Malaysia Airlines hunt: As it happened

By Supriya Jha | Last Updated: Friday, March 21, 2014 - 00:26

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha and Himanshu Kapoor

07:49 pm: Search for `best lead` called off

The search in the Indian Ocean for the possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has been called off due to bad weather.

Australian rescue officials, searching the `best lead` said that the operation will resume on Friday morning.

Four planes were checking to see if two large objects spotted in satellite imagery bobbing in the remote ocean were debris from Fight 370 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board.

06:34 pm: Malaysia preparing to recover the flight data and voice recorders

After more than 12 days of search operation for the missing flight MH370, Malaysia is now preparing for the need to conduct deep-sea searches to recover the flight data and voice recorders.

If the jet is confirmed to have crashed at sea, the next step is to actually find the black box, Transport Minister Hishammuddin said on Thursday.

Menwhile, searchers flew over a remote part of the Indian Ocean hunting for debris in “probably the best lead” so far in finding the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.

05:53 pm:`Not hiding anything about MH370`

Malaysian consul general in India Mohamed Hatimi Abas categorically denied today that his government had hidden any fact about the missing Malaysian Airline aircraft, during his visit here, as per PTI report.

"It is a wrong perception about our government. Since there were many possiblities linked to the plane`s fate, people took it otherwise. But, I want to tell you that we never tried to hide anything from the people," Abas said.

05:00 pm: Australian satellite image shows March 16 date

If one examines the satellite image provided by AMSA, the date inscribed on the picture is March 16, that is, four days ago.
However it is not yet officially clear when was the image captured.

Earlier, speaking in a news conference, Malaysia`s civil aviation department chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman confirmed that debris was received on Thursday, but was clueless on the timings when the satellite captured the image.

04:10 pm: UK sending HMS Echo to search the southern corridor

The UK Ministry of Defence has announced that it will send HMS Echo - a coastal survey ship - to help search the missing plane debris in the southern corridor, reported the BBC.

03:35 pm: Australia`s RAAF`S Orion unable to find the objects

AMSA news tweets that Royal Australian Air Force`s AP-3C Orion aircraft has not been able to locate the objects spotted by satellite, thought to be the plane debris as he clouds and rain hampered the search efforts by reducing visibility.

03:20 pm: Four aircraft re-oriented to search the debris

Addressing the press conference, Malaysian minister Mr Husein said that four aircraft were involved in the search in the southern Indian ocean. He added that UK too, was sending a ship to help the hunt mission in the southern air corridor.

03:10 pm: We have a credible lead now: Malaysian minister

Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein says that the Ausralian satellite imagery has provided a credible lead.
"Every effort is being made to locate objects seen in the satellite images," he told a news conference. He adds that the images though "credible", may not be belong to the missing plane.

02:55 pm: US Navy`s Poseidon now flying over the area where objects were spotted

US Navy`s high-tech search aircraft P-8A Poseidon is now hovering over that area in southern Indian Ocean where the possible debris was spotted, said the BBC.

The aircraft is a well equipped long-range anti-submarine warfare, surveillance aircraft capable of broad-area maritime operations and will clarify whether the objects spotted on satellite imagery really belong to the missing jet.

02:30 pm: US Navy aircraft Poseidon`s radar hits not linked to suspected plane debris, says pilot

Dousing hopes that the US Navy`s high-tech surveillance aircraft P-8A Poseidon had captured "hits of significant size", the pilot of the aircraft has said that the radar hits are not believed to be linked to objects identified by Australia, reported the CCTV news.

02:10 pm: Missing jet hunt a `logistical nightmare`

Stressing on the extent of difficulty involved in locating the possible debris of the plane, Australia Australian Defence Minister David Johnston told Sky News that the operation was a `logistical nightmare`, reported the AFP.

"This is a terribly complex logistical operation to identify what we have found via the satellite."

Johnston added that the investigators were in a "most isolated part of the world".

"We are doing everything we can to try to solve this potentially tragic mystery."

01:40 pm: `Wish the plane has been hijacked`

For the kins of passengers on board the missing Malaysian airlines Flight 370, the wait is agonizingly endless. And the news of Australian debris sightings only added to their disbelief and distress. If the debris is confirmed to belong to the missing jet, it would end all hopes for the survival of the passengers.
So Zhang Xinyu, whose mother was on the plane, hopes that the plane was hijacked and is hiding somewhere.

Speaking to the BBC, he said,"I`ve heard about the new findings by the Australians in the south Indian Ocean. If it is anything, it would be a bad news for us all. We all wish that the plane had been hijacked and is being hidden somewhere."

12:45 pm: `Something down there`, says crew aboard US Navy`s Poseidon aircraft

The crew of US Navy patrol aircraft P-8A Posiedon have expressed strong indications of "something significant being down there", referring to the possible debris of the missing jet.

ABC News reporter David Wright, who is aboard the search aircraft, said that he was told that Posiedon`s radar signals are getting “hits of significant size” and “all indications something down there.”

12:30 pm: AMSA shares satellite images of possible debris

Australian Maritime Security Authority has shared new satellite images of the possible debris sighted in southern Indian Ocean.

12:00 pm: Best lead we have so far, says AMSA chief

Talking about the Australian sightings of the possible debris, AMSA chief John Young said, “This is a lead, it’s probably the best lead we have right now".

However, he cautioned that the objects could also be seaborne debris along a key shipping route where containers periodically fall off cargo vessels, reported the AP.

11:10 pm: US Navy`s Poseidon aircraft arrives in Australia to join the search

Meanwhile, the US Navy`s P-8A Poseidon patrol aircraft has arrived in Australia to continue the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

"The search has expanded to the southern portions of the Indian Ocean and the P-8A has the range required to reach those waters," the Star Online quoted Lt. Clayton Hunt of Patrol Squadron (VP) 16, the search and rescue detachment mission commander.

11:00 pm: Malaysia deploying Navy ships to hunt for possible jet debris

To verify the information on the possible debris from the missing jet as suggested by Australian satellite imagery, Malaysia has deployed aircraft and vessels to help locate the objects in the southern Indian Ocean, Mlaysia`s Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said today.

He added that six navy ships and three aircraft have been deployed to look for the objects, which might be the fresh leads in the hunt for the disappeared plane.

10:50 pm: AMSA hints at bleak possibility of debris belonging to missing jet

Reiterating Australian PM`s remarks, AMSA`s John Young too hinted at the bleak possibility of the debris belonging to the missing jet.

"We have been in this business of doing search and rescue and using sat (satellite) images before and they do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good," he said.

As many possible debris findings earlier, have turned out to be false, the officials are exercising caution this time.

10:25 pm: Objects might not belong to the missing jet: Oz PM

Australian PM Tony Abbott said that he had informed the Malaysian PM Najib Razak about the possible debris being spotted by the Oz satellites. But downplaying the new clue, Abbott said that the search would be quiet difficult and the objects might not belong to the missing jet.

AMSA`s John Young also sounded a note of caution saying: "We have been in this business of doing search and rescue and using sat (satellite) images before and they do not always turn out to be related to the search even if they look good."

"The task of locating these objects will be extremely difficult and it may turn out they are not related to the search for MH370," Abbott said.

10:20 pm: AMSA shares details of the objects spotted

AMSA chief John Young is addressing a press conference sharing details about the object spotted on satellite imagery.
John Young says tells a press conference that the objects were located in the southern Indian Ocean about 2,500km (1,550 miles) south-west of Perth on Australia`s west coast.

He said that the objects were "of a reasonable size and probably awash with water and bobbing up and down over the surface".
He added that one of the objects is 24m long.

10:10 pm: Malaysia not sending assets to help search objects

Malaysia is not sending any plane to help locate the suspected plane debris and said that it is depending upon Australia for any trace of the objects that might be the parts of the missing plane.

9:50 pm: FBI assisting Malaysia to recover deleted data from flight simulator of pilot

After the Malaysian police found that data was deleted from he flight simulator of the pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is helping to analyse the data.

US officials said that Malaysia had shared the data with the FBI experts and that they were trying to recover the data that was deleted from the flight simulator on Feb 3.

9:10 pm: Australian Airforce aircraft Orion to look for the objects?

Australian PM Tony Abbott said in the Parliament that a Royal Australian Airforce Orion has been diverted to look for the objects, reports said.

Orion will look for the objects in southern Indian Ocean and is expected to arrive today afternoon. Also, three additional aircraft are set to join the Orion in its search for what are being supposed to be the parts of the missing jet.

9:00 pm: Australia spots two objects on satellite imagery

In the latest information about the missing Malaysian Airlines plane, two objects that might be related to the Boeing 777, have been spotted by Australian satellite imagery, Australian PM said.

Australian PM Tony Abbott on Thursday told the Parliamnet that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA)has received information based on satellite information of objects possibly related to the search.

"Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified."

All earlier reports about the objects thought to be the parts of the missing plane, have ended up as false.



First Published: Thursday, March 20, 2014 - 08:59

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