This is going to be a long haul
[0530pm MYT local, 21 March 2014] The Malaysia search operation update, which was managed by Minister Hishamuddin, confirmed the following points in a statement:
- Malaysia continues to work on the diplomatic, technical and logistical issues of the search operation. "This is going to be a long haul," he added.
"We are still waiting for more developments in connection with the two objects sighted yesterday in the southern Indian Ocean. China has deployed 3 ships and 3 ship-borne helicopters to add to the craft already being used," he said.
Hishamuddin has spoken with the French delegation, which includes the person who led the search for the Air France 447 crash investigation.
He said the they have been in touch with the UK's acting High Commissioner who has pledged help from HMS Echo, which is already on its own way and the UK has offered other assets to the search. In addition, Kazakhstan said there is no sign of the plane, and Hishamuddin said Kazakhstan has been requested to allow the country to be used as a staging post.
- Police investigation: Ukraine passengers have been cleared by the Ukrainian police.
"We welcome all assistance as we follow every credible lead," Hishamuddin said.
The Q&A session included:
- Malaysia Airlines chief executive Jauhari said MH370's cargo included lithium ion batteries (these can be unstable at altitude) but that they were packed according to regulations and was a normal practice by many airlines.
Hishamuddin: "Breaking news item"
[0530 pm MY time, Saturday 22 March 2014] Minister Hishamuddin headed the official update of the international search and rescue mission included the following:
"Diplomatic, logistical and other efforts are being used to intensify search efforts in both corridors," he said.
Northern corridor: China, India, Pakistan, Vietnam, Laos and Kurdistan are searching the northern corridor and have no signs on radar so far.
Southern corridor: His statement also said six aircraft including four Orion anti-submarine surveillance aircraft joined the search today for debris from the aircraft over a stretch of the the southern Indian Ocean 1,500 miles (2,500km) south-west of Perth. Chinese, British and Australian naval ships were all headed to the same area where two floating objects – possibly plane wreckage – were picked out on satellite pictures. With planes from China and Japan also expected to join. HMS Echo is en route to the area from the Persian Gulf.
"The briefing for families in KL went well but the briefing in Beijing did not go so well," he said, adding that he has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs together with the Chinese counterparts to work towards a more conducive environment for these briefings. We appeal to all parties to be understanding during these difficult times. We will do everything in our power.
Transcript between MH370 pilots and ATC in the last hour before the plane went missing is already with the investigation team and cannot be publicly released yet but he can confirm there was nothing 'suspicious' in this transcript.
In addition, all cargo on MH370 was handled in compliance with international air transport standards, he said.
We are following every lead and every possibility. We are being updated on an hourly basis by the Australian authorities on the 'credible sightings' shown on the satellite imagery dated 16 March 2014.
"Malaysia is immensely grateful for the efforts by all international teams," said Hishamuddin, and gave his personal assurance to the families that the team will continue their search.
The Q&A period included the following assertions:
- The "last hour" transcript betwen ATC and the pilots reported in certain media (Daily Mail and so forth) is not accurate, said the SAR director Azharuddin.