Search for missing Malaysia Airlines jet: As it happened on Sunday

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 — Investigators believe someone on the flight shut off the plane`s communications systems, and partial military radar tracking showed it turning west and re-crossing the Malay Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.

By Supriya Jha | Updated: Mar 23, 2014, 23:41 PM IST

Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha and Hemant Abhishek

08:30 pm: Monday`s search to include Chinese, Japanese aircrafts

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has released a map showing the area to be scoured in search of the missing Malaysian jet.

Apart from the eight Australian aircrafts, Monday`s search will also include Chinese military Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft and Japanese P-3C aircraft.

07:30 pm: Australian search party ends Sunday empty-handed

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) informed that its search operation for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have concluded for Sunday.

There were no sightings of significance, it reports.

06:45 pm: Australia launches most extensive search for missing MH370 flight

Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokeswoman Andrea Hayward-Maher said that eight airplanes flew over the southern Indian Ocean searching for the missing plane today.

It added two planes to its Saturday`s search party making it the most number of aircrafts involved in the search led by Australia so far.

Two more planes that have arrived in Australia from China will join the search on Monday. Two Japanese planes in Australia are also preparing to participate, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein said.

05:40 pm: `Last transmission from MH 370 showed nothing unusual`

The last transmission from Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System sent at 1.07 am showed nothing unusual.

"The 1.07 am transmission showed a normal routing all the way to Beijing," PTI reported Malaysian officials as saying.

05:00 pm: Hijack or Sabotage? Mystery deepens

Investigators believe someone on the flight shut off the plane`s communications systems, and partial military radar tracking showed it turning west and re-crossing the Malay Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.

Reuters also reported that this led them to focus on hijacking or sabotage, but they have not ruled out technical problems. Faint electronic "pings" detected by a commercial satellite suggested it flew for another six hours or so, but could do no better than place its final signal on one of two vast arcs.

While the southern arc is now the main focus of the search, Malaysia says the search will continue in both corridors until confirmed debris is found.

"Hopefully we will eventually provide some sort of closure or at least understanding of what happened on board Malaysian Airlines Flight MA370," Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said. "The search will continue and will continue as long as there`s hope."

03:10 pm: Now, French satellites spot floating objects in search area

After, Australia and China, now France claims to have spotted floating objects in the search area in southern Indian Ocean. Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein said that French satellite images show what might be potential debris from the missing plane, reported the Reuters.

02:30 pm: Indian planes join search for missing plane

Having scoured the air and waters of Andamans, Indian planes will now head to join the hunt for the missing plane in the the southern corridor. The two surveillance aircraft - P8-I Poseidon of the Indian Navy and C-130J Super Hercules of the Indian Air Force - took off today from Subang Airport, Malaysia for search and rescue operations in the Indian Ocean, reports PTI.

02:10 pm: Who called the pilot shortly before take off?

Investigators are zeroing in on a mystery call received by the pilot shortly before the take off, that is said to have been made by using a pay-as-you-go SIM card in Malaysia.

The person making the call used a fake ID to fill the form and registered in the name of a woman, reported the Daily Mail.

Anyone buying a pay-as-you-go sim has to fill a form giving the details like identity card or passport number, but the mystery caller used a false identity. The investigators are trying to probe this facet of the mystery that adds to the suspicion on the pilot.

02:10 pm: More planes roped in for today`s search

Sunday`s search will take the help of eight airplanes, two more than yesterday.
Out of the eight planes, four are commercial planes and other four military planes.Four military planes are US Navy P-8A Poseidon, One New Zealand P3 Orion, and two Australian P3 Orions.

01:40 pm: FBI agents want Pilot`s estranged wife to be quizzed

As the spotlight continues to remain on Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing plane, the FBI agents have hinted that the pilot`s estranged wife Faizah Khan would be the best person to get some clues about the pilot`s mental state, reports the Daily Mail.

The report adds that though Faizah Khan was separated from the pilot, she used to stay under the same roof and hence might have some crucial information about the state of mind of the pilot.

12:20 pm: Wooden pallets, strapping belts of different sizes seen

In what seems to further boost the chances of investigators inching closer to the clues of the missing jet mystery, the Rescue Coordination Centre chief at AMSA, Mike Barton, said on Sunday that besides wood pallets being sighted yesterday, the search aircraft had also spotted "strapping belts of different lengths".

“We’ve gone back to that area today to try and refine it but are also continuing with another methodical search … to try and give us some clues,” he told a news briefing.

Citing that the use of wooden pallets is quite common in the commercial aviation industry, he said, "It is a lead".

“The area continues to change as the water movements change. We`re tracking that with self-locating datum buoys,” he added.

11:40 am: Sunday`s search to be a visual search: AMSA official

In a press conference, Australian Maritime Search Authority (AMSA) official John Young said that Sunday`s search will focus on making sightings from the visual search, which is difficult and may take some time, reported the Telegraph.

He added that the Chinese satellite image had been incorporated into search planning.

11:00 am: Debris spotted by China is plane`s wing?

A satellite image released by China dated March 18, that shows possible plane debris, though hasn`t been verified yet, but if an expert from Australia is to be believed, the debris might be plane`s wing, given the size of the object.

John Blaxland, a senior fellow from Australian National University (ANU) in an interview to Xinhua news agency said that if the measurements of the debris being 22 meters long and 13 meters wide are correct, they are more consistent with a wing of a Boeing 777 airliner.

9:50 am: China to make an announcement in few hours over the satellite image of possible debris

Beijing is to make announcement over the possible debris sightings in a few hours from now. Chinese state TV CCTV news tweeted that Malaysia has proposes conditions for briefing in Beijing. They want safety of officials ensured,no media attendance & a written Q&A.

9:40 am: Chinese ships to look for possible plane debris

Malaysian minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that Chinese ships have arrived in Perth to look for the possible plane debris that were spotted by the satellite on March 18, two days after AMSA satellites captured similar images.

Yesterday two Chinese Air Force IL-76 transport planes arrived at the RAAF Base in Perth for the same.

9:20 am: Aus PM says “increasing hope” of discovering the missing jet

Australian PM Tony Abbot on Sunday exuded hope that the investigators might be on the way to unravelling the mystery.

“It’s still too early to be definite, but obviously we have now had a number of very credible leads and there is increasing hope — no more than hope, no more than hope — that we might be on the road to discovering what did happen to this ill-fated aircraft,” Abbott said.

Abbott was not directly referring to the Chinese satellite images but to “a number of small objects fairly close together within the Australian search zone, including, as I understand it, a wooden pallet.”

9:00 am: Search widens for the missing jet

After China yesterday released a satellite image dated March 18 showing la large debris of 22.5 m in length,in the vicinity of the area where earlier AMSA had spotted possible two objects possibly linked to the missing jet, the hunt for the missing jet resumed on Sunday.

Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said that “further attempts will be made to establish whether the objects sighted are related to MH370”.