Day 12: Vast search area
[01.06 pm local, Wednesday 19 March 2014]
As of writing, media reports the search area has widened to a total of 2.24 million nautical square miles, with Australia taking the lead in the 'southern corridor,' witrh Malaysian officials saying that international cooperators have taken 'an increasing role' in the operation.
Issues such as Indonesia's 'no flight over land' ban has left some of the search assets grounded in Malaysia, according to The Guardian. While theThai military made a late handover of radar data, which may have tracked MH370 early hours.
No major breakthroughs
[0530pm local time, 19 March 2014] The briefing included the Malaysian IGP [Inspector-General of Police] Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and headed by Minister Hishamuddin, and included the following points:
- The search continues and is a truly international effort, which is working on narrowing the search corridors by gathering satellite data, radar data, and increasing air and sea assets and international experts.
“The main technical team has been broken into (a) diplomatic team led by the foreign office (b) assets deployment led by the military (c) technical group led by civil aviation department,” said Hishamuddin.
“The search is coordinated by Malaysia; however, we welcome that our partners are increasing their roles,” he said.
- Radar data: I can confirm we have received some radar data but I am not at yet at liberty to reveal the findings of the data. All countries contacted have been willing to cooperate, given that this is an "unprecedented incident."
- Maldives sighting? Following reports from Maldives of the sighting of a low flying 777, Maldives Civil Aviation Authority chief executive Hussain Jalee told AFP that “We are looking at everything from radar reports and records of the air traffic control." In an earlier statement today,, the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) said that studies of military radar had yielded nothing so far.
Hishamuddin said: The authorities have been contacted and the sighting is not confirmed and "it not true."
- Additional waypoints on flight management system? The waypoint IGARI was the last waypoint programmed into the system; the only other waypoints are those to Beijing.
- Police investigation: The investigation is classified but that the information is being shared with international agencies, as required.
"We have received background checks from all countries (in connection with their nationals travelling on board MH370) except for Ukraine and Russia to date," said Hishamuddin.
Pilot's flight simulator: We are retrieving some deleted data from the pilot Zaharie's flight simulator. "The pilots, crew and passenger remain innocent unless proven otherwise."
A high level team is being sent to Beijing to give the latest updates to the relatives of passengers, he added.
The Q&A session included the following clarifications:
- Passengers’ families support: Malaysia Airlines support: In its latest briefing issued minutes after relatives stormed a media briefing in Kuala Lumpur the company announced it would be sending out regular text messages to the families and keep its support centre open around the clock, reported the Guardian.
- Police Investigation: IGP Khalid said the four areas mentioned in an earlier briefing remain the focus. Regarding the chief pilot Zaharie's flight simulator, "The games data log was cleared on 3rd February. The experts are now examining what was cleared," said the IGP.
- Waypoints after” turn back”: SAR director Azharuddin said the investigation is only focused on finding the plane at this point. As regards the 'turn back," an accident still not ruled out of all the possible scenarios, he added.