air safety

Apr 6, 2014

MH370 China going its own way, and getting results?

Standing in front of RAAF Pearce, ABC News reporter Philippa McDonald has just put into words something that has occurred to some other watchers of the MH370 search. Ms McDonald

Ben Sandilands — Editor of Plane Talking

Ben Sandilands

Editor of Plane Talking

Where China's ships were while yesterday's search was on: Xinhua

Standing in front of RAAF Pearce, ABC News reporter Philippa McDonald has just put into words something that has occurred to some other watchers of the MH370 search.

Ms McDonald made the case, in laying out the facts as they are known, that China has been following its own intelligence concerning the death of a large number of its nationals on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which crashed off the WA coast (but exactly where is the question) on 8 March, four weeks and one day ago.

She said citing her information, that China had three ships active in an area near, but apparently not within the various NW search areas that were being examined by a multinational assembly of aircraft and shipping yesterday.

A map of those areas, and the coordinates China’s news agency Xinhau gave for the detection of a ping or pulse with a frequency matching that which would have be emitted by the missing Boeing 777-200ER’s black box recorders, is at the top of this page.

Ms McDonald said China’s searchers were understood to be first relaying what they found to China, for onpassing to the Australian led and coordinated search as it saw fit.

She also pointed out that China media is claiming to have photos, not yet released, of ‘white objects’ and large pieces of debris found floating on the surface of the ocean some 90 kilometres from the location as the ‘pulse’ which may have come from the sea floor location of the main wreckage.

China’s search vessels also have helicopters.

Her report needs to be kept in mind beside the restrained reaction of Air Chief Marshal (retired) Angus Houston, the head of the search’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre in Perth, who said the origins of the electronic pulse signals detected by the Chinese ship were yet to be verified.

Houston’s original statement can be read here in full.

China’s official news reports and public statements by its government have been pointedly critical of Malaysia’s alleged bungling or mismanagement of the earlier stage of the search for MH370, which had 239 people on board, with around two thirds of the passenger manifest Chinese nationals, most of them having been booked under a China Southern code share arrangement with Malaysia Airlines on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Keep in mind that what Houston is saying in his role heading the JACC and what the ABC is reporting can both be simultaneously correct.

The ABC doesn’t have to manage the expectations and sensibilities of the agencies involved in the MH370. While the JACC’s role is to find a missing jet, the ABC’s role is to find out what is going on and report it.

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9 thoughts on “MH370 China going its own way, and getting results?

  1. comet

    Maybe it’s a good thing that China does it alone.

    China can then use its superior intelligence gathering to the fullest, and it doesn’t have to tell anyone how it reached its conclusion about where the missing aircraft is located.

    At least it gets the aircraft found sooner.

    It is astounding that China has found pings, in a different location to where everyone else was looking. It’s by far the biggest breakthrough so far, and chances are that this is the Boeing 777.

  2. Accountant

    “Going it alone” is certainly consistent with what I know about the Chinese approach to most things. They don’t trust the Americans, while respecting their technical expertise, and copying it when it suits their needs. So far as their neighbors in SE Asia, including Australia, are concerned. We’re useful sources of raw materials and consumers of their products. But that’s about as far as it goes, I suspect. Whether they’ve actually made a breakthrough in this case, I guess we’ll soon know.

  3. BugSmasher

    Another ping detected by Ocean Shield. No details of the frequency but Angus Houston doing live presser now.

  4. michael r james

    [Australian and Chinese vessels have both picked up acoustic “pings” that could be from the black box of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, search officials have announced.]

    Since these acoustic signals don’t travel far in water, and the detector needs to be pretty much directly over it to detect it, I find this latest news unlikely. The Australian ship would have to be in essentially the identical location of the Chinese ship yesterday (and it presumably is still there?). So, all this sudden ping detection smells of false alarms or are there really other things out there in deep ocean that broadcast (for 90 seconds according to the Chinese) 37.5 kHz?

  5. MichaelR78

    I also do think that China is going its own ways, they surely are not interested in telling anybody about their capabilities.
    But this is unrelated to the fact that the ping is outside the search areas. Obviously, the search areas are moved according to the ocean currents, while the wreck won’t move.
    So you would expect to see the ping locators operate outside the search areas for debris.

    Now the second reported ping, apparently in a totally different area, may suggest that these events are not as rare as one would believe for whatever reason.

  6. comet

    I don’t think it will be a false alarm.

    I think the Chinese have found the 777.

    Anyway, we should find out in the coming days.

  7. Rocket Rocket

    LooKing at my China Southern plane at Guangzhou I hope that MH370 has been found

  8. Rocket Rocket

    Could have been any group of passengers here, just so random.

  9. derrida derider

    Hmm – any odds that someone has quietly got a submarine cruising around the area? It’d probably be as part of the search but not telling anyone in order not to tip their hand as to capacity. It could even be an amoral opportunity to test others’ detection capabilities (though I hope not).

    We’re not told any details of the nature of the pings, and sonar reflections travel a fair way.

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