Day 10: Malaysia asks for more international help
[0940am local, Monday 17 March 2014]
As the search intensifies along the two corridors, the investigation into passengers and crew on board as well as ground staff is continuing. Media such as The Guardian today said the authorities are gathering information to answer:: (a) Who was flying the plane when it disappeared? (b) What do we know about the crew and passengers? (c) Why did no one on board act to intervene? and (d) What will we learn from the cockpit recorders?
If the plane came down into the southern Indian Ocean as some officials say, the SAR team has to cover an ocean with "powerful currents much of which is not covered by radar, so tracking the aircraft's last known movements could be extremely tough.
There is also a possibility that the person who said "All right. Good night." knew the Acars system had been shut off.
Yesterday, Malaysian minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein said Malaysia has asked for more international help for both satellite and military radar as well as assets to search both land and sea. There are thought ot be 634 runways that could be used by a Boeing 777-200.
In addition, Malaysian Inspector General Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar confirmed that they are waiting for some countries to complete their background checks on their passengers.
Last voice assumed to be co-pilot
[0530pm local, Monday 17 March 2014] The official media briefing update was headed by Malaysian defence and acting transport minister Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Hussein who read out a statement, which included the following:
Hishamuddin said that Malaysia has been working in the past 48 hours with diplomatic, technical and logistical issues. Demarcations have been agreed, according to International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) demarcations, among the 26 countries. The PM has spoken with leaders of countries and the Foreign Ministry has set diplomatic messages to sets of countries: to support search and rescue efforts in the two new corridors and the second group to request satellite, radar and other intelligence to help narrow the search.
"Kazakhstan has already started searching. Australia's navy has started deploying assets into the southern area," said Hishamuddin.
"Malaysia has been working with international investigators from day one. Yesterday, officials from China joined the team. Today, investigators from France joined the team," he said.
"On Saturday, 8 March, the Royal Malaysian Police [PDRM] started investigation into the crew and ground handling staff. Malaysia has been cooperating with Interpol, FBI and other international agencies since day one," he said.
"We would not hold back any information that would help - but we would not release information unless that information has been verified and corroborated," Hishamuddin said.
"We are not at liberty to reveal information from specific countries. As the co-coordinating authority we are gathering all information as part of the on-going search and rescue operation," he added.
"The search to Straits of Malacca was based on verified information and each search effort has been re-calibrated. A more detailed map of the southern and northern corridor will be released," he said.
The families of passengers and crew have each been assigned a caregiver and more than 100 staff have been sent to Beijing as well as in Malaysia, he added.
Hishamuddin said that over the past two days, "we have been recalibrating our search and we are grateful to the heads of government we have spoken to you and all have expressed their support. Search and rescue operations in the new areas have begun."
He said Malaysia has already requested radar and satellite data from countries affected by the corridors. This is to supplement the radar, satellite and SAR team data already under investigation.
The Q&A session included the following:
- Psychological tests for pilots: Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari said psychometric tests and other tests are already standard procedure for pilots. However, we will be reviewing all processes moving forward. Code Tango, which is what Malaysia Airlines is under now, is heightened security so we are looking at every possible security leads and shortcomings.