Search for jet could move toward pole

01:27, Mar 21 2014
MH370
Satellite photos from March 20 show the objects "possibly associated" with the search for the missing plane. The images were released hours after Australia announced it had "credible" leads in the search for flight MH370.
MH370
Satellite photos from March 20 show the objects "possibly associated" with the search for the missing plane. The images were released hours after Australia announced it had "credible" leads in the search for flight MH370.
MH370
Australia officials say they still have no clear indication if the objects are the missing plane.
MH370
Updated search area charts for Friday's operation from the Australian Maritime Safety Authority.

The search for MH370 will resume this morning in the southern Indian Ocean, where the hunt for the missing plane is currently concentrated.

The latest lead estimates the missing Malaysia Airline plane could be closer to the waters of Antarctica than to the Australian coast, according to a reporter on board a search flight.

ABC News reporter David Wright was embedded on the first flight over the search area on Thursday, and afterwards tweeted:

The MH370 story in pictures
The saga begins on March 8, when Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 departs Kuala Lumpur at 12:41am, local time. On board are 227 passengers and 12 crew.
The MH370 story in pictures
Captaining the flight of the Boeing 777-200 is 53-year old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, shown here on the right.
The MH370 story in pictures
At 1:21am the MH370's transponder stops signalling, halting the regular responses it usually gives to radar signals. The plane makes a series of strange but controlled movements, turning west sharply, then climbing above its designed height limit and back down.
The MH370 story in pictures
At 1.30am, on point 4, the plane is spotted for the last time on civilian radar. At 2.15am, on point 5, military radar spots it, although it is not clear at the time that this was MH370. Satellite data suggests the plane could also have angled towards point 6.
The MH370 story in pictures
At 6.32am air traffic control in Kuala Lumpur sends a radio signal on an emergency channel asking MH370 to contact them. The plane is now overdue at Beijing Airport, shown.
The MH370 story in pictures
Relatives of passengers despair, and the search begins.
The MH370 story in pictures
International news media focus on the story immediately.
The MH370 story in pictures
Multiple false leads pop up, like this oil spotted by a Vietnamese search plane.
The MH370 story in pictures
Malaysian government and airline officials have released confusing and contradictory information. Here, Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, left, and Department of Civil Aviation director general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman take questions at a press conference.
The MH370 story in pictures
Concerns are raised when it becomes apparent that two Iranian men, shown here, boarded the plane with stolen passports. Interpol rejects the suggestion of terrorism, however, concluding the men were probably asylum seekers.
The MH370 story in pictures
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The MH370 story in pictures
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The MH370 story in pictures
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The MH370 story in pictures
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The MH370 story in pictures
The search intensifies, covering new areas with a wide array of international support.
The MH370 story in pictures
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
The MH370 story in pictures
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
The MH370 story in pictures
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
The MH370 story in pictures
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
The MH370 story in pictures
Outpourings of grief and support are expressed worldwide.
The MH370 story in pictures
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The MH370 story in pictures
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The MH370 story in pictures
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The MH370 story in pictures
The anguish of the relatives is palpable.
The MH370 story in pictures
Theories abound. Fellow pilot Chris Goodfellow has suggested that a tyre may have caught fire, causing the pilots to turn towards the closest suitable airport, with the rapid ascent and descent perhaps representing an attempt to extinguish the fire. Critics of this theory have pointed out that the change in path was programmed into the plane's computer 12 minutes before the calm toned "good night" transmission, suggesting the change in course was planned.
The MH370 story in pictures
Given the amount of fuel on board, the plane could have made it as far north as Kazakhstan, on a possible flight path shown in orange.
The MH370 story in pictures
Or somewhere southwest of Australia, on a possible flight path shown in orange.
The MH370 story in pictures
Others have speculated that the pilot or co-pilot may have intentionally crashed the plane. The FBI is trying to restore deleted simulator-flights from Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah's computer – but these could be innocuous. Critics of the crash theory say neither the pilot nor co-pilot had ever expressed any kind of radical sentiment or displayed mental issues, and both possessed adequate flying experience.
The MH370 story in pictures
The ever-present worry of terrorism remains. No groups have claimed responsibility for the incident, and a political motivation is unclear - but that doesn't rule it out.
MH370
On March 20, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told his parliament that objects had been spotted in waters hundreds of kilometres off the western Australian coast. Further searches, by Australian, New Zealand and US planes, were needed to find out if they were part of the missing plane.
Perth
The crew of one of two Chinese Air Force Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft used in the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 walk away from their plane in Perth.
MH370 search
Thirty-eight days after the plane went missing, an Australian navy ship is guided into position by a Royal New Zealand Airforce P-3K2 Orion aircraft. Officials say they will deploy an underwater robot to aid in the hunt.
MH370
Announcing that an underwater drone will be deployed imminently, Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre chief Angus Houston says an oil slick has been detected in the search area for the missing plane.

"The sailors conducting this high tech search scouring 4100 sq miles of open ocean closer to Antarctica than to Australia due south of KL...".

"Nada today - except for a freighter and 2 pods of dolphins. They'll be back out tomorrow - eager to provide answers to those families #MH370".

The search operation has so far been hampered by dire weather causing poor visibility - ships were expected to have better chance of spotting debris.

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Relative on MH370 passenger
GRIEVING: A relative of a person on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane cries.

The Norwegian ship St Petersburg reached the area late last night and would join today's search. It used searchlights overnight to scan the rough seas.

The Australian Navy ship HMAS Success and British survey ship HMS Echo were also en route to aid in the search.

In what officials called the "best lead" of the nearly two-week-old aviation mystery, a satellite detected two objects floating off the coast of Australia and halfway to the desolate islands of the Antarctic.

The development raised new hope of finding the vanished jet and sent another emotional jolt to the families of the 239 people aboard.

Australian officials said the large objects were spotted by satellite four days ago in one of the remotest parts of the globe but they cautioned it could take days to confirm if the objects were part of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

Search Map MH370
The area in which wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have been spotted.

Malaysia's government said the search would continue elsewhere despite the sighting in the southern Indian Ocean.

The area where the objects were spotted was around 2500km southwest of Perth, roughly corresponding to the far end of a southern track that investigators calculated the aircraft could have taken after it was diverted.

"Yesterday I said that we wanted to reduce the area of the search. We now have a credible lead," Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.

Two Royal Australia Air Force AP-3C Orions, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon and a New Zealand air force P-3K2 Orion were also involved in the search.

RENEWED HOPE

There have been many false leads and no confirmed wreckage found from Flight MH370 since it vanished from air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast early on March 8, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

Hishammuddin said the information on the objects received from Australia had been "corroborated to a certain extent" by other satellites, making it more credible than previous leads.

The larger of the objects measured up to 24 metres long and appeared to be floating in water several kilometres deep, Australian officials said. The second object was about five metres long. Arrows on the images pointed to two indistinct objects apparently bobbing in the water.

"It's credible enough to divert the research to this area on the basis it provides a promising lead to what might be wreckage from the debris field," Australian air force Air Commodore John McGarry told a news conference in Canberra.

The satellite images, provided by US company DigitalGlobe, were taken on March 16, meaning that the possible debris could by now have drifted far from the original site.

Australian officials said an aircraft had dropped a series of marker buoys in the area, which would provide information about currents to assist in calculating the latest location.

The captain of the first Australian air force AP-3C Orion plane to return from the search area described the weather conditions as "extremely bad" with rough seas and high winds.

China's icebreaker for Antarctic research, Xuelong, or Snow Dragon, will set off from Perth to search the area, Chinese state news agency Xinhua cited maritime authorities as saying. About two-thirds of the 227 passengers on Flight MH370 were Chinese nationals.

Chinese President Xi Jinping told Abbott in a telephone call that he hoped Australia would do all it could to search the area and offer assistance to Chinese search ships, China's Xinhua news agency reported.

"At present, search and rescue work is quite difficult, and the situation in the relevant seas is complex. As long as there is a thread of hope, we must put in 100 per cent effort," Xinhua quoted Xi as saying.

- Fairfax/Agencies