Malaysia Airlines: “We Have to Assume that MH370 Ended in the Southern Indian Ocean”

This map shows the origination of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 in Kuala Lumpur; its destination in Beijing; the approximate point where contact is lost; and the Southern Indian Ocean where the aircraft is assumed to have been lost. Graphic by Brian Cohen. Imagery ©2014 TerraMetrics. Map data ©2014 courtesy of Google Maps.

Two statements have been released concerning the mysterious disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 370. The aircraft — which attempted to transport 226 passengers and 13 members of the flight crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing — mysteriously disappeared on Saturday, March 8, 2014.

The first statement — also known as Media Statement 23, released on Monday, March 24, 2014 at 10:15 in the evening — is a communication which was shared with the family members of passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight 370:

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, new analysis of satellite data suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.

“On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.

“We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We will continue to provide assistance and support to you, as we have done since MH370 first disappeared in the early hours of 8 March, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

“The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain. Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers.

“We would like to assure you that Malaysia Airlines will continue to give you our full support throughout the difficult weeks and months ahead.

“Once again, we humbly offer our sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.”

Najib Razak — the prime minister of Malaysia — has reportedly announced that new satellite data showed that the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 370 crashed into the Indian Ocean: “It is therefore, with deep sadness and regret, that I must inform you that according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

The search operation conducted by no fewer than 26 countries will continue to find out the answers to the many questions which remain pertaining to the mysterious disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 370.

The second statement — also known as Media Statement 24, released on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 12:30 in the morning — is as follows:

“It is with deep sadness that Malaysia Airlines earlier this evening had to confirm to the families of those on board Flight MH370 that it must now be assumed the flight had been lost. As the Prime Minister said, respect for the families is essential at this difficult time. And it is in that spirit that we informed the majority of the families in advance of the Prime Minister’s statement in person and by telephone. SMSs were used only as an additional means of communicating with the families. Those families have been at the heart of every action the company has taken since the flight disappeared on 8th March and they will continue to be so. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area and until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation.”

I find the language that an assumption is being confirmed to be somewhat odd — but FlyerTalk members continue to discuss the speculation of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft in question.

The following is a media statement released on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 12:30 in the afternoon from Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof, who is the chairman of Malaysia Airlines:

“As you will be aware, last night the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak, announced new evidence regarding the disappearance of MH370 on 8th March.

“Based on this evidence, the Prime Minister’s message was that we must accept the painful reality that the aircraft is now lost and that none of the passengers or crew on board survived.

“This is a sad and tragic day for all of us at Malaysia Airlines. While not entirely unexpected after an intensive multi-national search across a 2.24 million square mile area, this news is clearly devastating for the families of those on board. They have waited for over two weeks for even the smallest hope of positive news about their loved ones.

“This has been an unprecedented event requiring an unprecedented response. The investigation still underway may yet prove to be even longer and more complex than it has been since March 8. But we will continue to support the families – as we have done throughout. And to support the authorities as the search for definitive answers continues. I will now ask our Group Chief Executive¸ Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, to provide you will with fuller details of our support for the families.”

The following is a media statement released on Tuesday, March 25, 2014 at 12:30 in the afternoon from Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, who is the group chief executive officer of Malaysia Airlines:

“I stand before you today not only as the Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines, but also as a parent, as a brother, as a son. My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families. There are no words which can ease that pain. Everyone in the Malaysia Airlines family is praying for the 239 souls on MH370 and for their loved ones on this dark day. We extend our prayers and sincere condolences.

“We all feel enormous sorrow and pain. Sorrow that all those who boarded Flight MH370 on Saturday 8th March, will not see their families again. And that those families will now have to live on without those they love. It must be remembered too that 13 of our own colleagues and fellow Malaysians were also on board.

“And let me be very clear on the events of yesterday evening. Our sole and only motivation last night was to ensure that in the incredibly short amount of time available to us, the families heard the tragic news before the world did. Wherever humanly possible, we did so in person with the families or by telephone, using SMS only as an additional means of ensuring fully that the nearly 1,000 family members heard the news from us and not from the media.

“Ever since the disappearance of Flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines’ focus has been to comfort and support the families of those involved and support the multi-national search effort. We will continue to do this, while we also continue to support the work of the investigating authorities in the Southern Indian Ocean.

“Like everyone else, we are waiting for news from those authorities. We know that while there have been an increasing number of apparent leads, definitive identification of any piece of debris is still missing. It is impossible to predict how long this will take. But after 17 days, the announcement made last night and shared with the families is the reality which we must now accept. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery areas if they so wish. Until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation. And may I express my thanks to the Government and all of those involved in this truly global search effort.

“In the meantime, Malaysia Airlines’ overwhelming focus will be the same as it has been from the outset – to provide the families with a comprehensive support programme. Through a network of over 700 dedicated caregivers, the loved ones of those on board have been provided with two dedicated caregivers for each family, providing care, support and counsel. We are now supporting over 900 people under this programme and in the last 72 hours, we have trained an additional 40 caregivers to ensure the families have access to round-the-clock support.

“In addition, hotel accommodation for up to five family members per passenger, transportation, meals and others expenses have been provided since 8th March and that will continue.

“Malaysia Airlines has already provided initial financial assistance of USD 5,000 per passenger to the next of kin. We recognize that financial support is not the only consideration. But the prolonged search is naturally placing financial strain on the relatives. We are therefore preparing to offer additional payments as the search continues.

“This unprecedented event in aviation history has made the past 18 days the greatest challenge to face our entire team at Malaysia Airlines. I have been humbled by the hard work, dedication, heartfelt messages of concern and offers of support from our remarkable team. We do not know why, and we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened. But as the Malaysia Airlines family, we are all praying for the passengers and crew of Flight MH370.”

The following is a press briefing from the prime minister of Malaysia released on Thursday, April 3, 2014:

Thursday, April 03, 12:00 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Najib Razak, Prime Minister of Malaysia

“I would like to start by thanking the men and women who are giving their all to find MH370.

“Over the past three weeks, hundreds of people have journeyed thousands of kilometres to help. They have searched through stormy seas and freezing fog. They have sailed through cyclones to find the plane. We owe them each a debt of gratitude.

“This has been a remarkable effort, bringing together nations from around the world. When MH370 went missing, dozens of countries answered the call for help. Their commitment will not be forgotten.

“In a time of great tragedy – for the countries with citizens on board, and the families whose loved ones are missing – this co-operation has given us all heart. Differences have been set aside, as 26 nations have united behind a common cause. The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent; so too is the search.

“This morning I met sailors and aircrew at Pearce Air Force Base. I also spoke to the commanders of the seven nations who are here to search for MH370. They told me of the difficulties of a search like this; of distance, and weather, and of maintaining morale amidst so many false sightings.

“As we speak, 10 aircraft and 9 ships are searching the Indian Ocean for any sign of the missing plane. The search area is vast, and the conditions are not easy. But the courage of the crews is more than equal to the task. Once again, I thank them all for what they are doing.

“I would also like to thank Prime Minister Abbott for hosting us here in Perth; for formally agreeing to lead the search operations in the southern Indian Ocean; and for accepting our invitation for Australia to participate as an Accredited Representative in the investigation. We will continue to work closely with the Australian government to draw up a comprehensive agreement on the search.

“At this difficult time, Australia has proven an invaluable friend. The Australian authorities, like so many others, have offered their assistance without hesitation or delay. I would like to sincerely thank Australians for all they have done, and are doing, to find the plane.

“We are also grateful to all those who have brought their expertise to bear on what Prime Minister Abbott rightly called ‘one of the great mysteries of our time’.

“The disappearance of MH370 has tested our collective resolve. Faced with so little evidence, and such a difficult task, investigators from Australia, China, France, Malaysia, the UK and the US and have worked without pause to reveal the aircraft’s movements. Their collective efforts have led us here.

“We are here today, but our thoughts are thousands of kilometres away. In the cities and countries around the world, where families of those on board wait desperately for news. And in the vastness of the Indian Ocean, where MH370 awaits.

“I know that until we find the plane, many families cannot start to grieve. I cannot imagine what they must be going through. But I can promise them that we will not give up.

“Thank you.”

The following are statements from briefings to the press and media starting on Thursday, March 25, 2014 by Hishammuddin Hussein, who is the Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport:

Monday, April 07, 07:45 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

Introductory statement

It has been 31 days since MH370 went missing. As we enter this new week of the search operations, there has been a significant lead in the search for the missing aircraft. As stated by the Joint Agency Coordinating Centre in Perth earlier today, the towed pinger locator deployed from HMAS Ocean Shield has detected signals consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes. While this may be a step closer towards finding MH370, there are still many steps to be taken before we can positively verify that these signals are from MH370.

1. Developments from Australia

This morning, Prime Minister Najib Razak had a call with Prime Minister Tony Abbott who updated him on the latest findings regarding the signals detected.

According to the Joint Agency Coordination Centre in Perth, two separate signal detections have occurred 1,650 kilometres northwest of Perth within the northern part of the defined search area. The first detection was held for approximately 2 hours and 20 minutes. HMAS Ocean Shield then lost contact before conducting a turn and attempting to re-acquire the signal.

The second detection on the return leg was held for approximately 13 minutes. On this occasion, two distinct pinger returns were audible. Significantly as stated by Angus Houston, this would be consistent with transmissions from both the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder.

Separately, the Chinese Ship Haixun 01 has also detected similar signals twice.

In line with Malaysia’s consistent stand of verifying and corroborating new evidence since Day 1 of the search operations, I would strongly urge all the parties concerned to treat this information responsibly and to give time and space for the authorities to conduct further verification. Malaysia also concurs with the statement by Prime Minister Abbott that all parties must be cautious about unconfirmed findings and making conclusions.

I have also personally spoken to Air Chief Marshal (ret) Angus Houston earlier today, who has confirmed the above and has briefed me on the ongoing operations based on information received from all parties involved.

Despite all this, We are cautiously hopeful that there will be positive developments in the next few days.

2. Way forward for committees

As I have elaborated last Saturday, the Government—in order to streamline and strengthen our on-going efforts—has established three ministerial committees namely,

  1. The Next of Kin committee, led by Hamzah Zainuddin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs.
  2. The Technical committee, led by Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, the Deputy Minister of Transport
  3. The Deployment of Assets committee, led by Abdul Rahim Bakri, the Deputy Minister of Defence

 

These three committee have started their respective tasks and we will be reporting to the public on their findings in due course.

I would also like to confirm that efforts to appoint an independent investigator in charge based on ICAO standards to lead an investigation team is underway. Three groups have been established, namely–

  • An airworthiness group, to look at issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems
  • An operations group, to examine things such as flight recorders, operations and meteorology;
  • And a medical and human factors group, to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors

 

We are in the process of identifying to include accreditated countries into this investigation team.

Concluding remarks

The new developments over the last few hours have been the most promising lead we have had so urge all Malaysians and the international community to unite in their prayers and not give up hope. We

Will continue with all our efforts to find MH370.

Saturday, April 05, 06:06 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

1. Introduction

It’s been almost a month since MH370 went missing.

The search operation has been difficult, challenging and complex.

In spite of all this, our determination remains undiminished.

We will continue the search with the same level of vigour and intensity.

We owe this to the families of those on board, and to the wider world.

We will continue to focus, with all our efforts, on finding the aircraft.

2. Investigation into MH370

As per the requirements set out by the ICAO in Annex 13 of the International Standards and Recommended Practices, Malaysia will continue to lead the investigation into MH370.

As per the ICAO standards, Malaysia will also appoint an independent ‘Investigator In Charge’ to lead an investigation team.

The investigation team will include three groups:

  • an airworthiness group, to look at issues such as maintenance records, structures and systems;
  • an operations group, to examine things such as flight recorders, operations and meteorology;
  • and a medical and human factors group, to investigate issues such as psychology, pathology and survival factors.

 

The investigation team will also include accredited countries.

Malaysia has already asked Australia to be accredited to the investigation team, and they have accepted.

We will also include China, the United States, the United Kingdom and France as accredited representatives to the investigation team, along with other countries that we feel are in a position to help.

3. Formation of committees

In addition to the new investigation team mentioned above, the Government – in order to streamline and strengthen our on-going efforts – has established three ministerial committees.

Firstly, we have established a Next of Kin Committee. Hamzah Zainuddin, the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs, leads this committee.

This committee will oversee all aspects regarding the Next of Kin of those on board MH370, providing families with information on the search operation, and offering support after the search operation has been concluded.

The committee will co-ordinate with relevant foreign governments, and will complement the work already being done for the families by Malaysian Airlines.

The second committee oversees technicalities, specifically, the formation and the appointment of the investigation team. Abdul Aziz Kaprawi, the Deputy Minister of Transport, leads this committee.

The third committee takes over issues related to the deployment of assets for the search operation. Abdul Rahim Bakri, the Deputy Minister of Defence, leads this committee. This committee will work with foreign counterparts involved in the search operation, and liaise closely with the Australian Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre.

4. US-ASEAN Defence Forum

This morning, I returned from the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, which I attended in my capacity as Defence Minister.

At the forum, I updated our ASEAN counterparts, and the United States, on the latest developments in the search for MH370.

I also spoke to officials from other countries involved in the multi-national search operation.

The spirit of co-operation at the meeting, and the support offered, was commendable.

During my bilateral meeting with US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Secretary Hagel reiterated his commitment that the United States would continue to support the search operation, and will provide whatever assets are deemed necessary.

I thanked Secretary Hagel for the United States’ unwavering support, which has included both the deployment of naval and air assets, sophisticated underwater search equipment, and assistance from the FBI, the NTSB and the FAA.

At the Forum, I also received strong support from our ASEAN partners in the search for MH370.

I would like to read out the joint statement issued by the ASEAN Ministers, which I believe underscores the tremendous spirit of co-operation within ASEAN, in the face of this difficult search operation:

“We, the Defence Ministers of the member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations express our deepest sympathies to the family members of the passengers and crew on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

We acknowledge that the member nations of ASEAN have participated in the search operations directly and indirectly since the plane went missing on 8th March 2014.

From the South China Sea, the Andaman Sea to the Indian Ocean – ASEAN has continued to assist in every way possible, true to the spirit of regional cooperation and friendship without any hesitation in sharing of information, assets and expertise.

We believe that Malaysia has done its level best in its response to this unprecedented predicament given the sheer scale of the Search and Rescue (SAR) operation which is the biggest and most complex we have ever seen.

We reaffirm our commitment for greater cooperation between each member nationespecially in the field of disaster management under the framework of the ASEAN Agreement on Disaster Management and Emergency Response. This incident stressed upon us the importance of information and resource sharing as we strive to be in the utmost state of readiness in mitigating potential calamities and risks.

ASEAN’s unity will remain solid and is totally committed to assisting Malaysia in coordinating this massive SAR to locate MH370. We are resolute in finding a closure to this tragic chapter in aviation history. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families in these difficult times.”

5. Concluding remarks

Before I end, let me touch on some unfounded allegations made against Malaysia.

These allegations include the extraordinary assertion that Malaysian authorities were somehow complicit in what happened to MH370.

I should like to state, for the record, that these allegations are completely untrue.

As I have said before, the search for MH370 should be above politics.

And so I call on all Malaysians to unite; to stand by our armed forces as they work in difficult conditions, with their foreign counterparts, thousands of miles from home; and to support all those who are working tirelessly in the search for MH370.

Lastly, as I mentioned on Wednesday, while I was at the US-ASEAN Defence Forum, I spoke by telephone to the British Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond, regarding the nuclear-powered submarine HMS Tireless.

I hereby confirm that the submarine is now in the search area and helping in the search operation.

I shall now invite the Chief of the Defence Force to update you on the submarine’s capabilities.

Tuesday, April 01, 05:45 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

1. Briefing for families
Tomorrow a closed-door briefing meeting for the families will be held in Kuala Lumpur.

The Department of Civil Aviation and Malaysia Airlines will lead the briefing, which will be moderated by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China. Technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia will participate in the briefing, and the Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia will attend.

2. Transcript
Today we are releasing the full transcript of communications between flight MH370 and Air Traffic Control Kuala Lumpur. The transcript has been shared with the families, and is attached as an Annex to this press release (click here for the transcript). There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript.

The transcript was initially held as part of the police investigation. Previously, Malaysia Airlines had stated initial investigations indicated that the voice which signed off was that of the co-pilot. The police are working to confirm this belief, and forensic examination of the actual recording is on-going.

The international investigations team and the Malaysian authorities remain of the opinion that, up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, MH370’s movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.

Monday, March 31, 06:15 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

Introductory statement

Before I begin today’s briefing, I would like to reiterate what Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot said this morning. The international co-operation underway in the search for MH370 is nothing short of tremendous. The militaries of Malaysia, Australia, the United States, New Zealand, China, Japan and Korea are all working to find the missing plane.

I should also like to point out that Indonesia has given clearance for 94 sorties – by aircraft from nine different countries – to fly in their airspace, as part of this search.

As Prime Minister Abbot said, it is heartening to see so many different countries working together for a humanitarian cause; to resolve this extraordinary mystery; and to bring closure for the families of those on board.

1.  Prime Minister’s trip to Perth
This morning, the Prime Minister spoke with Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbot. Prime Minister Abbot gave a full update on the status of the search operations, headed out of Perth.

Our Prime Minister has decided to travel to Perth on Wednesday for a working visit to Pearce Air force base, to see the operations first hand and also to thank the personnel involved in the multinational search effort, including the Malaysian personnel.

2.  Operational update
This afternoon, the Australian High Commissioner to Malaysia briefed me on the creation of a new, Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC), which will be based out of Pearce Air force base in Perth.

The JACC will be headed by Air Chief Marshal (ret.) Angus Houston, the former Chief of the Defense Force Australia.

The JACC will co-ordinate operations between all Australian government agencies and international search teams.

As per the information that we have received from the Australian authorities, the area of search today is 254,000 square kilometres.

Today, nine military aircraft and one civilian aircraft travelled to the search area. These planes were:

  • two Malaysian C-130.
  • one Chinese Ilyushin IL-76.
  • one Japanese Coast Guard G5.
  • one Australian P3 Orion.
  • one New Zealand P3 Orion.
  • one New Zealand civilian aircraft.
  • one American P8 Poseidon.
  • one Japanese P3 Orion.
  • one Korean P3 Orion.

 

Today eleven ships were also deployed to the search area:

  • Eight Chinese ships:
    • the Xue Long,
    • the Kunlunshan,
    • the Haikou,
    • the Qiandaohu Jian,
    • the Jing Gang Shan,
    • the Haixun,
    • the Dong Hai Jian,
    • and the Nan Hai Jian.

 

  • Three Australian ships:
    • the HMAS Success,
    • the HMAS Toowoomba
    • and MV Barkley Pearl, which is currently transiting in the search area.

 

The Malaysian ship, the KD Lekiu, is expected to arrive in the search area on 3 April.

The ADV Ocean Shield – fitted with the towed pinger locator and a Bluefin 21 autonomous underwater vehicle – is due to arrive in the search area on 3 April.

In terms of the sightings of potential objects:

  1. On Saturday, five objects were retrieved by HMAS Success and the Haixun. However, it was found that none of these objects were related to MH370.
  2. On Sunday, an Australian P3 Orion made visual sightings of seven potential objects. A Korean P3 Orion also made visuals of three potential objects.

 

The Chinese ship, the Haixun, was tasked on Monday to retrieve these potential objects.

3.     ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting
In my capacity as Malaysian Defence Minister, I will leave tonight for the United States Pacific Command in Hawaii.

I will attend the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ meeting, which will be held from 1st to the 3rd of April.

The meeting is being convened by US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.

On behalf of the Malaysian Government, I will share with my ASEAN counterparts, and the Government of the United States, the latest developments regarding the search for MH370.

I will convey to our ASEAN neighbours and the United States, Malaysia’s utmost appreciation for their invaluable help in the multi-national search effort. I will also use this opportunity to discuss the possibility of deploying more specific military assets, in the event that we need to embark on a more complex phase of the operation.  I shall be discussing with the United States, and our other friends and allies, how best we can acquire the assets needed for possible deep sea search and recovery.

4.  Meeting with the Indonesian Special Envoy
Today, I held a meeting with the Indonesian Special Envoy and Special Advisor to the Foreign Minister, Madam Wiwiek Setyawati Firman, and her delegation. The delegation included H.E. Mr. Herman Prayitno, the Ambassador of Indonesia to Malaysia.

The Special Envoy expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the Government of Malaysia and the multinational team conducting the search operation.

The Special Envoy also stated that Indonesia fully understands the complexity and the magnitude of the challenge ahead, and reaffirms its unshakeable support for Malaysia.

5.  Next of Kin
Yesterday a group of families, whose loved ones were on board MH370, arrived in Kuala Lumpur from Beijing.
The Government is due to hold a high-level briefing soon for these families, to update them on the latest developments regarding the search for MH370.

The briefing will include international experts who were not available during the briefings in Beijing, including experts from China. It will also be broadcasted live to other families in Beijing.

The search for MH370 continues to be a large, complex, multinational effort involving many countries and international agencies.

Much of the research that has been used to track MH370 has been provided to the Malaysian investigators by our international partners.

This research is extremely complicated, involving teams of highly specialised experts, many of whom are based in different countries around the world.

The briefing will provide an opportunity for the families to hear directly from some of these experts. The experts will be able to explain the research, the data and the methodology that has informed the search operation.

6.  Concluding remarks
We understand that it has been a difficult time for all the families.  And we appreciate that many families want to see physical evidence before they will accept that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

We find ourselves in a difficult position. I repeat: the question that the families principally want answered, is the question we simply do not have the answer to – namely, where their loved ones are, and where is MH370.

On Saturday I met with the Malaysian and Chinese families based in Kuala Lumpur. It was the most difficult meeting I’ve ever attended.

The families are heartbroken. For many, the strain of the past few weeks has been unbearable. But the one message they delivered to me again and again is not to give up hope.
And I promised the families that Malaysia, working with our international partners, will not give up hope. We will continue with all our efforts to find MH370.

This is a promise that Malaysia intends to keep. We will continue searching, and we will keep investigating, and we will never give up until we find out what happened to MH370.

Sunday, March 30, 03:45 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Incident – Media Statement 27 By Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer

Malaysia Airlines wishes to clarify that it will be making arrangements to fly family members to Perth, only once it has been authoritatively confirmed that the physical wreckage found is that of MH370.

Arrangements will be made as soon as the relevant government agencies have provided clearances for Malaysia Airlines to bring family members to the site where aircraft wreckage will be kept.

A Family Assistance Centre (FAC) will be established in Perth. The FAC will become the focal point for all activities that have been planned for the families including briefings, religious and prayer services.

Malaysia Airlines is fully committed to supporting all efforts by the relevant foreign Governments who continue to search for and recover the aircraft, and it continues to cooperate with all authorities involved in the investigation.

Friday, March 28, 05:45 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

Introductory statement

Today, the search for MH370 has been further refined. The international investigation team continue working to narrow the search area, and shed further light on MH370’s flight path.

We are, as always, grateful for the continuing co-operation of our partners in this difficult and intensive search.
Whilst search operations are on-going, we continue to focus our efforts on caring for the families. In Cabinet this morning, we discussed the importance of continuing to support the relatives of the passengers and crew.

1.  Refined search area
On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that based on new data analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB had concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
On Tuesday, I confirmed that further study of this data would be undertaken to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. The Malaysian investigation team set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward.

The international working group included representatives from the UK, namely Inmarsat, AAIB, and Rolls Royce; from China, namely the CAAC and AAID; from the US, namely the NTSB, FAA, and Boeing; as well as the relevant Malaysian authorities.

The group has been working to refine the Inmarsat data, and to analyse it – together with other information, including radar data and aircraft performance assumptions – to narrow the search area.

Information which had already been examined by the investigation was re-examined in light of new evidence drawn from the Inmarsat data analysis.

In addition, international partners – who continue to process data in their home countries, as well as in the international working group – have further refined existing data. They have also come up with new technical information, for example on aircraft performance.

Yesterday, this process yielded new results, which indicated that MH370 flew at a higher speed than previously thought, which in turn means it used more fuel and could not travel as far. This information was passed to RCC Australia by the NTSB, to help further refine and narrow the search area.

The Australian authorities have indicated that they have shifted the search area approximately 1,100 kilometres to the north east. Because of ocean drift, this new search area could still be consistent with the potential objects identified by various satellite images over the past week.

This work is on-going, and we can expect further refinements. As the Australian authorities indicated this morning, this is standard practice in a search operation. It is a process of continually refining data which in turn further narrows the search area. With each step, we get closer to understanding MH370’s flight path.

Searches must be conducted on the best information available at the time. In the search for MH370, we have consistently followed the evidence, and acted on credible leads. Our search and rescue efforts have been directed by verified and corroborated information. This latest refinement of the search area is no different.

2.  Satellite images
Last night, Japanese authorities announced they had satellite images which showed a number of floating objects approximately 2,500 kilometres southwest of Perth. Early this morning we received separate satellite imagery from the Thai authorities which also showed potential objects.

These new satellite images join those released by Australia, China, France, and Malaysia, all of which are with RCC Australia. The range of potential objects, and the difficulty in re-identifying them shows just how complex this investigation is. We remain grateful to all our partners for continuing to assist in the search operations.

3.  Concluding remarks
The new search area, approximately 1,680 kilometres west of Perth, remains in the Australian area of responsibility.

Australia continues to lead the search efforts in this new area, and the Australian Maritime Safety Authority gave a comprehensive operational update earlier today. As more information emerges, they will be issuing frequent operational updates, including on assets deployed.

I would like to echo their statements that the new search area, although more focused than before, remains considerable; and that the search conditions, although easier than before, remain challenging.

For the families of those on board, we pray that further processing of data, and further progress in the search itself, brings us closer to finding MH370.

Friday, March 28, 10:15 AM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident by Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer- 26th Media Statement

These past couple of days have been especially difficult for everyone.

For Malaysia Airlines, it was very difficult to break the devastating news of the loss of the aircraft, especially to a large number of family members of passengers and crew onboard MH370, located in many places around the world, within a short time before the Prime Minister’s public announcement.

However, the well-being and feelings of family members are and have always been close to our hearts and minds.

Ever since the disappearance of Flight MH370, Malaysia Airlines’ focus has been to comfort and support the families of those involved and support the multi-national search effort. We will continue to do this, while we also continue to support the work of the investigating authorities.

Malaysia Airlines is extremely thankful for the support pouring in from governments around the world and of Malaysia, especially the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of Transport. Both Prime Minister Dato’ Seri Najib Tun Razak and Acting Transport Minister Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and their staff have been at the forefront of every effort in locating MH370.

Ever since satellite findings first indicated that flight MH370 ended in the South Indian Ocean nearest to Australia, the Australian government too has given immense support to Malaysia Airlines, from coordinating the search for the aircraft to offering an exemption of visa application process for families of passengers and crew on board MH370. Malaysia Airlines will be making arrangements to take family members to Perth, should physical wreckage be found. We are extremely grateful for such support.

Whilst we understand that there will inevitably be speculation during this period, we do ask people to bear in mind the effect this has on the families of all those on board. Their anguish and distress increases with each passing day, with each fresh rumour, and with each false or misleading report.

Malaysia Airlines wishes to thank media publications that have been responsible in their reporting of MH370. We shall continue to cooperate in providing such information as we can but independent investigations are now underway and we do operate under strict constraints in this regard. In the meantime our top priority remains to provide any and all assistance to the families of the passengers and crew.

Thursday, March 27, 05:45 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

1. Chinese Special Envoy

a. Yesterday, His Excellency Zhang Yesui, the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy of the Government of China, met with the Prime Minister and Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin, the Acting Minister of Transport and the Minister of Defence.

b. Following the meeting with Dato’ Seri Hishammuddin, His Excellency Zhang Yesui also received a comprehensive technical briefing by the international working group, led by the AAIB. Inmarsat’s findings – which led to the conclusion that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean – were explained during the meeting.

c. The Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) and Aircraft Accident Investigation Department (AAID) of the CAAC were present at yesterday’s technical briefing. The CAAC and AAID have been, and will continue to be, members of the international working group.

d. Today His Excellency Zhang Yesui also met with the Chinese relatives of those on board MH370 who are currently in KL.

e. Malaysia is committed to working closely with the Government of China and to sharing all information related to MH370 in full.

2. Family briefing in Beijing

a. Yesterday, the Malaysian high-level team met with the Chinese relatives of those on board MH370 who are based in Beijing, for the fourth time. Over the duration of the three hour meeting, the relatives received a technical briefing and an update on the search operation. The high-level team also answered questions. Today, the high-level team met relatives again, at 3:25pm Malaysia time. The meeting is still underway.

b. Malaysia is working hard to try and make the briefings to the Chinese relatives in Beijing more productive. Malaysian officials met with His Excellency Huang Huikang, China’s Ambassador to Malaysia, to request the Government of China to engage and clarify the actual situation to the affected families in particular and the Chinese public in general.

3. Operational update

a. The planned area of search today was 16,298 square nautical miles in the West sector, and 6,506 square nautical miles in the East sector.

b. The area identified by the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) yesterday – where the 122 potential objects were sighted – was also due to be searched today.

c. Today, nine planes travelled to the search area – five in the East sector and four in the West sector. In the East sector, searches by air were conducted by:

  • two Australian civilian aircraft.
  • one Chinese Ilyushin IL-76.
  • one New Zealand civil aircraft.
  • one Japanese Gulfstream.

 

In the West sector, searches by air were conducted by:

  • two Australian P-3 Orions.
  • two Australian civil aircraft.

 

d. Today six ships were deployed in the search area – one in the East sector and five in

the West sector.

In the East sector, searches by ship were conducted by:

  • one Chinese ship (the Xue Long).

 

In the West sector, searches by ship were conducted by:

  • four Chinese ships (the Kunlunshan, Haikou, Qiandaohui, and Zhonghaishaohua).
  • one Australian ship (the HMAS Success).

 

e. One Chinese ship (the Hai Xun) is expected to arrive in the search area tonight.

f. Today the weather deteriorated in the search area and search operations were suspended at 11:40am.

4. Malaysian team going to Perth

a. Malaysia is in the process of sending a team, comprised of the DCA, MAS, the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force, to Perth. This team will work closely with the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre to assist with the search operation.

Wednesday, March 26, 05:45 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

Introductory statement

The search for MH370 continues. Our efforts are now focused in the southern Indian Ocean, where a multi-national team, led by Australia, is combing the waters trying to find debris from the flight.

Our determination to find MH370 remains steadfast. As we have said all along, we will never give up trying to find the plane – in order to bring closure for the families, and to establish exactly what happened to MH370.

1. New satellite images
Australia, China and France have already released satellite images, showing objects that may be related to MH370.

Yesterday, on 25 March, the Malaysian Remote Sensing Agency (MRSA) received new satellite images from Airbus Defence and Space, which is based in France. The images were taken on 23 March.

MRSA analysed the images and – in one area of the ocean measuring some 400 square kilometres – were able to identify 122 potential objects.

Some objects were a metre in length; others were as much as 23 metres in length. Some of the objects appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid materials.

The objects were located approximately 2,557 kilometres from Perth. We will issue handouts relating to this new information, after this press conference.

MRSA’s findings were immediately forwarded to the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre in Perth yesterday. It must be emphasized that we cannot tell whether the potential objects are from MH370. Nevertheless, this is another new lead that will help direct the search operation.

We have now had four separate satellite leads, from Australia, China and France, showing possible debris. It is now imperative that we link the debris to MH370. This will enable us to further reduce the search area, and locate more debris from the plane.

Click here to downlaod maps showing objects reported by MRSA.

2. Operational update
Australia is leading the search effort in the southern Indian Ocean, based out of Perth. Malaysia continues to play a co-ordinating role. All countries involved are displaying unprecedented levels of co-operation; that has not changed. Australia has divided the search area into two sectors, East and West.

Today the weather has improved, and twelve planes will travel to the search area – six in the East sector and six in the West.
In the East sector, searches will be conducted by:

  • one Australian P3 Orion, and three Australian civilian aircraft.
  • one Chinese Ilyushin IL-76.
  • one New Zealand P3 Orion.

 

In the West sector, searches will be conducted by:

  • one US P8 Poseidon.
  • one Korean P3 Orion.
  • one Japanese P3 Orion.
  • two Australian P3 Orions, and one civilian aircraft.

 

Two ships will also join the search operations.

Yesterday ‘HMAS Success’ was redeployed to the south of the search area due to bad weather.  Today the ship has returned and will support the search operation in the West sector. Meanwhile, the Chinese ship ‘Xue Long’ has today been deployed to the East sector.

A Japanese Coast Guard gulfstream aircraft left Subang this morning for Perth, to join the search operation.

As I mentioned yesterday, the search operations in the northern corridor, and in the northern part of the southern corridor, have been called off. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has sent diplomatic notes to all relevant countries to formally inform them of this change.

Before I continue, I would like to convey our appreciation to the Australian authorities, and in particular to Prime Minister Tony Abbot, for making such an extraordinary contribution to the search operation.

3. Chinese Special Envoy
Today, the Prime Minister met with His Excellency Zhang Yesui, the Chinese Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs and Special Envoy of the Government of China. I also met with His Excellency this afternoon.

During our conversation His Excellency conveyed China’s commitment to continue and intensify the search operation in any way possible, and to deploy any assets that may be required.

Malaysia has provided his His Excellency and his delegation with a full update on the latest information from Inmarsat.
His Excellency and his delegation also received a comprehensive briefing from the international technical team.

4. International Working Group
As I mentioned yesterday, based on the new information provided by Inmarsat, we have established an international working group. The agencies involved in this working group include: Inmarsat, AAIB, the Chinese CAAC and AAID, NTSB, FAA, Boeing and Rolls Royce, as well as the relevant Malaysian authorities.
The role of the working group is to help try and refine the Inmarsat data and, if possible, more accurately determine the final position of MH370.

5. Further information
I should like to note that the CEO of Malindo Airlines, Chandran Rama Murthy, has joined me on stage today, and will be able to answer any questions that you might have.

As I announced yesterday, MAS is now taking a lead in communicating with the families and is conducting their own press conferences. MAS will hold another press conference tomorrow.

Concluding remarks
New satellite images continue to provide clues in the search for MH370. And with improved weather conditions, aircraft are now able to investigate objects of interest.

I would like to thank once again our international partners for their continued support and assistance. The search for MH370, and the investigation into what happened on board the flight, is now a truly international effort.

Tuesday, March 25, 06:50 PM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Press Briefing by Hishammuddin Hussein, Minister of Defence and Acting Minister of Transport

Introductory statement

As the search for MH370 continues, we remain focused on narrowing the search area.

With such strong co-operation from our international partners, the challenge is no longer diplomatic. It is now primarily technical and logistical. Because the scale of the investigation is now much more complex, the release of technical and logistical information will be handled differently. As you have seen today, this means that Malaysia Airlines will take the lead in communicating with the families.

As the search area has narrowed, new challenges have arisen, including managing resources in a remote search and rescue effort. We continue to work closely with our friends and partners as we seek to marshal more specific resources in support of the operations in that area.

1. New data

Last night the Prime Minister announced that according to new analysis of satellite data, Inmarsat and UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have concluded that flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

Today I will provide further details of how the data was analysed, as provided to us the UK AAIB. This information is quite technical in nature. So although I will give you as much information as I can, I will not be in a position to answer questions about this data analysis today.

However, we will accept written questions which will be answered as soon as possible. We will be providing this information as a press release at the end of this press conference. This is the information provided to us by the AAIB. Click here for the document.

2. Further details

In recent days Inmarsat developed a second innovative technique which considers the velocity of the aircraft relative to the satellite. Depending on this relative movement, the frequency received and transmitted will differ from its normal value, in much the same way that the sound of a passing car changes as it approaches and passes by. This is called the Doppler effect. Click here for Doppler document.

The Inmarsat technique analyses the difference between the frequency that the ground station expects to receive and that actually measured. This difference is the result of the Doppler effect and is known as the Burst Frequency Offset.

The Burst Frequency Offset changes depending on the location of the aircraft on an arc of possible positions, its direction of travel, and its speed. In order to establish confidence in its theory, Inmarsat checked its predictions using information obtained from six other B777 aircraft flying on the same day in various directions. There was good agreement.

While on the ground at Kuala Lumpur airport, and during the early stage of the flight, MH370 transmitted several messages. At this stage the location of the aircraft and the satellite were known, so it was possible to calculate system characteristics for the aircraft, satellite, and ground station.

During the flight the ground station logged the transmitted and received pulse frequencies at each handshake. Knowing the system characteristics and position of the satellite it was possible, considering aircraft performance, to determine where on each arc the calculated burst frequency offset fit best.

The analysis showed poor correlation with the Northern corridor, but good correlation with the Southern corridor, and depending on the ground speed of the aircraft it was then possible to estimate positions at 0011 UTC, at which the last complete handshake took place. I must emphasise that this is not the final position of the aircraft.

There is evidence of a partial handshake between the aircraft and ground station at 0019 UTC. At this time this transmission is not understood and is subject to further ongoing work. No response was received from the aircraft at 0115 UTC, when the ground earth station sent the next log on / log off message. This indicates that the aircraft was no longer logged on to the network.

Therefore, sometime between 0011 UTC and 0115 UTC the aircraft was no longer able to communicate with the ground station. This is consistent with the maximum endurance of the aircraft.

This analysis by Inmarsat forms the basis for further study to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. Accordingly, the Malaysian investigation has set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward.

3. Technical background

The new analysis I have described above was convincing enough for the AAIB to brief the Prime Minister that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. Within a few hours, the families had been informed, and the Prime Minister announced the new development to the world.

As the Prime Minister stated, this type of analysis has never been done in an investigation of this sort. There remains more work to be done, and we are grateful to Inmarsat, AAIB and the international investigations team, who are continuing to work with the Malaysian authorities. This is a developing situation, and as soon as we know more, we will share it.

4. Operational update

As a result of this new data analysis, the search and rescue operation in the northern corridor has been called off. We have also stopped the search and rescue operation in the northern part of the southern corridor, close to Indonesia.

All search efforts are now focused in the southern part of the southern corridor, in an area covering some 469,407 square nautical miles, as against the 2.24 million square nautical miles which we announced on 18th March.

We are currently working to further narrow down the search area, using the four methods I mentioned previously: gathering information from satellite surveillance, analysis of surveillance radar data, increasing air and surface assets, and increasing the number of technical and subject matter experts.

On the assets deployed, 2 Korean aircraft left Subang airport for Perth this morning, to help in the multinational search operation. No flights from Perth to the search area took place today, due to bad weather. 6 Chinese ships are currently in the search area. They are expected to arrive within the vicinity of MH370’s last known position by tomorrow morning. These ships include the ice breaker ‘Xue Long’.

HMAS Success is also currently in the search area.

The American Towed Pinger Locater – an instrument that can help find a black box – is currently en route to Perth and will arrive tomorrow. The system will be fitted onto the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which is due to dock in Perth on 28th March. The Ocean Shield, fitted with the Towed Pinger Locater, is due to arrive in the search area on 5 April.

5. Concluding remarks

The new analysis shared with the investigation by Inmarsat and the AAIB has focused our efforts on the southern part of the southern corridor.

Although yesterday’s news was incredibly hard for the family members, as our Prime Minister said, it was released out of a commitment to openness and respect for the relatives, two principles which have guided the investigation.

For the link to the official discussion on FlyerTalk pertaining to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370, please click here. The original discussion which was launched by FlyerTalk member alpen1 is now locked and archived.

Official statements from Malaysia Airlines are found here; and I have re-posted them here, here and here at The Gate.

Here is a list of other discussions on FlyerTalk pertaining to the mysterious disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 370:

 

My thoughts and prayers are with the 239 people aboard the Boeing 777-200 aircraft which operated as Malaysia Airlines flight 370 — wherever they may be — as well as their families, friends and loved ones.

Comments (Showing 1 of 1)

  • PIONEER at 12:57pm March 25, 2014

    I really doubt that this was a terrorist act. If the pilots, or somebody that managed to seize the airplane, had wanted to kill themselves anyways, I would think that there would be a 9-11 scenario with a crash into a major metro area. Thus I’m thinking major mechanical failure, perhaps similar to the Payne Stewart crash some years ago. Anyways, I have no words to express my sympathy for the passengers and families. We all get on these long haul flights, and often go to sleep, and assume that everything is going to be fine. I sure hope that the cause can be discovered. .

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