TIME Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

‘Pulse Signal’ Detected in Search for Missing Jet

Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 is pictured during a search for the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, in the south Indian Ocean
CNSphoto/Reuters Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01 is pictured during a search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in the south Indian Ocean April 5, 2014, in this photo courtesy of China News Service. Haixun 01 detected a pulse signal in the south Indian Ocean on Saturday, the state news agency Xinhua reported, in a possible indicator of the underwater beacon from a plane's "black box".

Australian authorities said that the radio pings a Chinese search team reported "are consistent" with Flight MH370's black box, but there was no confirmation they were related to the missing plane. Meanwhile, the batteries for the flight's recorders are due to run out

Updated 2:30 p.m. ET

A Chinese patrol ship searching for the missing Malaysia airlines jet in the Indian Ocean detected a pulse radio signal at the frequency of a black box Saturday, but has been unable to determine with certainty whether the pulse belongs to Flight MH370.

The frequency detected, 37.5 kHz per second, is the international standard frequency for the locator beacon on the plane’s black box, Reuters reports.

Australian authorities said that the radio pings China reported “are consistent with the aircraft black box,” but said there was no confirmation they were related to missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

The search for the missing airliner has become increasingly desperate as the batteries in the flight and voice recorders are due to run out early next week. The electronic “pings” sounded by such boxes could be crucial in finding the missing jet deep under the ocean.

Malaysia vowed to continue the search to find the missing jetliner as a multinational team including 13 military and civilian planes and 11 ships scoured a remote area of the Indian Ocean Saturday, the Associated Press reports.

“I can only speak for Malaysia, and Malaysia will not stop looking for MH370,” Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia’s defense minister and acting transport minister said.

The missing Boeing 777 disappeared March 8 while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 239 people aboard. The circumstances of the disappearance remain a mystery.


TIME Aviation

Fate of Missing Jet May Never Be Known, Officials Concede

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Airborne Electronics Analyst Sergeant Patrick Manser looks out of an observation window aboard a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft during the search in the southern Indian Ocean for debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 1, 2014.
Australian Defence Force/Reuters Royal Australian Air Force Airborne Electronics Analyst Sergeant Patrick Manser looks out of an observation window aboard a RAAF AP-3C Orion aircraft during the search in the southern Indian Ocean for debris from the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370.

Investigators are contemplating defeat in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, with no plane debris found, ocean currents buffeting the search area and the black box’s battery close to running out of power

Officials raised the possibility on Wednesday that the fate of the Malaysia Airlines plane missing for almost a month may never be determined, even as they said its disappearance is now being treated as a criminal investigation.

“Investigations may go on and on and on. We have to clear every little thing,” Malaysia police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said, the Associated Press reports. “At the end of the investigations, we may not even know the real cause. We may not even know the reason for this incident.”

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared on March 8 soon after departing Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, and subsequent analysis of data transmission indicates it eventually crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. All 239 passengers and crew are presumed lost to the chilly and tempestuous waters.

Khalid said the criminal investigation is still focused on three possibilities — hijacking, sabotage and psychological problems of anyone aboard the Boeing 777. More than 170 statements have been taken, and investigators plan to take even more, he said. All passengers on the flight have been cleared of any role in hijacking, sabotage, or having personal psychological issues that could have led to the plane’s disappearance, CNN reports.

Meanwhile, the sonar-equipped British submarine H.M.S. Tireless has joined the search team, which on Wednesday numbered 10 planes and nine ships. But without tracing any debris to an impact point, authorities are left to comb about 85,000 sq. miles (220,000 sq km) of ocean — roughly the size of Utah — some 930 miles (1,500 km) west of Perth, Australia.

Experts point to the 60 years it took to find H.M.A.S. Sydney and the 80 years to find the Titanic as an indication of the arduous task ahead. “And both of those are considerably bigger than the poor old 777,” Jason Middleton, an aviation professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, tells TIME. “The chances of finding it are very, very small.”

Even the largest possible floating objects, such as empty fuel tanks that have not ruptured or remain attached to heavy engines, have likely sunk by now. “They would almost certainly be on the bottom,” Middleton says. “Otherwise [anything floating] will be seat cushions and people’s sneakers.”

Chinese ships have already ruled out 11 locations in the southern Indian Ocean where suspicious objects had been seen floating, reports China’s state news agency Xinhua.

While the submarine will certainly boost search efforts, there is no telling how long it will stay in the area. If the flight recorder’s pinger battery dies before it is found — as with Air France Flight 447, which crashed in the Atlantic in 2009 — then searchers will have to trawl the ocean with submerged side-scan sonars looking at the ocean floor.

“But when you’re towing something which is 5 km deep, your towline is 20 km long, and you’ve got to worry about running into seamounts,” Middleton says.

Even if the black box is recovered — it took two years for Air France Flight 447 — there is no guarantee that all questions will be answered. Only information such as the heading, altitude and speed of the aircraft will almost certainly be accessible, as will two hours of recorded “noise” from the cockpit. “So even when they find it there will still be a lot of piecing together of information,” Middleton says.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak was due to arrive in Perth late on Wednesday to inspect the search-and-rescue operations. He is expected to meet his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott on Thursday amid fresh controversy after it emerged that the final communication transcript from the cockpit was the standard “good night Malaysian 370” rather than the more casual “all right, good night” initially proffered by authorities. No explanation has been given for the discrepancy, the latest in a string to plague the investigation.

On Wednesday, Malaysian authorities held a closed-door briefing for relatives of people who were on the flight. “We had a very good meeting with them, and we answered all their questions,” Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, told reporters.

Relatives of the 153 Chinese nationals on board MH 370 have been vigorous in their continued criticism of Malaysia’s handling of the disaster.


Lord of the Rings Director Peter Jackson’s Jet Joins MH370 Search

"The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug" - Los Angeles Premiere
Jason LaVeris—FilmMagic/Getty Images

Peter Jackson's Gulfstream is being used to help coordinate search efforts in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Lord of the Rings director Peter Jackson’s private jet is now involved in the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, Jackson’s spokesperson confirmed Wednesday.

The company that operates Jackson’s Gulfstream G650 is using the aircraft to aid in the international search effort with Jackson’s consent, Radio New Zealand reports. Jackson’s plane is helping to facilitate communication among search teams.

Jackson spokesman Matt Dravitzki would not comment on how much the director was being compensated for the use of his jet. “A lot of civilian and military aircraft are involved in the search, and it’s kind of disappointing that because one is owned by a celebrity it becomes a matter of news when there are [over] 200 people missing,” Dravitzki told Radio New Zealand.

Jackson purchased the jet last year last for about 80 million NZD, or about $69 million USD.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew aboard.

[Radio New Zealand]

TIME Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

Missing Jet Transcript Released, Revealing New Final Sign-Off

A transcript released by Malaysian authorities reveals the final words heard from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished on March 8 and has prompted a massive search for debris in the southern Indian Ocean, were not "All right, good night" as claimed weeks ago

Malaysian government officials Tuesday released a transcript of communication between the missing plane and aircraft control, revealing that the last words from the cockpit were not what officials had previously reported.

In the early stages of the investigation into the unexplained March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 with 239 people aboard, officials said the cockpit signed off “All right, good night” before vanishing. The newly released cockpit transcript reveals the sign-off was, in fact, “Good night Malaysian three seven zero.”

The new final sign-off indicates nothing out of the ordinary, CNN reports, but raises questions about the credibility of Malaysian authorities, who gave no explanation for the discrepancy.

“We haven’t had a straight, clear word that we can have a lot of fidelity in,” a U.S. Federal Aviation Administration official said. “We have the tragedy of the crash, we have the tragedy of an investigation gone awry and then we have questions about where we go from here.”

An anonymous government source told CNN that the flight’s turn off course is now being considered a “criminal act” perpetrated by “someone with good flying knowledge of the aircraft.”



Grappling With ‘Reality’: Malaysia Flight 370 Families Mourn Without Death

Lacking proof of a crash, loved ones may experience chronic mourning

Any death is perhaps hardest on the survivors. But for those who knew someone on board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared while flying between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on March 8, the grieving process may be more prolonged and painful.

The Malaysian Prime Minister announced Monday that, based on British satellite data, officials concluded that the plane went down in the Indian Ocean. At a press conference with relatives the following day, the airline’s chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said no passengers likely survived, “a reality we must face and we must accept.”

But in the absence of any hard evidence or tangible proof of a crash, such reality is an even harder pill to swallow. “It is very reasonable and even expected that many family members would struggle with accepting the reality of their loved ones being dead,” says Holly Prigerson, director of the center for end-of-life research at Weill Cornell Medical College. “There is no proof that their loved ones died; no remains recovered, and no evidence to confirm the death. I would expect that in circumstances like this that the denial is magnified.”

MORE: New Ways to Think About Grief

“I really just want my son to come home and to be safe. My heart is broken. My son is definitely going to be all right,” Liu Guiqui told China Central Television on March 23. Liu traveled to Kuala Lumpur from China because, she said, “I wanted to be the first to see my son and greet him when he returns.” Liu has not yet told her granddaughter about her father’s disappearance.

Denial can be a strong part of the initial bereavement process, even when there is certainty surrounding a tragedy and loved ones are able to bury the dead, says Prigerson. In fact, even after lengthy illnesses from natural causes such as cancer or Alzheimer’s disease, early responses to death can include shock and denial.

The uncertainty of what happened to the missing plane only complicates the grieving process. “Regardless of age or cause of death, it’s harder to grieve when there is no forewarning, when it’s sudden and when any element of violence is involved,” says Debra Umberson, a professor of sociology at University of Texas Austin. “All those factors are at play here, and are compounded by uncertainty.”

MORE: Good Grief! Psychiatry’s Struggle to Define Mental Illness Goes Awry

Such uncertainty leaves some relatives imagining that their loved ones are alive, but suffering. “These folks can’t grieve, because they don’t have any concrete evidence that their loved one has died yet,” says Umberson. And that can have consequences for how relatives cope with the tragedy. “When people get stuck and still question the very fact of the death, it would appear to impede this emotional processing of the loss,” says Prigerson.

Such prolonged grief, or chronic mourning, can have detrimental effects, and start to poison survivors both mentally and physically. Because they’re unable to accept the death, their grieving becomes less about missing the loved one and more about being unable to move on with their own lives. “To the extent that family members become singularly focused on learning what happened to their loved one and are unable to function in a more or less adaptive way – go to work, remain engaged as parents to their other children – this would signal a need for help with the grieving process,” says Prigerson.

MORE: Malaysia: Files Were Deleted From Flight Simulator

Making matters worse is the emotional roller coaster that relatives have endured since the plane went missing. Conflicting reports, incorrect information, and red herring sightings of the plane’s debris only intensify the instinct to deny what officials tell them.

Working through the grief often involves finding meaning in the loss, which may be more challenging for these families. Those who lost children or in the Sandy Hook shootings found solace in advocating for gun control, and a mission with which to keep the memory of their loved one alive. For the families of passengers on the missing jet, that meaning may never come if the wreckage isn’t found, or if the reason for the plane’s disappearance isn’t determined.

Frustrated, and obviously struggling with understanding exactly what happened to their loved ones, relatives marched from their hotel to the Malaysian embassy on Tuesday, 17 days after the flight went missing, demanding answers and shouting criticisms of both the Chinese and Malaysian governments for failing to inform them of where their family members were. “It’s hard to find meaning in a loss like this,” says Umberson.

TIME Advertising

Apple Subject of Embarrassing Faux-Pas With Its New iPad Ad


The Times says it was an "unfortunate coincidence."

New York Times online readers were treated to an unfortunate juxtaposition Monday when an Apple iPad Air ad ran next to an article about Malaysian Airlines flight 370. The homepage showed an underwater scuba diver next to the headline, “Malaysia Says Jet Went Down in Ocean.”

Ad Age’s Michael Learmonth caught the gaffe:

This was a case of bad luck for Apple as advertisers do not have prior knowledge of what headlines will appear on a homepage. A spokesperson for the Times told Ad Age, “It was an unfortunate coincidence that this particular creative ran adjacent to that particular article. The ad was taken down by mutual agreement and we are still determining a resolution regarding placing the ad again.”

[Ad Age]

TIME Aviation

Officials Say Missing Plane Crashed at Sea, None Survived

Mohd Rasfan—AFP/Getty Images Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, delivers a statement on the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 during a press conference in Kuala Lumpur on March 24, 2014

Heavy rain and strong winds have grounded search and rescue teams looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 after the Malaysian government told families of passengers that their loved ones were lost somewhere over the Indian Ocean

Updated: March 24, 2014, at 7:05 p.m. E.T.

The Malaysia Airlines plane missing for more than two weeks crashed in the southern Indian Ocean and none of the 239 people aboard survived, officials said Monday, dashing the hopes of families who had clung to it by a thread during the longest and most mysterious disappearance in modern aviation history.

Prime Minister Najib Razak of Malaysia, citing an unprecedented new analysis of satellite data, said investigators had concluded that Flight 370 was in “the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth,” Australia, when it crashed. “This is a remote location far from any possible landing sites,” Najib told reporters. “It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to this new data, Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.”

Najib said he would hold a news conference Tuesday to share more details. His remarks followed a text message sent from Malaysia Airlines to family members of the people aboard, many of whom have been gathered for weeks in a hotel in Beijing.

“Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived,” the carrier said.

The dual declarations seemed to signal an end to any hope of survivors, if not necessarily the end of a massive international search for the plane itself. The plane vanished on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and the search has grown to encompass massive swaths of land and sea. It has most recently been focused in the southern Indian Ocean, where Chinese and French satellites have pointed to evidence of possible debris from the plane, though search efforts have yet to find any of the actual debris.

Relatives of the people on board could be heard screaming and crying in anguish after airline officials gave them the news at a hotel in Beijing, ABC reports. “They have told us all lives are lost,” one relative told CNN.

Update: Australia suspended air and sea searches for the missing plane on Tuesday because of heavy rain and strong winds. According to a government press release, weather conditions in the search area are expected to improve within the next few days. The search may resume as soon as Wednesday, if weather permits.

TIME Aviation

U.S. Navy Sends Black-Box Locator to Hunt for Flight 370

The Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator 25 trawls for sounds as deep as 20,000 feet.
© Phoenix International Holdings, Inc. 2014 All Rights Reserved www.phnx-international.com The Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator 25 trawls for sounds as deep as 20,000 feet.

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.

TIME Malaysia Airlines Flight 370

New Lead In Hunt For Missing Jet As Chinese Satellite Spots Object

A Chinese satellite located an object near an earlier reported finding, but Australian search ships found no sign of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet

A Chinese satellite has identified an object in the Indian Ocean that could be a piece of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, in the latest potential clue to the whereabouts of the Boeing 777 airliner that has been missing since March 8.

The satellite spotted March 19 an object roughly 74 feet long and 43 feet wide off the coast of western Australia, close to where another piece of debris was believed to have been seen two days earlier, Reuters reports.

Malaysia’s Defense Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who was the first to reveal the latest information, said Chinese ships have been sent to the region, according to Reuters.

The area had already become a focus of the search, which now involves more than two dozen countries. Australia cautioned after the first satellite image that the object may have been a piece from a missing shipping container and also may have sunk since it was spotted. It said Saturday it had found no sign of the second object during searches that day.

Chinese state broadcaster posted an image of the suspected debris on Twitter:


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