MH370 searchers go back to day 1 data

06:58, May 05 2014
Upset ralative
A family member of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cries on a bus before heading to the protest outside the Malaysian embassy, outside Lido Hotel in Beijing.
Protest outside Malaysian embassy
Family members of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines MH370 shout slogans during a protest near the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.
Upset ralative
Families and supporters take to the streets of the Chinese capital.
Malaysian embassy protest
A family member of a passenger from Malaysia Airlines MH370 shouts slogans during a protest in front of the Malaysian embassy in Beijing.
Malaysia Airlines sign
One of many banners posted in a waiting area at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

An international panel of experts will re-examine all data gathered in the nearly two-month hunt for the missing Malaysia jet to ensure search crews who have been scouring a desolate patch of ocean for the plane have been looking in the right place.

Senior officials from Malaysia, Australia and China met in the Australian capital today to hash out the details of the next steps in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which will centre around an expanded patch of seafloor in a remote area of the Indian Ocean off Western Australia.

The area became the focus of the hunt after a team of analysts calculated the plane's likeliest flight path based on satellite and radar data.

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.

Starting Wednesday, that data will be re-allocated and combined with all information gathered thus far in the search, which hasn't turned up a single piece of debris despite crews scouring more than 4.6 million square kilometres of ocean.

"We've got to this stage of the process where it's very sensible to go back and have a look at all of the data that has been gathered, all of the analysis that has been done and make sure there's no flaws in it, the assumptions are right, the analysis is right and the deductions and conclusions are right," Angus Houston, head of the search operation, told reporters in Canberra.

Investigators have been stymied by a lack of hard data since the plane vanished on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A weeks-long search for surface debris was called off last week after officials determined any wreckage that may have been floating has likely sunk.

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Search for MH370
A piece of unknown debris floats just under the water in this image taken from a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P3 Orion maritime search aircraft.
Search for MH370
RNZAF co-pilot Squadron Leader Brett McKenzie sits in the cockpit of a P3 Orion during the search for MH370.
Search for MH370
The NZ Orion crew discuss their mission before flying over the southern Indian Ocean.
Search for MH370
A picture taken of a computer monitor shows a piece of unknown debris floating just under the water.

"Unfortunately, all of that effort has found nothing," Australian Transport Minister Warren Truss said. "We've been confident on the basis of the information provided that the search area was the right one, but in practice, that confidence has not been converted into us discovering any trace of the aircraft."

Houston has warned the underwater search is likely to drag on for up to a year.

Houston and Truss met with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Chinese Transport Minister Yang Chuantang in Canberra on Monday to map out the next steps of the underwater search, which will focus on a 60,000 square kilometre patch of seafloor. Officials are contacting governments and private contractors to find out whether they have specialised equipment that can dive deeper than the Bluefin 21, an unmanned sub that has spent weeks scouring the seafloor in an area where sounds consistent with a plane's black box were detected in early April.

The Bluefin has been limited by the fact that it can dive only to depths of 4.5 kilometres - and parts of the search zone are likely deeper than that. Adding to the difficulties is the fact no one really knows exactly how deep the water in the search area is.

"I don't know that anyone knows for sure, because it's never been mapped," Truss said, adding that detailed mapping of the seafloor will be a key focus of the next phase of the search.

In addition to deeper diving capabilities, the new equipment will be able to send information back to crews in real time. The Bluefin's data can be downloaded only once it returns to the surface after each of its 16-hour dives.

It will likely take another two months before any new equipment is in the water, Truss said. The Bluefin will continue to be used in the meantime, though its search is currently on hold while the Ocean Shield, which has the sub on board, is taking on supplies at a base in Western Australia.

AP