Jun 062014
 

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Australian officials leading the MH370 search have said that the Boeing 777-200ER “will be found” in the southern Indian Ocean.

A map (shown below) released by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on June 5, 2014, shows the 7th arc sweeping the Indian Ocean, the area where the ATSB says missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 will be found.

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The ATSB, working in partnership with international investigators, said further analysis of the satellite data available from Inmarsat on the flight’s path “confirms that MH370 will be found in close proximity” to a specific corridor identified as the “7th arc,” as indicated at the 00:19 local time stamp of the Inmarsat satellite on the global map above.

Angus Houston, head of the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center, said to ABC News on June 10 he remained confident the plane would be found along an arc in the Indian Ocean based on a series of satellite handshakes detected by British firm Inmarsat.

The seventh arc charts the likely direction of the plane based on its seventh and final satellite ‘handshake’, at which point the aircraft is believed to have been out of fuel and descending.

“I’ve always said that that seventh handshake arc is the most robust data that we have. The aircraft will be found somewhere along that arc.”

In a statement released on June 5, the ATSB said at the 00:19 local time stamp Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reached this specific arc, “the aircraft is considered to have exhausted its fuel and to have been descending” (as indicated in the above photo by the 00:19 time stamp of the “partial handshake” with the Inmarsat satellite just as the Boeing 777-200 airliner plunged into the southern Indian Ocean).

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It was not generally or immediately clear where the above 7th arc map released by ATSB on June 5, according to CBS News and Daily Mail (U.K.), lays in relation to the over 60,000 square kilometer ocean floor scoured already by a U.S. Navy robotic submarine. The Bluefin 21 unmanned underwater vehicle concluded its search of a swath of the Indian Ocean floor that investigators had once believed back in late May was the most probable MH370 crash site.

Australian officials then said in August they hoped to begin a much wider search, scanning some 21,600 square miles with more advanced sonar equipment.

The ATSB said on June 5 that the new data analysis would help to further narrow the search in “the coming weeks.”

According to a statement released by the Australian Joint Agency Coordination Center on June 10, Fugro Survey, a private Dutch deep water survey company, is the first private contractor to be hired to map the southern Indian Ocean floor, as the search enters its next phase and begins in August hunting underwater across an expanded zone covering 24,000 square miles, reports the Telegraph (U.K.).

Over the last several weeks, investigators have worked to refine the now considered highly credible Inmarsat data released that has been used to pinpoint the Boeing 777-200 airliner’s path along the seven oceanic arcs.

The search for the missing airliner has entered a reboot phase as investigators work to reorganize an effort that has been unable to recover any debris evidence and a ‘black-box’ — or the 239 passengers and crew.

The ATSB said a study after the 2009 Air France crash concluded that a majority of lost airliners were found within 32 kilometers of a last known position (0320 GMT — AF447 ‘Fails to make scheduled radio contact’), as can be seen in the final 2012 Air France flight AF447 recovery chart below.

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Investigators are trying to confirm potential leads and dismiss conspiracy theories.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), which is leading the search at the request of the Malaysian government, is looking at the claim from a British yachtswoman made this week, according to MSN World.

“The ATSB received … a message from a member of the public, reporting that they had seen what they believed to be a burning aircraft in the sky above the Indian Ocean on the night of the disappearance of MH370,” a spokesman told MSN World.

“That information has been forwarded to the ATSB’s MH370 Search Strategy Working Group for review.” …

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The 41-year-old had been at sea for 13 months sailing from Cochin, India to Phuket, Thailand with her husband Marc Horn, 50, and their pet dog. Photo Credit: Daily Mail (U.K.)

Katherine Tee, a 41-year-old Liverpool resident, and her husband, Marc Horn, 50, have since re-checked their sailing logs and believe they were near one of the projected flight paths for the aircraft, now missing for nearly three months.

After confirming her yacht’s position using Global Positioning System data in recent days, the British yachtswoman said she knew she was in the “right place at the right time” and told Australian MH370 investigation authorities.

MH370’s last known position, as tracked by military radar, was roughly west of Phuket, although the search area has focused on a zone hundreds of kilometers (miles) further south.

What we know so far about MH370 search investigation? Photo Credit: The Telegraph (U.K.) [Shown below is possible MH370 flight path and Malaysian military radar known positions on March 8, 2014 at Malaysian local times: (1) 12:41 am, (2) 1:19 am, (3) 2:15 am, (4) 2:25 am, (5) 8:19 am, (6) 8:30 am; Search area on April 4 at 1,370 miles off the western Australian coast at Perth (shown in red), (7) April 5-6 Ocean Shield and Bluefin-21 search focus; Previous search areas (shown in pink); Unrelated debris fields seen March 23, 24 and 26 (shown in red dots); Individual unrelated debris spotted March 16-24 (shown in green dots)]

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Katherine Tee, a 41-year-old Liverpool resident, came forward this week and filed a report with the Joint Agency Coordination Center, the Australian organization coordinating the search for Flight MH370 investigation..

The British Yachtswoman said she and her husband were en route to Phuket, Thailand, after a 13-month oceanic voyage from India to Thailand, when she allegedly observed a flaming object in the night sky.

British Yachtswoman’s alleged sighting and path taken on Yacht’s log, also shown is Oil Rig Worker’s alleged sighting (on the right), Photo Credit: The Telegraph (U.K.)

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What we can see from the above is the British Yachtswoman, sailing the Indian Ocean off the coast of Thailand, early morning on March 8, according to her Yacht’s log, believes she saw flight MH370’s Boeing 777-200 falling in flames and smoke.

It is quite interesting that the British Yachtswoman’s sighting more closely aligned along the “5th arc” of the above global map, showing the March 8th early morning time-stamped “ping handshakes” with the Inmarsat satellite.

I might be going out on a limb here. But, if we give credence to the Yacht’s log of location data and the British Yachtswoman visual sightings (referring back to my recent LinkedIn Pulse Airlines & Aviation article, “British woman reports seeing MH370 falling on fire“), a probable crash location of MH370 could be along the “5th arc.” This is contrary to the ATSB’s official prediction that MH370 “will be found” near the “7th arc. This is also perhaps why the ATSB officials are closely looking at the claim from the British yachtswoman made this week, according to MSN World.

What do you think?

UPDATE (June 8, 2014): $5 million reward for information on MH370 whereabouts

According to The Guardian, several families of those aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 launched a drive on Sunday to raise $5 million for any insider who can resolve the mystery of the plane’s disappearance three months ago.

The “Reward MH370” campaign launches on the crowd-sourcing fundraising website Indiegogo and aims “to encourage a whistle-blower to come forward with information”, the families said in a press release.

UPDATE (June 11, 2014): Which nations are footing the most bill for MH370 search? asks TIME Business Aviation.

According to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, a nation is required to assist any distressed or lost airliner in its territory, and the nation where the airliner is registered is afforded the opportunity to assist in the search and recovery effort of a lost airliner.

Australia is estimated to have spent the most in the MH370 search: over $43 million, says the Sydney Morning Herald. The U.S has spent $11.4 million, officials at the Pentagon told NBC in April. Chinese officials have not disclosed the amount the country has spent, though Chinese warships are estimated to cost at least $100,000 per day to operate. Another 22 countries have contributed to the search efforts, says TIME Business Aviation.

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Though Malaysian officials said on Monday that the country has spent $8.6 million to locate MH370, and will split costs with Australia in the next phase of the search, estimates of expenditures by other countries indicate that Malaysia has thus far spent relatively little.

APPENDIX: Various Theories about Missing MH370’s Boeing 777-200ER Airliner Source: Daily Mail (U.K.)

  • The latest ‘possible evidence’ suggests the MH370 came down in the Indian Ocean south of India almost 4,000 miles north of where 26 nations, using either ships, aircraft or technical expertise, have been searching the waters off the Australian coast.
  • British woman Katherine Tee claimed that she saw a burning plane as she sailed from Cochin, in southern India, to Phuket in Thailand on the night of March 8.
  • A day earlier Duncan Steel, a New Zealand space scientist and physicist, said it would not be impossible for the missing jet to have flown north west across the ocean and crashed either in the sea or even in central Asia.
  • Earlier in the search a worker on an oil rig off the southern coast of Vietnam said he saw a burning plane at around the time MH370 made a ‘u-turn’ over the South China Sea and headed west.
  • Malaysian wife, Raja Dalelah Raja Latife, insisted she saw an aircraft partially submerged on the surface of the Indian Ocean near the Andaman Islands as she flew on a commercial flight from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur during daylight about 12 hours after MH370 disappeared.
  • Another possible sighting of the Boeing 777 has come from residents on the remote Maldives island of Kuda Huvadhoo who say they saw a low flying ‘jumbo jet’ at around 6.15 am on March 8. It was white, they said, with red stripes – like the planes operated by Malaysian Airlines.
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