Posts Tagged ‘Boeing 777’

MH370: Updates

March 10, 2014

This story is compelling enough as a human tragedy and a mystery. My upcoming trip to Malaysia and KL keeps it uppermost in my mind. I shall update as news unfolds.

It has been over 72 hours and the plane is still missing. That a Boeing 777 could vanish without trace for 3 days would be considered fanciful in a work of fiction.

UPDATE 5:

  • The two on fake passports are said to have been Iranians seeking asylum in Europe.
  • Could the plane have crashed into the jungles of Indonesia and not at sea?

Strait of Malacca

UPDATE 4: The BBC is reporting that the search area now includes the Straits of Malacca, west of Malaysia based on the theory that the plane turned back and crossed Malaysia flying westwards.

UPDATE 3: It is now Day 4 since the disappearance.

  • The search area is being increased but there are no further sightings of suspected wreckage.
  • Malaysian Airlines: The B777-200 aircraft that operated MH370 underwent maintenance on 23 February 2014, 12 days before this particular flight on 8 March 2014. The next check is due on 19 June 2014. The maintenance was conducted at the KLIA hangar and there were no issues on the health of the aircraft.The aircraft was delivered to Malaysia Airlines in 2002 and have since recorded 53,465.21 hours with a total of 7525 cycles. All Malaysia Airlines aircraft are equipped with continuous data monitoring system called the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) which transmits data automatically. Nevertheless, there were no distress calls and no information was relayed”.
  • The hunt for “Mr. Ali” has intensified. Mr. Ali booked the tickets on the men’s behalf, Police Lt. Col. Ratchthapong Tia-sood said. “We have to look further into this Mr. Ali’s identity because it’s almost a tradition to use an alias when doing business around here,” he said. A second man Iranian man — “Asay” — bought the tickets with cash. Police questioned Asay Monday, Phuikaewkhum said.”

UPDATE 2: 

View image on Twitter

The red circle shows the last known location of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. @DailyMirror on Twitter

  • Taiwan says it received a warning about potential terrorist attacks in China, the South China Morning Post has reported. The newspaper said that there were plans for atrocities at Beijing Airport and the city’s subway system. The warning on March 4 followed a knife attack at a railway station in China that killed 29 people.
  • Xinhua: China has adjusted the operations of orbiting satellites to help in the search of the missing flight MH370.
  • SCMP: Malaysia Airlines was convicted two years ago for boarding a passenger against the wishes of a foreign government by falsifying passport identity records, it has emerged, and was also prosecuted for a similar incident in 2007. A New Zealand court fined the Malaysian national carrier NZ$5,500 (HK$36,052) in 2012 for allowing a passenger to board its aircraft despite orders not to from immigration authorities in Wellington. It is unclear why the Malaysian national had been deemed unsuitable to board the flight. During the breach, which occurred in January 2012, a check-in attendant enabled a Malaysian national to board the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Auckland by entering an altered passport number into the check-in computer, allowing security systems to be circumvented.

UPDATE 1:

  • It is now reported that the two fake passport holders “were of non-Asian appearance”. The two passengers were supposed to fly from Beijing to Amsterdam on Saturday. The passenger travelling as “Luigi Maraldi” was to fly on to Copenhagen and “Christian Kozel” to Frankfurt.
  • Mirror: FBI fears four passengers on missing Malaysian jet used stolen passports as ‘mid-air disintegration’ theory investigated

 

Mystery surrounding Malaysian MH370 deepens with four passengers travelling on stolen European passports

March 9, 2014

I find aircraft accidents particularly disturbing – not just because I travel quite often – but mainly because of the suddenness and the helplessness of the many on board. Whatever the explanation 239 people have lost their lives.

I thought that suicide bombers generally operated singly. So while the news that at least four MH370 passengers were travelling on stolen European identities brings foul play up the list of possibilities, it seems unlikely that four suicide bombers would act in concert. In any event the lack of any contact before the disappearance  suggests a sudden, catastrophic airframe failure or a massive – perhaps malicious – explosion. Oil slicks suggest the South China Sea but there is no trace of wreckage. Military radar indicates that the aircraft may have started to turn back

The mystery however is deepening.

  • The lack of contact suggests something very sudden
  • A bomb should have provided a lot of floating wreckage.
  • Four “bad guys” acting in concert would be more suggestive of an attempted  hijacking
  • A turn-back should have allowed time for contact.
  • Aircraft breakup in the air should also have provided a lot of wreckage.

It may not be completely irrelevant that in August 2012 this particular aircraft was involved in a collision with the tail of a China Eastern Airline A340 plane at Pudong International Airport in Shanghai, China and suffered a damaged wing.

MH370 collision 2012 photo AP

MH370 collision 2012 photo AP

One theory is that an airframe failure could have caused the aircraft to suddenly fracture into two large pieces – both of which were large enough to plunge into the sea and sink without leaving much surface wreckage?

The Guardian: …… two Europeans listed on the passenger manifest – an Italian, Luigi Maraldi and an Austrian, Christian Kozel – had not been on the flight and were safe and well. Maraldi had his passport stolen in Thailand last year and Kozel’s was stolen in the region two years ago. The flight was a codeshare with China Southern and the two people named as Maraldi and Kozel on the list booked together via the Chinese airline, Chinese media reported.

The company said it had CCTV footage of the two people who checked in as Maraldi and Kozel.

Malaysian InsiderAuthorities have yet to confirm the identities of two more European passengers on flight MH370, adding to two others using stolen passports in the Malaysia Airlines plane which vanished over the Malaysia-Vietnam maritime border yesterday. The Malaysian Insider understands that all four had bought their flight tickets from China Southern Airlines, the Malaysia Airlines codeshare partner for the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route.

“The background checks with the embassies are being done but these two cannot be confirmed,” a source told The Malaysian Insider, adding that both were from the same country.

MH370-Malaysia_Airlines-mas-last-location-graphics-080314-kamarul_540_341_100

MH370-Malaysia_Airlines-mas-last-location-graphics-080314-kamarul husain Malaysian Insider

Malaysian InsiderMalaysia Airlines said that the plane took off at 12.41am Malaysian time and that it disappeared from air traffic control radar in Subang at 2.40am.

The timeline seemed to suggest that the plane stayed in the air for two hours – long enough to fly not only across the Gulf of Thailand but also far north across Vietnam.

But Fredrik Lindahl, the chief executive of Flightradar24, an online aircraft tracking service, had said that the last radar contact had been at 1.19am, less than 40 minutes after the flight began.
The authorities said yesterday that the last conversation between the flight crew and air traffic control in Malaysia had been about 1.30am. – March 9, 2014.


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