Posts Tagged ‘Malaysian Airlines’

MH370: Chinese media blame Malaysia but were they expecting an attack?

March 10, 2014

The blame game has started but it has started much too early.

For the Chinese media, blame is already clear. It is either Malaysia (if terrorism) or Malaysia Airlines (if aircraft fault) to blame. For the Malaysian Home Minister it is incompetence among his passport control staff. (Note that this is passport control for passengers leaving the country). Malaysia Airlines is also being criticised for not even knowing where and when the aircraft disappeared.

The rush to judgement by the Chinese does make me wonder whether they were expecting something. The recent knife attack by terrorists at Kunming Railway station where 29 died may not be irrelevant. The Chinese media were not pleased then, when the Western media were divided in calling the knife-wielding attackers “dissidents” or “terrorists”. I have the distinct perception – from their response and their allocation of blame – that the Chinese know much more about MH370 than they are letting on.

China does not also seem entirely satisfied with the search efforts for the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 and are stepping up their own efforts to locate it:

XinhuaChina creates search plan for Malaysia Airlines jet

Chief of China’s Maritime Search and Rescue Center He Jianzhong said Monday the country has created a plan for the search and rescue of a missing Malaysia Airlines jet. The search and rescue plan involves four patrol and rescue vessels and two naval warships. The search range of the six ships has also been clarified, said He, who is also vice minister of transport.

Chinese warship Mianyang and a marine police vessel with hull number 3411 have begun searching the sea where the Beijing-bound MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur might have lost contact, he said. He said that three more patrol and rescue vessels under the command of the transport ministry are expected to arrive in the area on Monday and Tuesday. Their hull numbers are 115, 31 and 101.

Most of the passengers on MH370 were from China and there is an assumption in the Chinese media that a terrorist act must have taken place and there is a growing criticism of Malaysian security arrangements and their speed of response. The Malaysian Home Minister is rattled – see previous post- and is looking for scapegoats. The acting Malaysian Transport Minister does not know very much. For the Chinese media, if it was an aircraft problem then it was clearly the fault of Malaysian Airlines and if it was a terrorist act then it was equally clearly the fault of Malaysian security. (But I think the Chinese are protesting too loudly and much too quickly. They were – perhaps –  expecting some kind of an attack).

BBCA commentary in the Beijing Times notes that Premier Li Keqiang said he was “very worried” over the missing plane and added that his government will continue to be a “strong shield” for people who are overseas.

“When the citizens are out of the country, their dignity is closely linked to the dignity of the country. When the country is strong and prosperous, especially if it respects the citizens and protects them, citizens will feel confident and proud when they are abroad,” it says.

Criticising Malaysia for not responding swiftly during the initial stages of the problem, the Global Times Chinese edition says the incident shows there were “obvious loopholes in security checks” in Malaysia. The daily calls for better security for Chinese holidaymakers.

“The Chinese society is no longer in the era of poverty, life is no longer cheap. We demand safety of food, air, water as well as transportation. So we pay great attention to the safety situation in holiday destinations in other countries which are popular among the Chinese,” it says.

ChannelNewsAsia:

China’s state-run media on Monday lashed out at Malaysia and its national carrier over their handling of the missing passenger jet, calling for a swifter response effort and tightened airport security.

Nearly two-thirds of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 were from China, and if the loss of the aircraft is confirmed, it would be China’s second-worst air disaster in history. 

“The Malaysian side cannot shirk its responsibilities,” the Global Times newspaper, which is close to the ruling Chinese Communist Party, wrote in a scathing editorial. “The initial response from Malaysia was not swift enough.

“There are loopholes in the work of Malaysia Airlines and security authorities,” it said.

“If it is due to a deadly mechanical breakdown or pilot error, then Malaysia Airlines should take the blame. If this is a terrorist attack, then the security check at the Kuala Lumpur airport and on the flight is questionable.”

The China Daily newspaper wrote in an editorial that “terrorism cannot be ruled out”, with Malaysian and international authorities still at a loss to explain how at least two passengers were able to board with stolen Italian and Austrian passports.

“Who were they and why were they using false passports?” the paper asked.

“The fact that some of the passengers on board were travelling with false passports should serve as a reminder to the whole world that security can never be too tight, at airports in particular, since terrorism, the evil of the world, is still trying to stain human civilisation with the blood of innocent lives,” it added.

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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