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Jet search cut short; new satellite spots objects

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Hints about the lost Malaysian jetliner piled up Thursday, but there was precious little chance to track them down. Bad weather cut short the hunt for possible debris fields from the aircraft as satellite data revealed hundreds more objects that might be wreckage.

Not one piece of debris has been recovered from the plane that went down in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8. For relatives of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, it was yet another agonizing day of waiting.

“Until something is picked up and analyzed to make sure it’s from MH370 we can’t believe it, but without anything found it’s just clues,” Steve Wang, whose 57-year-old mother was aboard the flight, said in Beijing. “Without that, it’s useless.”

Japan said it provided Malaysia with information from satellite images taken Wednesday showing about 10 objects that might be debris from the plane, with the largest measuring about 4 meters by 8 meters (13 feet by 26 feet). The objects were located about 2,500 kilometers (1,560 miles) southwest of Perth, Japan’s Cabinet Intelligence and Research Office said.

A Thai satellite also spotted about 300 objects, ranging from 2 meters (6 feet) to 16 meters (53 feet) long, about 2,700 kilometers (1,675 miles) southwest of Perth, said Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand’s space technology development agency. He said the images, taken Monday by the Thaichote satellite, took two days to process and were relayed to Malaysian authorities on Wednesday.

The objects were about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of the area where a French satellite on Sunday spotted 122 objects. It’s unknown whether the satellites detected the same objects; currents in the ocean can run a meter per second (about 2.2 mph) and wind also could move material.

The announcements came after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had to pull back all 11 planes scheduled to take part in the search Thursday because of heavy rain, winds and low clouds. Five ships continued the hunt.

All but three of the planes – a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese P-3 Orion and a Japanese Gulfstream jet – reached the search zone, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, before the air search was suspended, AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said.

They were there “maybe two hours” and found nothing, Cardwell said. “They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility.”

In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected to last 24 hours.

Planes have been flying out of Perth for a week, seeing a few small objects that might or might not be from the plane and nothing of the possible debris fields viewed by the Thai and French satellites. Even the few objects the planes saw seemed to vanish when aircraft went back for another look.

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight 370 is recovered and identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of the Boeing 777 and its black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why the jet flew so far off-course. The plane was supposed to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing but turned away from its route soon after takeoff and flew for several hours before crashing.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. On Thursday, Malaysia Airlines ran a full-page condolence advertisement with a black background in a major Malaysian newspaper.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239 passengers, friends and colleagues. Words alone cannot express our enormous sorrow and pain,” read the advertisement in the New Straits Times.

The extreme remoteness of the search area, its frequent high seas and bad weather all complicate the search.

“This is a really rough piece of ocean, which is going to be a terrific issue,” said Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore. “I worry that people carrying out the rescue mission are going to get into trouble.”

Malaysia has been criticized over its handling of one of the most perplexing mysteries in aviation history. Much of the most strident criticism has come from relatives of the Chinese passengers, some of whom expressed outrage that Malaysia essentially declared their loved ones dead without recovering a single piece of wreckage.

China dispatched a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, to deal with the crisis. Zhang met with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Wednesday and received a briefing on the satellite data that “led to the conclusion that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

On Thursday, Malaysian officials met with China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang, “to request the government of China to engage and clarify the actual situation to the affected families in particular and the Chinese public in general,” the statement said.

Officials still don’t know why Flight 370 disappeared. Investigators have ruled out nothing – including mechanical or electrical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that his investigators should finish in a day or two their analysis of electronics owned by the pilot and co-pilot, work that includes trying to recover files deleted from a home flight simulator used by Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

Some speculation has focused on Zaharie and his state of mind, but his son, in an interview published Thursday in the New Straits Times, rejected the idea that his father might be to blame.

“I’ve read everything online. But I’ve ignored all the speculation. I know my father better,” Ahmad Seth said.

McDonald reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Eileen Ng and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok, Christopher Bodeen and Didi Tang in Beijing, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, Eric Tucker in Washington, Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, and Mari Yamaguchi in Tokyo contributed to this report.

Jet search cut short; new satellite spots objects

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Hints about the lost Malaysian jetliner piled up Thursday, but there was precious little chance to track them down. Bad weather cut short the air and sea hunt for the aircraft as satellite data revealed hundreds more objects that might be wreckage.

Not one piece of debris has been recovered from the plane that went down in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8. For relatives of the 239 people aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, it was yet another agonizing day of waiting.

“Until something is picked up and analyzed to make sure it’s from MH370 we can’t believe it, but without anything found it’s just clues,” Steve Wang, whose 57-year-old mother was aboard the flight, said in Beijing. “Without that, it’s useless.”

A Thai satellite spotted about 300 objects, ranging from 2 meters (6 feet) to 16 meters (53 feet) long, about 2,700 kilometers (1,675 miles) southwest of Perth, said Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand’s space technology development agency. He said the images, taken Monday by the Thaichote satellite, took two days to process and were relayed to Malaysian authorities on Wednesday.

The objects were about 200 kilometers (125 miles) southwest of the area where a French satellite on Sunday spotted 122 objects. It’s unknown whether the two satellites detected the same objects; currents in the ocean can run a meter per second (about 2.2 mph) and wind also could move material.

The announcement came after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had to pull back all 11 planes scheduled to take part in the search Thursday because of heavy rain, winds and low clouds. Five ships continued the hunt.

All but three of the planes – a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese P-3 Orion and a Japanese Gulfstream jet – reached the search zone, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, before the air search was suspended, AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said.

They were there “maybe two hours” and found nothing, Cardwell said. “They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility.”

In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected to last 24 hours.

Planes have been flying out of Perth for a week, seeing a few small objects that might or might not be from the plane and nothing of the possible debris fields viewed by the Thai and French satellites. Even the few objects the planes saw seemed to vanish when aircraft went back for another look.

If and when any bit of wreckage from Flight 370 is recovered and identified, searchers will be able to narrow their hunt for the rest of the Boeing 777 and its black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why the jet flew so far off-course. The plane was supposed to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing but turned away from its route soon after takeoff and flew for several hours before crashing.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. On Thursday, Malaysia Airlines ran a full-page condolence advertisement with a black background in a major Malaysian newspaper.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239 passengers, friends and colleagues. Words alone cannot express our enormous sorrow and pain,” read the advertisement in the New Straits Times.

The extreme remoteness of the search area, its frequent high seas and bad weather all complicate the search.

“This is a really rough piece of ocean, which is going to be a terrific issue,” said Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore. “I worry that people carrying out the rescue mission are going to get into trouble.”

Malaysia has been criticized over its handling of one of the most perplexing mysteries in aviation history. Much of the most strident criticism has come from relatives of the Chinese passengers, some of whom expressed outrage that Malaysia essentially declared their loved ones dead without recovering a single piece of wreckage.

China dispatched a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, to deal with the crisis. Zhang met with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Wednesday and received a briefing on the satellite data that “led to the conclusion that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

On Thursday, Malaysian officials met with China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang, “to request the government of China to engage and clarify the actual situation to the affected families in particular and the Chinese public in general,” the statement said.

Officials still don’t know why Flight 370 disappeared. Investigators have ruled out nothing – including mechanical or electrical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that his investigators should finish in a day or two their analysis of electronics owned by the pilot and co-pilot, work that includes trying to recover files deleted from a home flight simulator used by Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

Some speculation has focused on Zaharie and his state of mind, but his son, in an interview published Thursday in the New Straits Times, rejected the idea that his father might be to blame.

“I’ve read everything online. But I’ve ignored all the speculation. I know my father better,” Ahmad Seth said.

McDonald reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Eileen Ng and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Thanyarat Doksone in Bangkok, Christopher Bodeen and Didi Tang in Beijing, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, Eric Tucker in Washington and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

Jet search cut short; new satellite spots objects

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Planes and ships searching for debris suspected of being from the missing Malaysian jetliner failed to find any Thursday before bad weather cut their hunt short, as Thailand said one of its satellites had spotted hundreds of objects in the area.

The Thai satellite spotted the objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean near an area where planes and ships have been hunting unsuccessfully for a week for any sign of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people aboard.

The images from the Thai satellite showed “300 objects of various sizes” in the ocean, about 2,700 kilometers (1,675 miles) southwest of Perth, said Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand’s space technology development agency.

He said the images, taken Monday by the Thaichote satellite, took two days to process and were relayed to Malaysian authorities on Wednesday.

The objects were about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the area where a French satellite on Sunday spotted 122 objects, and ranged in size from 2 meters (six feet) to 16 meters (53 feet) long, Anond said.

The announcement came after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had to pull back all 11 planes scheduled to take part in the search Thursday because of heavy rain, winds and low clouds. Five ships continued the hunt.

All but three of the planes – a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese P-3 Orion and a Japanese Gulfstream jet – reached the search zone, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, before the air search was suspended, AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said.

They were there “maybe two hours” and they did not find anything, Cardwell said.

“They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility,” he said.

In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected to last 24 hours.

Planes have been flying out of Perth for a week, looking without any success for objects spotted in vague satellite images, including the French one.

Finding them would give physical confirmation that Flight 370, which was scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, crashed. That would allow searchers to narrow the hunt for the wreckage of the Boeing 777 and its black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why the jet was so far off-course.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. On Thursday, Malaysia Airlines ran a full-page condolence advertisement with a black background in a major newspaper.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239 passengers, friends and colleagues. Words alone cannot express our enormous sorrow and pain,” read the advertisement in the New Straits Times.

The 122 objects captured by the French satellite ranged in size from 1 meter (3 feet) to 23 meters (75 feet) long, but the search for them and the objects from the Thai satellite will have to wait until the weather in the search area improves, echoing the frustration of earlier sweeps that failed to zero in on three objects spotted by satellites.

Experts cautioned that the area’s frequent high seas and bad weather and its distance from land were complicating an already-trying search.

“This is a really rough piece of ocean, which is going to be a terrific issue,” said Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore. “I worry that people carrying out the rescue mission are going to get into trouble.”

Malaysia has been criticized over its handling of one of the most perplexing mysteries in aviation history. Much of the most strident criticism has come from relatives of the Chinese passengers, some of whom expressed outrage that Malaysia essentially declared their loved ones dead without recovering a single piece of wreckage.

China dispatched a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, to deal with the crisis. Zhang met with Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Wednesday and received a briefing on the satellite data that “led to the conclusion that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean,” Malaysia’s Ministry of Transport said in a statement.

On Thursday, Malaysian officials met with China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang, “to request the government of China to engage and clarify the actual situation to the affected families in particular and the Chinese public in general,” the statement said.

Though officials say Flight 370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, they don’t know why it disappeared shortly after takeoff. Investigators have ruled out nothing – including mechanical or electrical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that his investigators should finish in a day or two their analysis of electronics owned by the pilot and co-pilot, work that includes trying to recover files deleted from a home flight simulator used by Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

Finding the wreckage and the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders is a major challenge. It took two years to find the black box from Air France Flight 447, which went down in the Atlantic Ocean on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009, and searchers knew within days where that crash site was.

The Malaysian government statement said it was sending a team to Perth to assist with the search operation, but it did not give details.

The batteries on the recorders’ “pingers” are designed to last 30 days. After that, the pings begin to fade in the same way that a flashlight with failing batteries begins to dim, said Chuck Schofield of Dukane Seacom Inc., a company that has provided Malaysia Airlines with pingers in the past. Schofield said the fading pings might last five days before the battery dies.

Once a general area is pinpointed for the wreckage, experts say salvagers will have to deal with ocean depths ranging from 3,000 to 4,500 meters (10,000 to 15,000 feet).

McDonald reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Eileen Ng and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Christopher Bodeen and Didi Tang in Beijing, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, Eric Tucker in Washington and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

Jet search cut short; new satellite spots objects

KDWN

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Planes and ships searching for debris suspected of being from the missing Malaysian jetliner failed to find any Thursday before bad weather cut their hunt short, as Thailand said one of its satellites had spotted hundreds of objects in the area.

The Thai satellite spotted about 300 objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean near an area where planes and ships have been hunting unsuccessfully for a week for any sign of debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared March 8 with 239 people aboard.

The images from the Thai satellite showed “300 objects of various sizes” in the ocean, about 2,700 kilometers (1,675 miles) southwest of Perth, said Anond Snidvongs, director of Thailand’s space technology development agency.

He said the images, taken Monday by the Thaichote satellite, took two days to process and were relayed to Malaysian authorities on Wednesday.

The objects were about 200 kilometers (125 miles) from the area where a French satellite on Sunday spotted 122 objects, Anond said. The objects ranged in size from 2 meters (six feet) to 16 meters (53 feet) long.

The announcement came after the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said it had to pull back all 11 planes scheduled to take part in the search Thursday because of heavy rain, winds and low clouds. Five ships continued the hunt.

All but three of the planes – a U.S. Navy P-8 Poseidon, a Japanese P-3 Orion and a Japanese Gulfstream jet – reached the search zone, about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, before the air search was suspended, AMSA spokesman Sam Cardwell said.

They were there “maybe two hours” and they did not find anything, Cardwell said.

“They got a bit of time in, but it was not useful because there was no visibility,” he said.

In a message on its Twitter account, AMSA said the bad weather was expected to last 24 hours.

Planes have been flying out of Perth for a week, looking without any success for objects spotted in vague satellite images, including the French one.

Finding them would give physical confirmation that Flight 370, which was scheduled to fly from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, crashed. That would allow searchers to narrow the hunt for the wreckage of the Boeing 777 and its black boxes, which could solve the mystery of why the jet was so far off-course.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. On Thursday, Malaysia Airlines ran a full-page condolence advertisement with a black background in a major newspaper.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to the loved ones of the 239 passengers, friends and colleagues. Words alone cannot express our enormous sorrow and pain,” read the advertisement in the New Straits Times.

The 122 objects captured by the French satellite ranged in size from 1 meter (3 feet) to 23 meters (75 feet) long, but the search for them and the objects from the Thai satellite will have to wait until the weather in the search area improves, echoing the frustration of earlier sweeps that failed to zero in on three objects spotted by satellites.

Experts cautioned that the area’s frequent high seas and bad weather and its distance from land were complicating an already-trying search.

“This is a really rough piece of ocean, which is going to be a terrific issue,” said Kerry Sieh, director of the Earth Observatory of Singapore. “I worry that people carrying out the rescue mission are going to get into trouble.”

Malaysia has been criticized over its handling of one of the most perplexing mysteries in aviation history. Much of the most strident criticism has come from relatives of the Chinese passengers, some of whom expressed outrage that Malaysia essentially declared their loved ones dead without recovering a single piece of wreckage.

China dispatched a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, to deal with the crisis. He was seen Thursday along with China’s ambassador to Malaysia, Huang Huikang, arriving at a hotel on the edge of Kuala Lumpur where Chinese relatives of the passengers were staying.

Meanwhile, a U.S.-based law firm filed court documents that often precede a lawsuit on behalf of a relative of an Indonesian-born passenger. The filing in Chicago asked a judge to order Malaysia Airlines and Chicago-based Boeing Co. to turn over documents related to the possibility that “negligence” caused the plane to crash, including any documentation about the chances of “fatal depressurization” in the cockpit.

Though officials say Flight 370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean, they don’t know why it disappeared shortly after takeoff. Investigators have ruled out nothing – including mechanical or electrical failure, hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that his investigators should finish in a day or two their analysis of electronics owned by the pilot and co-pilot, work that includes trying to recover files deleted from a home flight simulator used by Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

And finding the wreckage and the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders is a major challenge. It took two years to find the black box from Air France Flight 447, which went down in the Atlantic Ocean on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris in 2009, and searchers knew within days where that crash site was.

The batteries on the recorders’ “pingers” are designed to last 30 days. After that, the pings begin to fade in the same way that a flashlight with failing batteries begins to dim, said Chuck Schofield of Dukane Seacom Inc., a company that has provided Malaysia Airlines with pingers in the past. Schofield said the fading pings might last five days before the battery dies.

Once a general area is pinpointed for the wreckage, experts say salvagers will have to deal with ocean depths ranging from 3,000 to 4,500 meters (10,000 to 15,000 feet).

McDonald reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Eileen Ng and Gillian Wong in Kuala Lumpur, Christopher Bodeen and Didi Tang in Beijing, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, Michael Tarm in Chicago, Eric Tucker in Washington and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.