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Lost Malaysian plane: How the conclusion was made

Malaysia,Crime/Disaster/Accident, Tue, 25 Mar 2014 IANS

Kuala Lumpur, March 25 (IANS) Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Tuesday that Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) has provided further details about how the data was analysed and the Malaysian airliner was pronounced "lost".

He said Inmarsat, a British satellite telecommunications company, developed a second innovative technique in recent days which considers the velocity of the aircraft relative to the satellite.

According to him, the Inmarsat technique analyses the difference between the frequency that the ground station expects to receive and one that is actually received, Xinhua reported. This difference is the result of the doppler effect and is known as the Burst Frequency Offset.

"The Burst Frequency Offset changes depending on the location of the aircraft on an arc of possible positions, its direction of travel, and its speed. In order to establish confidence in its theory, Inmarsat checked its predictions using information obtained from six other B777 aircraft flying on the same day in various directions. There was good agreement," said Hishammuddin.

He also mentioned that while on the ground at the Kuala Lumpur airport and during the early stage of the flight, MH370 transmitted several messages.

"At this stage, the location of the aircraft and the satellite were known, so it was possible to calculate system characteristics for the aircraft, satellite, and ground station," he said.

"This analysis by Inmarsat forms the basis for further study to attempt to determine the final position of the aircraft. Accordingly, the Malaysian investigation has set up an international working group, comprising agencies with expertise in satellite communications and aircraft performance, to take this work forward," said the minister.

Hishammuddin Hussein said, as a result of the new data analysis, the search and rescue operation in the northern corridor has been called off.

"We have also stopped the search and rescue operation in the northern part of the southern corridor, close to Indonesia."

He pointed out that all search efforts are now focused in the southern part of the southern corridor, in an area covering some 469,407 square nautical miles, as against the 2.24 million square nautical miles which was announced March 18.

Hishammuddin mentioned that no flights from Perth to the search area took place Tuesday due to bad weather.

"Six Chinese ships are currently in the search area, and are expected to arrive within the vicinity of MH370's last known position by Wednesday morning."

He said that two Korean aircraft left Subang airport for Perth Tuesday morning to help in the multinational search operation.

"Royal Australian Navy's HMAS Success is also currently in the search area," he added.

"The American towed pinger locator, an instrument that can help find a black box, is currently en route to Perth and will arrive Wednesday. The system will be fitted onto the Australian ship Ocean Shield, which is due to dock in Perth March 28. The Ocean Shield, fitted with the towed pinger locator, is due to arrive in the search area April 5," said the statement.

When asked about the investigation on the pilot's flight simulator, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the work was still going on, and the police were also waiting for the foreign experts' report.

Hishammuddin said a high-level Malaysian delegation would leave for Beijing Tuesday night. Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, chief executive officer of Malaysia Airlines, said the delegation would give more details to the families of those on board the lost plane about the announcement of Malaysian prime minister Monday.

Malaysia Airline flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.

The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 226 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

The plane lost contact along with its radar signal when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur Monday, Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak said British investigators from its Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) have confirmed flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean".

"Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth," he added.

Malaysia Airlines, in a statement to the relatives of all those on board, stated: "We deeply regret that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board have survived... we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean."

It, however, stated that the ongoing multinational search operation would continue, "as we seek answers to the questions which remain".



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