Australia says no time limit yet for MH370 search, passengers’ relatives demand more definite answers

 

ABOARD NAVAL VESSEL JINGGANGSHAN   March 31, 2014 

 

Soldiers look into distance aboard Chinese navy vessel Jinggangshan, on March 31,

2014. A total of seven Chinese ships convened on Sunday in waters west of Australia’s

Perth to coordinate their search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.  

Photo by Bai Ruixue

 

 

 

 

 

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ABOARD JINGGANGSHAN   2014-04-01 00:55:36

>>  Chinese vessels brave rough sea in search of MH370

By Sun Ruijun

Under dark clouds, Chinese naval vessel Jinggangshan is surging through violent storm and roaring waves in the southern Indian Ocean to hunt missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

The amphibious landing ship is just one of the seven Chinese ships scouring waters west of Australia’s Perth for the ill-fated Boeing 777-200, which suddenly vanished from radar on March 8 with 239 people on board.

On Monday morning, the log indicator in the chart room showed that the ship has sailed 7,500 nautical miles (14,000 km) since it joined the search mission 23 days ago.

With 154 of the 227 passengers being Chinese, Beijing has launched an all-out search and rescue mission involving air, sea and underwater forces. The Chinese navy has so far dispatched six aircraft and nine various warships in seven sorties, including amphibious landing ships, supply ships, missile destroyers and frigates.

“From the urgency of the mission, the mutability of available information, and the synergy of all contingents, this search and rescue endeavor is very similar to a real combat operation,” said Wang Yongxiang, commander of the Chinese navy’s maritime search mission.

The Jinggangshang, which cruised into the Indian Ocean after plowing waters in the Gulf of Thailand, Andaman Sea and Sumatra, and other Chinese naval vessels took part in the non-combat military operation in a high morale for a real sea battle, Wang added.

For normal maritime search operations, the search scope at sea will be gradually narrowed down once an area is locked. But due to uncertain information on flight MH370′s whereabouts, Chinese and foreign vessels are continuously expanding their search areas.

Just as Mark Binskin, vice chief of the Australian Defense Force, put it, “We are not searching for a needle in a haystack but still trying to define where the haystack is.”

The distance and time for this mission are growing beyond expectations, said Yang Liu, a marine in charge of the lookout post.

“Frankly speaking, we feel tired,” he said. “But we must keep holding on. Who knows when the target will appear before our eyes?”

Since joining the search mission, the Jinggangshan has been working round the clock with all its monitoring systems running in full swing, including radar, infra-red and optoelectronic searching devices. Two helicopters aboard the vessel also carried out air search.

The high intensity and complexity of the mission is a severe test to both the ship and its crews.

On Monday, the weather at the new target sea area of 72,000 square nautical miles, located at 28-34 degrees south latitude and 92-96 degrees east longitude, was rough with wild winds and huge waves, thus offering poor visibility.

“Today’s search will be led by the ships at sea, but we’ll also get ready for air search if needed,” said Wang Jingbin, deputy chief of a helicopter regiment of the South Sea Fleet.

The Chinese navy has employed nearly all its means to hunt all possible traces of MH370, including floating objects, oil slicks and life jackets.

Yuan Guangxue, a marine who participated in earthquake relief efforts in China’s southwestern province of Sichuan six years ago, said that no matter how complicated and arduous the mission is, the Chinese rescuers will not give up any hope.

“That disaster relief mission let me keep a principle in mind: We should never stop trying easily,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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KUALA LUMPUR   2014-03-31 23:57:27

>>  Urgent: Last words from cockpit: ‘Goodnight Malaysian 370′

By Zhao Bochao

The last conversation between the air traffic controller and the cockpit of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was at 1:19 a.m. and the last words were “Good night Malaysian three seven zero,” Malaysian Transport Ministry confirmed on Monday in a statement.

It said the authorities were still doing forensic investigation to determine whether those last words from the cockpit were spoken by the pilot or co-pilot.

The minister had instructed the investigating team to release the full transcript which would be made available during the briefing to the next of kin, according to the statement.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BEIJING   2014-03-31 23:39:12

>>  China urges continuation of search for MH370

By Bai Jie and Liang Linlin

China on Monday urged Malaysia to step up international cooperation and mobilize all available resources in the continued search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

The search for MH370 must not stop even for a moment before the wreckage is found, Chinese vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui said while meeting with visiting Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin.

Zhang said the search for the missing plane is still the top priority at the current stage, and that China will continue to input more resources into the search.

“China hopes the Malaysian side will share the information and data it has, comprehensively and immediately, ” he said.

Zhang also said the search and investigation should push forward in parallel to strive for a breakthrough at an early date, adding that Chinese experts would like to fully cooperate with the Malaysian side.

Zhang expressed the hope that the Malaysian side can meet the reasonable demands of the families of the Chinese passengers on the missing plane.

Hamzah said the Malaysian side appreciates China’s assistance in the search and investigation, as well as in the efforts to appease families of the Chinese passengers.

The Malaysian side will insist on the search continuing, said Hamzah, pledging that his country will never give up until it finds the missing plane and will carry out an in-depth investigation.

He said the Malaysian side understands the anxiety of Chinese families.

The Malaysian side sincerely hopes that it can face the current challenge with the Chinese side, Hamzah said.

Also on Monday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng held a working talk with Hamzah over the missing plane.

China has deployed 21 satellites and sent more than ten vessels and dozens of aircraft for the search, Xie told Hamzah, adding that the country also made several appeals to other countries to cooperate the search.

“It is unprecedented for us to mobilize so many resources for a search,” Xie said.

Hamzah said Malaysia will never give up the search and update information unreservedly.

Highlighting that the Malaysian side attaches great importance to relations with China, he said he hopes both sides could work together to ensure the smooth and sound development of bilateral ties.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER, went missing on its way to Beijing on March 8, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, including 154 Chinese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

BEIJING   2014-03-31   22:51:38

>>  China urges continuation of search for MH370

By Bai Jie

China on Monday urged Malaysia to step up international cooperation and mobilize all available resources in the continued search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370.

The search for MH370 must not stop even for a moment before the wreckage is found, Chinese vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui said while meeting with visiting Malaysian Deputy Foreign Minister Hamzah Zainuddin.

Zhang said the search for the missing plane is still the top priority at the current stage, and that China will continue to input more resources into the search.

“China hopes the Malaysian side will share the information and data it has, comprehensively and immediately, ” he said.

Zhang also said the search and investigation should push forward in parallel to strive for a breakthrough at an early date, adding that Chinese experts would like to fully cooperate with the Malaysian side.

Zhang expressed the hope that the Malaysian side can meet the reasonable demands of the families of the Chinese passengers on the missing plane.

Hamzah said the Malaysian side appreciates China’s assistance in the search and investigation, as well as in the efforts to appease families of the Chinese passengers.

The Malaysian side will insist on the search continuing, said Hamzah, pledging that his country will never give up until it finds the missing plane and will carry out an in-depth investigation.

He said the Malaysian side understands the anxiety of Chinese families.

The Malaysian side sincerely hopes that it can face the current challenge with the Chinese side, Hamzah said.

Also on Monday, Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng held a working talk with Hamzah over the missing plane.

Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER, went missing on its way to Beijing on March 8, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. The plane was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, including 154 Chinese.

 

 

 

 

 

CANBERRA   2014-03-31   22:37:36

>>  Australia vows to continue Malaysian airliner search as more ships arrive

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday refused to put a time limit on the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 although the multinational search efforts have turned out to be fruitless since the jetliner vanished in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8.

Visiting aircraft crews at Royal Australian Air Force Base Pearce, near Perth, Abbott said that if the mystery of the missing Boeing 777-200 airliner was solvable “we will solve it.”

“I’m certainly not putting a time limit on it,” he said at a press conference.

“As I said, we owe it to the families, we owe it to everyone who travels by air, we owe it to the governments of the countries who had citizens on that aircraft.”

A total of 10 aircraft took part in Monday’s search with the militaries of Australia, New Zealand, Japan and South Korea each contributing a P3 Orion, along with a Chinese air force Ilyushin IL-76, a U.S. Navy P8 Poseidon, two Malaysian air force C-130 Hercules, and a civil jet acting as a communications relay, said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

However, they returned to Perth with “nothing significant to report,” said the AMSA Twitter feed.

Meanwhile, 10 ships were also taking part: Australian navy vessels HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba, seven Chinese ships and a merchant vessel.

Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield was to conduct sea trials after leaving Perth Monday with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle to find and retrieve the missing aircraft’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders.

It was expected to take several days to reach the search area.

Malaysian guided missile frigate KD Lekiu arrived at the Australian naval base in Perth Monday to join search operations.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia   2014-03-31   19:40:54

>>  Urgent: Nothing significant found in MH370 search — AMSA

By Deng Yushan

Search operations for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean has concluded for Monday with “nothing significant to report,” Australian maritime authorities said.

“All aircraft returning. … Search will resume tomorrow,” tweeted the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR    2014-03-31   19:28:01

>>  Malaysian gov’t plans special high level briefing on MH370 for Chinese families

By Uditha Jayasinghe

In an effort to increase engagement with Chinese families of MH370 the Malaysian government will hold a high level briefing for them that will also be telecast live to Beijing, an official said here on Monday.

Malaysia’s Acting Transportation Minister Hishamuddin Hussein reiterated the government would “not give up” on the possibility of survivors and insisted all attention was being paid to ” reasonable” requests from families who had their loved ones broad MH370.

“The government is due to hold a high-level briefing soon for these families, to update them on the latest developments regarding the search for MH370. The briefing will include international experts who were not available during the briefings in Beijing, including experts from China. It will also be broadcast live to other families in Beijing.”

The briefing will provide an opportunity for the families to hear directly from some of these experts. The experts will be able to explain the research, the data and the methodology that has informed the search operation.

Hishamuddin continued to emphasize that the Malaysian government had at no point officially mentioned the flight crashed into the South Indian Ocean or there were no survivors.

He insisted speculation and misinformation was the main reason for tensions between families and the Malaysian government.

The minister downplayed questions from the media on the investigation and refused to release transcripts on the MH370′s flight path mapped out by investigators that had already been shown to families during briefings, saying it would be “unfair” to the families.

However Hishamuddin did assure the media that if investigators give approval more information would be released.

He also noted that fallback plans if debris from the flight is not found in the current search area had been discussed with partner countries but refused to divulge details.

Malaysian Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar is expected to give an update on internal investigations within the next few days.

“We understand that it has been a difficult time for all the families. And we appreciate that many families want to see physical evidence before they will accept that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

“We find ourselves in a difficult position. I repeat: the question that the families principally want answered, is the question we simply do not have the answer to — namely, where their loved ones are, and where is MH370. We will continue searching, and we will keep investigating, and we will never give up until we find out what happened to MH370.”

Hishamuddin pointed out citizens from 13 other countries including Malaysians were also on MH370 and the government is engaging with those families as well. He recalled that during a meeting on Monday with Indonesian Special Envoy and Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister Wiwiek Setyawati Firman and her delegation, no dissatisfaction over Malaysia’s handling of the investigation had been expressed.

Malaysian Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya stated in response to questions that no indication of a lawsuit by the families had been made so far and the company would deal with such an issue if it happens.

Earlier reports noted families dissatisfied with the Malaysian airlines were planning to initiate legal proceedings against the company.

 

 

 

 

 

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KUALA LUMPUR   2014-03-31   19:17:21

>>  Malaysian PM to fly to Perth to observe MH370 search operations

By Uditha Jayasinghe

Malaysian Premier Najib Razak will fly to Australia this week as resources from seven countries led by Australia continue to search for the missing flight, an official said here on Monday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will travel to Perth on Wednesday to observe search operations firsthand and also to thank the personnel involved in the multinational search effort, including the Malaysian personnel, Malaysia’s Acting Transportation Minister Hishamuddin Hussein told reporters.

Militaries of Malaysia, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, China, Japan and South Korea are all working to find the missing plane, said Hishamuddin.

Indonesia has also given permission for 94 sorties – by aircraft from nine different countries – to fly in their airspace, as part of this search.

An Indonesian delegation led by Special Envoy and Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister Wiwiek Setyawati Firman met with Hishamuddin, where support was expressed to the Malaysian government regarding the ongoing search operations for MH370.

Indonesia is one of 14 countries who had passengers on the Malaysian airlines flight that went missing on March 8.

A Joint Agency Co-ordination Center (JACC), which will be based out of Pearce Air force base in Perth is also being established by the Australian government.

“As per the information that we have received from the Australian authorities, the area of search today is 254,000 square kilometers. Nine military aircraft and one civilian aircraft travelled to the search area. Eleven ships, including eight from China, were also engaged in the operation,” Hishamuddin said.

Australian ship Ocean Shield, fitted with the towed black box locator and a Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle, is due to arrive in the search area on April 3.

Hishamuddin, who is also the Malaysian Defense Minister, will leave on Monday night for the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii.

He will attend the Association of South East Asian Nations ( ASEAN) Defence Ministers’ meeting, which will be convened by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel from April 1 to 3.

“On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I will share with my ASEAN counterparts, and the Government of the United States, the latest developments regarding the search for MH370.”

“I will convey to our ASEAN neighbors and the United States, Malaysia’s utmost appreciation for their invaluable help in the multi-national search effort.”

“I will also use this opportunity to discuss the possibility of deploying more specific military assets, in the event that we need to embark on a more complex phase of the operation. I shall be discussing with the United States, and our other friends and allies, how best we can acquire the assets needed for possible deep sea search and recovery.”

The Malaysian government will also conduct a high level briefing for Chinese families of passengers on MH370, which is to be telecast live to Beijing for the remaining relatives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR   2014-03-31   18:44:45

>>  Malaysia vows not to give up till MH370 mystery solved

By Wu Xia

Malaysia pledged Monday that it will never give up until it finds out what happened to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

“As I promised the families that Malaysia, working with our international partners, will not give up hope. We will continue with all our efforts to find MH370,” acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said at a press conference.

As for the ongoing search, he said 10 aircraft and 11 ships are involved in Monday’s mission, which covers an area of 254,000 square km in the southern Indian Ocean some 2,060 km west of Perth.

Among the eight ships he mentioned, Chinese icebreaker Xuelong on Monday left the search area for home to prepare for the next polar expedition. It is expected to return to Shanghai in mid-April.

Meanwhile, a Malaysian warship and a fourth Australia ship, which is fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle, are due to reach the search area Thursday, according to the minister.

In addition, the Malaysian government will hold a high-level briefing for families of MH370 passengers, said the minister, adding that international experts will be present to update them on latest developments of the search.

According to the minister, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is to visit Perth on Wednesday, and Hussein himself will travel to the United States for discussions with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the search mission among other subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR   2014-03-31   18:08:42

>>  Malaysian PM to visit Perth over MH370 search

By Deng Yushan

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is to visit the western Australian port city of Perth on Wednesday over the ongoing search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a senior official announced here Monday.

Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein, who is also defense minister, added that he will travel to the United States for discussions with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel on the search mission among other subjects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR   2014-03-31   18:01:17

>>  Urgent: Malaysia vows not to give up till MH370 mystery solved

By Deng Yushan

Malaysia pledged Monday that it will never give up until it finds out what happened to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR   2014-03-31   17:53:22

>>  Urgent: Malaysian PM to visit Perth over Mh370 search

By Deng Yushan

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak is to visit the western Australian port city of Perth on Wednesday over the ongoing search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, a senior official announced here Monday. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia   2014-03-31   16:56:22

>>  Malaysian warship arrives in Australian naval base for briefing on MH370 search

By Deng Yuhan

A Malaysian guided missile frigate has arrived at an Australian naval base near Perth for briefings on the ongoing search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, tweeted the Australian Maritime Safety Authorities (AMSA) on Monday.

KD Lekiu is expected to head for the search area in the southern Indian Ocean after refuelling and replenishing at HMAS Stirling, a naval base located on Garden Island west of Perth.

The Malaysian vessel is to join later this week the massive multinational hunt for the ill-fated Boeing 777 jetliner, which disappeared early March 8 while carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

According to the AMSA, 10 aircraft and 10 ships are tasked to Monday’s hunt.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia   2014-03-31   15:59:36

>>  Urgent: Malaysian warship arrives in Australian

naval base for briefing on MH370 search

By Deng Yushan

A Malaysian guided missile frigate has arrived at an Australian naval base near Perth for briefings on the ongoing search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, maritime authorities said Monday. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott (center) speaks as former Australian Defence

Force Chief Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston (left) and Deputy Prime Minister Warren

Truss look on during a media conference at the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Base

Pearce, located north of Perth on March 31, 2014.    Photo – Xinhua/REUTERS

 

 

 

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BEIJING & CANBERRA   2014-03-31  14:07:09

>>  Australia says no time limit yet for MH370 search,

passengers’ relatives demand more definite answers

By Li Bo

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday there’s no time limit yet on the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Speaking at a press conference in the Pearce air force base, Abbott pledged to get to the bottom of the MH370 mystery, saying that if it is solvable, “we will solve it.”

Australia is working with all available resources on all possible leads in the search, said Abbott, adding that the country has brought “the best brains” to the mission.

Monday’s search and recovery operation in the Australian Search and Rescue Region for the missing jet resumed at 9 a.m. AEDT Monday (2200 GMT Sunday), involving 10 aircraft and 10 ships from seven countries.

They include one Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, one Japanese P3 Orion, a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, two Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.

In addition, a total of 10 ships have also been tasked with Monday’s search. This includes HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba, seven Chinese ships and a merchant vessel.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in its latest update that some parts of the search area will experience low cloud and rain throughout the day.

AMSA also confirmed that the Australian Defence vessel Ocean Shield is scheduled to depart from Perth Monday. It is now fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle.

Meanwhile, a new group of relatives of Chinese passengers on MH370 arrived in Malaysia from Beijing on Sunday, demanding more definite answers from the Malaysian side on the disappearance of the jet.

Jiang Hui, representing the relatives, said at a press conference that the families have three requirements.

Firstly, they hope the Malaysian side could release all data in a timely way, he said.

Secondly, they ask the Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government to apologize for the confusing information released in the first week after Flight MH370 went missing, and for the delay in the search and rescue operations, he said.

Thirdly, they demand an apology from the Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government for hastily drawing a conclusion that the plane had “ended” in the Indian Ocean, with little proof at hand, said Jiang.

He said the families also call for a meeting with aircraft manufacturers and service providers such as Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

“We want the evidence, we want the truth, we want our families,” said Jiang, stressing that they hope the Malaysian side could communicate with them with more sincerity.

The Malaysian government promised Sunday to give detailed information to the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the jetliner.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang and head of the Chinese government joint working group Guo Shaochun conveyed the Malaysian pledge when they met with 29 relatives upon their arrival in Kuala Lumpur on Sunday.

The Malaysia Airlines said Sunday in a media statement that it will send family members to Perth of Australia, where the current international search team is based, once it has been authoritatively confirmed that the physical wreckage of MH370 is found.

David Johnston, Australia’s defense minister, said there are 100 people in the air and 1,000 at sea scouring the new search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

Morale is high, Abbott told reporters, adding that the magnitude of the search “is increasing, not decreasing.”

The whereabouts of the missing Boeing 777 jet remain unknown despite the massive multinational search that has been under way since the plane mysteriously disappeared early March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

“The accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost and it has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean,” Abbott told reporters at the Perth military base, echoing his Malaysian counterpart’s view that the plane ended in the sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

KUALA LUMPUR   2014-03-31   13:58:42

>>  Search for MH370 reaches calmer waters as Malaysia reaffirms commitment

By Uditha Jayasinghe

Fresh objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean has renewed hopes for families of those aboard the missing Malaysian flight MH370 but uncertainty still surrounds even three weeks after its disappearance.

Orange items over two meters have been spotted in the remote Indian ocean region where search operations are ongoing but they are yet to be confirmed as belonging to MH370.

Search for the missing flight resumed on Monday with 10 aircraft and 10 ships. Australia who is spearheading the search operations has insisted that they will continue expanding the search until debris are found.

Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, fitted with a “black box” detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle, is also engaged in the search and officials are battling the clock as they attempt to uncover the plane’s black box, the flight data recorder, whose batteries are designed to last about 30 days.

The plane, with 239 passengers and crew on board, disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

Relatives of the 239 passengers and crew have begun arriving in Kuala Lumpur seeking more information from Malaysian officials. They have also requested that officials continue to search for survivors no matter how remote it is.

Malaysia’s Acting Transportation Minister Hishamuddin Hussein who met relatives on Saturday assured greater engagement and agreed not to close the door on the possibility of survivors.

He also called for calm from relatives as emotions ran high between them and the Malaysian government. “As long as there is even a remote chance of survival we will pray and do whatever it takes,” he promised.

“What they (families) want is a commitment on our part to continue the search, and that I have given,” Hishammuddin said. ” For me, as the minister responsible, this is the hardest part of my life at the moment,” he told reporters.

“Miracles do happen, remote or otherwise, and that is the hope that the families want me to convey — not only to the Malaysian government, MAS (Malaysia Airlines), but also to the world at large.”

An international panel on aviation security along with a parliament select committee may be appointed by the Malaysian government to probe overall airline safety.

Steps are also being taken to step up security in the entire aviation industry in the long term. “On the point of responsibility I’ve indicated that not only the Malaysian air force is doing the panel of inquiry, the Ministry of Transport is coming up with an international panel, which is being formed at the moment. The Malaysian government is to decide whether it would have a parliamentary select committee or royal commission and I believe all our partners would like to see what we have discovered through this exercise,” he said.

Hishammuddin pointed out that aviation industry stakeholders including Boeing, Rolls Royce, the FBI, Chinese agencies and AAIB from Britain are involved in the search operations, which made the right platform to also discuss future security measures for the aviation industry. “You practically got everyone in the aviation industry involved. This is the best time for everybody to relook, not only at the aviation landscape but also on the issue of security and defense.”

Meanwhile, arrangements to fly families of passengers to Perth will only be done after recovered debris is confirmed as from MH370.

Releasing a short statement, Malaysia Airlines clarified it will be making arrangements to fly family members to Perth, only once it has been authoritatively confirmed that the physical wreckage found is that of MH370. “Arrangements will be made as soon as the relevant government agencies have provided clearances for Malaysia Airlines to bring family members to the site where aircraft wreckage will be kept,” the statement added.

The statement said a Family Assistance Centre (FAC) will be established in Perth. The FAC will become the focal point for all activities that have been planned for the families including briefings, religious and prayer services. “Malaysia Airlines is fully committed to supporting all efforts by the relevant foreign governments who continue to search for and recover the aircraft, and it continues to cooperate with all authorities involved in the investigation.”

The Malaysian government has ordered the country’s Attorney General to look into the legal implications of flight MH370 including possible claims of compensation.

Malaysia’s powerful Cabinet of Ministers during a meeting on Friday morning decided to alert the Attorney General’s department to consider all the legal repercussions that could be faced by the government or Malaysian airlines.

Malaysian airlines is separately consulting lawyers to obtain legal advice on how to proceed with the potential financial compensation that could be demanded from the 239 families of those on board the Boeing 777 flight. “We are obviously talking to various legal parties and also the families on this. So far what we have been requested, especially for the family members, is to identify the evidence affirmatively. That means they are still looking for evidence of the aircraft, so that is why search operations have been focused on,” Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in response to questions at the media briefing.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which oversees the search, announced Friday that the search area was being shifted about 1,100 km to the northeast on what was said to be a credible new lead developed from a refined analysis of satellite and radar monitoring of the aircraft before it vanished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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CANBERRA    2014-03-31   13:56:42

>>  Black box developer doubts chances of finding missing plane data recorder

One of the Australian scientists who took part in the latter stages of the development of the first flight data recorder reckons searchers might never find the black box from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Dr Bill Schofield, who worked as a researcher for black box inventor, Australian scientist Dr David Warren, at the now defunct Royal Aeronautical Society in the 1960s, said he believed the MH370 black box would be almost impossible to find in the vast stretch of the southern Indian Ocean, where the aircraft is thought to have crashed.

Speaking to Xinhua by phone from his Melbourne home Monday, Schofield said the tragedy had highlighted the limitations of the cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

“All they are today are a computer with a hard disc that records an enormous amount of information — just about all the information you could possibly think of on an aeroplane is recorded on them,” he said.

“I’ve got to say I think their chances of finding this black box in very deep water when they don’t know where it went down within an area of 1,000 km are practically nil,” said Schofield, a former director of the Aeronautical and Maritime Research Laboratory at the Australian government’s Defense Science and Technology Organization.

One alternative to the aircraft data recorder and radar monitoring would be satellite transmission of flight data, but the world would need a satellite system that could handle a huge volume of data, he said.

“This plane was well outside normal trunk routes where you can download information as it goes along. There are no downloading stations in the southern Indian Ocean,” he said.

“It could transmit it all up to a satellite, but can you imagine how many aeroplanes are flying at any one time in the world and all of them saturating the satellite time? Satellite time is very valuable anyway. It would mean an awful lot of satellites.”

A longer battery life for the black box locator “pinger” was also possible, but the effects of an environment like the southern Indian Ocean were still unknown.

“Look how deep the water is. You’re talking about kilometers- deep water 5 km deep. A more powerful signal would be great if you didn’t drop it at the bottom of very deep water. The pressure of the water would be extreme,” he said.

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia    2014-03-31   12:52:05

>>  Australia determined in search for missing Malaysian flight despite frustration

By He Jing

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot on Monday voiced determination here in pressing ahead with the unprecedented task to locate missing Malaysian flight MH370 although no sign of the jet has been found more than three weeks after its disappearance.

In a visit to Pearce airbase 40 km north of Perth, the prime minister said that the ongoing search in the southern Indian Ocean is an extraordinarily difficult exercise as the joint forces are searching a vast area of ocean and are working on quite limited information. “Nevertheless, the best brains in the world are applying themselves to the task and all of the technological mastery we have is being applied and brought to bear here today. If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it,” Abbot told the media at the airbase.

He said Australia has regular military cooperation with the United States, New Zealand and Malaysia and that with China, Japan, South Korea was heartening which “demonstrated in this humanitarian cause that nations of the region has come together to work for the betterment of humanity and to work for resolving this extraordinary mystery and to bring peace and closure to the families of 239 victims onboard the aircraft.” Despite numerous sightings of floating objects from satellites and aircraft, none of the objects have yet been retrieved, but searchers need to recover debris in order to better understand what happened to the Boeing 777 which disappeared with 239 passengers and crew on board en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which oversees the search, announced Friday that the search area was being shifted about 1,100 km to the northeast on what was said to be a credible new lead developed from a refined analysis of satellite and radar monitoring of the aircraft before it vanished.

Australian navy ship, the Ocean Shield, equipped with a black box detector and an unmanned underwater drone, is due to leave later Monday.

Malaysia said the plane which disappeared less than an hour after taking off , was likely diverted deliberately.

Former Australian defense chief, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, will lead a new center in Perth to coordinate the international search effort, the Australian prime minister said.

The Joint Agency Coordination Center will work with key Australian government, state and international partners to provide a single contact point for families.

A total of 10 aircraft and 10 ships will be involved in Monday’ s search. New analysis of radar and satellite data concluded that the Boeing 777 travelled faster and for a shorter distance after vanishing from civilian radar screens on March 8.

The priority now is to “try to recover the black box, the recorder of the aircraft as soon as possible,” said Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss, adding that the ATSB and the Australian safety bureau has a particular skill to interpret that data when it becomes available.

“There is lots of challenges ahead but the key task is to find whatever we can locate the aircraft so that we can move to the next stage of investigation.”

There is a race against the time to find flight 370′s black box, whose batteries are designed to last for one month.

Numerous objects have been spotted in the past several days since the new search area is defined but none has been confirmed as coming from missing flight MH370.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia   2014-03-31   10:45:35

>>  Australian vessel reaches target area for MH370 search

By Deng Yushan

Australian vessel Toowoomba has entered the target area for search of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, maritime authorities said Monday.

The ship is one of the 10 vessels tasked with hunting for the ill-fated Boeing 777 jetliner on Monday in a patch of the southern Indian Ocean about 2,060 kilometers west of Perth, according to the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA).

The other vessels are seven Chinese ships, a merchant vessel and another Australian ship, said the AMSA, which said in the latest update that 10 aircraft will carry out airborne search on Monday.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia   2014-03-31   10:34:05

>>  Urgent: Australian vessel reaches target area for MH370 search

By Deng Yushan

Australian vessel Toowoomba has entered the target area for search of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, maritime authorities said Monday. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia   2014-03-31   09:20:19

>>  Australia vows to press ahead with MH370 search

By Deng Yushan

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday that there is no time limit yet to stop searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Speaking at a press conference here in the Pearce air force base, he pledged to get to the bottom of the MH370 mystery, saying that if it is solvable “we will solve it.”

Australia is working with all available resources on all possible leads in the search, said Abbott, adding that the country has brought “the best brains” to the mission.

David Johnston, Australia’s defense minister, said there are 100 people in the air and 1,000 at sea scouring the new search area in the southern Indian Ocean.

Morale is high, Abbott told reporters, adding that the magnitude of the search “is increasing, not decreasing.”

The whereabouts of the missing Boeing 777 jet remain unknown despite the massive multinational search that has been under way since the plane mysteriously disappeared early March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Among the 239 people on board, 154 are Chinese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

PERTH, Australia   2014-03-31   08:45:52

>>  Urgent: Australia vows to press ahead with MH370 search

By Deng Yushan

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday that there is no time limit yet to stop searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

He pledged to get to the bottom of the MH370 mystery, saying that if it is solvable “we will solve it.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

CANBERRA   2014-03-31  05:38:18

>>  Monday’s search for MH 370 resumes: AMSA

By Wang Xiaoshu

Monday’s search and recovery operation in the Australian Search and Rescue Region for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is scheduled to commence about 9am AEDT this morning, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said in its latest update.

AMSA said some parts of the search area will experience low cloud and rain throughout the day. According to the arrangements from AMSA, Monday’s search activities will involve a total of 10 aircraft.

They include one Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion, one Japanese P3 Orion, a Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet, a Chinese People’s Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, a Republic of Korea P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, two Royal Malaysian Air Force C-130 Hercules and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.

The Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft is scheduled to depart about 9am AEDT. The US Navy P8 Poseidon and RNZAF P3 Orion are scheduled to depart about 11am AEDT. The Republic of Korea P3 Orion is scheduled to depart about 11.30am AEDT.

The civil jet acting as communications relay is due to depart about 12pm AEDT. A RAAF P3 Orion is scheduled to depart about 2pm AEDT. The two Malaysian C130 Hercules aircraft are scheduled to depart about 1pm AEDT. A RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart about 2pm AEDT.

And the Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream jet is due to depart about 2.30pm AEDT following by the Japanese P3 Orion at about 3pm AEDT.

In addition, a total of 10 ships have also been tasked to today ‘ s search. This includes HMAS Success and HMAS Toowoomba, seven Chinese ships and a merchant vessel.

AMSA also confirmed that the Australian Defence vessel Ocean Shield is scheduled to depart from Perth Monday. It has now been fitted with a black box detector and an autonomous underwater vehicle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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