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Gone But Not Forgotten
Aug 7, 2001
This doesn't look good...

Search on after Malaysia Airlines flight vanishes

A search is under way in waters between Malaysia and Vietnam after a Malaysia Airlines plane vanished on a flight to Beijing, with 239 people on board.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that flight MH370 had disappeared at 02:40 local time on Saturday (18:40 GMT on Friday) after leaving Kuala Lumpur.
It had been expected to land in Beijing at 06:30 (22:30 GMT).

Malaysia's transport minister said there was no information on wreckage and he urged against speculation.
"We are doing everything in our power to locate the plane. We are doing everything we can to ensure every possible angle has been addressed," Seri Hishammuddin told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
"Our hope is that the people understand we are being as transparent as we can, we are giving information as quickly as we can, but we want to make sure information has been verified."

Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said the focus was on helping the families of those missing. He said that 80% of the families had been contacted.

The plane went off the radar south of Vietnam, according to a statement on the Vietnamese government website.
Its last known location was off the country's Ca Mau peninsular although the exact position was not clear, it said.
The Boeing B777-200 aircraft was carrying 227 passengers, including two children, and 12 crew members.



At the scene
John Sudworth, BBC News, Beijing airport

For more than six hours after it was due in, the flight was listed as delayed, but MH370 has now been removed from the international arrivals board.
Friends and relatives expecting to meet passengers from the flight have been instructed to go to a nearby hotel where officials are on hand to provide support and, when it comes, information.

The flight was a code share with China Southern Airlines CZ748 and more than 150 of the 227 passengers on board are Chinese Nationals. State media are reporting that two rescue boats have been sent into the South China Sea, from the ports of Haikou and Nansha, to assist with the search and rescue effort.

The weather along the route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was reportedly good and Malaysia Airlines, and the plane, a Boeing 777, both have good safety records.

Curiouser and curiouser...

Missing Malaysia Airlines plane 'may have turned back'

Radar signals show a Malaysia Airlines plane that has been missing for more than 24 hours may have turned back, Malaysian officials have said.
Rescue teams looking for the plane have now widened their search area.

Investigators are also checking CCTV footage of two passengers who are believed to have boarded the plane using stolen passports.

Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared south of Vietnam with 239 people on board.
Air and sea rescue teams have been searching an area of the South China Sea south of Vietnam for more than 24 hours.

But Malaysia's civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur the search area had been expanded, to include the west coast of Malaysia.
Five passengers booked on the flight did not board, he added. Their luggage was consequently removed.

Twenty-two aircraft and 40 ships are now involved in the search, armed forces chief Gen Zulkefli Zin said.
Air force chief Rodzali Daud said the investigation was now focusing on a recording of radar signals that showed there was a "possibility" the aircraft had turned back from its flight path.

Vietnamese navy ships which reached two oil slicks spotted earlier in the South China Sea found no signs of wreckage.

Malaysia's Transport Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, initially said at least four names on the passenger list were "suspect" but later told the BBC there were in fact only two suspect names.
The BBC has confirmed that a man falsely using an Italian passport and a man falsely using an Austrian passport purchased tickets at the same time, and were both booked on the same onward flight from Beijing to Europe on Saturday.
Both had purchased their tickets from China Southern Airlines, which shared the flight with Malaysia Airlines, and they had consecutive ticket numbers.
The real owners reportedly had their passports stolen in Thailand in recent years.

Mr Hussein said international agencies including the FBI had joined the investigation and all angles were being examined.
"Our own intelligence have been activated and, of course, the counterterrorism units... from all the relevant countries have been informed," he said.
"The main thing here for me and for the families concerned is that we find the aircraft."
The passengers on the flight were of 14 different nationalities. Two-thirds were from China, while others were from elsewhere in Asia, North America and Europe.

When he was asked earlier whether terrorism was suspected as a reason for the plane's disappearance, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said: "We are looking at all possibilities but it is too early to make any conclusive remarks."

The plane vanished at 17:30 GMT Friday (01:30 local time Saturday).
It reportedly went off the radar south of Vietnam.
Malaysian Airlines had previously said it last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

Distraught relatives and loved ones of those on board are being given assistance at both the arrival and departure airports.
Many have expressed anger at the lack of information.
"I can't understand the airline company. They should have contacted the families first thing," a middle-aged woman told AFP news agency at Beijing airport, after finding out her brother-in-law was on the flight.
"I don't have any news. I'm very worried," she said.

Some relatives said they were still hoping for miracle, reports the BBC's John Sudworth in Beijing.
But many others will have concluded that there is little hope of aircraft being found, our correspondent adds.
The aerial search was suspended overnight but resumed on Sunday morning.

Malaysia and Vietnam have both sent planes and naval vessels to look for the missing flight.
The US is sending the USS Pinckney, an Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer, which could be in the central search area within three hours.
US transport safety experts are also joining the investigation.

Territorial disputes over the South China Sea were set aside temporarily as China dispatched two maritime rescue ships and the Philippines deployed three air force planes and three navy patrol ships.
Singapore is also involved, while Vietnam sent aircraft and ships and asked fishermen in the area to report any suspected sign of the missing plane.

Texas firm Freescale Semiconductor says 20 of its Malaysian and Chinese employees were on the flight, according to a statement on its website.

Malaysia's national carrier is one of Asia's largest, flying nearly 37,000 passengers daily to some 80 destinations worldwide.
Correspondents say the route between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing has become more and more popular as Malaysia and China increase trade.

Grim story. It's very unusual for a modern plane to fall out of the sky like this and the absence of distress call indicates something very sudden and dramatic. It comes a week after the massacre by Muslim separatists of commuters at a Chinese railway station and the fear must be that this is yet another jihadist horror.
I personally think it was probably something less deliberate. Two people on stolen passports aren't necessarily terrorists. They could be asylum seekers, or up to something else. Or it could just be that someone didn't like the look of them...

Then again, once they have the recorders, they'll know exactly what it was.
Or it could just be that someone didn't like the look of them...

Travelling on a stolen passport is a matter of fact - nothing to do with someone "not liking the look" of the passenger.

I agree though that this could be a red herring. There are a large number of stolen passports in circulation, particularly in Asia, and it may not be terribly surprising that any given flight in Asia has a couple of people on it travelling with fake documents.

That said, the timing - following the horrendous knife attack in China - looks suspicious.

We'll see.
I'm more puzzled as to why no wreckage has been found.

It's extremely odd. I understand that the South China Sea is not very deep in that area either.

It has been reported that mobiles could be called and were ringing - suggesting that the phone had not been destroyed - some hours after the flight disappeared, although no one answered.
The sudden loss of radar contact - including transponder and ACARS info - and absence of eyewitness and debris in this densely trafficked bit of sea is certainly puzzling, although not unprecedented (in 2009 it took 2 days before any debris from AF447 was found in the Atlantic) but the longer nothing is found, the greater the mystery. Lots of talk on various forums of hijacking and the possibility of the plane being flown at low altitude to a remote airport but this is vanishingly unlikely.

However, if nothing is found soon then this will shape up into a proper Fortean puzzle. Of course the most astonishing and earth shattering outcome would be for the plane to reappear exactly where it disappeared and proceed normally to Beijing where the crew and passengers would deny all knowledge of any missing time...
I did read in the paper yesterday that the plane in question, had a low speed collision with another plane at an airport when it's wing clipped another planes tail.

Not the first time an iffy repair job would cost lives?
Iffy repair jobs have indeed caused air disasters,e.g. American Airlines flight 191, but the total disappearance of a large airliner is unusual to say the least - something quick and overwhelming would have to happen like a devastating explosion and then there would be a debris field on the ocean surface.

There are some contradictions in the reporting on the MH-370 loss. It was supposedly lost on radar but also there are reports of it turning back which was not seen on radar? Didn't follow that.
Ronnor said:
The sudden loss of radar contact - including transponder and ACARS info - and absence of eyewitness and debris in this densely trafficked bit of sea is certainly puzzling, although not unprecedented (in 2009 it took 2 days before any debris from AF447 was found in the Atlantic) but the longer nothing is found, the greater the mystery. Lots of talk on various forums of hijacking and the possibility of the plane being flown at low altitude to a remote airport but this is vanishingly unlikely.

However, if nothing is found soon then this will shape up into a proper Fortean puzzle. Of course the most astonishing and earth shattering outcome would be for the plane to reappear exactly where it disappeared and proceed normally to Beijing where the crew and passengers would deny all knowledge of any missing time...

Must admit, without wishing to make light of what is most likely a tragic accident, that aspect of it made me envisage them presently running around a mystery island being chased by a smoke monster...
This morning's reports indicate that the two passengers travelling on false passports were Iranian migrants, one of whom was apparently planning to join his mother in Germany. No suggestion that either of them is linked to terrorism.

No sign of the plane or debris from it. Bizarre.

Lots of talk on various forums of hijacking and the possibility of the plane being flown at low altitude to a remote airport but this is vanishingly unlikely.

I did wonder about this - and I think very early reports suggested that the plane had made an emergency landing at a remote Vietnamese airport - but as you say it seems vanishingly unlikely and there not that many airfields outside of commerical airports which would be able to take a 777 landing. Terrible for the families who are no doubt clinging to a sliver of hope that just such an improbably event has occurred.
Apparently you need at least a 4500' runway to land the thing on - significantly more if you want to refuel and take off again. Maintaining low altitude to stay off the radar as much as possible the range is reduced but you could still get to some 'interesting' places (Somalia is a bit too far though) and I'm sure there are spy satellites peering at some pretty remote airfields even as I type. I suppose it could be done if you planned meticulously enough but it still seems very, very unlikely. I can confirm it's not sitting on the tarmac at Dundee anyway...
I was telling someone else earlier today....

I'm still holding onto some hope that the missing Malaysian airliner has been "abducted" by malevolent ETs, the entire plane and crew/passengers will be returned soon with an awesome story to tell, and the ETs are using this as a proverbial "white-house lawn landing."

A long-shot certainly, but still a nice thought.
Update from a Malaysian military source:

Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.

At the time it was roughly midway between Malaysia’s east coast town of Kota Bharu and the southern tip of Vietnam, flying at 35,000 ft.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.

The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast.

Earlier on Tuesday, Malaysia’s Berita Harian newspaper quoted air force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the Malaysia Airlines plane was last detected by military radar at 2:40 a.m. on Saturday, near the island of Pulau Perak at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca. It was flying at a height of about 9,000 metres (29,500 ft), he was quoted as saying.

http://www.theguardian.com/world/blog/2 ... ve-updates
Malaysia Airlines mystery: US issued warnings over Boeing 777 'weak spot'
Potential weakness in fuselage of Boeing 777s was identified by the Federal Aviation Administration last year
By David Millward, US Correspondent
7:52PM GMT 11 Mar 2014

American transport officials warned of a potential weak spot in Boeing 777s which could lead to the "loss of structural integrity of the aircraft" four months before the disappearance of Malaysia airlines Flight MH370.
The Federal Aviation Administration in Washington drew up an Airworthiness Directive in November. It was triggered by reports of cracking in the fuselage skin underneath a Boeing aircraft's satellite antennae.

In its directive the FAA, which is responsible for supervising the safety of American-made aircraft such as Boeing, told airlines to look out for corrosion under the fuselage skin.
This, the FAA said, could lead to a situation where the fuselage was compromised leading to possible rapid decompression as well as the plane breaking up.

"We received a report of cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin underneath the SATCOM antenna adapter," the FAA warned. "During a maintenance planning data inspection, one operator reported a 16-inch crack under the 3-bay SATCOM antenna adapter plate in the crown skin of the fuselage on an aeroplane that was 14 years old with approximately 14,000 total flight cycles.

"Subsequent to this crack finding, the same operator inspected 42 other aeroplanes that are between 6 and 16 years old and found some local corrosion, but no other cracking. Cracking and corrosion in the fuselage skin, if not corrected, could lead to rapid decompression and loss of structural integrity of the aeroplane."
The FAA directive in November called for additional checks to be incorporated into the routine maintenance schedule of the worldwide 777 Boeing fleet.

According to a Malaysia Airlines spokesman, the missing aircraft was serviced on February 23, with further maintenance scheduled for June 19.
The FAA stated that carrying out necessary inspection work would cost airlines $3.060 (£1,841).

With terrorism now appearing less likely as a cause of the Malaysian airlines disaster, which claimed 239 lives, focus has switched to problems with the aircraft or pilot error.

Despite both the Boeing 777 and Malaysia Airlines having good safety records, there have been other incidents which could prove relevant during the investigation of the disappearance.
In 2005, a 777 operated by Malaysia Airlines suffered problems with its autopilot system on a flight between Perth and Kuala Lumpur.
It led to the plane pitching up into a sudden 3,000-foot climb, almost causing the plane to stall.

The problem led to another airworthiness directive to correct a computer fault that had been found on 500 Boeing 777s.
Airworthiness directives are commonplace, similar to car recalls.
In the majority of cases, airlines are told to look for and correct the fault, if found, during maintenance.

On rare occasions an entire fleet will be grounded as happened in January last year when the FAA ordered Boeing to stop flying its flagship 787 Dreamliner after faults were discovered with the plane's batteries.

While investigators from Malaysia and the National Transportation Safety Board in Washington search for the plane's black box, they will also be able to glean vital information from a live-data stream broadcast during the flight.
Known as Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System, it is the equivalent of an "online black box".

However James Healy-Pratt, an aviation lawyer who has represented bereaved families in other air accidents, warned they face a long wait before the original black boxes are recovered.

A Boeing spokesman said it was working with the NTSB as a technical adviser.
"The team is now in position in the region to offer whatever assistance is required."
The company declined to comment further.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... -spot.html
Still confusion over crash site:

Malaysia Airlines MH370: Confusion over plane last location

Search teams are scouring waters off both sides of the Malaysian peninsula, amid confusion over a missing Malaysia Airlines plane's last known location.
Malaysia's air force chief has denied reports that the plane was tracked to the Malacca Strait in the west.

Vietnam has scaled back search efforts, but despatched a plane to investigate a possible eyewitness report of something burning in the sky east of Vietnam.

Flight MH370 went missing on Saturday. It had 239 people on board.
Authorities have been searching for the plane, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, for the past five days.
Earlier this week, Malaysia widened the search for the missing plane amid conflicting reports on its last known position.

The Malaysian authorities initially said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, as it flew over the South China Sea, south of Vietnam's Ca Mau peninsula. No distress signal or message was sent.
Early search efforts focussed on waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.

The search was later extended to the Malacca Strait and the Andaman Sea, off Malaysia's west coast, amid reports that the plane could have turned back.
On Wednesday, Malaysia's air force chief Rodzali Daud denied remarks attributed to him in local media that a missing Malaysia Airlines plane was tracked by military radar to the Malacca Strait, far west of its planned route.

Frustration is growing amid contradictory reports over the plane's last known location
Gen Rodzali Daud said he "did not make any such statements", but the air force had "not ruled out the possibility of an air turn-back"

On Wednesday, authorities also began searching the Andaman Sea, north of the Malacca Strait.
"We are not going to leave any chance. We have to look at every possibility," Malaysian civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told AFP news agency, without indicating why the search was expanded north.

Meanwhile, Vietnam said it was scaling back some of its search activities, but had deployed aircraft to investigate a possible sighting of the plane.
Doan Huu Gia, deputy general director of Vietnam's air traffic management, said: "We received an email from a New Zealander who works on one of the oil rigs off Vung Tau.
"He said he spotted a burning at that location, some 300 km (200 miles) southeast of Vung Tau."

Officials still do not know what went wrong with the aircraft, and several leads pursued so far have not been proven to be linked to the plane.
After more than four days of fruitless searching, there is an element of desperation creeping into this operation, the BBC's Jonathan Head in Kuala Lumpur reports.

At least 40 ships and 34 aircraft from several different countries are taking part in the search for the plane.

Two-thirds of the passengers on board the plane were Chinese. Some were from a range of other Asian countries, North America or Europe.

Earlier, it emerged that two men travelling on stolen passports on board the plane were Iranians with no apparent links to terrorist groups, officials said.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines said in a statement that it was "shocked" by reports made against its First Officer, Fariq Ab Hamid, who was the co-pilot of the missing flight.
A South African tourist told Australia's Channel Nine that she and her friend were invited to sit in the cockpit with Fariq Ab Hamid and the pilot during a flight in 2011, in an apparent breach of airline rules. :shock:
Malaysia Airlines said it took the reports "very seriously".
"We have not been able to confirm the validity of the pictures and videos of the alleged incident. As you are aware, we are in the midst of a crisis, and we do not want our attention to be diverted," it said.

None of the debris and oil slicks spotted in the South China Sea or Malacca Strait so far have proved to be linked to the disappearance.

In the US, CIA Director John Brennan said the possibility of a terror link could not be ruled out. But he said "no claims of responsibility" over the missing jet had "been confirmed or corroborated".


This just gets more mysterious. With modern radars, satellite surveillance, etc, a search area should surely have been fixed within hours. I suspect the authorities know something they're not releasing.
I suspect the authorities know something they're not releasing.

I'm starting to wonder this too. Either the Malaysian authorities are as incompetent as they appear or there is some sort of campaign of deliberate misinformation going on.

Let's hope that the flight and its passengers and crew are safe somewhere and there is a news blackout until a rescue/negotiation can take place.
Gilligan's Island? Lost?

All joking aside this is not good. Could there have been an EMP knocking out comms? Then an explosion, planned or otherwise?
It is extremely difficult for an airliner to disappear without trace. And most unlikely that it could go seriously off course without being detected. Its not just a question of air traffic control, this flight was operating in an area of many sensitive nations with their own sophisticated defence and tracking systems.

Structural failure in the air would produce obvious wreckage as for example in the case of the Comets that experienced fatigue failure of the fuselage. (Metal fatigue in pressure vessels not being fully understood then).

Currently there is no explanation that fits with the various reports we are getting. So, as Sherlock probably would have said, some of the reports must be incorrect.
I feel the most logical explanation is that the pilot took the plane down.

If there had been an explosion presumably there would be some signs of wreckage on the ocean.

If there had been a mechanical failure/hijack then one would assume the pilot would have got some message out or there would have been some further technical info showing it go off course. Is it possible for a pilot, under duress, to turn off all comms and disappear off radar to land somewhere else?

If it had been hijacked then it has to land somewhere, it can not have had enough fuel to still be in the air so it must have landed and there are probably only so many places within its fuel range where it could land, and of those a miniscule number where it could land without witnesses.

If, and it has happened before, the pilot decided to commit suicide he could easily take it to low altitude and presumably land on water - as happened on the Hudson - without a major break-up of the plane. Then it would just sink without trace - a horrendous way to go so I hope not but it seems the only logical explanation to account for the lack of debris and the lack of comms without heading into alien/government conspiracy territory.

If that has happened they will likely never find the plane.
Quake42 said:
Let's hope that the flight and its passengers and crew are safe somewhere and there is a news blackout until a rescue/negotiation can take place.
I hadn't thought of this angle. It would certainly explain all the back-and-forth press conferences which are being held - a nice distraction for the press whilst the real work goes on behind the scenes perhaps? Though having said that, if there were some kind of hostage situation wouldn't the hostage-takers secure some kind of media coverage?

Still all just speculation at this stage, of course. It's mad though, that a plane full of people can simply vanish without trace.
Lost Airliner

Here's a classic mystery in the making, a large aircraft just disappears-and clues are not to be found.

First, in decency, I offer sympathy to the grief stricken people left behind, there are broken hearts here, and that must be remembered.

The mystery(which might be solved in a few days-but I doubt it. The ocean is a big, empty place) just keeps getting deeper.

Notice how it follows the classic pattern. Only a few days old, the characters of the pilots are being dissected, leads are coming to nothing, evidence is lacking.

Give it a week or so, and the crack-brained jobbernowls will be gibbering the usual hare-brained theories-alien abduction, conspiricy, sea monsters, force fields, secret projects, how well we know them.

So far, we've gone from some catastrophic and sudden event to a change in course, deliberate silence from transponders disabled by the cockpit crew and odd behavior of the co-pilot.

Little has come to light.

All I know is that the ocean is a vast place, deep, cold, and silent.

A place that keeps its secrets very well.
Indeed, the coverage is good.

But so far, diddley. Facts that explain nothing-nobody's fault mind, what is not, is not.

Something is not right here,(no s**t, Sherlock) so not right everyone is mystified. And quite likely to remain so.

This is the 'Mary Celeste' for the jet age.
Hunt for missing plane could take weeks or months, minister admits
As frustration and anger grows over Malaysia’s response to the disappearance of Flight MH370, senior official admits to the Telegraph he expect search mission to take weeks or even months
By Tom Phillips, in Sepang, Malaysia and Malcolm Moore in Beijing
3:12PM GMT 12 Mar 2014

The hunt for a missing Boeing 777 that disappeared last Saturday with 239 people onboard could take weeks or even months, a senior Malaysian minister admitted.
“We are looking at the long haul,” Hishammuddin Hussein, the Malaysian Defence and Transport minister, told The Telegraph.
“I think in all cases of this nature eventually it will be found. If you look at Air France it took weeks to find the location,” added Mr Hussein, who is also cousin of prime minister Najib Razak.
However, asked if he expected the search to take weeks or even months, Mr Hussein nodded and said: “Yes, yes.”

The minister was speaking after a highly charged press conference at which senior civilian and military officials conceded they still had no idea about what had happened to the Malaysia Airlines flight to Beijing or why.

After five days of investigation and so-far fruitless search operations, officials said they had found no physical trace of the plane and had yet to understand in which direction it might have flown after losing contact with air traffic control in the early hours of Saturday. :shock:

Mr Hussein said a “multi-national operation” involving 42 ships, 39 aircraft, and teams and experts from 12 countries, was scouring 27,000 square nautical miles for the missing Boeing 777. Aviation experts would continue searching for the plane “in the east or in the west, on land or in the water”.

As of Wednesday those efforts were concentrated in two regions: a 14,440 square nautical mile area of the South China Sea, to the east of the Malaysia peninsula, and a 12,425 square nautical part of the Strait of Malacca, a congested shipping lane which lies between its western coast and the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the director general of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, told The Telegraph searches were being conducted further northwest, in the Andaman Sea.
Mr Rahman told reporters he still had hopes of finding survivors.
“We are still doing search and rescue. We still have hope. The chances of survival depend on a lot of criteria.”

However, Mr Hussein expressed less hope. With every passing day, “I fear that search and rescue becomes just a search.”

An ongoing lack of clear information has sparked anger in China, where 152 of the 227 missing passengers were from.
Huang Huikang, China’s ambassador to Malaysia, sat in the front row of Wednesday’s press conference in a clear signal of Beijing’s concern.

The Global Times, a nationalist Chinese newspaper, said in an editorial on Wednesday: "We do not know what information the Malaysians are releasing is real and what is not. We must say that information provided by Malaysia is very chaotic. They released contradictory information about how many people got on board and how many people used fake passports."
“We worry that Kuala Lumpur may not be capable of effectively handling the information,” it added.

China’s online community has reacted with fury, suspicion and incredulity to conflicting reports coming out of Kuala Lumpur about whether or not the plane had turned back across the Malaysian peninsula.
"This is bizarre. I think they are searching the wrong area,” complained one user of the Weibo microblog.
“Why is the Malaysian military refusing to give more info?" asked a third.

Zhang Qihuai, the deputy chairman of the Beijing-based Aviation Law Society, said Malaysia had reacted too slowly.
“Emergency action should have been taken immediately after this sudden occurrence. If the Malaysians had deployed planes to search for the missing flight the minute the flight was found to be out of contact, it might have saved a lot of time and effort.”

Ang Haisong, a professor from Nanjing University’s College of Aerospace Engineering, said the country’s “response and performance” was in line with its capabilities. “Malaysia is a small country. It does not have strong navy or air force.”

Mr Hussein defended his country’s response and played down growing Chinese anger. "It is normal in a crisis of this magnitude, as time passes by, for there to be emotions and frustrations," he said.

However, there was more confusion on Wednesday as Malaysian officials again changed the time of the last sighting of the jet.

Initially Malaysia Airlines said they lost contact at 2.40am on Saturday. That was then changed to 1.30am when the last transmission from the jet's transponder was made above the Gulf of Thailand. On Tuesday, the airforce changed the time back to 2.40am, when a military radar caught the jet above the Malacca Strait.

The new time is 2.15am, when the jet was 200 miles north west of Penang, officials at the press conference on Wednesday said.
However, officials said they could not be sure whether this sighting, just a blip on the military radar, was flight MH370 or another plane. They also admitted that no one had watched the military radar in real time, but had only seen the blip when they checked their records.

"Our primary radar does not indicate what aircraft [it was]. Today we are still not sure it is the same aircraft. That is why we are searching two areas. If we knew for sure it was in Malacca Strait we would have moved all our assets there," said Zulkifeli bin Mohd Zin, the head of the country's armed forces.

The military was “baffled” that no distress signal from MH370 had been received, he added.

Officials said they had not ruled out any explanations for the plane’s sudden disappearance, including mechanical failure, pilot error, sabotage or even terrorism.
Mr Rahman, the head of the civil aviation department, said: “At the time of the flight the aircraft was air-worthy.”

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldne ... dmits.html