Saturday, March 15, 2014

"there is a chance my parents are still alive"

Poor kid. Fat chance of anything like that happening.

The net has now been cast wide from Kazakhstan to the north to the Southern Indian Ocean near Perth, Australia. The main suspect are now the two pilots (and other crew). The co-pilot is known to be a ladies man who has on an earlier occasion entertained passengers in the cockpit.  

The plane was confirmed to be flying for seven hours after contact with civilian radar was lost.
Malaysian police have begun searching the home of the pilot at the helm of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, after the country's prime minister confirmed that the Boeing 777's communications were deliberately disabled by "someone on the plane". Police officers arrived at 53-year-old captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah's home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur shortly after the PM, Najib Razak, finished his dramatic press conference, during which he told reporters new satellite data indicated that MH370 last made contact roughly seven hours after it vanished from civilian radar one week ago.

While the raw satellite footage has helped investigators determine that the plane was still flying long after it lost contact with air traffic control at 1.22am on Saturday 8 March with 239 people on board, it could not discern the aircraft's exact location, Najib said – putting it anywhere along two possible flight corridors: a northern corridor stretching from Kazakhstan, in central Asia, down to northern Thailand; and a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia towards the southern Indian Ocean.

While authorities had initially focused their investigation on the missing plane on four possible explanations, including possible hijacking, sabotage, or the personal or psychological problems of the crew or passengers, the "new information" that had come to light was forcing investigators to rethink their strategy, Najib said. "In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board," he told reporters on Saturday.

The satellite data indicates that the plane was flying far longer than had been initially believed, and is likely to instigate what may be the biggest hunt ever for a missing plane. Some 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft are already involved in search and rescue efforts, but the two new flight corridors will necessitate the assistance of the countries underneath those corridors – including, possibly, Burma, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, China, Nepal, Tajikistan and Afghanistan.

The hunt for the plane will therefore require military and diplomatic co-operation as investigators attempt to piece together, through civilian, military and satellite data, what the exact fate of the missing jet may be. It is unclear if police had also begun searching the homes of the other 11 Malaysian crew on board, including co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, who is known to have entertained passengers on board a previous flight in the cockpit during a Phuket-Kuala Lumpur flight in 2011.

Another report emerged on Saturday indicating that MH370 may have turned south towards the Indian Ocean, where it is believed to have last been identified some 1,000 miles west of Perth in Australia, according to satellite "pings" that recorded the plane's data, Bloomberg reported.

While it is not clear how much fuel the Boeing-777 was holding, there would have been enough to fly it at cruising altitude to its scheduled destination, Beijing, a nearly six-hour flight. It is believed, however, the missing jet may have been flying at a higher altitude, which would have allowed it to carry on for longer.

The news is likely to fuel further speculation over suspected terrorism although no person or group has come forward to disclose why the plane may have been hijacked, or if it even was. For some relatives of those missing, however, the news the plane was still flying at 8.11am last Saturday is an indication that there may be hope for their missing loved ones. "It means there's still a chance my parents are alive," Eric Chen Zhi Yang, 15, told Malaysia's New Straits Times. Both his mother and father were on board MH370.


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