Flight MH370: Hope begins to fade

2014-03-23 14:00

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New satellite images of debris could provide clues about missing plane.

As the search for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 enters its third week, the Chinese government has received new satellite images of debris that may belong to the missing plane.

Malaysia’s transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, made the announcement yesterday, saying that a 22m-long, 13m-wide object was spotted in the southern corridor of the Indian Ocean, an area which investigators pinpointed as the most likely site of the missing Boeing 777.

Images of the latest object were taken by a Chinese satellite at about midday on Tuesday about 193km from the current search area near Perth, Australia.

Ships were sent to the area.

Earlier this week, satellites detected debris southwest of Perth but nothing has been found yet.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority reported sighting several small objects with the naked eye, including a wooden pallet, within a radius of 5km of the current search area.

Families of the 239 passengers are growing increasingly frantic and are demanding answers.

Police had to intervene at yesterday’s briefing as relatives of Chinese passengers rushed towards Malaysian officials at a Beijing hotel.

“Government of Malaysia, tell us the truth! Give us back our loved ones!” they shouted. “We can’t bear it any longer.”

One woman said: “They’re offering us compensation, but we’ve lost our entire families.”

Another said: “This is China. They can’t just tell us to come or go as they please. We’re going to wait here. If they don’t come, we’re not leaving.”

On Friday, UK newspaper The Telegraph reported the last 54 minutes of cockpit communication aboard the missing plane.

A transcript of conversations between the co-pilot and the control tower, and other air-traffic controllers, runs from the time the Boeing 777 was taxiing to its last-known position thousands of metres above the South China Sea.

The conversations include those which took place at the time investigators now believe the plane was sabotaged.

The last words of co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid (27) were: “All right, good night.” Investigators say the messages appeared “routine” but odd.

A message from the cockpit at 1.07am said the plane was flying at about 10?000m.

This was a repeat of a message delivered six minutes earlier, and sent at the exact time the plane’s signalling device sent its last message.

Investigators believe it was deliberately disabled in the next 30?minutes.

The new details add to the speculation about what happened and if an accident or a hijacking was responsible for the flight’s sudden disappearance.

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