24 March 2014
Australian surveillance aircraft have spotted two objects in the southern Indian Ocean as they continue to search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.
A ship has arrived in the area to find the objects, with Australian prime minister Tony Abbott saying one object was circular and grey or green, and the other rectangular and orange.
However, Abbott added a note of caution and said it was not known whether the objects were from flight MH370, and could be flotsam.
The aircraft – a Boeing 777-200ER – with 239 people on board disappeared on March 8th after leaving Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.
Ten planes were due to scour the southern Indian Ocean area today for possible debris picked up earlier by radar echoes and satellite imagery.
Most of the people on board the Malaysia Airlines flight were Chinese, with pressure mounting there for conclusive answers as to what happened to the flight.
Yahoo Singapore added –
KUALA LUMPUR, Mar 24 — Malaysia will temporarily stop promoting itself as a tourist destination, especially in China, as a mark of respect for the passengers and crew on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Tourism and Culture Minister Datuk Seri Nazri Aziz said today.
It would be hard to formulate a strategy to attract tourists while the plane is still missing, even though Malaysia has declared 2014 as Visit Malaysia Year (VMY) 2014, he said.
“Until then (the plane is found), I have decided to not hold any roadshows especially in China because this issue is very sensitive,” Nazri said in Parliament.
“This is because until we find out the ending to the story of MH370, it will be hard to plan any programmes to attract tourists to our country.”
The search for the airliner has entered its third week.
The strategy was criticised today by PAS’ Pokok Sena MP Datuk Mahfuz Omar, who said that it will not help Malaysia overtake Thailand in attracting tourists.
Mahfuz said Thailand had managed to court tourists even as its capital Bangkok was overwhelmed with rallies and protests.
Nazri hit back, claiming that the MH370 tragedy is unlike the chaos in Bangkok, which he said was “self-inflicted”.
“Even when there are major demonstrations, it could still promote its tourism without feeling guilt,” the Padang Rengas MP said.
“But MH370 is considered an unfortunate event and even until today we do not know where the plane is.”
Credit Suisse, an investment bank, said last month that tourists scared off by the political instability in Thailand are expected to flock to Malaysia, giving the local economy a boost.
It predicted that Malaysia’s tourism campaign for 2014 will boost tourist numbers.
The predictions came well before the Malaysia Airlines jet went missing on March 8.
The plane disappeared less than an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing. It was carrying 239 people including 150 Chinese nationals.
According to Tourism Malaysia, over 25 million tourists visited Malaysia in 2012, spending RM60.6 billion.
LATEST – AMSA update : HMAS Success may need help of another aircraft tomorrow (darkness falling).
Chinese Vessel Xue Long now in #MH370 zone, slowed down considerably
Time Magazine reports – The military is aiding in the international search for a jet missing more than two weeks
The U.S. Navy is sending one of the world’s best hearing aids to the southern Indian Ocean, ready to dispatch it to the depths in the hunt for the black boxes aboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
The Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator 25 trawls for sounds like a fisherman trolls for fish, and kind of resembles a 30-inch, 70-pound, fishing lure. It’s towed behind a vessel traveling no faster than five knots, listening for pings from the flight-data and cockpit-voice recorders that experts believe have ended up on the sea floor. Recovering those boxes and analyzing the data they contain is the best way to learn what happened aboard the flight, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
“The Towed Pinger Locator has some highly sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, we can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 20,000 feet,” said Commander Chris Budde, a U.S. 7th Fleet operations officer. “Basically, this super-sensitive hydrophone gets towed behind a commercial vessel very slowly and listens for black-box pings.”
The acoustic signal of any pings is transmitted via cable to the towing ship and funneled into an oscilloscope or a signal-processing computer. Once found, the ship would make repeated tracks above its general location to pinpoint where it is.
COMMENT – Given the “Black Box’s” record only the final 30 minutes of an aircraft’s flight, there will be little on the tape that will shed light on what happened and more particularly, why.
It may be a question that can never be answered.