Saturday 16 December 2017

Missing jet 'deliberately' avoided radar detection

A man places a candle on a white board spelling out
A man places a candle on a white board spelling out "MH370" during a candlelight vigil for the the missing Malaysia Airlines flight, in Kuala Lumpur April 6, 2014.
Chinese relatives of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 hold LED candles as they offer prayers during a mass prayer for the missing plane, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, April 6, 2014.
Retired Royal Australian Air Force Air Marshall Angus Houston told a news conference the two electronic pulsing signals that a Chinese ship reported detecting on Friday and Saturday had not been verified as connected to the missing jet.
A man places a LED candle after a mass prayer for passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, April 6, 2014.

Tom Phillips, Shanghai

MALAYSIA Airlines Flight 370 may have been "purposely" flown around Indonesian airspace on its way to the southern Indian Ocean to avoid radar detection, a government source claimed yesterday.

The Boeing 777, which was carrying 239 people when it vanished on March 8, flew north of Indonesia and around its airspace while making its way to the southern Indian Ocean, a senior official who declined to give his name, said.

The latest claim about the airliner came as Australian officials coordinating the international search said they were investigating three reports that signals potentially related to the jet's black box had been detected.

Yesterday, an Australian vessel called the Ocean Shield said its underwater "pinger locator" had detected an "acoustic event" that could be linked to the incident.

That followed claims from China that its patrol vessel had detected signals on Friday and Saturday that were identical to those used by the locator beacon of a flight recorder.

Angus Houston, a retired air chief marshal from the Royal Australian Air Force who is leading the international search, described Ocean Shield's find as "an important and encouraging lead, but one which I urge you to treat carefully". He said he was "not prepared to speculate on what it might be".

Tony Abbott, Australia's prime minister, described the hunt for MH370 as "the most difficult search in human history" and urged caution over the reported signals. "We need to be very careful about coming to hard and fast conclusions too soon," he said.

Thomas Altshuler, the vice-president of the firm that makes the hand-held "pinger locator" apparently being used by the crew of the Chinese patrol vessel, cast doubt on whether such a device would be able to detect a signal coming from so far beneath the ocean.

"It is possible to detect something at that depth with a hand-held device, but I don't know how probable," Mr Altshuler, from Teledyne Marine Systems, said.

The British survey ship HMS Echo, which is also using a pinger locator, is making its way to the area where the Chinese ship made its discovery.

It is now one of 13 ships and 12 planes covering three search areas located about 1,240 miles north-west of Perth.

Mr Houston admitted that search teams were running out of time. "This is day 30 of the search and the advertised time for the life of the batteries is 30 days." (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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