Sunday, March 16, 2014

Global Impact: Update--Malaysian PM Has Few Encouraging Words

According to Reuters, missing Malaysian airliner Flight MH370 was very likely deliberately steered to a course that could have taken it anywhere from Central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean, Malaysia's Prime Minister said on Saturday (March 15).

Minutes after Malaysian PM Najib Razak outlined investigators' latest findings about flight MH370, police began searching the house of the aircraft's 53-year-old captain for any evidence that he could have been involved in foul play.

The Boeing 777-200ER vanished from radar screens a week ago with 239 crew and passengers aboard.

Najib, giving his first statement in days, confirmed reports that investigators believe somebody deliberately severed the plane's communications and steered it west, far from its scheduled route to Beijing.

In a strange announcement on March 15, Malaysian Airlines said it had opened a criminal investigation into the disappearance of Flight MH370.

COMMENT: Malaysia should have opened a criminal investigation and  searched the homes of ALL crew members on March 8, the day the 777 disappeared off the face of the Earth. Period.

When Air France Flight 447, flying from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, went down in the Atlantic with 228 people on board, the Airbus 330 fell into especially deep water on June 1, 2009. Consequently, it took nearly two years to recover the main wreckage and the black boxes from a depth of around 13,000 feet.

Search operations by navies and aircraft from more than a dozen nations were immediately called off in the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea to the east of Malaysia, where the plane dropped off civilian air traffic control screens at 0122 hours on March 8.

India stepped up its search in two areas at the request of Malaysia, one around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and another further west across the Bay of Bengal, but found no evidence that would indicate that the plane had come down in its waters, the Defense Ministry reported.

A senior military official in Port Blair, capital of the archipelago, said Indian aircraft have combed waters stretching up to 300 nautical miles offshore and overflown all 572 islands in the chain but "we don't have anything so far."

Najib said the 777's final communication with satellites placed it somewhere in one of two corridors: a northern corridor stretching from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, or a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the vast southern Indian Ocean.

Some two-thirds of the passengers on board the flight were Chinese with Beijing showing increasing impatience with the speed and co-ordination of the Malaysian search effort.

A source familiar with official US assessments of electronic signals sent to geostationary satellites operated by Britain's Inmarsat said it appeared most likely the plane turned south over the Indian Ocean where it presumably ran out of fuel and crashed into the sea.

The massive characteristic of the Indian Ocean has an average depth of more than 12,000 feet, or two miles. That's much deeper than the Atlantic, where it took two years to locate wreckage on the seabed from an Air France flight that vanished in 2009.

One can only hope that Flight MH370 did not reach the Indian Ocean, which is the third largest ocean in the world, but because of its currents, any debris is likely to have disappeared in a matter of days. 

The Indian Ocean is made up of 28,400,000 square miles.

Although many theories of what fate Flight MH370 encountered, it is apparent that there are far too many variables for the best and brightest to predict with any degree of certainty what actually happened aboard the 777.

A further complication is that Malaysian Airlines has been less than forthright in sharing all data it had on the disappearance of Flight MH370 and may very well have deceived the numerous nations that sent ships and aircraft out to find the Boeing 777-200ER.

Not knowing what calamity occurred aboard Flight MH370, it could be perhaps months, if not years, before the fate of the missing flight is fully understood.

It appears that commercial aviation needs to begin having all flight system data virtually accessible at any given moment, particularly when potential foul-play on the part of the pilot or co-pilot is a real possibility.

The reasonableness that only a flight officer could have deactivated radio communications, the ACARS, the transponder and other data as to what was actually occurring aboard the flight, goes to the heart of the aforementioned recommendation.