Friday 26 December 2014

Missing Malaysian flight MH370 'thrown around like fighter jet' to avoid detection

Published 13/04/2014 | 17:36

Prayers are offered for passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. (AP)
Prayers are offered for passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. (AP)
Royal Navy ship HMS Echo has joined the search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370
Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) co-pilot squadron leader Brett McKenzie, left, and Flight Engineer Trent Wyatt sit in the cockpit aboard a P-3 Orion on route to search over the southern Indian Ocean looking for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 Friday, April 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Richard Polden, Pool)
A woman, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 shows her mobile phone displaying a photo of her father, who was aboard the missing plane near the wall displaying messages of wishes for the passengers at a hotel in Beijing, China Friday, April 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A man in blue shirt, one of the relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 tries to calm down another one during a briefing held by Malaysia officials at a hotel in Beijing, China Friday, April 11, 2014. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
A worker mops a mural depicting the missing Malaysia Airlines plane at a school in the Philippines. (AP)
China's Peoples Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Liaison Officer Commander Lin Wan, transits from the Luyang II class Guided Missile Destroyer Haikou (DDG-171) to board the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success as they continue to search in the Indian Ocean for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370

The missing Malaysia Airlines flight was “thrown around like a fighter jet” in a bid to dodge radar detection after it disappeared, Malaysian military investigators reportedly now believe.

An unnamed source cited by The Sunday Times added that officials are now convinced that the plane was “flown very low at a very high speed”.

The source concluded: “And it was being flown to avoid radar.”

It is also possible that the flight surged to 45,000 feet - 10,000 above its normal cruising altitude of 35,000 feet - after disappearing, before dropping to as low as 5000 feet, reports by investigators have suggested.

The low altitude would fit in with a report by Malaysia’s New Straits Times newspaper that co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid tried to make a mid-flight phone call shortly before the plane disappeared.

In order for the phone signal to reach the reported telecommunications tower near the Malaysian city of Penang, the plane would needed to have been flying under 7000 feet.

The newspaper report said the signal ended abruptly before contact was established.

The report has however been refuted by Malaysian Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein who argued that if this were true, he would have been made aware of the phone call much earlier, but was not.

The latest theory comes as it is believed that the batteries on the all-important plane black boxes may have now died. The last of four strong locator signals, believed to be emitted by the boxes from 4,500 meters (15,000 feet) below the surface, were heard on the 8 April.

The batteries of the black boxes, which record flight data including conversations from the cockpit, only last a month, meaning the window has now passed.

The pings already captured have however allowed the search area to be narrowed down to a 500-square-mile patch of the seabed - around the size of Los Angeles.

Once investigators are confident no more sounds will be heard, and the search area can be narrowed no further, a robotic submersible will be sent down to slowly scour for wreckage, a process which could take up to two months.

Independent News Service

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