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MH370: Did authorities visit crash site today (Tuesday)?

Palau Perak, near MH370 crash site? Panoramio image by Google Maps

There is compelling information that puts the crash site of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as near Pulau Perak or Silver Island, the westernmost point of Malaysia in the Straits of Malacca.

It is possible that the crash site was visited by Malaysia government officials earlier today Tuesday, including the defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein who cancelled his attendance at the scheduled daily media conference on the status of the search for the missing 777-200 and its 239 passengers and crew to participate in a search flight on the western side of the Malaysia Peninsula.

Pulau Perak is far from the previously last known radar return from MH370 on Saturday morning, when it was 162 kilometres NE of Kota Baru, heading across the Gulf of Thailand toward Vietnam on a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

This is the update on the Aviation Herald site:

On Mar 11th 2014 Malaysia’s Air Force reported their primary radar data suggest, the aircraft may have turned west over the Gulf of Thailand at about 1000 meters/3000 feet below the original flight level (editorial note: another possible interpretation could be: at 1000 meters of height compared to 10000 meters original level) and flown past the east coast near Khota Baru and the west coast of Malaysia near Kedah, the radar return was last seen at 02:40L near Pulau Perak in the Straits of Malacca, about 285nm westsouthwest of the last known (secondary) radar position. Local Police at the city of Bharu confirmed a number of locals reported lights and a low flying aircraft at Bharu at an estimated height of 1000 meters/3000 feet.

This is part of this report in the Malaysia Chronicle:

A Berita Harian report today quoted the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) as saying the plane may have reversed course further than expected while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Air Force chief Rodzali Daud  is quoted as saying that based on military radar readings from its station in Butterworth, MH370 may have turned west after Kota Bahru and flown past the east coast and Kedah.

“The last time the plane was detected was near Pulau Perak, in the Straits of Malacca, at 2.40am,” Berita Harian quoted Rodzali as saying.

This contradicts earlier reports that the aircraft had disappeared from radar screens 120 nautical miles off Kota Bharu and over the South China Sea, at 1.30am on March 8.

Earlier today the official narrative on the search for MH370 began to fall apart.  As it did intelligence sources in Europe and the US were briefing their media that the loss of the flight did not look like the work of terrorists, although reporters were cautioned not to completely dismiss the possibility of evidence to the contrary emerging.

That advice has dire potential for Malaysia Airlines on legal and commercial levels. Those risks to be fair to the airline remain to be resolved, despite the Malaysia police chief making the startling and unprompted declaration earlier today (Tuesday) that the mental state of passengers and crew on MH370 was being investigated.

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  • 1
    comet
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    If it was a suicidal pilot, then why did he turn around and fly back over Malaysia?

    It can’t have been to avoid detection.

    If a crash location is determined, at least they’ll have a better chance at recovering the flight recorders.

  • 2
    Tomcat
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 11:25 pm | Permalink

    Ben you may be correct. I have been following the coverage on The Guardian live reporting site that suggests a positive military radar contact at this location. The question is Why and why here? The is well over an hours flying from the last reported position of the aircraft. If this is correct why was the transponder turned off? I assume that the Malaysians have ACARS reports from MH. They are definitely withholding something and that situation will not impress the Yanks or the Chinese. Let’s wait and see.

  • 3
    basketcase86
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 11:32 pm | Permalink

    WOAH… so the military radars could see the plane on the other side of Malaysia?? This is really weird that no one knows where it is if it flew back towards land? I have no idea how radars work etc but in this day and age I can only assume certain agencies should/would know where every commercial plane/boat etc was in the world down to a mile radius.

  • 4
    COTOS
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

    Now that location would make more sense, interesting that the locals saw lights on an otherwise dead aircraft, I dont think much of the military real time tracking.

  • 5
    discus
    Posted March 11, 2014 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Pelau Perak is out past Langkawi on the wrong side of the country!

    What is going on over there?

    If this turns out to be incompetence and or a cover up I cannot fathom the backlash.

    I was thinking earlier that if they have not found it by now they are looking in the wrong place.I could not have imagined how wrong if this latest development has any credence.

  • 6
    basketcase86
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 12:03 am | Permalink

    This is crazy… Surely they would’ve found their way back to KL if they wanted to… Surely both pilots weren’t looking for a joy ride. They could be anywhere in the Indian Ocean now? If so they will never be found if they flew for another 5 hours??

  • 7
    Roger Roger
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 1:20 am | Permalink

    Wonder if one of the Iranian guys with stolen passport has some motive for wanting to take short cut to Iran to crash the plane there but it went down on that path.

    BTW news.com.au has photo taken 2011, of what is said to be the co-pilot with 2 young South African women, one who is traveling in Australia. I thought the co-pilot was a young guy and looks nothing like him from other photos I’ve seen and besides the is sitting in the left hand seat and has 4 stripes on his lapel. How could journalists make such a mistake?

  • 8
    PAUL WINDER
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 1:40 am | Permalink

    First, why so long to get this info out? Perhaps the plane intended to do a circle/fuel dump on a line down to Kuala Lumpur then land back home while being without comms? Or perhaps for whatever reason the plane was flying straight on, perhaps for Diego Garcia (looks to be in range?) Were there any “valuable” Chinese passengers who would want to get to US territory ?

  • 9
    michael r james
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 2:08 am | Permalink

    Doesn’t this suggest that the Malaysian military were doing what most such militaries do? Not sharing. (“operational matters”). Until eventually they were forced to, or came to their senses. Not sure we can lay this (delay, obfuscation, apparent misinformation etc) at MH’s door?
    We shouldn’t get too carried away with Asian cliche stereotypes but on this 3rd anniversary (yesterday, Tuesday) of Fukushima one is reminded of the incredible situation where SERCO were going to abandon the site completely (with 4 reactors in meltdown) and it took the actual PM screaming down the phone ordering the CEO not to.
    ……………..

  • 10
    Tango
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    I have refrained with my view though hinted at it.

    My take at this point is that it was an extended suicide. Someone did a statistical analysis of incidents and that ranks the highest of all odd situations like this (well above pilot mistakes oer AF though there have been many close ones

    Only a pilot could turn all the electronics off that suddenly and take the actions that were taken. Any other anomaly would have developed over time and signal would have kept on or mayday sent if a fire developed (15 minutes minimum) or other failures.

    All one pilot had to do was disable the other pilot (and no idea whichever one did it) and no one could get back in the cockpit to deal with the situation (or attempt to).

    The unconscionable Malaysia Military is in line with the country that refuses to check passports, corrupt and withholding that information creating a huge hoax of the search.

    As Malaysia in essence is a directorship, this track in line with Egypts delaying with the 767 suicide. Cover up and denial. Add that it is in their hands (international law) and the spin is obviously on.

    Amazing. But all the indicators are there it was a pilot action. Missing was the withheld information though the plane going electronically dark suddenly and then disappear (with no wreckage) was a huge clue.

    It had to be well away from the reported loss point.

  • 11
    chris turnbull
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    A turn back scenario with the transponder off is also consistent with the airline receiving perfectly normal ACARS data for sometime after radar contact loss, which might also explain the reluctance to provide the information.

  • 12
    Glenn Evans
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Flight MH370 was last tracked on radar, 2:40 am 8th March, 2014, near Pulau Perak ( which is only 60 Nm from Langkawi)
    The co pilot trained at HM Aerospace Langkawi (old name: Langkawi Aerospace Flying Academy)
    I wonder if they did training flights out to or around Pulau Perak?

  • 13
    Geoff
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 10:49 am | Permalink

    Paul Winder – I think you will find that Diego Garcia is a British Territory – the US just rents the air base.
    Basketcase – I doubt that outside of highly developed air defence networks such as US/Europe that any Air Force knows exactly where every civil aircraft might be.

    However I would expect that the Malaysians have enough air defence radars to be able to track a “bogey” around the border with Thailand. The Butterworth reference is a furphy – the base there would likely just have ATC radar. (It might be a primary but unalerted ATCs would not be interested in a high level track crossing to their north)

  • 14
    Tony Hampton
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

    Interesting that the time given for the last contact by military radar, 2:40am, is the same time originally stated by the airline, later revised to 1:22am.

  • 15
    caf
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 1:20 pm | Permalink

    Tango: If your scenario is correct, that should be “murder/suicide”, not just suicide.

  • 16
    michael r james
    Posted March 12, 2014 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    Oops, in my post at 2.08 am (yes, a peril of v. late night posts!) my brain was thinking TEPCO but my fingers typed SERCO! Though now that I think about there are parallels between the two organisations ..

  • 17
    Ponniah
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 9:52 pm | Permalink

    Ben, I’d suggest dig a little deeper. There are rumours that Pulau Perak is the crash site.

  • 18
    Ben Sandilands
    Posted March 13, 2014 at 10:17 pm | Permalink

    Ponniah,

    If I was there I would have tried to do a bit of ‘sightseeing’ and ‘digging’.

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