MH370: Kiwi search crew relieved

04:39, Mar 27 2014
Inside the search for MH370
Loadmasters Sergeant Adam Roberts (L) and Flight Sergeant John Mancey launching a water-activated buoy from the Hercules C-130J.
Inside the search for MH370
Loadmasters Sergeant Adam Roberts (L) and Flight Sergeant John Mancey launching a water-activated buoy from the Hercules C-130J.
Inside the search for MH370
Loadmasters Sergeant Adam Roberts (L) and Flight Sergeant John Mancey launching a water-activated buoy from the Hercules C-130J.
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.

The New Zealand Air Force Orion crew involved in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane is being replaced.

A new crew are flying Perth to join the search tonight, relieving the original crew who have been searching for more than two weeks, first off the coast of Malaysia and more recently off Western Australia for signs of the wreckage.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is thought to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8 with the loss of all 239 people on board, including two New Zealanders, after flying thousands of kilometres off course.

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.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said today that the original Orion crew had put in a massive effort.

"I would like to thank the crew of the RNZAF Orion who have worked tirelessly during the last 18 days, playing their part in the international search effort," Coleman said.

"They have done a thoroughly professional job.

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Kiwis search for MH370
Crew member Garrick Anderson prepares to throw a GPS tracking buoy into the southern Indian Ocean to mark the position of a solid object in the water.
Kiwis search for MH370
Radar specialists are pictured aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean on March 22.
Kiwis search for MH370
Solid matter is pictured floating in the southern Indian Ocean seen from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion.
Kiwis search for MH370
Pilot Dave Smith looks out onto the southern Indian Ocean.
Kiwis search for MH370
Squadron leader Brett McKenzie takes notes of other search aircraft on the windshield of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Kiwis search for MH370
A flight engineer aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft starts the engines before taking off to search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean, at RAAF base Pearce near Perth.
Kiwis search for MH370
A pod of dolphins is seen from a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion.
Kiwis search for MH370
Squadron leader Brett McKenzie takes notes of other search aircraft.
Kiwis search fro MH370
A crew member keeps a look out for any evidence of the missing plane.
Kiwis search fro MH370
Crew member Sunil Unka looks out his window for any evidence of the missing plane.
Kiwis search fro MH370
Pilot Dave Smith looks out onto the southern Indian Ocean.
Kiwis search fro MH370
Pilots Brett McKenzie (left) and Dave Smith look out onto the southern Indian Ocean aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Kiwis search fro MH370
The sprawling search area.
Kiwis search fro MH370
Pilot Dave Smith (right) gives a pre-flight briefing before taking off to search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at the RAAF base Pearce near Perth.
Kiwis search fro MH370
Flight engineer Justin Pike (left) and Squadron Leader Brett McKenzie are pictured in the cockpit.
Kiwis search fro MH370
The southern Indian Ocean is pictured at 500 feet above sea level.
Kiwis search fro MH370
Stars are seen in the sky above the southern Indian Ocean as a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft returns to Perth from its 11-hour long flight searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
Kiwis search for MH370
Flight engineers confer.
Kiwis search for MH370
A crewman aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft searches for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean.
Kiwis search for MH370
Squadron leader Brett McKenzie marks the name of another search aircraft on the windshield.
Kiwis search for MH370
Pilots and engineers sit in the dark cockpit of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft as they return at night from the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 over the southern Indian Ocean on March 22.
Kiwis search for MH370
A kiwi is pictured on the vest of a crew member aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft upon its return to RAAF base Pearce.
Kiwis search for MH370
A Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion aircraft prepares to take-off from the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pearce Base to join the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Perth.

"The crew has flown a total of 105 hours, completed 36 hours on search, and have covered a search area which is more than one and a half times the size of New Zealand."

Satellite images captured on Monday show more than 122 objects that could have come from the plane within a 400-square-kilometre search area.

"New Zealand remains committed to supporting Australia who are co-ordinating the search effort in the southern Indian Ocean," he said.

"The RNZAF replacement crew will be ready to take up the search from tomorrow, weather permitting."

Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 bound for Beijing, and investigators believe someone on the flight may have shut off the plane's communications systems and changed course.

Partial military radar tracking showed the Boeing 777 turning west and crossing the Malay Peninsula, apparently under the control of a skilled pilot.

The New Zealand Orion is working alongside a dozen aircraft from Australia, the United States, China, Japan and South Korea.

The search zone is about 2500km southwest of Perth, and in an area of the ocean known for its difficult flying conditions and harsh weather.

Australia, China and France have all released satellite images in the past week showing possible debris in the same general area as the latest sighting, but no confirmed wreckage has been located.

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