Malaysia Airlines MH370 search flounders, all eyes turn to FBI for clues

Written by Associated Press | Reuters | Kuala Lumpur/Bangkok | Updated: Mar 28 2014, 05:17am hrs
Malaysia Airlines planeChinese relatives of those onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the Hotel Bangi-Putrajaya in Bangi, Malaysia. (AP)
The FBI will soon complete its analysis of data from a flight simulator taken from the home of the pilot of a missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane, the US agency's director has said.

Malaysian officials had asked the Federal Bureau of Investigation to help recover files deleted from the simulator's hard drive by the pilot of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

FBI chief James Comey told lawmakers yesterday that experts were working "literally round the clock" to finish their analysis, in the hopes that the data could provide clues as to what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished March 8 with 239 passengers and crew on board.

Malaysia "took us up on our technical abilities, which involves the exploitation of certain computer forensic materials that they've given to us. That work is ongoing," Comey told a House subcommittee meeting to discuss the FBI's 2015 budget request.

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A woman breaks into tears as she joins a ceremony in memory of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. (AP)

Also read: Malaysia Airlines missing Flight MH370: Search teams fight fatigue, bad weather

"I don't want to say more about that in an open setting, but I expect it to be done fairly shortly, within a day or two."

Malaysian police removed the simulator from Malaysia Airlines MH370 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah's home nearly two weeks ago, after investigators said they believed the Boeing 777 had been deliberately diverted from its intended route by someone on board.

Malaysia on Monday announced that evidence showed Flight MH370 crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Comey did not indicate whether the results of the analysis would be made public.

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A relative of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 reacts after hearing a briefing from Malaysian government officials at the Lido Hotel in Beijing. (Reuters)

Malaysia Airlines MH370 search throws up no proof plane flight crashed into Indian Ocean

Hints about the lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane piled up Thursday, but there was precious little chance to track them down. Bad weather cut short the hunt for possible debris fields from the aircraft as satellite data revealed hundreds more objects that might be wreckage.

Not one piece of debris has been recovered from the plane that went down in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8. For relatives of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, it was yet another agonizing day of waiting.

Until something is picked up and analyzed to make sure it's from MH370 we can't believe it, but without anything found it's just clues, Steve Wang, whose 57-year-old mother was aboard the flight, said in Beijing. Without that, it's useless.

No legal hurdle to compensation to Malaysia Airlines MH370 victims' kin: Experts

Mumbai: Compensation to families of the 239 passengers of the Malaysian Airlines flight that is believed to have crashed into the Indian Ocean may not face any legal hurdle even if the wreckage of the aircraft remains untraceable, insurance experts said today.

As far as compensation to the airline is concerned, they said it would depend on the terms of the contract it had with insurance companies. But they added insurance firms have paid claim in most such previous instances.

"Individual liabilities are covered under international conventions. So, there is no difficulty in paying such claims if some official document regarding loss of lives are provided to insurance companies," Tata AIG General Insurance Chief Executive Officer K K Mishra said.

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Ground crew work on a Royal Australia Air Force AP-3C Orion at RAAF Base Pearce after it returned from searching for debris or wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth. (AP)

He, however, added payment of claims of Malaysian Airlines by insurers would depend on the reinsurance arrangement and fine print in the contract.

Though the flight MH370 with 239 passengers, including five Indians, is said to have crashed into the ocean, any debris of the jet, a Boeing, is yet to be traced, which can be taken as conclusive evidence for paying insurance claims.

An official of General Insurance Council said there would be no issue in paying claims either to the families or to the airline as insurers have paid claims in similar instances in the past.

However, another industry official said the 'cause of loss' would be a critical parameter for paying out claims.

"It will depend on the 'cause of loss' of the flight. However, it is always the prerogative of the insurers to pay out claims and they can do so without any conclusive evidence (of the wreckage) by considering it as a tragedy," Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Bharti Axa General Insurance Amarnath Ananthanarayanan said.

Indian companies have paid individual claims during natural calamities and terror attacks without any hassle, he maintained.

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Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion is guided by a ground crew man on the tarmac at RAAF Base Pearce following their search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth. (AP)

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 search row ratcheted up by China; visibility drops, rescue efforts hit

China is doing its best to push Malaysia to coordinate the international search effort for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 plane, state news agency Xinhua cited China's special envoy Zhang Yesui as saying on Thursday.

Zhang added that China will also continue to intensify its search efforts for the plane, which went missing on March 8 while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

All but three of the planes - a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese P-3 Orion and a Japanese Gulfstream jet - reached the search zone, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, before the air search was suspended, AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said.

They were there ``maybe two hours'' and they did not find anything, Cardwell said.

They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility, he said.

In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected to last 24 hours.

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A relative (C) of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 reacts as she enters a meeting room with volunteers from Malaysia (in blue vests) in Beijing. (Reuters)

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A Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force AP-3C Orion arrives back at RAAF Base Peace after continuing the search for debris or wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth, Australia. (AP)

Also read: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370: New debris sighted but severe storms ground air search

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Volunteers from Taiwan pray for the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 while family members of the passengers play a slideshow about the passengers in Beijing. (Reuters)

Thai satellite images show 300 objects in Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 search zone

A Thai satellite has detected 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean where an international search is under way for a missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, Thailand's Geo Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISDA) said.

The objects were spotted around 2,700 km (1,680 miles) southwest of Perth by the satellite "Thaichote" on March 24, the GISDA said in a statement.

Planes searching for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 fail to find even one of '122 objects'

Searchers aboard planes and ships on Thursday failed to find any of the 122 objects captured by satellite as possible debris from the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, as heavy rain, winds and low clouds forced the aircraft to return to the base after only a few hours.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said all 11 planes that headed for the search area in the southern Indian Ocean earlier Thursday were returning to Perth. It said the area about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth was hit by inclement weather that reduced visibility, but added that five ships would stay to try to continue the hunt.

Air search for plane suspended due to bad weather

Severe weather on Thursday halted an air and sea search for a Malaysia Airlines jetliner presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, frustrating hopes of finding what new satellite images showed could be a large debris field.

An international search team of 11 military and civilian aircraft and five ships had been heading to an area where more than 100 objects that could be from the Boeing 777 had been identified by French satellite pictures earlier this week.

"The forecast in the area was calling for severe icing, severe turbulence and near zero visibility," said Lieutenant Commander Adam Schantz, the officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Poseidon P8 maritime surveillance aircraft detachment.

"Anybody who's out there is coming home and all additional sorties from here are cancelled."

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Beijing: A woman puts a decoration inside a ring of candles, which are arranged to form a heart, to wish for the return of the passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines (Reuters)

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the operation, confirmed flights had been cancelled and ships were leaving the search area due to the weather.

MH 370 'Black box' to go silent by mid-April

Aircraft and ships scouring the southern Indian Ocean for wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were racing to beat bad weather on Thursday and reach an area where new satellite images showed what could be a debris field. The international search team has been bolstered to 11 military and civilian aircraft and five ships that will criss-cross the remote search site with weather conditions forecast to deteriorate later in the day.

New satellite images have that could be debris from the Boeing 777, which is thought to have crashed on March 8 with the loss of all 239 people aboard after flying thousands of miles off course.

The search is even more crucial as the batteries in the black boxes run out in about two weeks. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have beacons that are sending out "pings'' which searchers could track back to the main wreckage. The equipment inside two nearly indestructible boxes aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane recorded critical information that would help investigators reconstruct what went wrong.

Satellite images show debris floating in the southern Indian Ocean, but search crews still have not confirmed it is from the plane. If they can do that, searchers will calculate where the bulk of the plane may have come to rest on the sea floor - and then go to that area and start listening for the pings.

Malaysia Airline Flight MH 370: Planes renew attempt to get 122 floating objects

More satellite images have given searchers the latest clues in the hunt for the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370, as planes flew out of Australia on Thursday trying to spot 122 objects seen floating in the turbulent Indian Ocean where officials believe the missing passenger jet may have crashed.

Almost two-thirds of the 239 people who died on the Malaysia Airlines jetliner were from China, and the first search plane in the air was a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft.

In total, 11 planes and five ships are set to scour a search area 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth on Australia's western coast, but the Australian Maritime Safety Authority cautioned that weather was expected to deteriorate later Thursday.

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This graphic shows the approximate position of around 122 objects - believed to be parts of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 - in the southern Indian Ocean. (AP)

Nineteen days into the mystery of Flight 370 that vanished early March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the discovery of the objects that ranged in size from 1 meter (3 feet) to 23 meters (75 feet) offered ''the most credible lead that we have,'' a top Malaysian official said Wednesday.

A search Wednesday for the objects - seen by a French satellite - was unsuccessful, echoing the frustration of earlier sweeps that failed to zero in on three objects seen by satellites in recent days.

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A fight lieutenant looks out from the cockpit of a Royal Australian Air Force aircraft while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean. (Reuters). (AP)