China has demanded proof and distraught relatives have reacted with shock and anger after Malaysia announced it now believed missing flight MH370 crashed into the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors.
Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak announced overnight that new satellite data from UK company Inmarsat indicated the northern and southern search corridors, showed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor.
“Using a type of analysis never before used in an investigation of this sort, they have been able to shed more light on MH370’s flight path,” he said.
The analysis concluded that the plane’s last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
“It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that in light of this new data, MH370 flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Mr Najib said.
“The past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I know this news must be harder still.”
Inmarsat’s satellites facilitate ACARS – manual or automated text messages sent from planes back to base and vice versa.
Data from the satellites can help to refine the plane’s location by extrapolating a rough location from the time it takes for the ‘ping’ to be picked up by two satellites.
Malaysia Airlines sent a text message to relatives ahead of Mr Najib’s announcement saying “we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived”.
The airline said the SMS message was used “only as an additional means of communicating with the families”.
A US Navy aircraft has been unable to verify objects found in the search zone due to bad weather.
The P8 Poseidon was searching for the missing plane yesterday when it was diverted by the Australian military to look for objects reportedly found nearby.
In Federal Parliament yesterday, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said search planes had been sent to check on what satellite images suggested were two objects “possibly related to the search”.
Mr Abbott said the first object was grey or green and circular and the second was orange and rectangular.
He said HMAS Success was on the scene and attempting to locate and recover the objects.
Three potential debris sites were found using the US plane’s radar, but the crew was unable to see anything because of poor visibility.
Thick fog and low cloud hampered the efforts of crew, who spent almost four hours searching more than 36,000 square kilometres.
Seven military and three civilian planes have been involved in the search.
Australian Maritime Safety Authority spokesman John Young says bad weather is expected today, hampering the search.
A deep-water recovery expert credited with discovering 21 shipwrecks says specialised equipment would have to be flown in from overseas to retrieve the wreckage.
David Mearns, director of Blue Water Recoveries, which located the HMAS Sydney in 2009, told Lateline that ocean currents would probably have spread debris hundreds of kilometres from the main wreckage.
He says finding the black box from MH370 could be much harder than the 2009 search for an Air France plane, which took two years.
“We’re talking about a completely different scale of uncertainties and areas to cover in terms of the search, so despite these promising results in the past few days to give us some confidence we’d be able to do it, it’s still an uphill battle to actually locate the wreckage on the seabed,” he said.
Source : www.abc.net.au