The mystery looming in the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines B777-200 flight MH370 KUL-PEK on early Saturday spiral deeper. The area of operations for search and rescue has grown wider and now expanded to North East Indian Ocean, well beyond west of Langkawi.
Three days ago Chief of Air Force Jen. Tan Sri Rodzali Daud TUDM mentioned about the Air Defence Radar picking up trails suggesting that the 260 tonnes MTW widebody airline did “An air turn”.
The Guardian story:
The Malaysian military believes the missing plane flew for more than an hour after vanishing from air traffic control screens, changing course and travelling west over the Strait of Malacca, a senior military source told Reuters.
Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.
At the time it was roughly midway between Malaysia’s east coast town of Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam, flying at 35,000 ft.
“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.
The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast.
Earlier on Tuesday, Malaysia’s Berita Harian newspaper quoted air force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the Malaysia Airlines plane was last detected by military radar at 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, near the island of Pulau Perak at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca. It was flying at a height of about 9,000 metres (29,500 ft), he was quoted as saying.
A non-military source familiar with the investigations said the report was being checked.
“This report is being investigated by the DCA (Department of Civil Aviation) and the search and rescue team,” the source said. “There are a lot of such reports.”
The time given by Rodzali was an hour and 10 minutes after the plane vanished from air traffic control screens over Igari waypoint, midway between Malaysia and Vietnam.
There was no word on what happened to the plane thereafter.
If the reports from the military are verified, it would mean the plane was able to maintain a cruising altitude and flew for about 500 km (350 miles) with its transponder and other tracking systems apparently switched off.
Malaysia has extended the massive search operation for the plane to the Malacca Strait after initially focusing on the South China Sea.
So did Riong Kali dot com:
Malaysian air force confirms signal of MH370 turning back on Saturday
BY MOHD FARHAN DARWISMARCH 11, 2014
The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) base in Butterworth received a signal that the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 turned back in South China Sea airspace on Saturday.
Malay-language daily Berita Harian reported that RMAF chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud as confirming that the Butterworth base had received the plane’s signal.
It quoted Rodzali as saying that the signal received indicated that the plane followed its original route before it entered the airspace above the northern east coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
“The last time the plane could be traced by an air control tower was near Pulau Perak, which is on the Straits of Malacca at 2.40am.
“After that, the signal from the plane was lost,” he said.
It was also reported that a Singaporean air traffic surveillance and control unit also picked up the signal that MH370 “made a turn back before it was reported to have climbed 1,000 metres from its original altitude at 10,000 metres”.
The plane, which was carrying 239 passengers of 14 nationalities and an all-Malaysian cabin crew, left the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 12.40am on Saturday.
It was widely reported that the plane, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, went missing at around 1.30am while flying above the South China Sea between the Malaysian east coast and the southern coast of Vietnam.
The plane reported went off radar and its last known location was 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude).
This is also supported with police reports made by some east coast residents, who claimed that they have seen huge lights and a plane flying at some 1000 metres above sea level off Kota Baru, Kelantan.
However, search and rescue (SAR) authorities have failed to find any sign of the plane in the waters of the South China Sea.
Indications that MH370 might have turned back have since led the SAR operations to be expanded to the Straits of Malacca and the Andaman Sea.
The operations to find the missing plane involve armed forces and authorities from Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, the Philippines and the United States, apart from Malaysia.
The SAR operations are in its fourth day.
MAS has ruled out technical issues as the cause of MH370’s mysterious disappearance. The 11-year-old plane was last serviced 10 days before the incident on Saturday.
MAS group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya reportedly said that the plane was in good condition and like other MAS aircrafts, was equipped with the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, which sends out data automatically.
However, the plane did not send out any distress signals before it went off radar, he said. – March 11, 2014.
Prime Minister Dato’ Sri Mohd. Najib Tun Razak was absolutely right at his media conference on Saturday evening. The situation and mystery is “Very perplexing”. If the search is west of Pulau Perak, it means the aircraft would have flown the same distance or more from its last known position of 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude).
The mystery now is, why is the B777-200 9M-MRO MH370 is thought to be so far west, even over and across Peninsular Malaysia?
NST last story yesterday, about the search for MH370:
11 March 2014| last updated at 09:11PM
MISSING MH370: Najib attends briefing on search ops
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PETALING JAYA : Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak today attended a briefing on the search-and-rescue operation mounted to locate a missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft.
The briefing, for about 90 minutes, was given by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman at the Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre at the DCA Air Traffic Control Centre in Subang near here.
Chief of Defence Forces Gen Tan Sri Zulkifli Mohd Zin and MAS Group chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya also attended the briefing.
MAS Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing about an hour after taking off from the KL International Airport at 12.41 am Saturday.
It should have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day.– BERNAMAPrime Minister, Datuk Seri Najib Razak with the director- general of the Civil Aviation Department (DCA) Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman and the head of the search and rescue operation Noor Izhar Bahrin at the DCA office in Subang listening to the operation briefs.Pix by NSTP/ Mohd Yusni Ariffin
Read more: MISSING MH370: Najib attends briefing on search ops – Latest – New Straits Timeshttp://www.nst.com.my/latest/font-color-red-missing-mh370-font-najib-attends-briefing-on-search-ops-1.507995#ixzz2vgnk8XT0
Notice, the map is actually focused on the Straits of Melaka and Andaman Sea, north of Sumatra. It is a strong indication that a lot of emphasis on on the expanded area to the west of Langkawi, from the initial search and rescue operation which included the Straits of Melaka.
Adding to more food for thoughts in this growing puzzle, in his media conference yesterday Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar announced that the Police investigation covers four areas:
3. Psychological issues
4. Personal issues
It is very interesting why the Police investigation is looking into the last two aspect. Probably there are clues suggesting them.
Never the less, our prayers are with families and loved ones of the 239 souls onboard of MH370 and the dedicated men and women of the forces and agencies of nine countries in the search and rescue operation for find the missing B777-200 with the tail number of 9M-MRO.