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22 June 2024

Missing Air Asia cannot be equated with Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight: Abbot

By Staff with Agencies

Latest: The plight of a missing Air Asia jet lost over the Java Sea cannot be equated with Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which vanished without a trace in March, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Monday.

Australia is leading the search for MH370 which was on a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared off radars on March 8 with 239 people onboard.

"I think it would be a big mistake to equate what has happened here with MH370," Abbott told Sydney radio station 2GB after budget airline AirAsia said a flight carrying 162 people was missing.

"MH370, as things stand, is one of the great mysteries of our time. It doesn't appear that there's any particular mystery here.

"It's an aircraft that was flying a regular route on a regular schedule, it struck what appears to have been horrific weather, and it's down. But this is not a mystery like the MH370 disappearance and it's not an atrocity like the MH17 shooting down."

MH17, also a Malaysia Airlines flight, was shot down on July 17 over rebel-held territory in eastern Ukraine, killing all 298 people onboard -- among them 38 Australian residents.

"These are very different circumstances to MH370," Hansford told Sydney's 'Daily Telegraph'.

"This plane does not have the range to go very far for a major detour."

Abbott said he was sure that aviation experts would convene to come up with more effective ways to track planes following the events of 2014, to ensure "that we don't just lose planes".

He said Australia would make itself "as available as we can be" to assist Indonesian authorities in the search for the AirAsia plane which was heading to Singapore from Surabaya in Indonesia's east Java when it disappeared in bad weather on Sunday.

An Australian air force AP-3C Orion joined the search early Monday. (AFP)

US military shot down Malaysian Airlines flight, says ex-CEO

US military shot down MH370 because they thought it had been hacked and was about to be used in terror attack`, claims former airline boss, Daily Mail reported

Marc Dugain, the former chief executive of now-defunct Proteus Airlines, said the jumbo jet was shot down near a US military base on the remote island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean after it was hacked.

He told Paris Match that islanders in the Maldives near Diego Garcia told him they saw the missing aircraft flying low.

Marc Dugain (Getty Images)

Dugain spoke of a fisherman on a small island who spoke of a 'huge plane' in Malaysian Airline's colours on March 8.

He also said islanders had found an empty fire extinguisher from the plane in the water near Baarah island.

The Senegal-born Frenchman, who is now a successful novelist, also told a radio station he was warned not to investigate MH370 by an intelligence source, who spoke of 'risks' and counselled him to 'let time do its work'.

Malaysia ignored vital information

Malaysian authorities initially rejected evidence with regards to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which went missing over 9 months ago.

British satellite company had informed the authorities that the plane was in the southern Indian Ocean and critical days were lost in the search as Malaysia chose to ignore the information.

British sources claim that this vital information was given within 24 hours of the disappearance on March. However, Malaysian authorities rebuffed such findings, The West Australian reported.

Inmarsat also stated they continued to get a signal every hour from MH370 until 8.19am WA time and approached Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch with its data who realized the significance of this information.

Inmarsat was asked to provide a satellite data link to the Malaysia Airlines fleet.

Signals picked up from its satellite were 38,000km above the Indian Ocean and relayed via a ground station in Perth.

The Malaysian authorities were forced to take the findings seriously when the AAIB teamed with Inmarsat to re-present the MH370 data five days after the Boeing 777 disappeared.

Fresh image of a sonar impression

More than nine months after the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 went missing, a fresh image of a sonar impression of the sea floor has been released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).

The picture released by the MH370 investigators is from the southern Indian Ocea, reports MSN.com.

"The image is a synthetic aperture sonar acoustic image of the seafloor gathered by GO Phoenix," the ATSB said in a statement.

"This is indicative of the resolution and quality of the data and that it is revealing important detail of the seafloor."

The plane carrying 239 people onboard went off the radar on March 8.

'Explosion of lithium batteries cause of crash'

A new theory has now emerged, which suggests that lithium batteries carried by missing Boeing 777 may be have led to an explosion. About 5,000 lithium-ion batteries were loaded in cargo container for the test, reported 'ibtimes.com'.

In a recently released video by US government reportedly shows ‘how susceptible passengers planes are to fires or explosions’ that can be caused by lithium batteries stored in cargo section, the report quoted ‘ABC 10News’.

The test conductors used cartridge heater to ‘simulate a single battery experiencing overheating’. During the test, the heat led to ‘overheating’ of batteries kept close. The temperature rose up to 1,100 degrees resulting in an ‘explosion’ that ‘blew open the container door’.

And if lithium batteries caused the tragedy, then ‘fumes’ from explosion could have spread poison in the air ‘overcoming the crew’, suggests experts, which could have led the plane to fly for hours on autopilot mode before it ended in the Indian Ocean.

However, aviation safety expert Han Weber disagrees. He says, if this were the case, then ‘fire suppression system should have addressed the fire’. Also, if there was fire, the plane would immediately gone down.

Families of victims asked to provide DNA samples

Malaysian Airlines has confirmed that police’s forensic team had requested families of MH370 victims to provide their DNA samples, according to a report in Asiaone.

MAS said that their top priority is to "provide care and assistance" to the families of the passengers and crew affected by the MH370 tragedy.

Earlier reports: Fresh drift model to help debris search

Australia is working on new drift modelling to expand the geographical area in which wreckage from missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 may come ashore, the Australian search coordinator said on Wednesday.

Initial analysis had suggested that the first debris from the plane could come ashore on Indonesia's Western Sumatra after about 123 days.

"We are currently working ... to see if we can get an updated drift model for a much wider area where there might be possibilities of debris washing ashore," search coordinator Peter Foley told reporters in Perth.

Foley said the research centre was receiving reports at least once a week of debris washed up on the Australian coastline, but none has so far been identified as coming from the missing aircraft.

The drift modelling supplements an ongoing surface and underwater search for the plane, which disappeared over the remote Indian Ocean on March 8, with 239 people on board.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan on Tuesday dismissed suggestions there was disagreement among the five groups that make up the international team - America's Boeing Co, France's Thales , US investigator the National Transportation Safety Board and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation - on where to search. (Reuters)

This video explains why Malaysian plane is still missing

A video has been released explaining the nitty-gritties involved in the search of the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, which went missing almost 8 months ago, Yahoo News reported.

The plane that disappeared in March had 239 passengers on board and was bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The video states, "The search area is a long way from land, the water is very deep and the seafloor is largely uncharted."

Stressing on the ongoing search, "The expert satellite working group - comprised the best international minds in this field - is continually refining analysis of the available data to identify the areas of the highest priority.”

Search for MH370 includes all possible points along the Indian Ocean. They will be focusing on those areas where communication between the plane and a satellite could have taken place.

As the seafloor in the search area is 6km deep and cannot be penetrated by daylight, a detailed underwater search is being carried out,

Towed submersible vehicles fitted with sonar systems are being used in search.

The search is being conducted by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JAAC), a co-operative effort between Australia, Malaysia and China.

Judith Zielke, Chief Coordinator of JAAC told the New Straits Times last month that the search had begun with the optimism that the plane would eventually be found.

"We are planning for when the aircraft is located. We want to be ready to put in place all that is required at that time," she said.

"We are into the seventh month of the search and we want to be as ready as we possibly can."

Video was released shortly after Malaysian Airlines commercial director Hugh Dunleavy’s statement where he said the MH370 would be announced lost, thereby ending the search.

The comment outraged families of those who had travelled on the ill-fated flight.

Malaysia Airlines later distanced itself from Dunleavy's comments.

Missing jet to be declared 'lost'; families furious

Relatives of MH370 passengers are ‘bewildered’ after a Malaysia Airlines official reportedly said authorities plan to set a date to announce the plane ‘lost’.

Voice370, an association of relatives of passengers onboard the missing plane, said in a statement on Monday that it was ‘bewildered’ by the report last week, reported channelnewsasia. According to an industry source, such a declaration would mean the search would be called off, the report added.

However, Malaysia Airlines and officials in Australia have denied the reported comments by the carrier's commercial director Hugh Dunleavy.

The official was quoted in a ‘New Zealand Herald’ article as saying that ‘authorities were working to set a date, likely by the year-end, to formally announce the loss of MH370’ that is missing since March 8 with 239 people aboard.

"We don't have a final date but once we've had an official loss recorded we can work with the next of kin on the full compensation payments for those families," he was quoted as saying.

Malaysians fume at MH370, MH17 Halloween

Malaysians have taken offence to Halloween revellers’ use of MH370 and MH17 costumes.

In fact, pictures on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram under the hastags #MH370 and #malaysiaairline invited the wrath of other users as well.

Daughter of MH370 chief steward Andrew Nari compared the images to ‘Malaysians making fun of the World Trade Centre tragedy’, reported news.com.

Chief of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia told the Malay Mail that such acts must be condemned and urged the pictures be deleted.

Social media users termed the pictures ‘tasteless’, ‘insensitive’ and ‘grossly offensive’.

First lawsuit filed in Malaysia over missing fligh

A Malaysian family on Friday sued the government and beleaguered national carrier for negligence in the mysterious disappearance of flight MH370, in what is believed to be the first lawsuit filed over the disaster.

The suit was filed by lawyers on behalf of the two underage sons of Jee Jing Hang, who was on board the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines flight.

Gary Chong, a lawyer for Jee's relatives, said the suit was filed in a Malaysian court on Friday.

The family is suing Malaysia Airlines for breach of contract, saying the deeply troubled carrier failed in its contractual responsibility to deliver Jee to his destination.

The family is also suing Malaysia's government, civil aviation authorities, immigration department and air force for negligence.

"Our clients are after the truth. We have confidence in our judiciary system that this suit will be heard and dealt with fairly," a statement by the family's legal team said.

Chong said the family would seek damages but declined to specify a figure.

MH370 inexplicably disappeared on March 8 with 239 people aboard en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in what remains one of history's great aviation mysteries.

Malaysia's government believes the flight diverted to the far southern Indian Ocean, citing sketchy satellite data, but no trace has been found despite an extensive search.

Neither the government nor airline has revealed any results from investigations launched in the aftermath of the tragedy, and consistently stresses that only recovery of the lost Boeing 777 aircraft will provide full answers.

Some next-of-kin bitterly accuse the government and airline of a bungled response and cover-up, charges that are strenuously denied.

Malaysia's air force came under particular fire after top brass acknowledged military radar had tracked the red-eye flight as it doubled back over Malaysian airspace after diverting.

The air force took no action, saying the radar blip was not considered a security threat.

The chances of success for the lawsuit were not immediately clear.

Aviation experts have told AFP that under international law it is an airline's responsibility to prove it was not to blame for an accident.

The lack of evidence could complicate that task for the carrier.

The airline also has been hammered by the loss in July of flight MH17 - apparently shot down over Ukraine with the loss of 298 lives in another still-unexplained disaster -- and is in dire financial straits as business has dried up.

A state-linked investment fund has directly taken over the airline as part of a rescue plan.

In countries such as China - home to the majority of MH370 passengers - and Malaysia, courts are considered relatively conservative regarding the awarding of damages.

Protocol vs cost vs fading hope...

In the latest allegations by experts on the missing MH370, a pilot and air-traffic management specialist, has claimed that a breach of protocol by authorities made the ongoing search costly, according to The Malaysian Insider report.

The aviation expert also alleged that the Malaysian and Australian authorities could be involved in a cover-up, according to ibtimes.com

Desmond Ross believes that had proper protocol been followed, the search would not have taken this long. She blamed officials’ failure to release recordings from the first hours of the aircraft's disappearance for the delay in finding the plane. She acknowledged that many facts are missing, but many are available and that should be released, she added.

Indonesia alert; debris to be given to Australia

Following a suggestion by Australian officials about the possibility of the missing plane’s debris ‘most likely to wash up on the Indonesian coast’, reports state the country is asked to be more attentive.

According to a report in ibtimes, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has ‘issued an alert’ in Indonesia and have advised authorities to pay attention to the appearance of any evidence from MH370.

Meanwhile, Indonesia is yet to confirm if they have discovered any traces from the missing plane, the report quoted The Star.

It is stated that if the Indonesian authorities uncover any related debris, it will be handed over to Australia to be photographed and Boeing will take the investigations further.

Wreckage most likely to wash up on Indonesian coast

Wreckage from the missing MH370 is most likely to wash up on the coast of Indonesia and not Australia, according to Australian Transport Safety Bureau officials, reported Independent.

Authorities said they continue receiving regular reports from the public in Australia about the potential wreckage, however, it is much more likely that any wreckage would have drifted the other way.

Australia has asked Indonesian officials to make public any possibility of evidence on its shoreline.

Malaysia's defence minister hopeful plane will be found

Latest update:Malaysia's Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Wednesday his country was determined to find missing Flight MH370, as he was briefed by Australian officials leading the complex search deep in the Indian Ocean.

Hishammuddin, who is in the Western Australian port of Fremantle to inspect one of the search ships, the GO Phoenix, said the passengers and crew on board the Malaysia Airlines jet "remain in our thoughts and also in our prayers".

"We must continue to hope because sometimes hope is all we have," Hishammuddin told reporters.

"We will find MH370"

The passenger aircraft was carrying 239 people, about two-thirds of them from China, when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8. No sign of the Boeing 777 has ever been found despite a massive air and sea search.

The jet is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after inexplicably veering off course.

Hishammuddin was acting transport minister when the plane went missing and led Malaysia's search for the jet before Liow Tiong Lai replaced him in the transport portfolio in June.

During his visit he toured the GOPhoenix, a Malaysian-contracted vessel which is conducting the underwater search using sophisticated sonar systems.

The renewed underwater probe began in early October and more than 1,200 square kilometres (463 square miles) have so far been scoured without

success, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said.

GO Phoenix is expected to leave for the Indian Ocean search site on Thursday after its resupply in Fremantle.

The Australian-contracted Fugro Discovery departed the port last week and is set to arrive in the search zone Wednesday, said the ATSB, which is

Leading the search

The Chinese survey ship Zhu Kezhen, which has since left the search zone, and the Australian-contracted Fugro Equator have been mapping the seabed since May before the underwater hunt.

The Fugro Equator is expected to finish its seabed mapping duties on Friday before it is outfitted with a sonar system so it can join the underwater search.

Hishammuddin met officials from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre, the Australian agency coordinating information about the search. He said Malaysia was dedicated in its support for the MH370 search.

"All that could have been done to find the plane at this point has been done," he said.

"This is it, the next phase. The search goes on."

Australian scientist's new lead

Seven months into the disappearance of the Malaysian flight MH370, people are questioning the accuracy of information given so far.

The company Inmarsat, which has been giving officials information about the whereabouts of the plane, says in a latest report that it is not completely convinced that the plane is in the ocean…there are too many factors at play to know for sure, according to a report in The Epoch Times.

The aircraft remained operational for at least seven hours after the loss of contact as the satellite terminal continued to transmit messages during this period, it said.

Meanwhile, Aron Gingis, head of the Australian environmental consultancy company Management Consolidated, believes that it is possible to find the missing plane by using ‘contrails’ [condensation trails] techcnology - examining cloud changes for evidence of vapour trails that form behind aircraft. This process has previously been used to locate shipwrecks in the northern Pacific Ocean, reported ibtimes.

Wife holds on to hope; believes husband is still alive

Almost seven months after the ill-fated flight MH370 disappeared from the radar, the wife of one of the passengers broke her silence for the first time. She spoke about the anguish of not knowing the fate of the passengers, as well as her husband.

Australia's Jennifer Chong has been married for 22 years and she agreed that she agrees with the Emirates airline boss Tim Clark, who had stated last week that the Malaysia Airlines flight was under control until the very end.

“Not knowing where your closest loved one is, one minute you feel hope and determination, and the next you’re slapped into the depths of despair,” said Chong to News.com.au.

The flight had disappeared on March 8 while it was on its way to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. There were 239 passengers and crew on board, including six Australians.

GO Phoenix 'clueless' at 670 sqkm

Latest update: Australian authorities released their first update on the latest underwater probe for missing flight MH370 Wednesday, saying more than 670 square km had been searched without success.

The Boeing 777, which is believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean after inexplicably veering off course, is now the subject of a renewed underwater hunt far off western Australia.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search, said the Malaysian-contracted vessel GO Phoenix was continuing to conduct underwater search operations.

The underwater search began on October 6 and followed a survey to map the seabed. About 127,000 square kilometres of the search zone has been mapped so far.

Sophisticated vehicles attached to the ship by tow cables have been programmed to detect the biggest parts of the aircraft likely to be in one piece, such as engines and fuselage.

"GO Phoenix continues to conduct underwater search operations," the ATSB said.

"At one point, operations were halted in order to recover the deep tow vehicle and rectify a cable connection fault. Operations were quickly recommenced."

GO Phoenix is searching the area considered the most likely final resting place of the plane, based on detailed analysis of the aircraft's satellite communications.

A second ship, the Fugro Discovery, is conducting sea trials and is expected to join the search mid next week in the second most likely area, officials have said. [AFP]

Emirates President Tim Clark raises doubts about satellite handshakes

The head of Emirates Airlines, one of the world's largest carriers, said there was no need to improve modern aircraft tracking systems even after a commercial jet disappeared earlier this year, according to ‘Spiegel’ magazine.

The disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 on a Boeing 777 jet in March has led to calls for real-time tracking of aircraft, and an airline-industry-led task force is looking at ways of improving tracking.

Tim Clark, president of Emirates Airline, told the German online magazine that modern planes already had the necessary equipment but measures should be taken to ensure pilots can't turn off tracking devices.

"The Boeing 777 is already one of the most advanced planes in the world, with the most modern communications systems," Clark was quoted as saying in an interview published on Thursday.

He said it was already difficult to turn off current tracking systems such as transponders and the ACARS system, which some suspect may have occurred in the case with MH370, but that plane manufacturers should work to make them impossible to switch off.

"We have to ensure that ACARS runs continuously. If that happens, then we can monitor planes over the seas, and then we wouldn't need extra tracking systems."

The task force looking at plane tracking, due to give recommendations in September, said draft proposals would be delayed, possibly until December.

International search efforts have centred around the plane's suspected crash site in a remote part of the Indian Ocean, identified via vague satellite signals, have so far failed to find any trace of the plane. Clark said this was unusual.

"Experience shows that when a plane crashes into water, you can always find something. But in this instance, we haven't found a single scrap of evidence that the plane is there. Just the satellite handshakes, and even those I have my doubts about," he said.

A report published by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau on Wednesday suggested that the underwater search should be prioritised further south within the wide search area it had previously identified.

Clark said Malaysia Airlines faced an uphill struggle in restoring its fortunes after the twin tragedies of MH370 and MH17, which was shot down over eastern Ukraine in June.

"As an industry we have to help the company get back on its feet. But with such a damaged brand, it will be incredibly tough."

Slow left, spiralling

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took a slow left turn as it spiraled into the Indian Ocean after its fuel ran out. That is the conclusion of an interim report concluded Wednesday, pointing investigators towards the southern section the current search zone.

Investigators on Wednesday confirmed that the priority search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has moved further south as end-of-flight scenarios indicated it may have spiralled into the Indian Ocean.

Seven months after the Boeing jet disappeared with 239 people onboard, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, leading the hunt for the jet, said ongoing analysis had helped refine the zone where an underwater search began this week.

"The latest analyses indicates that the underwater search should be prioritised further south within the wide search area for the next phase of the search," it said.

Despite an extensive hunt for the plane, which was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it mysteriously turned southwards on March 8, no sign of it has been found.

Aviation experts had little to go on besides the satellite communications from the plane, information they have used to pinpoint a search area in the vast ocean off western Australia.

They believe the best hope of finding the plane is within the seventh arc, or the final satellite "handshake" from the plane, estimated to be when it was in descent.

The ATSB said Wednesday that when all elements of the analysis so far were taken into account, it indicated that the aircraft "may be located within relatively close proximity to the arc", although further south than initially thought.

An ATSB report in June had put the priority search zone above an underwater feature named Broken Ridge, more than 2,000km west of Perth. But the new analysis puts it south of this feature, confirming earlier suggestions.

Analysis of the satellite data and end-of-flight simulations was ongoing, and this work could result in further changes to where the search was conducted, the ATSB added.

"The simulator activities involved fuel exhaustion of the right engine followed by flameout of the left engine with no control inputs," it said in an update on the flight path analysis.

"This scenario resulted in the aircraft entering a descending spiralling low bank angle left turn and the aircraft entering the water in a relatively short distance after the last engine flameout."

The analysis of communications and flight data has been used to determine the first underwater areas to be scoured, with the first ship starting its scan of the ocean depths this week.

The Malaysia contracted GO Phoenix is using sophisticated sonar technology experts hope will detect large pieces of debris such as an engines or fuselage. It will be joined two other ships in the weeks ahead.

Black-box alert... What Airbus, Boeing say

The world's two largest commercial aircraft manufacturers are at odds over equipping airliners with black boxes that eject in the event of a crash, making them easier to find.

Questions about whether airliners should be equipped with deployable black boxes arose after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared in March. The Boeing 777 with 239 people on board still has not been found. The purpose of the safety board's forum was to explore new technologies that would better enable planes like Flight 370 to be tracked and found.

Airbus is nearly ready to equip airliners with data and cockpit voice recorders that eject so that they can float to the ocean's surface instead of becoming trapped in wreckage, Pascal Andrei, the French aircraft maker's chief product security officer, told a forum of the US National Transportation Safety Board on Tuesday.

Boeing, Airbus' chief rival, has no plans to include such recorders in its planes, Mark Smith, an accident investigator for the aircraft maker, told the safety board. Such recorders are prone to ejecting accidentally and creating a safety risk, he warned.

Black boxes are equipped with an emergency locator transmitter that would be easier to detect if they are floating on the water's surface.

"We can say today that we are quite confident on this solution," Andrei said Tuesday. Airbus is working with its suppliers, he said.

"Something would come very soon after some more studies and assessments," he said.

A slide presentation provided by Andrei indicated Airbus plans to include the deployable recorders in its A350 and A380 airliners, which are designed for long-haul flights over ocean.

For the complete theory click here: Diego Garcia and MH370 conspiracy of 'lost' island in middle of it all