Archive for March 30th, 2014

‘Credible leads’ are not hard facts in MH370 quest

By Mark Odell in London
Financial Times
March 28, 2014

The sudden switch in focus across hundreds of kilometres of the southern Indian Ocean in the hunt for flight MH370 underlines just how little real information investigators have at their disposal.

The favourite phrase of officials is “the most credible lead”, of which they have had a few during the past week as the families of those aboard the Malaysia Airlines flight – and a fascinated global audience – wait for answers. But it reveals how much of the search is still down to trial and error.

“The information is very, very confused at the moment,” says Matthew Greaves, head of the safety and accident centre at Cranfield University in the UK. “They [the international investigation team] are trying to be as open as possible but some of the information they are releasing is wrong and they are having to correct it.”

After numerous “credible leads” of debris in parts of the southern Indian Ocean this week, in an area spanning 1.6m sq km, the search abruptly shifted 1,100km northeast on Friday after data appeared to help investigators get a fix on the speed of the aircraft. Read the rest of this entry »


MH370 search: Captain Mark Matthews’ paints pessimistic assessment of black box search

Tom Allard
Sydney Morning Herald
March 30, 2014

Finding the black box flight recorder of the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet is simply ”untenable” as things stand at the moment, the US Navy officer who will lead the search has conceded.

The deeply pessimistic assessment from Captain Mark Matthews came as the Royal Australian Navy vessel Ocean Shield was being loaded with a ”pinger” locator and an underwater drone critical to recovering the black box .

However, ADV Ocean Shield will not arrive in the 319,000 square kilometre search area for three to four days, while the beacon on the black box could have only four days of battery power left.

”It all depends on how effective we are at reducing the search area,” said Captain Matthews, a search-and-recovery expert who was involved in the two-year search to find the black box of Air France flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic Ocean.

”Right now, the search area is basically the size of the Indian Ocean, which is an untenable amount of time to search.” Read the rest of this entry »


Call on all MPs to reach a parliamentary consensus that regardless of whether “black boxes” are retrieved or not, a parliamentary select committee on MH370 disaster will start preparations and investigations six weeks after March 8

The fourth week and 23rd day of the longest and largest-ever multinational sea-and-air search for the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 Boeing 777 which appeared to have vanished into the air on March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board and the second day of a new search area 1,850 kilometres (1,150 miles) west of Perth have all proved to be fruitless with items scooped from the sea by Chinese and Australian ships turned out to be fishing material or rubbish.

The multi-national SAR mission is in a race against time, as the “black boxes” – the flight recorders which pick up cockpit conversations as well as flight data – emit pings for 30 days after becoming immersed in water, i.e. by April 7.

The MH370 “black boxes” may last at least 10 more days and perhaps a few weeks longer, depending on water temperature and other factors.

The “black boxes” are designed to withstand depths of 20,000 feet and may work in even deeper water, the range of the pings is a mile.

Cases where recorders were retrieved from the ocean include TWA Flight 800 in 1996, EgyptAir Flight 990 in 1999, Alaska Airlines Flight 261 in 2000 and Air France 447 in 2009.

However, without a signal from the boxes, it will be a daunting task to find the “black boxes” of MH370 when its debris have still to be found – a much more impossible task than the challenge faced by the search teams for Air France 447, which went down midway across the Atlantic Ocean in 2009. Although debris was found within days of the Air France 447 crash and the flight path was known, it took investigators another two years to retrieve the recorders from the bottom of the sea. Read the rest of this entry »


MH370 search draws blank as Australia brings in ex-military chief

The Malay Mail/AFP
March 30, 2014

PERTH, March 30 — A new search area failed to yield an immediate breakthrough in the hunt for ill-fated Flight MH370 today, as Australia appointed its former military chief to help coordinate the operation in the Indian Ocean.

Debris spotted by aircraft and then picked up by ships combing the new search zone proved not to be from the Malaysian Airlines’ Boeing 777, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

“It appeared to be fishing equipment and just rubbish on the (ocean’s) surface,” an AMSA spokesman told AFP.

As the hunt resumed 1,850 kilometres (1,150 miles) west of Perth, Australia said former defence force chief Angus Houston would head a new unit to help in the search, which involves the militaries of seven nations — Australia, China, Malaysia, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States. Read the rest of this entry »


‘Frustrated’ China mulls building 50 satellites following failure to find MH370, says daily

The Malaysian Insider

March 30, 2014

Frustrated over the failure to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Beijing is mulling the setting up a global monitoring network, the South China Morning Post reported today.

The Hong Kong daily reported that Beijing was considering building more than 50 orbiting probes so that it could monitor the entire planet.

Chinese researchers said if China were to increase its network of surveillance and observation satellites, it would be on a par or larger than the United States.

The report said Beijing has been frustrated by the failure to locate MH370 despite 21 days of search operations.

Professor Chi Tianhe told SCMP that if China had a global monitoring network today, the 26 nations involved in the search operations for the missing Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO) would not be searching in the dark.

“We would have a much greater chance of finding MH370 and tracing it to its final position,” said Chi, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Sciences’ Institute of Remote Sensing and Digital Earth.

“The plan is being drafted to expand our regional monitoring capability to global coverage,” Chi told SCMP. Read the rest of this entry »


In epic MH370 hunt, experts say cost could exceed RM130.9m

By Syed Jaymal Zahiid
The Malay Mail Online
March 30, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 30 — The on-going search for Malaysia Airline flight MH370 is likely to exceed the US$40 million (RM130.9 million) spent to recover the remains of the Air France flight AF447 jet, experts have said.

Scientists from China — whose people make up two-thirds of the 239 people on board the passenger plane missing for 22 days now — speculate that a prolonged search could see the bill hit 10 times higher than that forked out for AF447, the South Morning China Post (SCMP) has reported.

The English-language Hong Kong daily reported France and Brazil had poured out over US$40 million to retrieve the flight recorder from the French plane that crashed en route to Rio de Janeiro from Paris, using sophisticated technology like underwater robots to scour the seabed in search for the wreckage. Read the rest of this entry »


Call for RCI into the 29-year Memali incident, especially as the protagonists like Mahathir and Musa Hitam are still alive and can testify on the tragedy which cost the lives of 18 people (including four policemen)

Former Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister, Tun Musa Hitam, laid bare one of the nation’s longest-kept secrets when he revealed that the then Prime Minister, Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohamad, was in Malaysia during the bloody Memali incident on Nov. 19, 1985 when police forces killed Ibrahim Libya and his followers in a clash which resulted in 18 casualties, including four policemen.

Musa’s revelation at a public discussion organised by Kelantan State Government held in Kota Bahru three nights ago came as a shocker as close to three decades, it was reported and believed that Musa took charge of the operations as Home Minister in 1985 because Mahathir was in China for a visit.

However, Musa said in Kota Bahru that Mahathir was in Kuala Lumpur when the bloodshed took place, adding: “In fact, two three days after that he was still in KL.”
In his response, Mahathir said he could not remember if he was in the country during the Memali incident and that he would have to check into his records to verify if Musa’s claim was true.

It is just incredulous and completely unbelievable that a person credited with an elephantine memory could not remember such an important detail in an incident, which together with two other incidents, must rank as his three “blackest and darkest” episodes in his 22-year premiership, especially as the Memali tragedy claimed 18 lives, which included four policemen. Read the rest of this entry »


Missing Malaysian Flight MH370: Search will be biggest, most expensive ever – salvage expert

Joe Krishnan
The Independent
29 March 2014

Some small and as yet unidentified objects were said to have been recovered from the Indian Ocean on Saturday but experts have warned that salvaging MH370 in some of the world’s deepest and most turbulent waters will not be easy.

David Mearns, owner of Blue Water Recoveries in West Sussex and one of the world’s most experienced deep-sea shipwreck salvagers, described the efforts that would be undertaken to recover the plane that disappeared with 239 people on board on 8 March.

He said that the seabed some 1,800km (1,100 miles) from Perth, Western Australia, may not be “precisely mapped out” which could rule out many systems for recovering any parts of the Boeing 777 that may have sunk. He said the operation would be divided into two phases: recovery and salvage.

“Only a small number of systems have the technology to search that far,” he said. “A handful of companies will have the equipment and necessary expertise within their teams to do this.” Read the rest of this entry »


In MH370, unity for the country not the same as for the government

March 29, 2014

It must be said, time and again, that there is a difference between government and country. A huge difference. And asking people to unite for the country is absolutely different from asking people to unite
for the government.

More so in the days and weeks after flight MH370 and the 239 people on board vanished without a trace. Many have asked to pray for the passengers and the plane, to unite for the flight and for the country.

That doesn’t mean that criticising the incompetence of the Home Minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi or the inaccurate presumption of the Deputy Defence Minister Datuk Abdul Rahim Bakri is unpatriotic. Read the rest of this entry »