Weather halts MH370 search operation

03:21, Mar 25 2014
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 Malaysian government will take over the investigation in the southern Indian Ocean for lost flight MH370 as bad weather hampers efforts to recover any wreckage.

Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said confirmation by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak that the plane had crashed killing all on board moved the investigation into a new phase, with Malaysia taking control under the Chicago Convention on international civil aviation.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said today that HMAS Success had left the search area because of rough seas.

Waves up to two metres high with an associated swell of up to four metres were forecast, with strong gale force winds up to 80kmh, periods of heavy rain and low cloud with a ceiling between 200 and 500 feet, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

The conditions would make air and sea search activities hazardous. Conditions were expected to improve in the evening and over the next few days. The search was due to resume tomorrow.

Australian naval ship Success had left the search area early this morning and was headed south to wait until seas abated. Success was unable to find objects spotted in the search area by an Australian air force Orion.

Families were told this morning that flight MH370, which vanished on March 8 with 239 people onboard, "ended" in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth "far from any possible landing sites".

Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the information came from new Immarsat satellite analysis.

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Najib said "pings" sent out by the plane had been pieced together to shed more light on its flight path.

According to this data, provided to UK officials by London-based satellite company Inmarsat, the plane flew for more than seven hours after it had turned back from its scheduled flight path over the South China Sea.

In a separate statement, Malaysia Airlines said its "prayers go out to all the loved ones... at this enormously painful time".

"We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain," the statement said.

The airline said it hoped the continued search would provide more answers.

New Zealand would continue its part in the southern Indian Ocean search, Prime Minister John Key said this morning.

The Inmarsat analysis will allow the massive search area in the Indian Ocean, which can be as deep as 7000 metres, to be narrowed.

Searchers will now be able to calculate how far the plane could have flown with the fuel it had on board.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott told his country's parliament overnight that a RAAF P-3 Orion aircraft had located two new objects at about 2.45pm local time on Monday.

Abbott said the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) had advised him the Orion crew had seen a grey or green circular object as well as an orange rectangular object, both of which were separate to the objects spotted by a Chinese aircraft, in the Indian Ocean.

Abbott said he did not know if the objects were from the flight.

The objects reported by the Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 to AMSA earlier yesterday were seen floating in the southern Indian Ocean as the crew returned to Perth from the search area, according to official news agency Xinhua.

However, a US Poseidon was unable to find them again.

China and France released further satellite imagery over the weekend showing objects in the same region which could be linked to the missing flight.

Fairfax Media