MH370: Hunt for missing plane delayed by technical fault
Search of the area in which flight MH370 is believed to have crashed has been hindered by a 'system issue'
The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is not expected to finish as early as previously thought, due to a technical fault on board one of the vessels scouring the Indian Ocean.
The Fugro Discovery, one of three ships involved in the operation developed a "system issue" with a component of its search equipment, according to investigators from Australia's Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (Jacc), who have been leading the mission.
As a result, its "search activities have been suspended while the issue is remedied", they told Sky News Australia. However, the search efforts conducted by two other vessels will continue throughout the Christmas period and into the New Year.
This means the search of the priority zone, a 23,000 square smile arc in the Indian Ocean, will be not be finished by May, as had previously been predicted.
Flight MH370 disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March this year with 239 people on board. No trace of the plane or its passengers has been discovered since, despite an extensive £57m search operation off the western coast of Australia.
Nine months later, relatives of those on board the plane say they still believe that their loved ones will be found, The Guardian reports. "I still have hope. Maybe 1 per cent – maybe half a per cent – but I still keep the hope," said one family member.
MH370: search for missing plane could be over by May
Search crews scouring the remote area of the Indian Ocean in which the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 is believed to have crashed say they could have completed their work by May next year.
The priority zone, a 23,000 square smile arc off the coast of Western Australia, was drawn up using analysis of electronic "pings" - bursts of data transmitted by the missing aircraft and detected by satellites.
Investigators from Australia's Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (Jacc), who have been leading the search, say they have now covered two thirds of the priority zone. As long as there are no delays with the vessel, equipment or weather, they say, the search will be finished within the next five months.
Flight MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished on 8 March this year with 239 people on board. No trace of the Boeing 777 or its passengers has been seen since, despite a £57m search operation.
Last week, families of the victims gave investigators DNA samples in order to help identify victims if any wreckage is found, the Australian Associated Press reports.
Danica Weeks, whose husband, Paul, was on the flight told the Australian Sunday Times that his disappearance continues to haunt her and that she will not be able to rest until the wreckage is discovered.
"You are searching the news constantly for any small piece of information that may give you a clue to their whereabouts,"she said, "and your heart pounds every time the phone rings. Is this it? Have they found something?"
Flight MH370: former Boeing 777 pilot points to sabotage
Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could only have swerved off course due to sabotage, a retired Boeing 777 pilot has claimed.
The plane is believed to be located along the so-called 'seventh arc' in the southern Indian Ocean, after it veered off its flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March.
Byron Bailey, a former RAAF fighter pilot, charter pilot and senior captain with Emirates, said that even if something happened to the flight crew, the plane would have flown itself to Beijing via its pre-programmed computer.
"For it to alter course and fly a different route as alleged would require the deliberate manual intervention of someone with considerable expertise of FMS [flight management computers] protocols, which suggests a pre-planned intention," he writes in Australia's Daily Telegraph.
If the flight had crashed in an accident, "masses of debris would be floating around for a long time afterwards", says Bailey.
He also explains that the 777 has 80 computers and three sets of nearly every system on board – including three radios, three radar transponders, three autopilots and three flight management computers – to ensure a "practically fail safe" operation.
"A failure of one will result in transfer, usually automatically, to another. This means for air traffic control to lose secondary radar contact with MH370 someone had to deactivate all three by manually selecting them to off," says the former pilot.
He cast doubt on the theory of an electrical failure, pointing to the plane's five generators, and ruled out a fire or decompression, saying that there would have been time to contact air traffic control.
"Then there is the hijack theory," he says. "On board were two pilots and 14 cabin crew. None of the passengers came under suspicion and the flight deck is reinforced and kept locked. Airlines have security protocols in place to prevent unauthorised access to the flight deck."
Bailey says he personally believes the plane is still intact and in 6,000m of water. He adds: "If we search long enough it will be found."
MH370: Investigators 'can't agree where missing plane went down'
The search for flight MH370 is reportedly being hampered by disagreements between five agencies involved in the investigation about the location of the missing plane.
Boeing, the Thales Group, the United States National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), British satellite company Inmarsat and the Australian Defence Science and Technology Organisation are now "divided in their conclusions about where to concentrate the search", the Wall Street Journal says.
Martin Dolan, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau chief commissioner, insists that the various viewpoints are an important part of the multi-agency search for MH370.
"There is no disagreement," Dolan said, "just the deliberate application of differing analysis models."
But differences of opinion have led to search vessels being sent to a range of locations several hundred miles apart, the Daily Mail reports.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished on 8 March this year with 239 people on board. No trace of the Boeing 777 or its passengers has been seen since, despite a £57m search operation.
The airline is facing a negligence case brought by two sons of a businessman who was on board the flight, and has been given until 15 December to reply in court.
"The plaintiffs allege that Malaysia Airlines was negligent and failed to take all due safety measures, and that the government did not try to establish contact within reasonable time after the flight disappeared from radar," Australian site 9news.com.au reports.
The lawsuit also blames immigration officials in Kuala Lumpur for failing to spot people travelling with fake identification. Two Iranian passengers are believed to have used forged ID papers to board flight MH370, although investigators have ruled out their involvement in any plot to bring down the aircraft.
Malaysia Airlines last week apologised for a promotional tweet saying: "Want to go somewhere but don't know where?" Commentators suggested that the campaign was in poor taste given the ongoing mystery about the whereabouts of MH370.
More about Flight MH370:
Details of who was on missing plane are being withheld, says airline chief
Details of who was on MH370 are being withheld, says airline chiefMH370: Indian Ocean crash theory in doubtFlight MH370: official report claims plane 'spiralled' into seaGhost flight theory 'most likely' explanationPilot had rehearsed landing on island runwayMystery cargo continues to raise questionsRelatives to offer $3m reward for informationBook claims missing plane was shot downFlight MH370: flight path suggests plane went 'rogue'Former PM accuses Malaysia of cover-up Plane 'has crashed with no survivors' Pilot of missing plane deleted simulator data'Deliberate action' diverted Malaysian airlinerPhantom phone calls cause upset for families ·