central Asia, but the new data showed that it could have gone only south, said the prime minister, Najib Razak.

    Mr. Najib appeared eager to bring some finality to the families of the passengers on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, two-thirds of them Chinese citizens. The families have grown increasingly angry about the lack of clear information about the plane’s fate. The Boeing 777, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, was headed from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared on March 8.

    The aircraft’s last known position, according to the analysis, “is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites,” Mr. Najib said. “It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

    The new analysis of the flight path, the prime minister said, came from Inmarsat, the British company that provided the satellite data, and from Britain’s air safety agency. The company had “used a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort,” he said.

    Shortly before the prime minister spoke at 10 p.m. local time, Malaysia Airlines officials informed relatives of the missing passengers and crew about the conclusion. Most were told in person or by telephone, the airline said, and some were sent a text message: “Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.”

    In a statement afterward, the airline said that the families “have been at the heart of every action the company has taken since the flight disappeared,” and that when it “receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area.”

    The hunt for the missing plane has focused on a section of the southern Indian Ocean in recent days, and an Australian naval vessel searched there on Monday after a military surveillance aircraft spotted what was described as possible debris from the missing jetliner.

    Mr. Najib said the Malaysian authorities would hold a news conference on Tuesday to give further details about the satellite data analysis and other developments in the search.

    After his announcement, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement demanding to see the analysis that led to Mr. Najib’s announcement.

    “We have already asked that the Malaysian side go further in providing all the information and evidence used to reach this conclusion,” said the statement from Hong Lei, a spokesman for the ministry.

    “China’s search work is still continuing,” the statement said. “We hope that the Malaysian side and other countries will also be able to continue their search work.”

    But the waters off western Australia pose formidable challenges for the hunt. After a number of false sightings over more than two weeks of search efforts, Australian officials were cautious about what the crew members of a Royal Australian Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft had spotted as they combed the search area Monday.

    Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament that the crew reported seeing two objects, “a gray or green circular object” and “an orange rectangular object,” in the ocean about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth, in western Australia.

    “We don’t know whether any of these objects are from MH370,” Mr. Abbott said. The objects in the water could be flotsam, he said.

    Even so, the tenuous lead was treated in Australia as a significant development.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said that a naval survey ship, the Success, was on the scene and that the crew was looking for the objects. Andrew Thomas, a journalist with the Al Jazeera television news network who was aboard the Orion aircraft, said that the crew spotted four confirmed objects, that flares were dropped and that the Success was nearby.

    The floating objects spotted by the Australian plane were different from the possible debris reportedly seen during the first search flights by two Chinese Air Force Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft the same day. Later on Monday, Australian authorities said all search aircraft had finished their missions for the day and had reported no further sightings.

    The crew of one of the Chinese planes spotted “suspicious objects,” according to Xinhua, the official Chinese news agency, which had a reporter on the search plane. But the description was vague, and the observation was made during poor weather conditions. A Chinese diplomat in Australia, Qu Boxun, told reporters that the plane was at “a very high altitude when the objects were spotted.”

    Chris McLaughlin, a vice president at Inmarsat, the British satellite operator, said the company had spent the past six days reviewing data about Flight 370 in close consultation with Boeing and others involved in the investigation and came to the conclusion that the plane must have flown to the south. “Our measured series of signals very much mirror the predicted southern track after the last possible turn,” Mr. McLaughlin said, adding that they were consistent with previous indications that the plane continued on at more or less the same speed and in the same direction for the last hours of the flight.

    He said that Inmarsat was confident enough in the new analysis, which it reviewed with Boeing and with a number of independent aviation experts, that it submitted its findings on Sunday to the Malaysians by way of the British safety agency, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch.

    “What we still can’t say is what happened at the end, when the plane ran out of fuel,” Mr. McLaughlin said. “We have no way of knowing if it dropped from the sky or glided.”

    A 777 jet could certainly fly for hours on autopilot, according to experts. " ‘Heading select mode’ is dumb,” said a former Boeing instructor pilot who spoke on the condition that he not be named, referring to one way the plane’s autopilot could be set. “It doesn’t know anything except, ‘maintain this heading,’ ” he said.

    The instructor, who has trained Boeing pilots at airlines around the world, said that the plane would probably fly until fuel was exhausted in one engine, after which the plane would most likely become destabilized and crash without a skilled human pilot at the controls.

    Inmarsat has provided investigators with its estimate of the plane’s coordinates when it emitted the last of the signals, at 8:11 a.m. Malaysian time on March 8. “We are very comfortable with the guidance we have been giving,” he said.

    The search for the aircraft’s fuselage and other bulky parts of the jet that probably sank to the bottom of the ocean is likely to be focused within a limited distance from the suspected flight path. But the search for floating debris, which investigators say will offer proof that the jet hit the water, is likely to be increasingly widespread.

    Erik van Sebille, an oceanographer at the University of New South Wales who studies and has conducted experiments on the flow of water around Australia, said currents in the southern Indian ocean could scatter floating debris in very different directions.

    “The whole ocean down there is like a pinball machine,” Dr. van Sebille said. “It is difficult to track or predict where water goes, or do what is really important now, which is to backtrack where water came from.”

    Dr. van Sebille described the conditions of the southern Indian Ocean as “extremely hostile,” with large waves, swirling currents and winds that are among the strongest on the planet.

    “The longer it takes, the harder it will be to backtrack those pieces of debris,” he said.

    Finding the plane’s flight recorders, or black boxes, will be crucial to determining what may have caused the plane’s disappearance. The devices are designed to transmit signals to help searchers locate them, but searchers have only about two weeks left to find them before the devices’ batteries run out.

    The United States Pacific Command said on Monday that it would move a Towed Pinger Locator System, capable of locating a black box to a depth of 20,000 feet, into the region. “This movement is simply a prudent effort to pre-position equipment and trained personnel closer to the search area, so that if debris is found, we will be able to respond as quickly as possible, since the battery life of the black box’s pinger is limited,” Cmdr. Chris Budde, a Seventh Fleet operations officer, said in an email statement.

    The reasons for Flight 370’s radical departure from its intended flight path remain mysterious. The Malaysian government has offered few findings from the police inquiry into the people on the missing plane, including the captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and the junior pilot in the cockpit, Fariq Abdul Hamid. Investigators and officials have said that the plane’s extraordinary trajectory, veering far off course just after its last radio contact with the ground, and the fact that its transponders stopped working at about the same time appeared to involve actions by someone experienced in aviation.

    Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian defense minister and acting transport minister, said on Monday that the police had interviewed more than a hundred people, including relatives of each pilot. He said a committee was considering whether to make public the transcript of the pilots’ communications with air controllers before the plane disappeared.

    Mr. Hishammuddin also confirmed that the plane was carrying wooden shipping pallets. One of the objects reportedly sighted in the Indian Ocean was such a pallet, but they are commonly used and one in the ocean could have come from a ship.

    The chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, said on Monday that that the plane was also carrying about 440 pounds of lithium batteries, which can be a fire hazard n certain circumstances. But he said the batteries had been handled and packaged so that they were were deemed “non-hazardous” under civil aviation standards. The cargo also included some fruit and radio equipment, he added.

    Mr. Ahmad Jauhari did not directly answer a question about whether the full cargo manifest had been given to Australian investigators, saying that was a matter for the investigation team. “If the Australians request this, they have to go and request it from the investigating team,” he said.

    Separately on Monday, a Malaysia Airlines Airbus A330-300 that was headed overnight to Seoul, South Korea, from Kuala Lumpur was diverted to Hong Kong because of a generator failure, the airline announced. The carrier said that an auxiliary generator continued to supply power to Flight 66, which was carrying 271 passengers. A spokeswoman for the Hong Kong airport authority said the flight had landed without incident shortly before 3 a.m.

    Mohd Taufik Atman, a spokesman for the airline, said the plane was under repair and would resume service once a technical crew gave the go-ahead. He said that the airline had no plans to investigate the incident further. “This was a mechanical issue,” he said.

    Thomas Fuller reported from Pearce Air Force Base and Chris Buckley from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Michael Forsythe contributed reporting from Sepang, Malaysia; Nicola Clark from Paris; Edward Wong from Beijing; Matthew L. Wald from Washington; and Michelle Innis from Sydney, Australia.

    © 2014 The New York Times Company

  10. #10


    Missing Malaysia Airlines pilot 'terribly upset' by marriage break-up

    Published: March 26, 2014 - 2:19PM

    As search crews continue to scour the Indian Ocean for any signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, questions once again have been raised about the veteran pilot at the controls of MH370 and his state of mind at the time of the flight.

    A reporter from the New Zealand Herald has filed a story from Kuala Lumpur claiming to have spoken to one of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah's friends, a fellow pilot, who said the 52-year-old was going through a number of relationship problems and felt that his life was crumbling at the time of the ill-fated flight on March 8.

    The friend spoke to the New Zealand Herald on the condition of anonymity. Fairfax Media hasn't been able to independently verify the claims.

    The Herald report suggested Captain Zaharie may have taken the Boeing 777 for a "last joyride", doing things in a plane he had previously only been able to do on a simulator, before crashing into the Indian Ocean.

    "He's one of the finest pilots around and I'm no medical expert, but with all that was happening in his life Zaharie was probably in no state of mind to be flying," the friend told the newspaper.

    His comments contrast with official statements from Malaysian authorities, who have said that the focus of the investigation was moving away from Captain Zaharie and his co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27.

    The friend claimed that Captain Zaharie was "terribly upset" when his wife, Faizah Khan, told him she was leaving. The couple have three children and, although they had separated, had been living in the same Kuala Lumpur house.

    The friend also claimed that Captain Zaharie was experiencing relationship problems with another woman he was seeing.

    He claimed Captain Zaharie may have incapacitated the co-pilot and other flight crew to keep them out of the cockpit before taking the Malaysia Airlines plane to a part of the world he had never flown in before.

    "It is very possible that neither the passengers nor the other crew onboard knew what was happening until it was too late," the friend told the Herald.

    Malaysian police have been scrutinising the life of Captain Zaharie, his co-pilot, and the 10 cabin crew.

    Sources close to the investigation in Kuala Lumpur have told Fairfax Media that while pilot suicide had not been ruled out, the focus has now veered away from a hijacking or terrorist attack to the possibility of a mechanical failure, explosion or fire on board.

    Malaysian police have described as “mere speculation” a recent report in a British tabloid newspaper that Captain Zaharie spoke on his phone to an unknown woman from the cockpit of the plane before departure.

    They have not commented on two separate British media reports in the past day which suggest that the plane was deliberately crashed in a suicide mission.

    Britain's The Daily Telegraph reported on its front page on Tuesday that investigators believed that no malfunction or fire was capable of causing the Boeing 777's unusual flight path after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, or the disabling of its communications systems.

    Rather, they believed it must have been a deliberate - and therefore suicidal - act, the newspaper reported.

    British tabloid The Daily Mail also claimed that investigators were examining whether the chief pilot deliberately sabotaged the aircraft in a carefully planned suicide bid.

    The newspaper claimed the jet was tracked by military radar flying at between 43,000 feet and 45,000 feet shortly after the last communication from the cockpit.

    Passengers and crew are feared to have suffocated when oxygen levels ran out as it spent 23 minutes at up to 45,000 feet, the Daily Mail reported.

    Captain Zaharie's family members have not spoken publicly since the plane disappeared, while friends have defended him and produced a YouTube tribute.

    Neighbours quoted Captain Zaharie's youngest son, who they called Seth, as saying he hoped his father's body could be recovered so the family could have closure.

    Mohamed Nasir Asim, a neighbour who lives two doors from the Captain Zaharie's house in a gated suburb of Kuala Lumpur, said he saw Seth, in his 20s, after the announcement by Malaysia's prime minister Najib Razak on Monday night that the plane had crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

    “Many of his friends and several neighbours also dropped by his home to console him,” Mr Nasir told the New Straits Times newspaper.

    “I told him to be strong in the face of this challenge … he told us that he wished the authorities would recover his father's body and bring it back for burial.”

    Captain Zaharie has another son, Ahmad Idris and a daughter Aishah, 27 who was educated in Melbourne.

    Little has been reported in the Malaysia media about his wife, although friends have released a photograph of her to the local media.

    Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein has stressed that all people on board the plane remained innocent until proven guilty.

    Background checks on all the passengers and crew have failed to reveal anything suspicious. with Lindsay Murdoch

    This story was found at:

  11. #11


    New Satellite Images Said to Be ‘Credible Lead’ in Jet Search


    An inflatable boat was launched from an Australian Navy ship during the Indian Ocean search.
    Credit Australian Defense Force, via Reuters

    KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — Malaysia’s defense minister announced on Wednesday evening that Airbus Defense and Space, Europe’s main commercial satellite company, had forwarded images taken on Sunday of 122 objects floating southwest of Australia and said that his country had asked Australia to check if they were debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

    While the objects might turn out to be unrelated to the missing aircraft, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, “this is still the most credible lead that we have.”

    The objects are up to 75 feet, or 23 meters, in length, and are visible through gaps in clouds over an area of 154 square miles, or 400 square kilometers, he said. Some of the objects are bright, he noted without elaboration. Metal objects that had recently entered the ocean might be reflective.

    Malaysia forwarded the information to Australia on Wednesday afternoon, and it was unclear if the floating objects can be checked before dark or if an inspection may need to wait until Thursday, Mr. Hishammuddin said.

    The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said in a statement that it had resumed search operations after a one-day halt for bad weather on Tuesday and that at least four aircraft were scheduled to be searching on Wednesday night.

    The floating objects are 1,589 miles, or 2,557 kilometers, southwest of Perth. If the debris turns out to be from the missing plane, the next step would be to figure out how far it might have drifted from where the aircraft might have splashed down, to begin an undersea search, Mr. Hishammuddin said.

    The United States Navy has sent an undersea listening device and a sonar device. But each needs to be towed far underwater behind a ship traveling scarcely faster than a person walking on land.

    The listening device could pick up signals from the plane’s data recorders before they stop transmitting pings in two to three weeks but needs to be towed within a mile of them for reliable detection. The sonar will work even after the data recorders go silent but needs to be even closer to detect wreckage on the seabed.

    Finding floating debris from the plane might help provide closure for the families and friends of the passengers and crew, but may prove of limited use in locating the data recorders, oceanographers cautioned. The debris could have drifted hundreds of miles in the 18 days since the plane disappeared, said Jianping Gan, an oceanographer at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology who has done research aboard a Chinese icebreaker in the waters around Antarctica.

    Jason Ali, an earth sciences professor at Hong Kong University who has studied currents in the Indian Ocean, said that “even if you’ve got floating material, if it has been floating for two and a half weeks, it’s not going to have much relation to the wreckage” on the seabed.

    Mike Purcell, a senior engineer at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts, who led two underwater search expeditions for the wreck of Air France Flight 447 in the Atlantic in 2010 and 2011, said that the current search zone for Flight 370 was far more remote than the location of the Air France wreckage and that the seas and weather conditions were known to be considerably rougher.

    “That can slow down your progress considerably, because it makes it more difficult to operate, to get the vehicles in and out of the water,” he said. And bad weather can mean days of waiting to resume the search.

    Mr. Purcell estimated that there were fewer than a dozen underwater search vehicles in the world equipped with the sonar and imaging technology required for a deepwater search of this scale. These are operated by a handful of private companies and oceanographic institutes as well as by the United States Navy, he said.

    Mr. Purcell said one advantage was that the sea floor in the southern Indian Ocean was relatively flat compared with the highly varied terrain of the mid-Atlantic. The depth of the water is comparable, however, at more than 10,000 feet.

    Military submarines have sophisticated equipment for listening for ships or other submarines. But unlike towed sonar like the Bluefin-21, which the United States Navy is sending and which can descend to 14,700 feet, or a towed pinger detector, which can plunge 20,000 feet, military submarines are designed to operate within a few hundred feet of the surface. That limits their ability to detect pings from far below the surface in water of different densities, moving at different speeds and at different temperatures.

    For now, aircraft from Australia and other countries have been looking in an area the size of the western and southwestern United States, where the plane is believed to have disappeared after its last signals to a satellite. They have not extended the search to all the places where debris might have drifted. But because the area of the aircraft’s disappearance is so far from land, roughly a four-hour flight in each direction, planes can spend only a couple of hours searching.

    Making matters worse, oceanographers said, is that currents in the southern Indian Ocean are less well understood than in more heavily trafficked seas. A violent storm on Tuesday, one of many in the region as the southern hemisphere’s winter approaches and days become shorter, has further churned the waters.

    And any debris sticking up out of the water will have been pushed by the wind in directions that may be different from prevailing currents. “With any wind, it’ll act like a sail,” Mr. Ali said. Waves may also have pushed objects in unpredictable directions, making it hard to calculate the movements of any debriss.

    Even finding the data recorders, although extremely difficult, may not be enough to explain what happened to Flight 370. The cockpit voice recorder stores only the two most recent hours of sounds in the cockpit before the aircraft ceases operating. Investigators have been most interested in why the plane turned around over the Gulf of Thailand roughly seven hours before it is believed to have run out of fuel over the southern Indian Ocean.

    The separate data recorder for various aircraft instruments and controls would have saved information from the plane’s sharp turn, but might not reveal the intent of whoever was in the cockpit or if the turn was deliberate, as the Malaysian authorities have suggested.

    Keith Bradsher reported from Kuala Lumpur, and Nicola Clark from Paris. Michelle Innis contributed reporting from Sydney, Australia, and Kirk Semple from Kuala Lumpur.

    © 2014 The New York Times Company

  12. #12


    I don't believe that a passenger plane can simply disappear without a trace, without the authorities knowing where it went. These videos make for interesting viewing:

    see next video ....

  13. #13

  14. #14



    People hate unresolved stories. There are already a host of theories to fill the void, fueled by incorrect and conflicting information that was released as the event unfolded. That happens a lot. The initial confusion as to what happened at Sandy Hook Elementary School spawned many conspiracy theories.

    You can spend a lot of time following the threads of these "explanations." The patent story in the second video above has already been debunked. Among other inconsistencies, the patent itself seems to incrementally improve the manufacturing process, "a system of optimizing the number of dies produced on a wafer," (according to Snopes). Not some breakthrough worth billions.

    Until a reasonable explanation comes out, I'm sticking with The Bermuda Triangle Offshoot in the Indian Ocean Theory. Why? Because it's simple, and I ain't gotta prove nuthin. It just is. I expect the plane to pop out intact somewhere off the coast of South Carolina.

    A terrestrial wormhole. Now that's interesting.

  15. #15


    It wasn't until fairly recent times that we learnt about unmanned drones, controlled from a bunker in Texas (or wherever), killing people thousands of miles away in such places as Pakistan. Who knows whether or not the military have the technical ability to "remotely take control" of an aircraft and land it where they choose? Not beyond the realms of possibilities I would suggest.

    No wreckage of any sort, stories/explanations that change almost daily, supposedly no radar tracking of any sort which I find incredulous and totally unbelievable. An intriguing issue is what exactly do the US military use Diego Garcia for? The Brits were prepared to carry out an act of disgraceful "ethnic cleansing" in order to provide an inhabitant-free island for the US military so obviously there were some very important issues at stake here - we should be told.
    Last edited by Wobert Wedford; April 13th, 2014 at 09:23 PM.

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