US military now say they believe missing Malaysian plane HAS crashed hundreds of miles away in the INDIAN Ocean and send Navy vessel to the area as last picture of doomed jet emerges
- White House spokesman says 'new information' has led them to consider searching the Indian Ocean, as opposed to the South China Sea
- Came as official revealed that a U.S. Navy destroyer was being sent there
- White House did not explain what the 'new information' was
- Investigators also said that the jet was in contact with satellites after it last communicated with ground control
- But the 'ping' signals are not thought to provide any significant information
- Comes as a photograph of the plane over Poland in February emerges
- Malaysian authorities have expanded search westward towards India
- Muslim worshippers today gathered in mass prayer at Kuala Lumpur airport
By JAMES RUSH and JAMES NYE and RICHARD SHEARS and KIERAN CORCORAN
PUBLISHED: 11:19, 13 March 2014 | UPDATED: 21:29, 13 March 2014
The U.S. has said it is making moves to launch a search in the Indian Ocean in response to 'new information' about the missing Malaysia Airlines plane which vanished six days ago.
A White House spokesman confirmed that authorities were considering the new avenue of exploration, as a Pentagon official revealed that a destroyer from the U.S. Navy had been dispatched for the search.
The plans, a development from previous searches in the South China Sea, were beginning to be put in place as a picture emerged of the doomed jet in the sky just a month ago.
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Doomed: This picture emerged today of the plane which would later go missing while flying between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing
Radius: U.S. officials believe the missing plane could have come down in the Indian Ocean (left), rather than the South China Sea (right), while speculation that the plane could have kept flying for four hours after losing contact were described as 'inaccurate'
U.S destroyer USS Kidd is now reportedly being moved to the Indian Ocean in order to search the area (file picture)
An Indonesian Air Force officer draws a flight pattern flown earlier in a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777, during a post-mission briefing at Suwondo air base in Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia
Adding to the confusion around the fate of the jet, a source involved in the investigation today revealed that flight MH370, which was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 on board, sent a brief signal, or 'ping', to satellites in space after it had lost contact with ground control.
This suggests that the plane was still in operation later expected.
This evening a White House spokesperson conceded the possibility of a new search, saying 'new information' prompted the move. He did not make clear what the information was.
'It's my understanding that based on some new information that's not necessarily conclusive - but new information - an additional search area may be opened in the Indian Ocean,'White House spokesman Jay Carney said. 'And we are consulting with international partners about the appropriate assets to deploy.'
'We're looking at information, pursuing possible leads, working within the investigation being led by the Malaysian government,' Carney added.
Responding to the new theory that the Malaysian Airlines flight may have come down in the Indian Ocean, rather than the South China Sea, the U.S. Navy has allegedly sent its own resources there.
U.S destroyer USS Kidd is now reportedly being moved in to search the area, while Malaysia was due to ask for radar data from India and other neighbouring countries to see if they can trace the plane flying north west.
Today the last picture of the plane also emerged, flying over Polish airspace on February 5 this year. The plane's serial number - 9M-MRO - matches that of the missing MH370 service, though it is not clear which route the plane was flying.
The developments come as Malaysian authorities attempted to downplay the theories springing up around the fate of the aircraft.
The 'ping' is not thought to have contained any information about the condition or trajectory of the plane, but merely to confirm that the aircraft existed and that it was possible to contact it.
The system transmits such pings about once an hour, sources said, but it remains unclear how many signals the plane sent after air traffic control lost track of it.
Boeing Co, which made the missing 777 airliner, and Rolls-Royce, which supplied its Trent engines, declined to comment.
Earlier Malaysian officials denied reports that the aircraft had continued to send technical data after losing contact.
Meanwhile Malaysian authorities expanded their search westward towards India today, and a senior Pentagon official suggested there was 'an indication' the plane came down in the Indian ocean.
India has also involved itself in the search, and plans to imminently deploy planes and ships in the southern section of the sea, a senior Indian official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak to the media.
The senior Pentagon official reportedly told ABC News it would take 24 hours for USS Kidd to be moved into position.
Malaysian defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein (centre) said the search had been expanded westward today, while a senior Pentagon official has been quoted as saying there was 'an indication' the plane came down in the Indian Ocean
Six days on and a massive international air and water search involving 10 nations using 56 surface ships has failed to find a single piece of debris or sign of the Malaysian Airlines aircraft
Earlier, Malaysian defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein described reports suggesting the jetliner kept flying for four hours after it vanished as 'inaccurate' and said satellite images showing suspected debris of the crash had been released by China 'by mistake'.
The plane left Kuala Lumpur and was flying northeast across the Gulf of Thailand and into the South China Sea when it dropped off civilian radar without any indication it was having any technical problems.
An international search effort has been methodically sweeping parts of the South China Sea. A roughly similar-sized hunt has also been conducted to the west in the Strait of Malacca because of military radar sightings that might indicate the plane headed that way after its last contact, passing over the Malay Peninsula.
The total area is around 35,800 square miles, or about the size of Portugal.
The developments come as people gathered in Kuala Lumpur airport, from which flight MH370 took off, to offer up prayers for the 239 people missing as a result of the disaster.
Hundreds of Muslim worshippers could today be seen bowing in unison in the ceremony, offering their thoughts to the passengers who are missing as a result of the flight's disappearance, and their worry-stricken relatives.
The Wall Street Journal newspaper quoted U.S. investigators on Thursday as saying they suspected the plane remained in the air for about four hours after its last confirmed contact, citing data from the plane's engines that are automatically transmitted to the ground as part of a routine maintenance program.
Scale: Hundreds of Muslim men bow down to offer prayers for the passengers of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Respectful: Muslim joined the men and shared in their grief at the 239 missing people
Boys join in prayers at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370
Prayers for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane are carried out at the departure hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Pilots of a Royal Malaysian Air Force CN-235 aircraft manage their plane during a search and rescue operation
A crew member of a Royal Malaysian Air Force CN-235 aircraft looks out of the window during the search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane
A crew member of a Royal Malaysian Air Force CN-235 aircraft rests after long hours working in a search and rescue operation for the missing plane
Hishammuddin said the government had contacted Boeing and Rolls Royce, the engine manufacturer, and both said the last engine data was received at 1:07 a.m., around 23 minutes before the plane's transponders, which identify it to commercial radar and nearby planes, stopped working.
But asked if it were possible that the plane kept flying for several hours, Hishammuddin said: 'Of course, we can't rule anything out. This is why we have extended the search. We are expanding our search into the Andaman Sea.' The sea, part of the Indian Ocean, is northwest of the Malay Peninsula.
More than two-thirds of those on board the plane were from China, which has shown impatience with the absence of any results.
Hishammuddin said satellite images of three pieces of large debris floating near to the jet's last recorded position in the South China Sea had been released by China 'by mistake'. He said searches were conducted of the area but nothing was found.
Responding to reports of a U.S safety directive that ordered additional inspections for cracking and corrosion on certain 777 planes, Hishammuddin insisted all maintenance checks on the plane 'were in order'
A woman writes a message with others expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, displayed outside a mall in Kuala Lumpur
Part of the search area is seen on an iPad of a military officer onboard a Vietnam Air Force AN-26 aircraft
A crew member of a Royal Malaysian Air Force CN-235 aircraft looks out of the window during a search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane over the Straits of Malacca
Indonesian Air Force officers examine the projection of a map that shows their operation area over the Strait of Malacca during a briefing following a search mission
The defence minister confirmed the aircraft had been 'fully serviced' and all maintenance checks 'were in order', following reports of a safety directive by the U.S Federal Aviation Administration about a potential problem with cracking and corrosion in the fuselage.
Hishammuddin also continued to defend Malaysia's response to the incident.
He said: 'We have spared no expense and no effort - from day one we have been in regular contact with our neighbouring countries and accepted all international offers of help.'
He said Malaysia would not normally share military radar data with other countries, but in this case the search effort had been placed 'above our national security'.
He said: 'We have shared our data with our international partners including the U.S. and China to help with the search efforts.'
Six days on and a massive international air and water search involving 10 nations using 56 surface ships has failed to find a single piece of debris or sign of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft.
Chinese relatives of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane wait for the latest news at a hotel room in Beijing, China
A man writes a message for the passengers of the missing Malaysian Airline plane, on a banner at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing early on Saturday morning with 239 people on board while on its way to Beijing
A visitor writes on a banner carrying messages for the passengers of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport
Hopes of a resolution were briefly raised when a Chinese state agency released satellite images of three pieces of large debris floating near to the jet's last recorded position in the South China Sea.
These were dashed early on Thursday morning when Vietnamese and Malaysian authorities said they found no trace at the co-ordinates.
'There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,' Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Malaysia's civil aviation chief said on Thursday morning.
Vietnam had already searched the area where Chinese satellites showed objects that were suspected to have been debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet but a plane was sent to check the area again, Vietnamese military officials said.
'We are aware and we sent planes to cover that area over the past three days,' Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu told Reuters. 'Today a military plane will search the area again,' he said.
And on Thursday morning Vietnamese authorities said two military jets searching for clues to the missing Malaysia Airlines jet found no wreckage at the location.
False hope for resolution: This image released by Chinese authorities was initially billed as the crash site of what could have been Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 - this was later refuted by authorities
The sighting was made on March 9 - the day after Malaysian Airlines flight 370 went missing - however Malaysian and Vietnamese authorities said they could not locate any trace of the aircraft or debris
This is the third image released by Chinese authorities that was thought to be a piece of the missing Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777
Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN) personnel participating in the search and rescue operations, approximately 380 nautical miles (700 kms) north of Singapore, in the South China Sea
A dozen countries are taking part in the search, with 42 ships and 39 aircraft involved
Crew members of the Chinese Air Force search the sea areas where the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 lost contact
Meanwhile, heavy smoke from illegal fires set to clear land for plantations has blanketed parts of Indonesia's Sumatra island, disrupting flights and hampering search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, officials and a pilot said today.
Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told reporters in Beijing on Thursday that he would like to see better coordination among countries involved in the search.
The passengers' 'families and friends are burning with anxiety, the Chinese government and Chinese people are all deeply concerned about their safety,' he said at the close of the annual session of the country's legislature. 'As long as there is a glimmer of hope we will not stop searching for the plane.'
He said China had deployed eight ships and was using 10 satellites to search for the plane.
Investigators have not ruled out any possible cause for the plane's disappearance.
Experts say a massive failure knocking out its electrical systems, while unlikely, could explain why its transponders, which identify it to civilian radar systems and other nearby planes, were not working.
AN INTERNATIONAL SEARCH AND RESCUE EFFORT: THE NAVAL PRESENCE OF EACH OF THE COUNTRIES HELPING TO FIND MISSING FLIGHT MH370
Nearly every navy with a presence in Southeast Asia is involved in the extensive search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that disappeared early Saturday.
The U.S. Navy is easily the biggest and best equipped Navy in the Pacific and was fast to participate.
Two San Diego-based destroyers have been searching areas designated by the Malaysian government.
The USS Kidd searched the southwest section of the Gulf of Thailand before heading to the Strait of Malacca as of Thursday, according to 7th Fleet spokesman Cdr. William Marks.
The USS Pinckney searched the northeast area, between Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam before heading to Singapore for maintenance.
A U.S. Navy SH-60R Seahawk helicopter takes off from the destroyer USS Pinckney in the Gulf of Thailand, to assist in the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
The Kidd's two HM-60R Seahawk helicopters flew sorties from dawn to dusk in search of debris.
A Navy P-3C Orion aircraft has been searching over both the Strait of Malacca and the Gulf of Thailand.
Four Chinese naval vessels are joining the effort.
The Ji ngshan is the largest in the Chinese navy and has a large flight deck capable of launching several helicopters.
An air force plane was dispatched to search for signals from the flight's black box.
The People's Liberation Army Newspaper, run by the ruling party's military commission, said Beijing also sent four helicopters and four civilian search vessels.
The Kunlunshan - another amphibious landing ship with two helicopters - arrived at the designated area in the Gulf of Thailand early Thursday morning.
Chinese navy warship Ji ngshan prepares to leave to help in the search of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight at Zhanjiang Port, China, on Sunday, March 9
THE PHILIPPINES & VIETNAM
Despite its meagre resources, the Philippine military immediately dispatched search and rescue vessels and aircraft into the South China Sea southwest of Manila within hours of the plane being reported missing Saturday.
The Philippines' largest and newest naval vessel, the BRP Gregorio del Pilar, a former U.S. Coast Guard cutter, was deployed on Wednesday to replace two smaller patrol boats that returned to port for refueling and resupply, said 1st Lt. Cherry Tindog, spokeswoman for the military's Western Command.
She said an air force Fokker 27 that searched on Saturday and Sunday was replaced by a navy Islander on Monday.
A C-130 was deployed on Tuesday. The navy Islander and the Gregorio del Pilar were both searching on Thursday.
Chinese sailors check equipment before taking part in search efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet onboard the Ji ngshan amphibious docking ship while in Sanya in south China's Hainan province
Tindog also said all fishermen and fishing boats in the area have been advised to help in the search.
Meanwhile, in Hanoi, Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnamese People's Army, told The Associated Press that Vietnam has dispatched for the first time a helicopter to scour jungles of U Minh in southern Vietnam after the massive sea search found no clues.
He said the searches by helicopter will be widened to other jungles in the south central region.
MORE ON THE WAY
Japan, which has been increasing its effort to participate in regional humanitarian missions, said it will deploy two C-130 transport planes and two P-3C aircraft to the area.
A spokesman for Japan's Defense Ministry on Thursday said the transport aircraft are already on site and the P-3Cs will be deployed as soon as possible unless the situation changes.
Neighbors Indonesia, Singapore and Brunei have already provided ships, and Singapore is planning to add more aircraft. Thailand has contributed helicopters, while Australia has offered two P-3C aircraft and India is reportedly mobilizing coast guard vessels.
Life vests are prepared before search and rescue (SAR) operations for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight, at Tan Son Nhat international airport in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam
A Vietnamese military official works inside a flying Soviet-made AN-26 of the Vietnam Air Force during search and rescue operations for the missing plane
Another possibility is that the pilot, or a passenger, likely one with some technical knowledge, switched off the transponders in the hope of flying undetected.
The jet had enough fuel to reach deep into the Indian Ocean.
Malaysia's air force chief said Wednesday that an unidentified object appeared on military radar records about 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Penang, Malaysia, and experts are analysing the data in an attempt to determine whether the blip is the missing plane.
Malaysia has received some criticism for its handling of the search, in part because it took several days to fully explain why it couldn't state for sure whether the plane had turned back.
Soldiers discuss the search plan at the Pingtung Air Base in Pingtung County, southern Taiwan, before taking off in a P-130 military transport plane to search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane over the South China Sea
A Royal Malaysian Navy Fennec helicopter prepares to depart to aid in the search and rescue efforts for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane over the Straits of Malacca
Crew members from the Royal Malaysian Air Force prepare a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft for a Search and Rescue operation to find the missing plane
Officials say they are not hiding anything and are searching areas where the plane is most likely to be, while attempting to establish its actual location.
'There is no real precedent for a situation like this. The plane just vanished,' Hishammuddin said.
Experts say that if the plane crashed into the ocean then some debris should be floating on the surface even if most of the jet is submerged. Past experience shows that finding the wreckage can take weeks or even longer, especially if the location of the plane is in doubt.
TIMELINE: THE SEARCH FOR THE MISSING MALAYSIA AIRLINES JET
SATURDAY, MARCH 8
- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, departs at 12:21am, and is due to land in Beijing at 6:30am the same day.
- Airline loses contact with plane between 1-2 hours after takeoff. No distress signal and weather is clear at the time.
- Missing plane last has contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.
- Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam says plane failed to check in as scheduled while flying over sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City.
Malaysian Airlines Group Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahyain, front, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur, on Saturday, March 8
- Flight tracking website flightaware.com shows plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from website's tracking records a minute later while still climbing.
- Malaysia search ships see no sign of wreckage in area where flights last made contact. Vietnam says giant oil slick and column of smoke seen in its waters.
- Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on flight, are not in fact on board. They say their passports were stolen.
SUNDAY, MARCH 9
- Malaysia Airlines says it fears the worst and is working with U.S. company that specialises in disaster recovery.
- Radar indicates flight may have turned back from its scheduled route to Beijing before disappearing.
A woman, surrounded by media, covers her mouth on her arrival at a hotel which is prepared for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing plane
- Interpol says at least two passports recorded as lost or stolen in its database were used by passengers, and it is 'examining additional suspect passports'.
- Investigators narrow focus of inquiries on possibility plane disintegrated in mid-flight, a source who is involved in the investigations in Malaysia tells Reuters.
MONDAY, MARCH 10
- The United States review of American spy satellite imagery shows no signs of mid-air explosion.
- As dozens of ships and aircraft from seven countries scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, questions mount over whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down the Boeing airliner.
- Hijacking could not be ruled out, says the head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, briefs the media over latest updates on missing Malaysia Airline MH370 on March 10
TUESDAY, MARCH 11
- Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble names the two men who boarded jet with stolen passports as Iranians who had entered Malaysia using their real passports. 'The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident,' Noble said.
- Malaysian police chief said the younger man appeared to be an illegal immigrant. His mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with authorities, he said.
- Malaysian police say they are investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery, along with the possibility of a hijacking, sabotage or mechanical failure.
- Malaysia's military believes missing jet turned and flew hundreds of kilometres to the west after it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a senior officer told Reuters. The jet made it into the Strait of Malacca, one of the world's busiest shipping channels, along Malaysia's west coast, said the officer.
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble names the two men who boarded jet with stolen passports as Iranians who had entered Malaysia using their real passports.
WEDNESDAY, MARCH 12
- The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet expands to an area stretching from China to India, as authorities struggle to answer what had happened to the aircraft that vanished almost five days ago with 239 people on board.
- Chinese state agency releases satellite images of three pieces of large debris floating near to the jet's last recorded position in South China Sea
- Vietnamese and Malaysian authorities say they find no traces at co-ordinates and it is later claimed the images were released 'by mistake'
THURSDAY, MARCH 13
- The Wall Street Journal quotes U.S. investigators as saying they suspected the plane remained in the air for abour four hours after vanishing, citing data sent from plane's Rolls Royce engines
- Malaysian defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein describes reports as 'inaccurate' and says the last engine data was received at 1.07am
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2579955/No-wreckage-no-cracks-fuselage-no-secret-engine-data-Clueless-airline-officials-rule-EVERY-new-crash-theory-going-come-REAL-information.html#ixzz2vsvGrEIA
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