Malaysia Flight MH370: Governments not using GPS to Locate the Ringing Mobile Phones*
Nothing adds up over the mystery of flight MH370, especially as China has 6 satellites searching for the plane-passengers when relatives report being able to get a ringing tone.
By Divya Avasthy
The mystery surrounding the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has deepened with the Chinese media reporting that several of the passengers’ mobile phones were connecting when called by relatives, but the calls were not picked up.
The sister of one of the Chinese passengers on board the vanished flight rang his phone live on TV, the Mirror reports.
“This morning, around 11:40 [am], I called my older brother’s number twice, and I got the ringing tone,” said Bian Liangwei.
At 2pm, she called again on air and heard it ringing once more.
“If I could get through, the police could locate the position, and there’s a chance he could still be alive” she said. The number has now been passed on to Malaysia Airlines and the Chinese police.
A man from Beijing also called his missing brother on the plane, and reported to the airlines that the phone connected three times and rang before appearing to hang up, according to Shanghai Daily. Media reports claim that the brother had called the number in the presence of reporters before informing the airline.
The Straits Times reported that many of the family members told MAS commercial director Hugh Dunleavy that the commuters’ mobile phones were ringing but they were not picked up.
Dunleavy replied that MAS was calling the mobile phones of the crew members as well, which were ringing, and that he had given the numbers to Chinese investigators.
Relatives of the passengers are urging the authorities to search for the location of phones that rang using the Global Positioning System.
However, at a press conference in Beijing, MAS spokesman Ignatius Ong said one of the numbers that had been passed on to the airline’s command office in Kuala Lumpur did not receive an answer.
“I myself have called the number five times while the airline’s command centre also called the number. We got no answering tone,” said Ong.
A phone company in Singapore that was investigating this number said it was out of credit.
Families seek information
According to China.org.cn, 19 families have signed a joint statement saying that their family members’ cell phones connected, but the calls hung up. The relatives have asked Malaysia Airlines to reveal any information they might be hiding, seeking an explanation for the eerie phone connections. The relatives have complained that the Malaysina Airlines is not responding as actively as it should.
Angry family members also threw water bottles at an MAS spokesman and threatened to protest in front of the Malaysian embassy in China if the airlines did not “disclose” the “truth”.
By Kate Hodal
The Malaysian prime minister says investigators now know that the missing Malaysian airliner’s communications were deliberately disabled and that it turned back from its flight to Beijing and flew across Malaysia.
A newly extended, multinational search stretching all the way from Kazakhstan to the southern Indian Ocean was underway on Saturday after satellite data indicated missing flight MH370 last made contact six hours after previously believed.
Speaking for the first time about the Boeing 777 with 239 people on board one week after it vanished from civilian radar, Najib Razak said authorities believed the plane’s diversion from its original flightpath towards Beijing to be the “deliberate action by someone on the plane”.
Malaysian police said on Saturday morning that they were searching the home of the pilot of the missing plane.
According to the raw satellite data, the aircraft last made contact at 8.11am local time on 8 March, nearly seven hours after it lost contact with air traffic control, although it is still unclear just how far the aircraft may have flown after this last point of contact.
Malaysia’s aviation authorities are working with their international counterparts to help determine where exactly the plane may now be, Najib said, who added it was likely to be in one of two possible flight corridors: a northern corridor stretching from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia out towards the southern Indian Ocean.
Najib plainly stated that, while media reports had circulated that the plane was hijacked while on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, authorities were still investigating all possibilities but added:
“In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board.”
About 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircrafts are taking part in search and rescue missions, from the South China Sea to the Malacca Straits, the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. Saturday’s relevations, however, mean authorities will have to re-strategise the missions to include the many countries within those two corridors, Najib said.
The new satellite data sheds considerable light on the mystery of the vanished jet after it was confirmed its two main communications systems — the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System and its transponder — were disabled within one hour of take-off, which erased the jet from civilian radar systems.
Military data had previously shown an “unidentified” aircraft out towards the Malacca Straits at 2.15am local time, an obvious diversion from where flight MH370 was last seen over the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and Vietnam. Najib confirmed was flight MH370.
“Today, based on raw satellite data which was obtained from the satellite data service provider, we can confirm that the aircraft shown in the primary radar data was flight MH370,” he said.
The US Federal Aviation Administration, the US National Transportation Safety Board, the UK’s Aviation Accidents Investigation Branch and Malaysian authorities had all come separately and independently to the same conclusion, he added.
The news is likely to fuel speculation over suspected terrorism although no person or group has come forward to disclose why the plane may have been hijacked, and it is still unclear what motives, if any, can explain the diversion away from China.
The Complete Timeline and Infographic
By Tyler Durden
With Malaysian authorities frustrated (and seemingly confused), and US and Chinese government offering “help” to solve this increasingly mysterious disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER over a week ago, we thought a quick summation of all that we know would be useful. The possibilities remain numerous but it appears the latest line of investigation is the pane vanished through “deliberate action” with the airline pilots coming under increasing scrutiny.
7.24am: Malaysia Airlines confirms a jet lost contact with Subang air traffic control at 2.40am after it took off from Kuala Lumpur
10.30am: Families waiting at Beijing airport are told passengers will not arrive
By night: International rescue effort is under way. Two passengers used passports – one Austrian, one Italian – reported stolen in Thailand. Airline does not rule out terrorism
2am: Airline says it last heard from MH370 at 1.30am, not 2.40am
2.43am: Airline chief executive makes first public statement
Noon: Hong Kong Immigration Department confirms 45-year-old local woman was on board
The largest rescue flotilla in Chinese naval history – four warships and five civilian and commercial vessels – speeds overnight to waters between Malaysia and Vietnam. Ten Chinese satellites join the hunt
Night: Airline announces it will give 31,000 yuan (HK$39,200) to relatives of each passenger as a special condolence payment
Two senior Malaysian military officials say missing jet flew for an hour off its flight course and at a lower altitude after disappearing from civil aviation radar, partly explaining why Malaysia expanded search area to include Strait of Malacca two days earlier.
3pm: Malaysian police say one of two passengers using a stolen passport is an Iranian teenager, and release photos of both
Beijing slams Malaysia’s “pretty chaotic” and conflicting information as Kuala Lumpur officials fail to pinpoint the plane’s last known whereabouts.
Malaysian media report the government has invited a witch doctor to help look for the plane by using a magic carpet, two coconuts and a wooden stick.
Malaysian military confirms spotting an unidentified aircraft on its radar about 1 hour and 20 minutes after MH370’s signal went cold. Airline says it has not been determined if that was the missing jet.
Malaysian authorities vow to banish witch doctor if he again carries out a ritual at the country’s main airport after the scene draws ridicule around the world.
Investigators are increasingly certain the jet turned back across the Malay Peninsula after losing communication.
International search expands westwards towards Indian Ocean.
Search narrows to two air corridors as Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirms plane kept flying after it “vanished”. Officials also confirm the jet’s disappearance was a “deliberate act”.
And more on the “deliberate action” from WSJ,
Malaysian police are examining the home flight simulator of the pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in a closer focus on the plane’s crew amid suspicion that the aircraft disappeared because of foul play.
The homes and of Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid were searched by police Saturday and investigators spoke to the pilot’s family, the Malaysian Transport Ministry said in a statement.
The searches came as Prime Minister Najib Razak had said that he believes that the plane vanished through “deliberate action” on March 8, when it disappeared with 239 people on board on a flight between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
The disappearance of Flight 370 has baffled investigators for more than a week, but Mr. Najib’s comments have appeared to corroborate the analysis of U.S. investigators, which determined that one or more people on the plane deliberately changed its course and tried to mask its location.
Malaysia’s leader says communications systems on Flight 370 were cut off by “deliberate action.” U.S. officials are investigating whether a third system, on the plane’s lower deck, was also compromised. WSJ’s Jason Bellini explains.
Colleagues have described Capt. Zaharie as an aviation enthusiast who loved to fly and built a flight simulator at home.
The Transport Ministry statement said that Malaysia was treating both search corridors with “equal importance” and is asking countries to provide further assistance in the search for the Boeing BA +1.00% 777-200, including satellite data and analysis, ground-search capabilities, radar data and maritime air assets, and how best to deploy them.
Malaysian officials have contacted countries along the corridors including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and France, the statement said.