Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run? (part 2)

Read more

DEBATE

Iraq's Christians - Nowhere to Run?

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Towards a "Third Intifada"?

Read more

FOCUS

What solutions for California's overcrowded prisons?

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Gaza conflict: Palestinians mark sombre Eid

Read more

WEB NEWS

Celebrities in the Israel-Gaza crossfire

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Israeli strike takes out Gaza power station

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French newspaper apologises for Sarkozy story

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Last-ditch talks aim to avert Argentina default

Read more

  • Deadly strike hits Gaza market despite four-hour 'truce'

    Read more

  • Russia defiant as US, EU unveil 'phase three' sanctions

    Read more

  • Argentina fails to reach deal with holdout creditors

    Read more

  • US House votes to sue Obama for over-reaching his powers

    Read more

  • Suspect in Jewish Museum attack charged with 'terrorist' murder

    Read more

  • Women should not laugh in public, Turkey's deputy PM says

    Read more

  • Fourth female suicide bomber targets Nigerian city

    Read more

  • US rebounds to 4% growth in second quarter

    Read more

  • Video: Coping with rocket attacks in Israel’s Sderot

    Read more

  • Rats on the rampage at Louvre museum gardens

    Read more

  • France evacuates nationals, closes embassy in Libya

    Read more

  • 'Compelling' signs Kosovo leaders trafficked organs, prosecutor says

    Read more

  • Graphic: Ebola spreads across West Africa

    Read more

  • Video: How tourism is helping Rwanda’s gorillas, ex-poachers

    Read more

  • Islamists seize key Benghazi army base as fire rages on

    Read more

Asia-pacific

Search for missing Malaysian airliner goes underwater

© afp

Text by FRANCE 24

Latest update : 2014-04-04

The search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 shifted underwater on Friday, with a high-tech US Navy “black box” locator deployed for the first time as the remaining battery life of the plane's cockpit data recorder dwindled.

MH370's black box is equipped with a locator beacon that transmits “pings” when under water, but which only has an expected battery life of around 30 days.

“On best advice the locator beacon will last about a month before it ceases its transmissions, so we’re now getting pretty close to the time when it might expire,” retired air chief marshal Angus Houston, the head of the Australian agency coordinating the operation, told reporters in Perth.

Australian authorities said the so-called Towed Pinger Locator will be pulled behind navy ship HMAS Ocean Shield, searching a converging course on a 240 kms (150 miles) track with British hydrographic survey ship HMS Echo.

But the locator may be of little help unless investigators can get a better idea of where the plane went into water, because its limited range and the slow speed at which it must be pulled behind the ship mean it cannot cover large areas of ocean.

A month since flight disappeared

Houston said the search for surface debris was also continuing. “This is a vast area, an area that’s quite remote," he said. "We will continue the surface search for a good deal more time."

Monday will mark 30 days since the jetliner lost communications and disappeared from civilian radar on March 8, less than an hour into an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The Boeing 777 was briefly picked up on military radar on the other side of Malaysia and analysis of subsequent hourly electronic “handshakes” exchanged with a satellite led investigators to conclude that the plane crashed far off the west Australian coast hours later.

Authorities have not ruled out mechanical problems as causing the disappearance, but say all the evidence suggests the plane was deliberately diverted from its scheduled route.

Malaysia’s police chief said the investigation was focusing on the cabin crew and pilots, after clearing all 227 passengers of possible involvement in hijacking, sabotage or having personal or psychological problems that could have been connected to the disappearance.

Huge search area

On Friday, up to 14 planes and nine ships were scouring the search area of about 223,000 sq kms (86,000 sq miles) – roughly the size of the US state of Minnesota – some 1,680 kms (1,040 miles) west-north-west of Perth, Houston said.

Britain is also sending HMS Tireless, a Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine with sonar capabilities, and a Malaysian frigate was due to arrive in the search area on Saturday.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on Thursday joined his Australian counterpart Tony Abbott in a tour of RAAF Base Pearce, near Perth, where aircrews from seven countries have been flying dozens of missions deep into the southern Indian Ocean.

“The world expects us to do our level best, and I’m very confident we will indeed show what we can do together as a group of nations; that we want to find answers, that we want to provide comfort to the families and we will not rest until answers are indeed found,” Najib said.

Malaysian authorities have faced heavy criticism, particularly from China, for mismanaging the search, now in its fourth fruitless week, and holding back information.

Most of the 239 people on board the flight were Chinese.

(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS)

 

Date created : 2014-04-04

  • MALAYSIA

    Search operations for Malaysian plane redirected

    Read more

  • MALAYSIA

    Families demand answers as search for missing jet continues

    Read more

  • MALAYSIA

    Search for missing plane moves to new zone after fresh debris spotted

    Read more

COMMENT(S)