Malaysia Suspected MH370 Downed In Murder-Suicide – Former Australian PM

(FILES) This file photo taken on March 7, 2015 shows Indian sand artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creating a sculpture of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on Puri beach in eastern Odisha state.
J .K. Jagdev / AFP

 

Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott has claimed “very top” level Malaysian officials believed vanished Flight MH370 was deliberately downed by the captain in a mass murder-suicide.

The Malaysia Airlines jet vanished on March 8, 2014 carrying 239 people — mostly from China — en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000-square kilometre (46,000-square mile) Indian Ocean search zone and the Australian-led search, the largest in aviation history, was suspended in January 2017.

A US exploration firm launched a private hunt in 2018 but it ended after several months of scouring the seabed without success.

The disappearance of the plane has long been the subject of a host of theories — ranging from the credible to outlandish — including that veteran pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had gone rogue.

In an excerpt from a Sky News documentary airing Wednesday, Abbott claims he was told within a week of it vanishing that Malaysia believed the captain had intentionally downed the jet.

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“My very clear understanding from the very top levels of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on here, they thought it was murder-suicide by the pilot,” he said.

“I’m not going to say who said what to whom but let me reiterate, I want to be absolutely crystal clear, it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder-suicide by the pilot — mass murder-suicide by the pilot.”

Zaharie’s family and friends have long strongly rejected such claims as baseless.

Malaysia’s former premier Najib Razak, who was in power during the tragedy, said suspicions over the disappearance weren’t made public and there was no proof that the pilot was responsible.

“It would have been deemed unfair and legally irresponsible since the black boxes and cockpit voice recorders had not been found,” he told online portal Free Malaysia Today.

“There was no conclusive proof whether the pilot was solely or jointly responsible.”

Najib said the scenario involving the pilot was “never ruled out” during the search for the plane.

Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the former head of Malaysia’s civil aviation regulator, criticised Abbott’s remarks and said there was not sufficient proof to support the idea.

“It is only a theory,” Azharuddin, who led the regulator when Flight MH370 disappeared, told AFP.

“You do this speculation and it will hurt the next of kin. The family of the pilot will also feel very bad because you are making an accusation without any proof.”

In 2016, Malaysian officials revealed the pilot had plotted a path over the Indian Ocean on a home flight simulator but stressed this did not prove he deliberately crashed the plane.

A final report into the tragedy released in 2018 pointed to failings by air traffic control and said the course of the plane was changed manually.

But they failed to come up with any firm conclusions, leaving relatives angry and disappointed.

Six passengers were Australian, including four from Queensland state, where Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk this week suggested authorities may pursue an inquest into their deaths.

Malaysia Aviation Chief Resigns Over MH370 Report

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The head of Malaysia’s civil aviation regulator resigned Tuesday after an official report found failings in air traffic control when Flight MH370 disappeared.

In a long-awaited report released on Monday, the official investigation team pointed to numerous lapses by air traffic controllers in both Malaysia and Vietnam.

These included failing to initiate “emergency phases” as required after the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board vanished from radar displays.

Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director-general of the Department of Civil Aviation, said the report had found that the air traffic control did not comply with standard operating procedures.

“Therefore, it is with regret and after much thought and contemplation that I have decided to resign as the chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia effective fourteen (14) days from the date of the resignation notice which I have served today,” he said in a statement.

Flight MH370 vanished over four years ago and remains aviation’s greatest mystery.

The disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 triggered the largest hunt in aviation history. But no sign of it was found in a 120,000-square kilometre (46,000-square mile) Indian Ocean search zone.

In a 495-page report, investigators said they still do not know why the plane vanished.

They said the course of the Malaysia Airlines aircraft had been changed manually and refused to rule out that someone other than the pilots had diverted the jet.

Transport Minister Anthony Loke insisted Monday that “the aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned and vowed to “take action” against any misconduct committed based on the findings.

AFP

Malaysia May Resume Search For Missing MH370 After Four Years

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The hunt for Flight MH370 may resume if new evidence comes to light, Malaysia’s prime minister said Wednesday, as a private search for the plane draws to a close.

The Malaysia Airlines jet vanished in March 2014 with 239 people — mostly from China — on board, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

US exploration firm Ocean Infinity was contracted for a three-month search for the Boeing 777 on a “no find, no fee basis”, which is set to end in the coming days after finding no sign of the wreckage.

The private search came after an Australian-led hunt, which covered a vast area of the southern Indian Ocean and was the most expensive in aviation history, was suspended last year.

Mahathir Mohamad, who became Malaysia’s premier for the second time after a shock election victory, indicated the government had no plans at the moment to resume the hunt.

“We have come to a stage where we cannot keep searching for something we cannot find,” he told a press conference.

“We understand the feelings of the relatives but we cannot allow the search to go on forever.”

But he added: “If we find any new information, we may resume the search.”

Ocean Infinity had stood to make up to $70 million if it found the jet or its black boxes.

The private US firm scoured over 112,000 square kilometers (43,000 square miles) of the seabed.

The ship conducting the hunt, Seabed Constructor, was a Norwegian research vessel carrying 65 crew, including two members of the Malaysian navy as the government’s representatives.

It used eight autonomous drones equipped with sonars and cameras, able to operate at depths up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-meter wing part known as a flaperon.

AFP

Search For Malaysia’s MH370 To End In ‘Coming Days’

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A private hunt for Flight MH370 will end in the coming days, a search firm said Tuesday, about four years after the plane’s disappearance sparked one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.

The Malaysia Airlines jet vanished in March 2014 with 239 people — mostly from China — on board, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

No sign of the plane was found in a 120,000-square kilometre (46,000-square mile) sea search zone and the Australian-led hunt, the largest in aviation history, was suspended in January last year.

After pressure from families, the former Malaysian government struck a deal with US exploration firm Ocean Infinity to restart the search in January on the condition it would only be paid if the Boeing 777 or its black boxes were found.

The firm stood to make up to $70 million if successful but did not find any sign of the airliner despite scouring the seabed with some of the world’s most high-tech search equipment.

The hunt was officially meant to end late April but was extended. However, the new government of Mahathir Mohamad, which came to power after a shock election win this month, announced last week the search was set to end.

Texas-based Ocean Infinity said in a statement Tuesday that “its current search for the wreckage of… Flight MH370 is shortly coming to an end”.

A spokesman added the hunt would end in the coming days, without giving a precise date.

The new hunt was in an area of about 25,000 square kilometers in the southern Indian Ocean, north of the previous search zone.

The ship conducting the hunt, Seabed Constructor, was a Norwegian research vessel carrying 65 crew, including two members of the Malaysian navy as the government’s representatives.

It scoured the waters for wreckage using eight autonomous drones equipped with sonars and cameras, and able to operate at depths up to 6,000 meters (20,000 feet).

Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-meter wing part known as a flaperon.

The jet’s disappearance stands as one of the most enduring aviation mysteries of all time and has spawned a host of theories, with some blaming a hijacking or even a terror plot.

AFP

Debris in South Africa, Mauritius ‘Almost Certainly’ From Missing MH370

South Africa, Mauritius, MH370Two pieces of debris discovered in South Africa and the Mauritian island of Rodrigues are almost certainly from the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner, Malaysia’s transport ministry said on Thursday.

Flight MH370 disappeared in March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew on board, shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing, in one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.

Investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off the plane’s transponder before diverting it thousands of miles off course, out over the Indian Ocean.

“The team has confirmed that both pieces of debris from South Africa and Rodrigues Island are almost certainly from MH370,” Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said in a statement.

Liow said that the findings support results from a previous examination in March, during which the team confirmed that another piece of debris found in Mozambique was also almost certainly from MH370.

A first piece of the Boeing 777 washed up on the French Island of Reunion in July 2015. Malaysia and French authorities confirmed the flaperon was from the aircraft.

MH370 Searchers Remain Hopeful

MH370 SearchersTwo years on from its disappearance, Malaysia and Australia said that they remain “hopeful” that flight MH370 will eventually be found.

The aircraft disappeared between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board.

Australian-led search teams are combing a 120,000 square kilometre area of the Southern Indian Ocean.

The BBC reports that the investigating team is led by Malaysia and includes experts from the US, China, Australia, France and Britain.

Only one confirmed piece of debris, a part of wing called a Flaperon, has been found, on Reunion Island.

The search for the wreckage is estimated to have cost more than $130m (£92m).

The countries have said it would end once the current search area has been completely covered, likely to be around June.

France Begins MH370 Debris’ Searches Around Reunion

France Begins MH370 Debris' Searches Around Reunion IslandFrance has commenced air, land and sea searches on and around the French Indian Ocean Island of Reunion.

These searches launched by France are coming in the anticipation of recovering more remains that could be linked to the MH370.

According to BBC, Malaysia said on Thursday that a wing section found on the island definitely came from the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight.

However, the French investigators have not confirmed the link which is causing frustration among the families of victims.

France had also dismissed the statements made by Malaysia that more debris had been found.

The Boeing 777, which had 239 people on board and most of which were Chinese, was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014 when it disappeared from radar.

A piece of debris that experts believed could be from the missing flight MH370 earlier arrived Paris, France’s capital, from the Island where it was found.

MH370 Search: Experts Investigate Indian Ocean Wreckage

MH370Malaysia says it has sent a team to the French Indian ocean island of Reunion, to investigate whether debris which washed up there is from missing flight MH370.

Investigators had, however, gotten a new ray of hope 16 months after flight MH370 went missing.

The Malaysia airlines Boeing 777, vanished without a trace in March 2014. There were 239 people on board the Kuala Lumpur to Beijing flight.

Aviation experts said that the debris looked like a wing component from a Boeing 777, known as a flaperon.

But Malaysia airlines said it would be “premature” to speculate on its origin.

There were 227 passengers on the flight, including 153 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Transport Minister, Liow Tiong Lai, said “Whatever wreckage found needs to be further verified before we can further confirm whether it belongs to MH370”

He added, “So we have dispatched a team to investigate on this issues and we hope that we can identify it as soon as possible.”

During the initial days of the search for the plane, there were several reports of possible debris sightings in the waters closer to where authorities believed the plane went down, but none of those was actual wreckage.

Sarah Bajc, whose partner, Philip Wood, was on MH370, said her heart had been in her throat for most of the day.

“If ultimately this is the piece of the wing, then, that little thread of hope that I have been holding on to, will have to break. And reality would have to take over.

“But, yeah, up until now, I and most of the family members have continued to believe that until we have a body, we can’t give up hoping they will still come back.”

Australia, Others To Try New System In Search Of Flight MH370

mh370Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia are to try a new method of tracking planes, almost a year after a Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, carrying 239 people, disappeared en route Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The trial system enables planes to be tracked every 15 minutes, an increase on the current 30 to 40 minutes.

Extensive search has been carried out to contact the flight MH370, since it disappeared in March 2014.

The new tracking device uses technology already installed on most long-haul jets.

The system is expected to increase the tracking rate to five minutes or less if there is any deviation from a plane’s expected route.

‘No silver bullet’

Australian Transport Minister, Warren Truss, said the new system was a “world first”. But he stressed the new technology would not necessarily have solved the mystery of MH370.

“It would have been very difficult, one would imagine, without knowing what precisely occurred in the case of flight MH370, to have intervened from outside,” he said.

“But at least it would have tracked the aircraft to within 15 minutes.”

Airservices Australia Chairman Angus Houston, who helped lead the search for the missing MH370, agreed it was “no silver bullet”.

“But it is an important step in delivering immediate improvements to the way we currently track aircraft while more comprehensive solutions are developed,” Angus Houston added.

The trial will begin in the Australian city of Brisbane before being extended to Indonesia and Malaysia.

Investigators searching for flight MH370 are focusing on an area of the Indian Ocean off the coast of western Australia.

Flight MH370, which is said to be operating a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, last had contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

Australia Shifts Search For Missing Malaysian Plane South

malaysiaThe search for the missing Malaysian flight MH370 is still on and Australian officials say the next phase of the hunt will move hundreds of miles south.

Australian Transport Safety Bureau, Chief Martin Dolan, said  the search would focus on an area 1,800km off the city of Perth.

Dolan said he expected the probable crash site would be hundreds of kilometers (miles) south of where a remote-controlled underwater drone scoured 850 square kilometers (330 square miles) of seabed in the first fruitless search that ended last month.

That search area was defined by acoustic signals suspected to have come from the missing plane’s black boxes, which promised to be the best clue to finding Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. But those signals are now widely thought to have come from some other source.

Nearby areas were previously surveyed from the air, but the undersea hunt was directed north after pings were heard.

The new search area will not be based on new data, but on refined analysis of existing satellite information from the doomed Boeing 777 after it veered off course during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

The plane vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 passengers on board.

 

Bad Weather Hampers Search For S/Korea Ferry Survivors

SKorea FerryBad weather, murky water and strong currents have been hampering the search for survivors of the South Korean ferry disaster as loved ones and anxious relatives offer prayers for the safe return of their loved ones.

Emergency services are still searching for nearly 300 people missing after a ship carrying more than 470 people sank.

Officials say 179 people have been rescued. Most of the passengers were pupils at the same high school.

The captain of the sunken South Korean ferry apologized to families of the victims and those missing on Thursday (April 17) as the coast guard investigates him. The ferry sank off South Korea’s southwest coast on Wednesday, leaving at least nine dead and about 290 missing

Witnesses told Korean media that the captain of the vessel, who is now being held by police, was one of the first to leave the stricken vessel.

The vessel, carrying 475 passengers and crew, capsized during a journey from the northwestern port of Incheon to the southern holiday island of Jeju. It went down about 20 km off the country’s southwestern coast.

Meanwhile, South Korean President, Park Geun-Hye, visited the site of the accident as coast guards continue search operations for about 290 missing people.

In the video, Park observed search operations on a boat and was briefed by a coast guard officer.

Rescuers fought rising winds and waves as they searched for hundreds of people, mostly teenage schoolchildren, still missing.

Frustrated parents of some of the missing school children are, however, hiring their own boats and divers to find survivors. Others jeer at coastguard officials asking why they’re not out searching for the missing passengers.

So far 179 people have been rescued and nine confirmed dead in what could be the country’s worst maritime accident in 20 years.

It is not known why the 6,586 ton vessel, built in Japan 20 years ago, sank.

Rwanda Genocide: From Losses To Gains, Twenty Years After

RwandaFrom April 7, to about July 15, 20 years ago, between 500,000 to one million people were killed in Rwanda. 

That period of time, was known as the genocide mass slaughter of Tutsi and moderate Hutu, planned by members of the core political elite, known as the Akazu, many of whom were already in top government positions.

According to sources, the war took place in the context of the Rwandan civil war, which was an ongoing conflict that had begun in 1990, between the Hutu-led government and the Rwandan Patriotic Front, composed mainly of Tutsi refugees, whose families had fled to Uganda after their earlier encounter with Hutu violence against the Tutsi.

For many Rwandans, the experience of the genocide brought a lot of suspicion, fear and tension, in the years that followed after the genocide. 

Today, many have only one phrase on their lips; that is, ‘Rwanda genocide, never again!’

The younger generation is doing what it can to cope with the country’s horrific past, as many lost parents and loved ones in the killing.

To help them move on, orphans from the period, have been coming together to form groups, that support one another while others are using social media such as facebook, to preach peace and reconciliation.

A Lot Has Changed

Believe it or not, a lot has changed in Rwanda, since then. Rwanda-farms

The country is said to have low corruption, compared with neighbouring African countries. It also has the highest proportion of females in government positions, in proportion to the population.

Although seriously affected by the genocide, its economy has grown since then. A country of few natural resources, the economy is based mostly on subsistence agriculture by local farmers, using simple tools.

However, tourism is a fast-growing sector in Rwanda, and is now the country’s leading foreign exchange earner.

Rwanda’s high commissioner to Nigeria, told Channels Television that Rwandans had moved on and are looking ahead to make the country work.

“There are many initiatives to make the people come together. People have gone beyond ethnic divisions. Things have changed,” he said.

Just like many at the time, he also had his losses.