WSJ has confirmed that the pilot had the ability to manually turn off the transponder on Flight MH370. Why is the transponder so significant? WSJ’s Jason Bellini has #TheShortAnswer.
THE search for MH370 has entered the seventh day and the families are no closer to knowing what happened to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished without a trace between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
Every day there is an authority making a claim, only to be shut down in the following hours by another body.
Confused? You’re not the only one. Countries involved in the search and their official agencies are backstabbing, contradicting and straight-out fighting with each other.
News.com.au cuts through the garbage to tell you what didn’t happen, according to Malaysian authorities … If you can believe them.
THE FLIGHT REMAINED IN THE AIR
Malaysia Airlines flight remained in the air for five hours after it lost contact and continued to send transmissions to the ground, US sources told the Wall Street Journal.
Dismissed: Malaysian Airlines CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said they were certain the Boeing 777 did not fly on for four hours after it was last tracked on radar en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
“These reports are inaccurate. The last transmission form the aircraft at 1:07am which indicated everything was normal,” Mr Hussein said.
THE PILOT’S HOME HAS BEEN RAIDED
The house of MH370 pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, has been raided to try to discover if anything was amiss in the lead-up to the flight. Police went to the home to question his family and determine if there were any underlying psychological issues.
Dismissed: Malaysia Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein rejected reports police had searched the home of Captain Shah.
They described him as “a very seasoned pilot” with a track record of excellent service and say there was no indication of anything untoward about his behaviour.
CHINA SATELLITE FINDS CRASH SITE
China satellite finds three areas of debris between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Dismissed: “There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,’’ Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said.
Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said China had told Malaysia that satellite photos released on the website of a state oceanic agency, apparently showing three large objects in a suspected crash site, were released “by mistake and did not show any debris”.
TERRORISTS BOARDED ON FAKE PASSPORTS
Two terrorists using fake passports took down the plane. The men were believed to have bought the fake travel documents together from South China Airlines in Thailand by an Iranian middleman known as “Mr Ali”. Malaysia launched a terror probe after these discoveries.
Dismissed: Malaysian police said the men were Iranians, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, and Delavar Seyed Mohammad Erza, 29, and intelligence suggested they were not likely to be a member of any terrorist group. They were simply searching for a better life and Pouria’s mother was waiting for him in Europe.
FIVE PEOPLE DIDN’T BOARD
Five people checked into flight MH370, but did not board the aircraft, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said. Their bags were unloaded and cleared.
Dismissed: Malaysia Airlines released a statement that quashed the civil aviation body’s claim. “Malaysia Airlines wishes to clarify that there were four passengers who had valid booking to travel on flight MH370, 8 March 2014, but did not show up to check-in for the flight. As such, the issue of off-loading unaccompanied baggage did not arise, as the said four passengers did not check in for the flight. Hence, the above claim is untrue.”
OIL SLICKS SPOTTED
Not long after the plane disappeared, oil slicks up to 20km long were spotted near the crash site of Malaysia Airlines flight 370 in the South China Sea.
“Two of our aircraft sighted two oil slicks around 15 to 20km long, running parallel, around 500 metres apart from each other,’’ the Malaysian army’s deputy chief-of-staff, Vo Van Tuan, told state-run VTV.
“I think the two oil slicks are very likely linked to the missing plane,’’ Vice-Admiral Ngo Van Phat, who is helping to direct the search mission, told AFP.
Laboratory analysis of the oil samples showed the tongues of oil were not from the Malaysia Airlines jet but were a type of fuel used by ships, the Maritime Enforcement Agency said in Kuala Lumpur.
Two days after the plane vanished, a Singapore aircraft spotted an orange object southwest of southern Vietnam’s Tho Chu Island. A Vietnam navy boat investigated the possibility it could be a life raft and salvaged the floating object.
Dismissed: Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority later said the object was a “moss-covered cap of a cable reel”.
A potential breakthrough emerged when a Vietnamese aircraft scouring waters off southern Vietnam spotted an object that looked like a plane door.
Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of Vietnam’s army said: “From this object, hopefully (we) will find the missing plane.”
Dismissed: “Unfortunately ladies and gentleman, we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft itself,’’ said Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.