Search for MH370 Focuses on Southern Indian Ocean

A Malaysian man takes a closer look at a message board for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Bad weather suspended the search Tuesday for any remains of a Malaysian jetliner as China demanded information a day after Malaysia's leader said the heartbreaking conclusion was that Flight 370 had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

A Malaysian man takes a closer look at a message board for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014. Bad weather suspended the search Tuesday for any remains of a Malaysian jetliner as China demanded information a day after Malaysia’s leader said the heartbreaking conclusion was that Flight 370 had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Malaysia’s acting transport minister said on Tuesday that search operations in the northern corridor have been called off and the search for missing Flight MH370 is now focused on the southern part of the southern corridor in the Indian Ocean.

Hishammuddin Hussein, who is also the country’s Defence Minister, told media at a daily news conference the search effort was concentrated in an area of around 469,407 square nautical miles in the southern Indian Ocean.

He also said that satellite data received from China “made us detract ourselves from the search and rescue to search areas which we’ve already searched.”

MORE COVERAGE OF MALAYSIA PLANE CRASH

On Monday, Malaysia told relatives of those on board MH370 that they considered the plane lost, with no survivors.

Hussein on Tuesday defended that decision and said the information was released “out of a commitment to openness and respect for the relatives.”

However, he also said he would be unable to give the families of passengers on the missing airliner any closure until debris confirmed to be from the Boeing 777 was found.

Gale-force winds and heavy rain on Tuesday halted the ongoing search for remains of the plane.

An analysis of faint signals sent from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to an Inmarsat satellite led officials to conclude the plane crashed in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean. More precise information about the plane’s position when it sent the last signals is helping authorities refine the search being undertaken by planes and ships in seas 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia. Investigators had little to examine otherwise because other communications were lost early in the flight March 8.

A Chinese navy fleet, consisting of supply ship Qiandaohu, missile destroyer Haikou and amphibious transport dock Kunlunshan, along with two helicopters, is on its way to the southern Indian Ocean. They will arrive Wednesday morning. The fleet will search the waters at 44 degrees south latitude and 91 degrees east longitude. The sea condition is harsh with waves at an average height of three meters, or a maximum of six to eight meters.

KUALA LUMPUR, March 25 (Xinhua) — Malaysia’s Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Tuesday that UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) provides further details as how the data is analysed.

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 his words, the Inmarsat technique analyses the difference between the frequency that the ground station expects to receive and one that is actually measured. 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.

Yet 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 statement.

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 on March 18.

Hishammuddin further mentioned that no flights from Perth to the search area took place Tuesday, due to the bad weather. “6 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.”

Story compiled with information from The Associated Press and Xinhua.