‘If you can smell roast chicken it’s because some seagulls flew into the engine’

By David Higgs,

Daniel Tyte

Holiday-makers’ trip to Egypt was disrupted after seagulls apparently flew into the plane’s engine as it left Cardiff Airport

Holiday-makers on a flight to Egypt from Cardiff Airport had their getaway disrupted after a flock of birds apparently flew into the plane’s engines.

Passengers aboard the Thomson Airways flight to Sharm El Sheikh said they were told an hour into their journey they were being diverted to Gatwick, after the flight crew detected a smell akin to “roast chicken”.

Cardiff PR director Dan Tyte said the flight left Cardiff at approximately 9am.

“It was a relaxing start to the morning,” said the 33-year-old.

“We got on the flight and it must have been about an hour in and the captain came on and said ‘I don’t know if you can smell what seems to be like roast chicken, we have looked into it and turns out as we were leaving Cardiff, some seagulls flew into the engine’.”

Mr Tyte, who was travelling to Egypt for a week-long holiday with his girlfriend Rebecca, said the aircraft was near the Swiss city of Basel when the announcement was made.

“From that it seems like it was quite a dramatic situation but it was handled with such calm assurance by the captain and his crew everyone handled it well,” he said.

“It was handled really well and the flight itself was really smooth so I suppose safety must come first.”

A spokeswoman from Gatwick Airport said the passengers got off safely and were being transferred to another aircraft.

They were expected to depart at 1.30pm she added.

A spokesperson for Thomson said: “Thomson Airways is sorry for the delay caused to passengers on board flight TOM532 from Cardiff to Sharm El Sheikh, which diverted to Gatwick airport as a precautionary measure.

“The decision was taken to divert the plane due to a suspected bird strike. The plane landed safely at Gatwick airport where passengers were transferred onto an alternative aircraft to continue their journey to Sharm El Sheikh. Our team at Thomson Airways did everything possible to minimise the disruption to customers holidays and get them on their way as soon as possible.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is of paramount importance and we would like to reassure customers that issues of this nature are very rare.”

Sourced by Wales Online


Thomas Cook responds to Cuba hotel illness claims

Thomas Cook responds to Cuba hotel illness claims

Thomas Cook has confirmed 29 cases of “mild illness” reported by guests staying at the Hotel Playa Pesquero in Cuba in the first two weeks of April.

“This represents just 1.5% of the overall hotel population of 1,800,” the operator said.

“The 29 cases were a mixture of Thomas Cook customers and other tour operators; the Thomas Cook customers were offered every assistance by our dedicated resort team.

“All were treated on site, with two receiving attention at the hotel clinic for dehydration.”

The operator disputed allegations made by holiday illness compensation specialists Your Holiday Claims that 80% of holidaymakers had fallen ill due to an outbreak of salmonella at the hotel.

Cook said the cause of the outbreak is under investigation.

Your Holiday Claims alleged that many British holidaymakers had been taken to hospital during their stay. Many were believed to be on saline drips for severe dehydration after being violently ill, the law firm said.

Cook responded by saying: “We are aware that a statement was recently issued by a no-win, no-fee lawyer.

“This repeated as yet unsubstantiated allegations and we consider this to be deeply irresponsible.

“We ask any customers who may have concerns relating to their holiday to contact us directly and as quickly as possible so that we can deal with them personally in an open, honest and fair manner.

“We are confident that those customers due to travel to the resort in the future will experience the excellent levels of quality and standards they would expect from a Thomas Cook property. Accordingly, normal booking conditions apply.”

Cook added that it was working closely with management at the Hotel Playa Pesquero to ensure that internationally recognised Prevention of Spread of Infection (POSI) procedures are in place.

“We will continue to follow the rigorous processes to establish the cause of the illness reported to our staff as this investigation continues,” the company said.

Cook said that its legal team has yet to receive any correspondence from customers or their legal representatives regarding alleged illness at the hotel.

Anne Thomson, head of travel law at Your Holiday Claims, said: “We are already instructed by a number of clients who suffered similar gastric illnesses during their holidays at this hotel in 2013.

“Holidaymakers who have returned from their stay at the hotel who have been diagnosed with salmonella food poisoning or any other type of gastric illness should report this to their tour operator and contact us for help to make a successful compensation claim straight away.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Driver airlifted to hospital after car plummets down steep ravine

A driver had to be airlifted to hospital yesterday after their car plumeted down a steep revine.

The car, a white Volkswaken Scirocco was travelling along the Rhigos mountain road from Hirwaun towards Treherbert with then incident happend at approximately 7:05pm on Thursday.

The incident resulted in a multi agency response including the Welsh Ambulance Service, South Wales Police and the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service.

Support was also provided by the South and East Wales Air Support Unit, Wales Air Ambulance and a Royal Air Force Search and Rescue helicopter from Chivenor, Devon however the later was stood down once arrived on scene.

A spokesperson for the South Wales Fire and Rescue Service said: “Appliances from Treorchy and Hirwaun attended a Road Traffic Collision on the Rhigos mountain road and supported by specialist crews from Ebbw Vale, Merthyr, Aberdare and Barry.”

A spokesman for South Wales Police said: “The vehicle has left the road and plummeted down a steep ravine to the right hand side before coming to rest.

“The driver of the vehicle was extricated from the vehicle by the South Wales Fire and Recuse Service before being airlifted by Air Ambulance and taken to University Hospital of Wales, Cardiff.”

The road was closed for around four hours to allow the police to conduct initial investigations. It was also closed this morning to allow specialist recovery of the car to take place.

The Police would like to speak to any person who witnessed the incident, or any person who was in the area at the relevant time and may have seen the vehicle in question.

The spokesman added: “Police would also like to speak to any person who may have seen the vehicle between 3pm and the time of the collision either being driven or stationary.”

Anyone with information, should call the South Wales Police Serious Collision Investigation Unit at Gwaelod y Garth on 016565 655555 ext 42339, or contact 101.


Malaysia plane MH370: Pinger locator deployed in search

Search teams have begun using a towed pinger locator to hunt for the black box of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Two ships with locator capabilities are searching a 240km (150 mile) underwater path, in the hope of recovering the plane’s data recorder.

Up to 14 planes and nine ships were due to take part in Friday’s search.

The plane disappeared on 8 March en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was carrying 239 people.

It is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, although no confirmed debris has been found from the plane.

The search is being co-ordinated from the city of Perth in Western Australia.

The battery-powered pingers on the plane’s black box stop transmitting about 30 days after a crash, giving the searchers now perhaps only a few days to locate it.

‘Highest probability’

Angus Houston, head of the Joint Agencies Coordination Centre (JACC) leading the search, said that two ships had “commenced the sub-surface search for emissions from [the] black box pinger”.

Australia naval vessel Ocean Shield was using a towed pinger locator from the US Navy, while HMS Echo, which had similar capabilities, was also searching.

Towed pinger locator
A worker lowers from the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield the US Navy towed pinger locator into the ocean during operational testing in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the US Navy on 4 April 2014 Officials said there was “some hope” the locators would be able to find the black box

“The two ships will search a single 240km track converging on each other,” Air Chief Marshal Houston, who is retired, said.

ACM Houston said that the area had been picked on the basis of analysis of the satellite data.

It was based on work regarding “how the aircraft might have performed and how it might have been flown”, to choose the “area of highest probability as to where it might have entered the water”.

He pointed out that this data was continuing to be refined, but the current search was based on the “best data that is available”.

Given the progress in data evaluation and calculation, “there is some hope we will find the aircraft in the area we are searching”, he added.

The two ships will be moving at reduced speeds, of around three knots, in their attempt to detect any signal from the pinger.

Commodore Peter Leavy, Commander of Joint Task Force 658, said that search operations generally preferred to use “physical evidence” and “drift modelling” to locate a plane.

However, “no hard evidence has been found to date so we have made the decision to search a sub-surface area on which the analysis has predicted MH370 is likely to have flown,” he said.

In a statement, JACC said up to 10 military planes, four civilian planes and nine ships would be deployed in Friday’s search efforts.

The focus is on a search area of about 217,000 sq km (84,000 sq miles), 1,700 km (1,000 miles) north west of Perth.

Fair weather was forecast for Friday, with visibility of around 10km (six miles), JACC said.

Malaysia Airlines ex-steward Patrick Chow says the cabin crew he knew could not be responsible for the plane’s disappearance

Meeting staff involved in the search on Friday, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said: “It is probably the most difficult search that’s ever been mounted.”

“A large aircraft seems like something that would be easy enough to locate – but a large aircraft that all but disappeared and disappeared into inaccessible oceans is an extraordinary, extraordinary challenge that you’re faced with.”

ACM Houston said there was still a “great possibility of finding something on the surface [of the ocean]“.

“There’s lots of things in aircraft that float,” he said, citing previous searches where life jackets from planes were found.

search area map

Sourced by BBC News


Iata figures show aircraft accident deaths have halved

Iata figures show aircraft accident deaths have halved

The number of deaths from aircraft accidents was almost halved last year to 210, new official data shows.

The decline from 414 fatalities in 2012 is likely to rise again this year following the loss of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which was carrying 239 passengers and crew.

Iata’s 2013 commercial aviation safety performance figures show that there was the equivalent of one accident for every 2.4 million flights.

There were 81 accidents, up from 75 in 2012, including 16 which were fatal.

However, more than three billion people flew safely on 36.4 million flights – 29.5 million by jet, 6.9 million by turboprop.

Iata director general and chief excutive Tony Tyler (pictured) said: “Safety is our highest priority. The aviation industry is united in its commitment to ensure continuous safety improvement. Importantly, that commitment has made flying ever safer.

“Accidents, however rare, do happen. We release this data as the world continues to focus on the search effort for MH370. The airline industry, its stakeholders and regulators are in the beginning of the journey to unravel this mystery, understand the cause and find ways to ensure that it never happens again.”

Runway excursions, in which an aircraft departs a runway during landing or take-off, are the most common type of accident, accounting for 23% of all accidents over the past five years.

“Survivability of such accidents is high, representing less than 8% of fatalities over the previous five years. Improving runway safety is a key focus of the industry’s strategy to reduce operational risk,” Iata said.

Africa saw significant progress in safety last year with only one western-built jet hull loss, while the region’s accident rate for all aircraft types improved nearly 50% to 7.45 accidents per million flights from 14.80 in 2012.

But Tyler said: “Africa’s overall rate is still many times worse than global levels, so there is plenty of work to do. We cannot take the recent improvement trend for granted.

“To make these gains a sustainable foundation on which to achieve world-class safety levels is going to require the continued determination and commitment of all stakeholders, including governments.”

Sourced from Travel Weekly


Essex aircraft crash kills pilot and passenger

Two men have died when a light aircraft crashed into a field and burst into flames, police have said.

The YAK 52 aircraft crashed at 14:55 GMT in a field near Cooksmill Green on the A414 west of Chelmsford in Essex.

Firefighters called to the scene reported that “the plane was completely alight” when they arrived.

The plane had taken off from the nearby North Weald airfield. Both victims’ next of kin have been informed, police said.

Scene of YAK 52 crash Two men, a pilot and his passenger both from Essex, were on board

Rebecca Larsen told BBC News: “I witnessed the plane go up in flames. Cars pulled up on the left lane and everyone ran towards the burning plane.”

Police closed a section of the A414 between Chelmsford and Ongar while emergency services attended.

‘Popping sound’

Alison Hodgkins-Brown, at the scene for BBC Essex, said: “I can see the plane has come down in the middle of an oil seed rape field next to the A414.

“It’s completely covered by tarpaulin and there are about eight police officers in attendance.”

Sam Gildersleeve, from Ongar, was having lunch with friends when he saw the plane flying low.

“At this point we all looked at the sky and the plane attempted to do a somersault unsuccessfully, we heard a popping sound and noticed the plane did not re-emerge,” he said.

“We then noticed smoke coming from the site in the field where the plane had crashed. Shortly after the emergency services appeared.”

The Air Accident Investigation Branch has sent a team to investigate the crash.

Sourced by BBC News


Malaysia Airlines MH370: Relatives in Beijing scuffles

Angry relatives of passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have clashed with police outside Malaysia’s embassy in the Chinese capital, Beijing.

It came after Malaysian PM Najib Razak said a new analysis of satellite data showed the plane had ended its journey in remote seas south-west of Australia.

China has asked to see the data on which Malaysia’s conclusion was based.

The search for missing flight MH370 has been suspended because of bad weather.

A multinational search effort has focused on seas some 2,500km (1,500 miles) to the south-west of the Australian city of Perth.

Flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March as it flew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It was carrying a total of 239 people, including 153 Chinese nationals.

In Beijing, relatives of passengers on board the plane released a statement accusing the Malaysian government of trying to “delay, distort and hide the truth”.

Dozens of them then left their Beijing hotel on a protest bound for the Malaysian embassy, carrying banners asking Kuala Lumpur to be truthful with the relatives.

Police stopped their buses from leaving, so they left the buses and walked there themselves, with scuffles then erupting outside the diplomatic mission.

The protesters threw water bottles at the embassy and tried to storm the building, demanding to meet the ambassador.

There was a heavy police presence at the embassy, and there was a brief scuffle between police and a group of relatives who tried to approach journalists, according to the Associated Press news agency.

The protest in Beijing came a day after the Malaysian leader said it had to be concluded “with deep sadness and regret” that according to new data “flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.

Mr Najib said the conclusion the plane was lost was based on new satellite analysis by British firm Inmarsat and information from the UK’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB).

But Chinese Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng issued a statement saying: “We demand the Malaysian side state the detailed evidence that leads them to this judgement, as well as supply all the relevant information and evidence about the satellite data analysis.

“The search and rescue work cannot stop now. We demand the Malaysian side continue to finish all the work including search and rescue.”

Acting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has revealed that the latest analysis of satellite included a final electronic signal that was still being investigated.

“There is evidence of a partial handshake between the aircraft and ground station at 0019 UTC (GMT),” he told a news conference on Tuesday. “At this time, this transmission is not understood and is subject to further ongoing work.”

He said that as a result of the latest analysis, the area of search operations had been narrowed from 2.24m sq nautical miles to 469,407 sq nautical miles, and an international working group had now been convened to try to further narrow the search area.

Operations in the “northern corridor” – one of two large areas where the plane might have ended its journey – had been completely called off to concentrate on the southern part of the “southern corridor” in the Indian Ocean west of Perth, he added.

Chinese relatives of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, flight MH370, shout in protest as they march towards the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, China, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 Most of those on board the missing aircraft were Chinese. Angry relatives marched on the Malaysian embassy on Tuesday.
Grieving Chinese relatives of passengers on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 try to remove a police barricade blocking journalists as they gather to protest outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing on March 25, 2014 They are angry about what they see as the mishandling of the situation by Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government.
Royal Australia Air Force AP-3C Orion runs its engines in Perth, Australia, Tuesday, March 25, 2014 Meanwhile, a massive search operation for the plane in the Indian Ocean has been halted by poor weather conditions.

Malaysia Airlines has said it will make arrangements to fly relatives of those on board MH370 to Australia.

Australian Immigration Minister Scott Morrison said his department was working with the airline and Beijing to arrange visas.

In a BBC interview, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya defended his company against criticism from the families, saying the situation was far from a normal aircraft tragedy.

“I think it’s unfair,” he said. “I think we’ve done all we can within our means to help them.”

‘Hazardous’ search

Planes from several nations, supported by an Australian warship, have been scouring waters far off Perth for signs of the missing plane, in a search co-ordinated by Australia.

BBC asks airline boss Ahmad Jauhari Yahya if he feels “personally responsible”

Hishammuddin Hussein: “All search efforts are now focused in the southern part of the southern corridor.”

There have been several sightings of debris, but none has yet been confirmed as being linked to the plane.

In a statement announcing the suspension of search operations on Tuesday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said it had undertaken a risk assessment “and determined that the current weather conditions would make any air and sea search activities hazardous and pose a risk to crew”.

Australia’s Defence Minister David Johnston said search efforts were unlikely to start again for “at least another 24 hours”.

He described the search as a “massive logistical exercise” in an “extremely remote” part of the world.

Mark Binskin, vice-chief of the Australian Defence Force, said: “We’re not searching for a needle in a haystack. We’re still trying to define where the haystack is.”

An Australian navy support vessel, Ocean Shield – equipped with US acoustic detection equipment in an attempt to detect the plane’s “black box” flight recorder – is expected to be deployed to the search zone next week.

Six Chinese ships are also being deployed to the region to assist with search operations.

Sourced by BBC News


Missing Malaysian plane: Search race to recover debris

An Australian plane has spotted two objects in the hunt for the missing Malaysia plane, and a ship has arrived in the area to find them.

The objects could be picked up in the southern Indian Ocean in a few hours, Malaysia’s transport minister said.

One object was circular and grey or green, and the other rectangular and orange, Australian PM Tony Abbott said.

Mr Abbott said it was not known whether the objects were from flight MH370, and could be flotsam.

The two objects were different, he said, from several white, square-shaped objects spotted earlier by Chinese military planes.

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein: “An Australian search aircraft has located two objects”

“The Australian Maritime Safety Authority has advised that objects have been located by a Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orion. And I can advise the House that HMAS Success is on scene and is attempting to locate and recover these objects,” Mr Abbott told the Australian parliament.

Investigators could be closer to resolving “one of the great mysteries of our time”, he added.

Speaking at a daily news briefing in Kuala Lumpur, Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein confirmed the missing airliner had been carrying wooden pallets, but said there was no connection yet to a reported Australian sighting of pallets floating in the search zone.

Sourced by BBC News


Australia plane searchers investigate debris

Australia is investigating two objects seen on satellite images that could potentially be linked to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, officials say.

A Norwegian ship joined planes from Australia, New Zealand and the US in searching the area 2,500km (1,550 miles) from Perth.

As night fell, the air search ended for the day, with teams saying bad weather conditions had hampered their efforts.

Flight MH370 was carrying 239 people when it disappeared on 8 March.

It was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it lost contact with air traffic controllers and disappeared from radar.

At a news conference on Thursday, Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein described the possible sighting of debris on satellite images as a “credible lead”.

The largest object appeared to be 24m in size, authorities said, but warned they could be unrelated to the plane.

A number of sightings of possible debris have been investigated since the plane went missing but so far none have proved to be linked.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott announced the latest discovery based on satellite images taken on 16 March.

“The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) has received information based on satellite information of objects possibly related to the search,” Mr Abbott told parliament.

“Following specialist analysis of this satellite imagery, two possible objects related to the search have been identified.”

Amsa image Australian authorities said one of the objects was 24m in size
Amsa image The objects were seen on satellite images and assessed by experts
The St Petersburg, a Norwegian merchant ship, that is helping with search efforts The St Petersburg, a Norwegian merchant ship, was the first vessel to reach the area

Two Australian Orion aircraft searching the area on Thursday were joined later by aircraft from the US and New Zealand.

Amsa said the aircraft had covered an area of 23,000km² (14,000 square miles) but confirmed that they had found no debris. It said the search would resume on Friday.

The captain of the first Australian air force AP-3C Orion plane to return from the search area described the weather conditions as “extremely bad” with rough seas and high winds.

David Wright, an ABC News reporter who was on the P-8 Poseidon, said all the sophisticated plane had spotted was “a freighter and two pods of dolphins”.

A Norwegian merchant ship, the St Petersburg, has also arrived in the area after responding to a shipping broadcast issued by Australia’s rescue co-ordination centre.

It will be joined by an Australian naval vessel, HMAS Success, which is on its way to help with the search and Britain has also deployed HMS Echo, a coastal survey ship, to aid the operation.

Map showing search area for MH370
A Royal Australian Air Force pilot of an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft scans the surface of the sea near the west of Peninsula Malaysia in this handout picture by the Royal Australian Air Force on 17 March 2014 Australia was asked by Malaysia earlier this week to lead the southern part of the search
A diagram showing the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean is seen during a briefing by John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), in Canberra on 20 March 2014 Amsa said ships and planes were heading south-west of Perth to try to find the objects

The objects identified in the images were of a “reasonable size”, Amsa’s general manager John Young said. The largest object appeared to be about 24m (78ft) in size, he said.

“This is a lead, it is probably the best lead we have right now. But we need to get there, find them, see them, assess them, to know whether it’s really meaningful or not.”

He warned the objects spotted in the sea could turn out to be unrelated to MH370, such as containers that had fallen from ships.

“On this particular occasion the size and the fact that there are multiple [objects] located in the same area really makes it worth looking at,” Mr Young added.

Michael Daniel, a former US Federal Aviation Administration official, told Singapore’s Straits Times: “If they have a strong feeling or indication that the debris belongs to the aircraft, one of the first things authorities will do is drop sonar buoys in the water.

“If the black box is there, the buoys should be able to pick up the signals. This could take up to 48 hours but it all depends on how near or far the ships and other assets are.”

Australia informed Malaysian authorities of the development on Thursday morning.

Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on the new “credible” lead

Malaysia’s transport minister told reporters that while the debris sighting was a “credible lead” it needed to be verified and corroborated.

Satellite signal

Investigators had identified two corridors of territory – one to the north and one to the south – spanning the possible positions of the plane about seven hours after take-off.

This was based on its last faint signal to a satellite – an hourly “handshake” broadcast even when the main communication systems are switched off.

Malaysia says search efforts are continuing in both corridors, involving a total of 18 ships, 29 aircraft and 6 ship-borne helicopters.

Meanwhile, relatives of those on board are still waiting for concrete news.

Bimal Sharma, a merchant navy captain whose sister Chandrika was on the plane, told the BBC he had experienced “hope and then despair and then hope and then despair”.

“I have been very hopeful because it was intentionally diverted, so I don’t believed it was crashed,” he said. “It’s been a very, very difficult time, and very emotionally stressing.”

“The area where Australia is looking – I was a captain at sea – I have been through that area several times. This area has got a concentration of garbage – plastics and wood. I don’t know, I don’t want to believe it as yet.”

Sourced by BBC News


Missing Malaysia plane: Chinese territory searched

China says it has started searching its territory for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, while Australia has narrowed its search area in the south.

Efforts to find the aircraft are focusing on two vast air corridors north and south of the plane’s last known location.

China said no evidence of terror links had been found in Chinese passengers.

The plane went missing on 8 March with 239 people on board. Some 26 countries are involved in search efforts.

Malaysia says the plane was intentionally diverted and could have flown on either a northern or southern arc from its last known position in the Malacca Straits.

Search efforts are focused on two corridors – one stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and another from Indonesia to the Indian Ocean.

Map showing search area for MH370

Investigators are looking into the possibility that the aircraft’s crew – or other individuals on the plane – were involved in its disappearance.

A total of 153 Chinese nationals were on board the missing aircraft, which was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang said that search and rescue operations in the Chinese territories of the northern corridor had begun, Xinhua news agency reported.

Based on background checks, there was no evidence to suggest that the mainland Chinese passengers on the plane were involved in hijacking or launching a terror attack, Mr Huang added.

China said it had also deployed 21 satellites to help with the search.

‘Needle in a haystack’

Meanwhile, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (Amsa) said it had narrowed down its search area in the southern Indian Ocean based on satellite data and analysis of the aircraft’s possible movements.

However, Amsa said the search area was still vast.

“A needle in a haystack remains a good analogy,” Amsa Emergency Response General Manager John Young said, adding that there was a “difficult” task ahead.

“The sheer size of the search area poses a huge challenge – the search area is more than 600,000 square kilometres (230,000 sq miles),” he added.

Late on Monday, US officials said the US navy ship USS Kidd had been taken off the search because the enlarged search area meant that “long-range patrol aircraft” were “more suited” to the mission.

The move was made “in consultation with the Malaysian government”, officials said in a statement. USS Kidd had searched the Andaman Sea but found “no debris or wreckage associated with an aircraft”, they added.

A Royal Australian Air Force crew member of an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft scans the surface of the sea near the west of Peninsula Malaysia on 17 March 2014 Australia is leading search efforts along the southern arc from the plane’s last known location
Relatives of passengers from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 wait for new information at a hotel in Beijing on 18 March 2014 Relatives of the passengers have been waiting desperately for updates for days
A man stands in front of a board with messages of hope and support for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 at the departure hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, 17 March 2014 Well-wishers have left messages of support on a board at the airport in Kuala Lumpur

The US says it is using patrol aircraft including the P-8A Poseidon and P-3C Orion to continue search efforts, with the P-8 taking part in search efforts in the south corridor.

‘Breaches rejected’

The Malaysia Airlines plane left Kuala Lumpur at 00:40 local time (16:40 GMT) on 8 March. The last transmission from the plane’s Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was received at 01:07.

A transmission expected 30 minutes later did not come through, Malaysia Airlines Chief Executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahy told reporters. Officials believe the communications systems were deliberately disabled.

The last words from the plane – “all right, good night” – were believed to have been said by co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid to air traffic controllers at 01:19 as the plane left Malaysian airspace.

It then disappeared from air traffic controllers’ screens at 01:21, when it was over the South China Sea, but was last spotted by military radar at 02:15 over the Malacca Straits – the opposite direction from its planned flight path.

Satellite communication at 08:11 showed that the plane could have continued flying for a further seven hours in a northern or southern arc.

Several countries have already rejected the suggestion that their airspace might have been breached, the BBC’s Jonah Fisher in Kuala Lumpur reports.

After 11 days of a huge multinational investigation and search, almost all options for the fate of flight MH370 are still being considered, our correspondent adds.

Sourced by BBC News


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