Watch: Is this how Flight MH370 hit the water?

2014-04-09 18:15
Cape Town - The missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is said to have run out of fuel and crash landed into the Indian Ocean.

Those involved in the search have moved from the surface to beneath the Indian Ocean, spurred by pings believed to be from the missing plane’s black box.

Two new ping signals were detected on Tuesday and analysis of two sounds detected in the same area over the weekend showed they were consistent with a plane's black boxes.

Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency co-ordinating the search for the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean, said that despite the Australian navy's Ocean Shield picking up this promising evidence, saying that had pinpointed Flight 370's crash site was just not possible.

As the search for the missing jet stretches the limits of technology, since black box recorder batteries are only able to transmit for about a month after an incident (it is already two days past its regular lifespan as the plane went missing on 8 March 2014), finding the box will be just the start of the challenge to pluck any wreckage from the ocean.

If the plane has indeed found a watery grave, exactly how the plane hit the water makes a big difference to the teams undertaking the painstaking search.

Investigators have had frustratingly little hard data to work-out exactly how Flight MH370 came down in the Indian Ocean with its 239 people on board. All of which would be cleared-up, should they find the black box.

But there are a few crucial points to consider, such as did the flight MH370 plunge into the ocean at a steep angle, explaining virtually no debris on the surface?

According to analysis by the Financial Express, if it ran out of fuel and the pilots were incapacitated, the autopilot would have stopped working and it would have dipped into an increasingly steep and rapid dive. This would rip off the wings and tail, causing the fuselage to plummet to an estimated 40 meters beneath the water within seconds.

An aviation professor at Australia's University of New South Wales speculates it could have gone in almost completely whole.

Another scenario considers if the plane came in flat, clipped a wave and possibly cartwheeled into pieces? But then the lack of surface debris still remains a mystery.

It is undeniable that the known facts about the final moment of Flight MH370 are pretty similar to this hijacked Air Ethiopia Flight 961 that crash landed after running out of fuel off the Comoros Islands in 1996.

Watch the crash landing in which only 50 of the 175 people survived…

Admittedly commercial pilots have been trained to land a plane in water, with minimal damage as was the case with the ''Miracle on the Hudson”.  But dipping the US Airways Flight 1549 into the Hudson River without loss of life "took unbelievable confluence of skill, conditions and luck".
Not only that, conditions in the part of the Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have gone down are said to be a far cry from those in New York that helped pull off the unbelievable landing.  

But once the search area has been narrowed sufficiently, an American underwater robot called Bluefin-21 is on standby to take over.

It will build up a detailed acoustic image of the area using sophisticated 'side scan' sonar, hoping to repeat its success in finding a F-15 fighter jet which crashed off Japan last year.

If it detects possible wreckage, it will be sent back to photograph it carefully in underwater conditions with extremely low light.

But building up the necessary mosaic of thousands of high-definition photos in the undersea gloom can also be a long and frustrating task, which means the answers to this puzzle are nowhere near to being pieced together.

- News24 Travel

Read more on:    malaysia airlines  |  malaysia  |  flights  |  air crashes  |  malaysia airlines flight mh370  |  aviation

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