Sunday, March 16, 2014

Breaking News: #MH370 Malaysia Airlines missing flight : Updated: 1930/16March2014

LATEST UPDATES from press conference chaired by Malaysia Acting Transport Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein (6:00pm, Sunday 16 March 2014):

- The search for MH370 has become "even more difficult", with the search area expanded to include large tracts of land across 11 countries and oceans.
- The number of countries involved has increased from 14 to 25. Full story here.
- Malaysia's Foreign Ministry has requested support from over 22 countries, including: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia & Australia. For more on the difficulty of the search, go here.- This support would be in the form of general satellite data, radar playback and provisions for ground, sea and aerial search and rescue.
- Both northern & southern corridors are being treated with equal importance.
- According to Malaysia Airlines, the pilot and co-pilot did not ask to fly together.
- The MH370 aircraf was subjected to Boeing's mandatory maintenance program, fully serviced and fit to fly.
- Malaysia Airlines says the plane departed with its planned fuel load with nothing extra.
- The cargo manifest has also been investigated and no hazardous materials were found to be onboard.
- Malaysian police says not all background checks on passengers have been completed as some countries have yet to respond. Full story here.

UPDATE (4:00pm)
A press statement by the Ministry of Transport was released on Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak's Facebook page at about 2:40pm, 16 March 2014. It gives the official word on the status of the MH370 investigations. Read the full text here.
New York Times reports that investigators are puzzled why Malaysian military took no action over unidentified blip on their radar screens that was later said to be the missing flight MH370, Story here.

Malaysian spotters fight turbulence, nausea and mental strain while scanning an endless expanse of water find Flight 370. Read what they have to go through here.
India says the plane could not have flown over its airspace—which casts doubts on the theory that it went toward the north corridor between Turkmenistan and Kazakstan Story here.
India puts on hold its search for the missing plane on Malaysian instructions, with a review of search operations with more than a dozen countries scheduled for later today in KL. Story here.

Also, friends of the main pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah say it’s impossible he could be involved in a terrorist attempt given what they know of him. What they say about him here.

Police have searched both pilots’ homes. Full story here.

Read the analysis on how MH370 has highlighted key gaps in air defense in general here.

Putrajaya rejected Interpol's help in finding MH370, a senior Western law enforcement official told ABC News. Full story here.

A UK tabloid speculates that the pilot of MH370 may have hijacked the plane as a political protest against Anwar's conviction. Find out what's the theory here.

The Bangkok Post reports that the Thai Navy will cease the search after Najib's media statement about ceasing search operations in the South China Sea. Full story here.

BREAKING (3:05pm): Salient points from the Prime Minister's statement given at the press conference:
1. New data shows last confirmed location was Saturday, 8 March at 8.11AM which indicate how far the plane has flown.
2. Based on new satellite communication data, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications, Addressing and Reporting System or ACARS, was disabled just before the aircraft reached the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
3. Shortly aftewards, near the border between Malaysia and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft transponder was switched off.
4. From this point onwards, the Royal Malaysian Air Force’s primary radar showed that an aircraft, believed to be (but not confirmed to be) MH370, did indeed turn back.
5. It then flew back over Peninsular Malaysia, before turning northwest into the Straits of Malacca, up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage.
6. The PM also said that plane movement was consistent with "deliberate action" by someone on the plane.
7. There will be refocused investigation into the crew and passengers on board.
8. Despite news reports that investigators concluded it was a hijacking, PM Najib said "I wish to be very clear we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path." Hijacking is not ruled out, however.
9. Based on the direction in which the plane flew, the plane could have headed in one of two possible corridors:
- Northern corridor: border of Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan to Northern Thailand.
- Southern corridor: From Indonesia to Southern Indian Ocean.
9. Operations in the South China Sea will be ended and deployment of assets will be reassessed.
10. Malaysia Airlines is informing families of the passengers of the new developments.
11. "The search has entered a new phase... We hope this new information will bring us one step closer to finding the plane."

Source: Yahoo News


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