MH370 Live Report: Hishammuddin 'cautiously hopeful'

Hishammuddin 7 Apr 2014

Day 22

From the editor:

Thank you for following Yahoo Malaysia's live updates on the disappearance of MH370 so far. Please follow the ongoing coverage here as we continue to pray and hope for the search teams to find the plane's black box.


DAY 31 (7 Apr 2014)

[6:13pm]: Acting Transport Minister is 'cautiously hopeful' that there will be positive developments in the next few days, "if not hours". Story here.

[12:43pm]: The towed pinger locator has detected a "signal consistent with those emitted by aircraft black boxes". Story here.

Officials say this is 'very encouraging', but it may take days to confirm whether the signal is indeed from MH370. Story here.

DAY 29 (5 April 2014)

Summary of Press Conference led by Hishamuddin Hussein

- Malaysia will continue leading the SAR effort and will also appoint an independent ‘Investigator In Charge’ to lead an investigation team, as per ICAO provisions.

- The investigation team comprises an airworthiness group, an operations group, and a medical and human factors group.

- The investigation team will include accredited countries. Australia has accepted the position. China, US, UK and France will be invited, along with other countries.

- 3 ministerial level committees have been formed – Next-of-kin committee headed by the Dep Minister of Foreign Affairs, Technicalities committee headed by the Dep Minister of Transport, and Asset Deployment committee headed by the Dep Minister of Defense.

- ASEAN Defense Ministers released a joint statement, declaring their solidarity over the SAR efforts for MH370 and pledging greater cooperation in disaster management.

- Bristish nuclear submarine, HMS Tireless, has been deployed in the search area.

Read the full press statement HERE.

During Q&A time:

- Hishamuddin revealed that the PM’s statement that the flight “ended” in the Indian Ocean should not be construed as “crashed without survivors” to respect the wishes of the families of MH370 passengers are clinging on to hope for a miraclulous survival.

- Hishamuddin says that no one on the passenger manifest has been cleared from investigations, and everyone is still being probed under the police’s for areas of focus

- To a question about who actually spoke the last message and why the pilots’ families were not allowed to identify the voices in the transmission, Hishamuddin replied that the audio recording was still being investigated.

DAY 28 (4 April 2014)

[2.10pm]: The search for flight MH370 in remote seas off Australia headed underwater on Friday, with a U.S. Navy high tech 'black box' locator deployed for the first time as the battery life of the cockpit data recorder dwindles. Story here.

DAY 27 (3 April 2014)

[12:06pm]: Malaysian PM Najib Razak and Australian PM Tony Abbott held a press conference in Australia this afternoon. Below are the highlights:

- Abbott says the search is the most difficult in human history, taking place in an extraordinarily remote area considering sea conditions.
- Search team is working on the basis of just small pieces of information and putting the jigsaw pieces together.
- Abbott also asks families of MH370 passengers to be patient, and adds "We can’t be certain of the success, but we are certain that we will expand the search in whatever we can humanly do".
- Najib met with crew and commanders of the search effort and they shared the difficulties of distance, weather and sea conditions.
- 10 aircraft and 9 ships are out searching at this very moment.
- Malaysia and Australia is in the process of drawing up a comprehensive agreement on the search.

Full address by Najib here.

[9.40am]: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has been told Australia is doing everything it can to hunt flight MH370, but the task is one of the 'most complicated' searches in history. Story here.

DAY 26 (2 April 2014)

No press conference was held today. Highlights from today's press update:

- Prime Minister Najib Razak is due to visit Pearce Air Force base to meet with personnel involved in the multinational search operation for MH370 and will be briefed on the latest developments regarding the search. Najib will also hold a bilateral meeting with Australian PM Tony Abbot.

-  A briefing session was held for the Chinese relatives of those on board MH370 at a hotel in Putrajaya. Moderated by the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy to China, Ong Ka Ting, the session was telecast 'live' to the Chinese familes who are currently in Beijing.

- Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein had a telephone call with the British Secretary of State for Defence, Phillip Hammond who confirmed that Britain is sending HMS Tireless, a Trafalgar-class nuclear submarine with sonar capabilities to help in the multinational search operation for MH370.


[3.30pm]: A Bernama report citing Malaysian Inspector-General Khalid Abu Bakar said the police have 'cleared' all passengers of hijacking, sabotage, psychological and personal problems. Cops are still however, investigating the cabin crew including the pilot and co-pilot. Story here.

- After 3½ weeks of investigations into the missing jet, Malaysian police have recorded more than 170 statements in probe into MH370, CNN reported, citing a report in the Wall Street Journal. Get details here.

- Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said through Twitter that the government was mulling legal action against the misreporting by the media, and that the attorney-general has been instructed to begin compiling details before determining the next course of action. Full story here.

8.45am]: The search for the missing MH370 was boosted by the arrival of a Britain's submarine HMS Tireless in the Indian Ocean ahead of a visit to Australia by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak. British Royal Navy sub, HMS Echo is due to arrive on Friday. Story here.

The multinational hunt of MH370 has also attracted a benevolent Peter Jackson who was reported to have been called in to assist the search. The New Zealand Herald reported that the Oscar-winning movie director had personally approved the use of his Gulfstream G650 in the search.

DAY  25 (1 April 2014)

[6:10pm]: The full transcript between MH370 and local air traffic controllers was released to the public, after being held back due to investigations. Story here.

Insurers will likely have to pay out up to RM1.5 billion following the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. Story here.

[8.45am]: Malaysia's civil aviation department said late Monday the last words spoken by one of pilots of missing Flight MH370 were "Good night Malaysian three seven zero", and not the more casual "All right, good night" originally reported. Get story here.

- The multiple objects sighted at sea by an Australian P-3 Orion have been identified as fishing buoys, nets and other ocean flotsam. Story here.

DAY 24 (31 March 2014)

[6.15pm]: Highlights from today's press update:

- PM Najib Razak will travel to Perth on Wednesday to see the operation first hand. Indonesia has allowed 94 sorties - by aircraft from nine different countries - to fly in their airspace to get through to search area.
- Area of search is 254,000 sq km.  US towed pinger locator due to arrive in search area on April 3.
- Objects retrieved on Saturday were examined, found not to be related to MH370. Details.
- International experts, including those from China will brief a group of relatives who have arrived from Beijing. The session will be shown live to families in Beijing. Read here.
- Defence minister Hishammuddin Hussein dismissed claims that Najib had announced a plane crash, calling it ‘erroneous’.
- MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya says MAS has announced the background and experience of both pilots, but will fully cooperate with investigators on matters involving them
- Ahmad Jauhari says MAS has not been informed of a lawsuit by families: ‘We need to know what the lawsuit is before we respond.”
- Details in a Daily Mail report were not released by the police, Hishamuddin confirmed.
- Appointment of Chew Mei Fun is to ‘try and understand with the Chinese authorities on what needs to be done to assist them in this difficult time. “It’s a difficult time for all of us and it does not only apply to Chinese nationals but 13 other nationalities.”

Full statement here.

[3.42pm]: The search area for flight MH370 needs to be reduced for the black box pinger detector to do its job, said a US navy officer in charge of the sophisticated equipment. Read in full.

[10.30am]:  All evidence points to flight MH370 being lost in the remote Indian Ocean, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said today, backing his Malaysian counterpart's view that the plane crashed.  Read here.

[8.20am]: Good weather and a search zone closer to land had helped the Australian P-3 Orion crew captained by Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams to spot the objects yesterday,  Sydney Morning Herald (SMH) reported. Get story here.

- Senior US lawmakers said on a TV interview that investigators had found no evidence thus far pointing to terrorism in the disappearance of flight MH370 three weeks ago, and that it was critical to find the plane to understand what happened on board.

DAY 23 (30 March 2014)

Experts say that the cost of hunting MH370 may hit RM130 million, and even RM650 million annually if the search stretches on for years. Full details HERE.

Just hours after arriving, some 50 relatives of MH370's Chinese passengers held a protest at Subang Jaya Holiday Villa. Full story HERE.

American forensic investigators confirm that nothing incriminating was found in Capt. Zaharie's flight simulators. Full story HERE.

Security protocols will be revamped at nation's entry points and a new system implemented, says Zahid. Read the full story HERE.

The South China Morning Post reports that a 'frustrated' China is considering launching 50 satellites to form a global surveillance network, following the disappearance of MH370. Full story HERE.

Australia has appointed its ex-defence forces chief to lead in the search for MH370. Full story HERE.

With Hishamuddin being front man in the world's media coverage of MH370, he has now suddenly become a household name worldwide. How is this boosting his political career? Find out HERE.

A US naval officer says the search for MH370 could take years. Details HERE.

MAS needs confirmation that MH370 has indeed crashed in the Indian Ocean before flying the passengers' families to Perth. Story HERE.

DAY 22

Acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein has assured families of passengers on board the missing plane that Putrajaya will not stop its search and rescue operations to find survivors, no matter the odds. Full story here.

Meanwhile, Hishamuddin also revealed that no debris spotted in an area off the west coast of Australia has been recovered. Read more here.

The Interpol has hit back at the Malaysian government, saying that Malaysia's decision to not consult the database before allowing travellers to enter the country "cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or Interpol". More on this here.

Fresh objects of "multiple colours" were spotted by planes searching for the missing Malaysian passenger jet in a new area of the southern Indian Ocean, once again raising hopes of unravelling the three-week old mystery. Click here for more on this.

DAY 21
(Highlights from the Press Conference today)

- The major news for today is that the search area has been refined to an area approximately 1,680 kilometres west of Perth, after taking into account new data and satellite sightings of possible debris.

- The area was determined based on 'complex calculations' and analysis of the plane’s possible flight path and capabilities by Boeing’s experts.

- On China’s demands for Malaysia to release all information, and calls to set up a Chinese investigation, Hishamuddin reiterates that all data and information that Malaysia received has been consistently shared with Chinese authorities.

- With time running out on the black box battery, Malaysia reiterates its commitment to find the aircraft, and is looking into deep sea salvage in the case where the black box has not been found before its battery runs out.

Read the full statement HERE

Other news of note today:


Singapore defends Malaysia's efforts on missing plane

Chinese MH370 relatives not confident of Malaysia, demand Beijing probe

Chinese travel agencies ban sales of Malaysia Airlines tickets

As MH370 lawsuit brews in US, Malaysian families say too soon

MH370 beacon locator battery set to run out in 10 days, as search area shifts 1,100km

MH370 search area shifted on ‘new, credible lead’, says Australia

Questions now over Subang ATC response when MH370 went missing

Families of some Chinese passengers on missing plane get insurance payouts

DAY 20:
No press conference was held today. Here are highlights from a press statement issued by the Transport Ministry:

- Malaysia will send a team comprising representatives from the DCA, MAS, the navy and air force to Perth to work with the Australian Rescue Co-ordination Centre.

- PM Najib Razak met with China's foreign affairs vice minister Zhang Yesui. Minister Hishammuddin Hussein briefed him of the findings that led to the conclusion that the plane ended in the southern Indian ocean. Zhang later met with the relatives of Chinese passengers on board MH370.

- High level Malaysian team met with families in Beijing for the fourth time yesterday. Relatives were told of search operation and technical details. Another meeting is currently underway. Malaysia has requested the Chinese government to 'engage and clarify the actual situation to the affected families and the Chinese public'.

Full statement here.

AFP reports that a Thai satellite has spotted 300 floating objects with each up to 15 metres in size. Thailand's The Nation reports that the objects were seen about 200km away from the search area in the Indian Ocean. Details.

[1.23pm]: The search for MH370 takes another hit as severe icing, turbulence and near zero visibility force authorities to call off the search today. Read in full.

[11:35am]: Thunderstorms and gale winds are threatening to disrupt the search for the 122 objects spotted in the southern Indian Ocean, as military and civillian planes rush to search the 78,000 square kilometer area. Story here.

Oceanographers are playing a key role with their understanding of ocean dynamics in determining where exactly did Malaysia Airlines MH370 crash in the southern Indian Ocean. Story here.

Also, math wizards - the same people who found Air France Flight 447 - are standing ready to help in the search for MH370, working independently using all available public data. Story here.

[8.40am]: Aircraft and ships scouring the southern Indian Ocean for wreckage of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 were racing to beat bad weather today and reach an area where new satellite images showed what could be a debris field. The latest satellite leads by  France-based Airbus Defence & Space showed 122 objects - between one and 23 metres in length - that could possibly be debris from the Boeing 777. Read more.

- The United States has dispatched its Pinger Locator - the undersea navy drone and  high-tech black box detector to boost search efforts. When it arrives, on April 5, the heavy duty machine will be fitted to an Australian Defence vessel, says Reuters. Story here.

- Elsewhere in the Malaysian Parliament, Home Minister Zahid Hamid made listed the chronological account of how two Iranian men ended up on the flight MH370 using stolen passports. The revelation was the first ever made since MH370 news broke on March 8. Find out what happened here.

DAY 19:

Highlights from today's press conference:

- New satellite images have spotted 122 objects - between one and 23 metres in length - in a 400 sq kilometre debris field. Some appear to be bright which could indicate that they were solid material.
- Australia has divided search area into east and west, 12 planes will search both areas
- On Malaysia’s image getting hit by international media, Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said attention would fall on Malaysia as there have been no debris linked to MH370 yet. He said Malaysia has done an ‘admirable job’ coordinating 26 countries during the events of the past 17 days. “I think history will judge us well”.
- On engagement with families in China, Hishammuddin said MAS has done everything to support the next of kin and will continue to engage with them, saying Malaysians and people of other nationalities have lost their loved ones as well.
- On the fire that broke out in a Malindo Air plane, Malindo Airlines chief executive Chandran Ramamurthy explains: At 7,000 ft, the aircraft captain realised the fire detection system triggered and immediately diverted the plane to Subang Airport. In 10 minutes, the plane was successfully diverted.

Full statement here, with 3 satellite images.

*Malaysia Airlines will hold its own press conference tomorrow.

The Malaysian military initially assumed that a jet detected on its radar on March 8 was ordered to turn back by the air traffic controllers, deputy defence minister Abdul Rahim Bakri told Parliament. Read it here.

Tony Abbot says Australia owes it 'to an anxious world to do everything we can' to solve the riddle surrounding flight MH370. Full story.

British tabloid Daily Mail quoted an industry expert as saying that the plane had spent 23 minutes at up to 45,000 feet – way above its maximum altitude – and rendered everyone unconscious from the lack of oxygen. Read it.

Investigators are now poring over satellite data to find out whether MH370 was deliberately flown to the Indian Ocean, or was it a result of autopilot control. Story here.

Countries are growing suspicious of China's motives in the MH370 search, that China may be using the tragedy to spy on them. There has been a pushback against China's participation. Story here.

Families of MH370 passengers are believed to have hired a leading global law firm to sue the MH370 plane manufacturer, The Boeing Co, and 'one other company'. Story here.

The hunt for wreckage of flight MH370 resumes after the weather gradually improves, with China's polar supply ship Xue Long and and Korean planes joining the search covering a vast stretch of the Indian Ocean, off western Australia. Gale force winds, rain and choppy waves prevented any sorties being flown yesterday but 12 aircraft to be on air today. Story here.

- In another development, The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the recovery of MH370 and its black box is going to be a Herculean task as geologists believe the debris from the aircraft could be lying above a giant undersea chain of volcanoes whose complex terrain has barely been charted. Read here.

DAY 18:
Highlights from this evening’s press conference:

- Search operations in northern corridor and area near Indonesia called off. Current search area is 469,407 sq nautical miles from the initial 2.24 million sq nautical miles.
- MAS will take the lead in communicating with families.
-The aircraft wreckage, if found, may be brought to Australian soil for further investigation.
- Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said new analysis was convincing enough for the UK’s AAIB to brief PM Najib Razak that the plane’s last position was in the southern Indian ocean. The message was then conveyed to the families and announced to the public.
- IGP says investigation will continue on the four areas: sabotage, hijacking and psychological and personal problems.
- The US Navy’s Towed Pinger Locator - which can detect the aircraft’s black box - is en route to Perth.
- High level team from Malaysia will leave to Beijing today. Lack of details yesterday caused speculations that Malaysia was not revealing information. Team to address all questions from family members.
- Malaysian air force is conducting its own inquiry into the incident and Transport Ministry is looking at members to form its own inquiry board.
Read the full statement.

Angry relatives of Chinese passengers scuffled with security personnel outside the Malaysian embassy in Beijing, demanding answers. Full story.

Highlights from the press conference by Malaysia Airlines:
- Motivation last night was to deliver the ‘tragic news’ to the families before the world heard it. Message was conveyed to the families ‘wherever humanly possible’ and SMS was used as a last resort. Airline wanted to make sure the news came from them and not the media. Full story.
- MAS chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya says Australian authorities would give visas to families who wish to go to Australia only when ‘evidence has been established’. MAS will then make arrangements to fly them to the site. Read.
- MAS will continue to support nearly 1000 family members and have trained an additional 40 caregivers to attend to their needs.
- Additional payment will be made to families on top of the US$5,000 that was given in initial financial assistance.
- MAS chairman Md Nor Yusof denied claims that it had ‘isolated’ family members, saying they were given places that would allow them comfort, privacy and access to caregivers. “We do not know why, we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened but as the MAS family, we are all praying for the passengers and crew of MH370.”
- On whether MAS had sent high ranking representatives to meet with families, Md Nor said: “That has been done all the time. We just do not display our names when we go”.
- To a question on whether MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya would resign, he replied: "It is a personal decision." Read.

Full statement here.

Prime Minister Najib Razak addressed the Parliament called on members of the government and the Opposition not to politicise the issue of the missing plane.
" This is the time to show our solidarity with the families of those onboard. I plead to the government and the Opposition that in a crisis like this we have to show our sympathy to all parties involved. We have to show our maturity, love for the country and sensitivity to the families who are going through a difficult time. The government will do everything that we have to do with a full sense of duty."

- The announcement was made last night to dispel the perception that Malaysia was withholding information.

- Suggestions to mourn the loss of the crew and passengers include flying the national flag at half-mast, but Najib said it should be done only after wreckage is found.

- Australian PM Tony Abbot informed Najib this morning that cooperation from Australia will continue until traces of the aircraft is found. Although the conditions in the southern Indian ocean are challenging, Malaysia will continue search operations as a commitment to the families of all those onboard MH370.

Bad weather and rough seas forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner. Full story.

The  United States is sending an undersea Navy drone capable of exploring waters nearly 15,000 feet deep to potentially help search for any sunken wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, the Pentagon said. Story here.

Strong gale force winds of up to 80 kilometres per hour halts air and sea search for MH370, Australia Maritime Safety Authority said. Search operations will resume tomorrow. Full story here.

The why and how about MH370 ended up in the remote rough seas will only be known once investigators get to 'fish' the black box of the Malaysian jet that is registered as 9M-MRO. Read what the experts say here.

DAY 17:

French investigators today said it was too soon to consider launching undersea searches for the remains of MH370. Full story here.

Malaysia Airlines vowed that the ongoing search for the plane and an intensive investigation into its fate "will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain". Full story here.

"God loves you more daddy....God loves them more."The daughter of MH370 Chief Steward Andrew Nari tweeted the above, as the Prime Minister announced the sad news minutes ago. Full story here.

Relatives of the passengers on MH370 have been called to an emergency meeting with the company and charter flights are being arranged for Australia, Sky News reported. Full story here.

The Prime Minister, Najib Razak has confirmed that MAS flight MH370 ended in the Southern Indian Ocean, according to new data from INMARSAT and AAIB.
- Based on new analysis, INMARSAT and AAIB also concluded that MH370 flew along the Southern Corridor. The last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.
- No further details were furnished during the press conference, and another press conference will be called tomorrow with further details.

Full statement here.

Malaysia Airlines has also released a statement:

On behalf of all of us at Malaysia Airlines and all Malaysians, our prayers go out to all the loved ones of the 226 passengers and of our 13 friends and colleagues at this enormously painful time.

Full statement here.

This is the text alert Malaysia Airlines sent to the families of the MH370 passengers before PM Najib's official announcement today:


What we know as of Day 17, Monday, 24 March 2014:

Search operations:

1. PM Najib Razak announced that INMARSAT and AAIB confirms that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.
Two objects - one circular and another rectangular- were seen by Australian counterparts.
Chinese aircrew have spotted "suspicious objects" in the southern Indian Ocean.
The US Navy is sending a black box locator to the search area in the southern Indian Ocean.
2. Pallet and belts were spotted in the Indian Ocean.
3. Chinese satellites have spotted objects floating in the southern search area.
4. Two objects possibly related to MH370 have been spotted on Australian satellite imagery. Largest object sighted is 24 metres.

On-going investigations:

1. Transcripts of the communication between MH370 and air control is “ not accurate”.
2. Communications satellites picked up faint electronic pulses ("pings") from MH370 for hours after it went missing.
3. Police are investigating the matter from four angles: hijacking, sabotage, psychological problems, and personal problems among passengers and crew.
4. The PM said that the plane movement was consistent with "deliberate action" by someone on the plane.

5. Flight simulator:
- Data log was deleted from the pilot’s flight simulator on Feb 3, forensic work is being done to retrieve data.
- A flight simulator was taken from the home of MH370's pilot and is being examined by the police.

6. Pilots:
Police have questioned more than 100 people including families of both pilot and co-pilot.
- No red flags in pilot and co-pilot backgrounds
- Last words from cockpit - ‘Alright, good night’ believed to be said by the co-pilot at 1.19am.
- MAS: The pilot and co-pilot did not ask to fly together, ands flew as assigned by the roster.
- The flight was piloted by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, with total flying hours of 18,365 hours.
- First officer, Fariq Ab.Hamid, 27, has a total flying hours of 2,763 hours.

7. Plane:
- No additional waypoint on MH370’s flight plan. Normal route to Beijing.
- Plane was carrying three to four tonnes of mangosteen and 200kg of Li-Ion batteries, packaged according to guidelines.
- The B777-200 aircraft that operated MH207 had undergone maintenance 12 days before the flight. There were no issues.
- The aircraft was carrying 7.5 hours of fuel at the time of its disappearance (2.40am, March 8).

About the passengers:

1. Malaysia Airlines has retired the missing jetliner's flight code as a sign of respect to the 239 passengers and crew.
5. MH370 Full passenger list here .

Editors's note: The public may contact +603 7884 1234. Next-of-kin may head to the Support Facility Building at KLIA's South Support Zone. For directions, call 03 8787 1269.