Thursday, 20 March 2014

Found Spot Possible Evidence Of Missing Jet

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Australian Maritime Safety Authority emergency-response-division general manager John Young speaks to the media about satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Canberra on March 20, 2014 


 Satellite imagery of the Indian Ocean has spotted two unknown objects located some 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, Australia, in what officials are cautiously hoping helps solve the mysterious disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

  Two objects, possibly debris from missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, have been spotted via satellite imagery of the Indian Ocean. A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft arrived in the area about 1.50pm Canberra time to search for the objects, one of which is 24 m (78 ft) long.

 Three additional aircraft—including from the U.S. and New Zealand—are following to aid the search operation.

 Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament in Canberra on 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 analyzing imagery is quite difficult, it requires drawing down frames and going through frame by frame,” said Australian Air Commodore John McGarry. “The moment this imagery was discovered to reveal a possible object that might indicate a debris field, we have passed the information from defense across to AMSA [Australian Maritime Safety Authority] for their action.

” The task of locating the objects will be extremely difficult. Although weather is good, visibility is currently hampering search efforts, according to officials.
The area is so remote that each aircraft will only have around two hours after arrival to scour the area. Once found, drop datum marker buoys will be dropped to allow drift modeling and an ongoing reference point to follow.

 Investigators will not be able to positively identify the debris until sea support arrives in the region, which could take days. However, a merchant ship that responded to a shipping broadcast issued by RCC Australia on Monday is expected to arrive in the area about 6 p.m. But the satellite sighting was reported some 1,429 miles southwest of Perth and the objects may have drifted further. 

 John Young, of the AMSA, told a press conference in Canberra Thursday afternoon that the objects were “relatively indistinct on the imagery” but are “credible sightings” and “probably the best lead with have right now.”

 However, the area is known for debris from shipping and some have cautioned against jumping to conclusions. Items spotted floating in the Gulf of Thailand last week proved to be erroneous.

 Michael Daniel, a retired United States Federal Aviation Administration official, told The Straits Times that is may take up to 48 hours to confirm that the debris belongs to the missing flight. 

 “If they have a strong feeling or indication that the debris belongs to the aircraft, one of the first things authorities will do is drop sonar buoys in the water,” he said. “If the black box is there, the buoys should be able to pick up the signals.

” Thursday marks 12 days since the twin-engine, 200-ton aircraft disappeared, but the black box flight recorder will only emit a signal for 30 days.

 The southern Indian Ocean is one of the deepest anywhere in the world. Some believe the water could even present more challenges than the 12,000 ft stretch of the Atlantic where Rio-Paris Air France flight 447 crashed in June 2009. It took two years to find that flight recorder. 

 In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein also urged caution.”We have been very consistent. We want to verify, we want to corroborate,” he told reporters. 

 China’s Foreign Ministry urged Australia in statement Thursday to report back finding as soon as possible. Of the 239 people on board, 153 were Chinese nationals. 

 MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 7:41 am on March 8 with 227 passengers and 12 crew. 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. 

 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 to where the latest debris has been spotted. 

 Meanwhile, a tense atmosphere has gripped the Lido Hotel in Beijing and Everly Hotel in Kuala Lumpur where relatives of those who were on board are gathered.

 “We are still waiting for verification from the authorities. If it’s really MH370, we will accept that fate,” Selamat Omar, father of engineer Khairul Selamat who was on the flight, told gathered reporters in the Malaysian capital. 

 After craving any news for so long, many now dread that it may soon arrive.

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