Australia, Indonesia lead southern search

Australia and Indonesia have agreed to lead the search for the missing Malaysian Flight 370 in two sectors of a ‘southern corridor’ in their respective regions as demarcated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), said acting Malaysia’s transport minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.

He said this southern corridor stretched from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean and it had been divided into two sectors according to the ICAO demarcations.

Speaking at a media briefing on developments in the search for the Malaysia Airlines  Flight MH370 that disappeared over the South China Sea en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, Hishammuddin said Australia had already sent a P-3 Orion aircraft to the region of the Cocos and Christmas Islands.

“Today, the Prime Minister of Australia (Tony Abbott) confirmed that Australia will send an additional two P-3 Orion and a C-130 Hercules. A US P-8 Poseidon aircraft will be travelling to Perth today to help with the search,” he said.

“With support from our many international partners, this new phase of the search is underway. Assets are being deployed, and search and rescue operations have begun,” Hishammuddin said.

The minister also said that equal emphasis was being given to the northern corridor which stretched from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, although much of the nation’s assets in terms of aircraft, ships and personnel were deployed in the southern corridor which was not covered by many countries.

“Our focus is on the two corridors. Not many countries are covering the southern corridor. It does not mean that we are not focusing on the northern corridor,” he said.

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 on March 8. It should have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am the same day.

The Malaysian Government said that based on ‘pings’ sent from the aircraft to an Inmarsat satellite, it suspects that the aircraft was deliberately diverted and may have flown as far north as Central Asia or south into the vast reaches of the Indian Ocean.

Authorities suspect that someone on board the aircraft first disabled one of its communications systems — the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS — about 40 minutes after takeoff. The ACARS equipment sends information about the aircraft’s engines and other data to the airline.

About 14 minutes later, the transponder that identifies the aircraft to civilian radar systems was also shut down. The fact that both systems were shut down was, authorities said, evidence of sabotage.

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Posted in Airlines, CAAs/ANSPs, Uncategorized

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