Reduced area of search due to a credible lead
[0530 pm MY time, 20 March 2014]
Minister Hishamuddin confirmed the details of Australian prime minister Tony Abbott's earlier statement. He said RCC Australia received an expert assessment of the objects about 2,600 km south west of Perth. Four aircraft were dispatched to that area.
An RAAF Hercules craft has been tasked to drop marker buoys to help with drift modelling, he said.
HMAS Success is on route to the area but is some days away. Every effort is being made to locate the sightings. While the sightings are credible, they have yet to be confirmed. Hishamuddin said 26 countries are now involved in the search mission. 25 aircraft have been deployed in the southern corridor. In the northern corridor, a number of countries - China (using 21 satellites), Cambodia, Laos, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam - are searching within their own territories.
A high level team is leaving for Beijing to build up support for the families of passengers.
The Q&A session included the following responses:
- We are intensifying the search area of the 'credible' lead from the Australian authorities, said Hishamuddin.
- Flight simulator: Yesterday, the IGP said international and local agencies are still examining the simulator taken from the senior pilot Zaharie's home.
- Deep sea surveillance: We are already looking into deep sea surveillance and sonar technology. And if the black box battery goes dead (30 day life) we will need to look into submarine, said Hishamuddin
Day 14: Search for 'credible' objects in southern Indian Ocean
[02.00pm MY time, Friday 21 March 2014]
Australian maritime safety authorities's statement this morning: "Five aircraft will be involved in today’s search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
- A Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion departed for the search area at around 9.15am AEDT.
- A civil Gulfstream jet and a second RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart for the search area at approximately 11am AEDT.
- A third RAAF P3 Orion is due to depart for the search area at approximately 1pm AEDT.
- The United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft is due to depart for the search area at approximately 4pm AEDT.
- Due to the distance to and from the search area, the aircraft involved have an endurance of approximately 2 hours of search time.
- One merchant vessel is currently in the search area. A second merchant vessel is due to arrive tonight."
Media (Guardian, AP, CNN etc) report that five aircraft will be scanning the search zone where four days ago satellite images showed debris that could belong to the missing flight. China has sent three warships to the area to assist in the search, but there is no indication when they will arrive.