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Live: Aus company claims that MH370 could be in Bay of Bengal

by Arun George  Apr 23, 2014 09:24 IST

#China   #chinese   #crash   #Malaysia   #Malaysian Airlines   #MH370   #NewsTracker   #South China Sea  

29 April 9.40 am: Australian Exploration Company claims plane is in Bay of Bengal

An Australian marine exploration company has claimed that it has found the wreckage of the crashed Malaysian plane in the Bay of Bengal, 5,000 km away from the current search location in the Indian Ocean, according to a PTI report.

Adelaide-based GeoResonance said it had begun its own search for the missing flight MH370 on March 10 and that it has detected possible wreckage in the Bay of Bengal, 5000km away from the current search location, the Star newspaper reported.

GeoResonance's search covered 2,000,000 square kilometres of the possible crash zone, using images obtained from satellites and aircraft.

End of updates for 22 April

4.00 pm: Material on Australian shore examined in jet hunt

Unidentified material that has washed ashore in southwestern Australia is being examined for any link to the lost Malaysian plane, authorities said on Wednesday, reports Associated Press.

Police secured the material, washed ashore 10 kilometers (6 miles) east of Augusta in Western Australia state. The material has not been described. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau is examining photographs to assess whether further investigation is needed and if the material is relevant to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

End of updates for 19 April
12.30 pm: Deep-sea drone diving to unprecedented levels 

US Navy deep-sea drone is diving to unprecedented depths to scour a remote stretch of the Indian Ocean floor for a missing Malaysian jetliner, says a report from Reuters.

The Bluefin-21 and its "side scan" sonar has become the focal point of the search 2,000 km (1,200 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth, where authorities believe Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 hit the ocean after disappearing from radars on March 8 with 239 people on board.

End of updates for 17 April

3.40 pm: Search refocuses on drone scans of seafloor

A deep-sea drone completed its much-anticipated first full scan of the seabed in the remote Indian Ocean, the team looking for a missing Malaysian jetliner said on Thursday, as an air and surface search became less likely to yield results.

Footage from a US Navy deep-sea drone is fast becoming the most important tool for a multinational team searching for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which disappeared from radar screens on 8 March with 239 people aboard.

A sample taken from an oil slick in the same area, some 2,000 km (1,240 miles) west of the Australian city of Perth, is also being analysed. Authorities believe that is the most likely area where the missing jet hit the ocean after disappearing.

9.00 am: Robot submarine completes first successful 16-hour mission in third attempt

The robotic submarine Bluefin 21 has completed its first full 16-hour mission scanning the floor of the Indian Ocean for wreckage of the missing Malaysian airliner after two previous missions were cut short by technical problems and deep water, authorities said on Thursday, reports Associated Press.

The reports adds the submarine had covered 90 square kilometers (35 square miles) of the silt-covered sea bed off the west Australian coast in its first three missions, the search coordination center said on Thursday. While data collected by the sub from its latest mission, which ended overnight, was still being analysed, nothing of note had yet been discovered, the centre said.

End of updates for 16 April

1.17 pm: Robot submarine returns to water

A mini-submarine making its second dive in the hunt for Malaysian jet MH370 encountered a "technical difficulty" and resurfaced on Wednesday, officials said, after the first mission also aborted.

The Associated Press quoted Australia's Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) as saying "The Autonomous Underwater Vehicle, Bluefin-21, was forced to resurface this morning to rectify a technical issue." "Bluefin-21 was then redeployed and it is currently continuing its underwater search."

Data was downloaded from the unmanned vehicle while on the deck of the Australian vessel Ocean Shield, which has led the search for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that vanished on 8 March with 239 people aboard.

"Initial analysis of the data downloaded this morning indicates no significant detections," JACC said.

8.00 am: Robot submarine returns to water

A robotic submarine looking for the lost Malaysian jet continued its second seabed search on Wednesday. The US Navy's Bluefin 21 submarine began its second 20-hour underwater mission on Tuesday.

The first mission was cut short as the submarine encountered waters deeper than its prescribed safety limit.

End of updates for 15 April

8.30 am: Robotic submarine gets ready for second mission 

The mini-sub hunting for Malaysian jet MH370 is preparing to make a second mission to the remote Indian Ocean seabed, reports AFP.

The first search mission was aborted as the  Bluefin 21 encountered waters deeper than its operating limit. The unmanned submarine loaded with sonar was sent out to map the ocean floor from the Australian ship Ocean Shield on Monday night.

7.00 am: Search area too deep for submarine

According to an Associated Press report,  the search area for the missing Malaysian jet has proved too deep for a robotic submarine which was hauled back to the surface of the Indian Ocean less than half way through its first seabed hunt for wreckage and the all-important black boxes.

Search crews sent the Bluefin 21 deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday.  But the robotic submarine had to return in just six hours of its planned 16 hour mission, as the vehicle had exceeded its maximum depth limit of 15,000 feet

End of updates for 14 April

3.00 pm:  An Oil slick has been detected in the Indian Ocean within the search area 

Search crews will for the first time send a robotic submarine deep into the Indian Ocean on Monday to try to determine whether underwater signals detected by sound-locating equipment are from the missing Malaysian jet's black boxes, the leader of the search effort said.

Associated Press reported, the crew on board the Australian navy's Ocean Shield will launch the unmanned underwater vehicle Monday evening, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search off Australia's west coast. The Bluefin 21 autonomous sub can create a three-dimensional sonar map of the area to chart any debris on the seafloor.

The move comes after crews picked up a series of underwater sounds over the past two weeks that were consistent with an aircraft's black boxes, which contain flight data and cockpit voice recordings. The devices have beacons that emit "pings" so they can be more easily found, but the beacons' batteries last only about a month, and it has been more than a month since the plane vanished.

"We haven't had a single detection in six days, so I guess it's time to go under water," Houston said.

But Houston warned that while the signals are a promising lead, the public needs to be realistic about the challenges facing search crews, who are contending with an extremely remote, deep patch of ocean — an area he dubbed "new to man."

"I would caution you against raising hopes that the deployment of the autonomous underwater vehicle will result in the detection of the aircraft wreckage. It may not," Houston said. "However, this is the best lead we have, and it must be pursued vigorously. Again, I emphasize that this will be a slow and painstaking process."

1.15 pm:  An Oil slick has been detected in the Indian Ocean within the search area 

An oil slick has been detected in the Indian Ocean within the search area for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 but has yet to be analysed, the Australian leading the operation said Monday, reports AFP.

"I can report that (Australian ship) Ocean Shield detected an oil slick yesterday evening in her current search area," Angus Houston said.

12.30 pm: Most Malaysians believe that their government is hiding information on MH370

More than half of Malaysians believe their government is hiding information about missing flight MH370, according to survey results released by a news portal on Monday, says a report by Associated Press.

Fifty-four percent of more than 1,000 people surveyed by Malaysia's leading independent polling firm said the government was not being transparent about the passenger jet's disappearance, the Malaysian Insider reported.

10.00 am: Underwater vehicle to be deployed in search

Search crews will for the first time send a sub deep into the Indian Ocean to try to determine whether signals detected by sound-locating equipment are from the missing Malaysian plane's black boxes, the Australian head of the search said Monday, reports Associated Press.

Angus Houston said the crew on board the Ocean Shield will launch the underwater vehicle as soon as possible. The Bluefin 21 autonomous sub can create a sonar map of the area to chart any debris on the seafloor.

9.41 am: Mini-sub to deploy 'as soon as possible' in MH370 search, says official?

The sub is expected to help in the underwater search for the debris of the plane. But given the fading signals, locating the black box still remains a difficult task for the crew.

8.00 am: Missing Malaysia plane's black box batteries may have died

The hunt for the missing Malaysian airliner continued to focus Monday on a search for weakening radio signals from deep beneath the waves despite mounting evidence that the batteries in the plane's all-important black boxes may finally have died, says an AP report.

Following four strong underwater signals earlier this month, all has gone quiet in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

The search coordination center said early Monday that no new electronic pings have been detected since Tuesday.

End of updates for 12 April
2:30 pm: Australian PM says search for plane may take longer than expected

With no new underwater signals detected, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Saturday that the massive search for the Malaysian jet would likely continue "for a long time" as electronic transmissions from the dying black boxes were fading fast.

Abbott appeared to couch his comments from a day earlier while on a visit to China, where he met President Xi Jinping. He said Friday he was "very confident" signals heard by an Australian ship towing a US Navy device that detects flight recorder pings are coming from the Boeing 777.

He continued to express this belief on Saturday, but added that the job of finding the plane that disappeared March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing remains arduous.

11:30 pm: Did co-pilot make call from his mobile phone after flight vanished from radar?

The co-pilot of missing Malaysian airliner MH370 attempted to make a mid-flight call from his mobile phone just before the plane vanished from radar screens, a report said Saturday citing unnamed investigators.

The call ended abruptly possibly "because the aircraft was fast moving away from the (telecommunications) tower", The New Straits Times quoted a source as saying.

But the Malaysian daily also quoted another source saying that while Fariq Abdul Hamid's "line was reattached", there was no certainty that a call was made from the Boeing 777 that vanished on March 8.

The report -- titled a "desperate call for help" -- did not say who he was trying to contact.

Fariq and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah have come under intense scrutiny after the plane mysteriously vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

The NST report said that Flight 370 flew low enough near Penang island on Malaysia's west coast -- after turning off course -- for a telecommunications tower to pick up the co-pilot's phone signal.

The phone line was "reattached" between the time the plane veered off course and blipped off the radar, the government-controlled paper quoted the second source as saying.

A 'reattachment' does not necessarily mean that a call was made. It can also be the result of the phone being switched on again."

Malaysia's transport ministry told AFP that it was examining the NST report and will issue a response.

11.00 am: Fading signals add to urgency around search operations

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott warned on Friday that signals picked up during the search in the remote southern Indian Ocean, believed to be "pings" from the black box recorders, were fading, reports Reuters. 

The black box record batteries are likely to die out within a month. Batteries in the black box recorder are already past their normal 30-day life, making the search to find it on the murky sea bed all the more urgent.

Searchers plan to deploy a small unmanned "robot" known as an Autonomous Underwater Vehicle once they are confident of the location.

End of updates for 11 April

8.40 am: Confident that pings are from MH370, says Australia PM

Australia's prime minister says searchers hunting for the missing Malaysian jetliner are confident underwater signals that have been picked up are coming from the jet's black box.

Tony Abbott told reporters while on an official visit to China that Australian authorities are confident they know the location of the black box from the plane that disappeared without a trace on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing.

7.30 am: Fifth possible signal heard in search for MH370 jet   

An air and sea hunt for the missing Malaysian jet resumed Friday in the same swath of the southern Indian Ocean where an underwater sensor made the fifth detection of a signal in recent days, raising hopes that searchers are closing in on what could be a flight recorder, according to an Associated Press report.

An Australian air force P-3 Orion, which has been dropping sonar buoys into the water near where four sounds were heard earlier, picked up a "possible signal" on Thursday that may be from a man-made source, said Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search for Flight 370 off Australia's west coast.

End of updates for 10 April

15.10 pm: Official says searchers detect underwater signal in hunt for missing Malaysian plane

Official says searchers detect underwater signal in hunt for missing Malaysian plane. An Australian official says a search crew hunting for the missing Malaysian jet has located a new possible underwater signal, reports Associated Press.

The search agency coordinating the search off Australia's west coast says an Australian navy aircraft on Thursday picked up a signal in the same area a ship first heard sounds consistent with an aircraft's black boxes earlier this week.

The aircraft dropped sound-locating buoys by parachute in a pattern near where the signals were last heard.

Angus Houston, who is heading up the search, said in a statement that the plane picked up a "possible signal" that may be from a man-made source.

7.50 am: Planes and ships hunting for the missing Malaysian jetliner zeroed in on a targeted patch of the Indian Ocean on Thursday, after a navy ship picked up underwater signals that are consistent with a plane's black box, reports Associated Press. 

According to the report, Thursday's search zone was the smallest yet in the monthlong search for Flight 370 — 57,923 square kilometers (22,364 square miles) of ocean.

Angus Houston, who is coordinating the search off Australia's west coast, said Wednesday that equipment on the Australian vessel Ocean Shield had picked up two sounds from deep below the surface on Tuesday, and an analysis of two other sounds detected in the same general area on Saturday showed they were consistent with a plane's flight recorders, or "black boxes."

Two pings had been picked up on  Tuesday.

End of updates from 9 April

4:30 pm: US ship withdraws from search for missing Malaysia jet

AFP reports a US naval ship that has been aiding the international search for a missing Malaysian airliner will be withdrawn from the effort, Pentagon officials said Monday.

The decision to take the USS Kidd off the search was taken because the search area was now so extensive that it was more efficient to look for the jet using surveillance aircraft, officials said.

The guided missile destroyer had joined the massive hunt last week and had shifted its focus west to the Andaman Sea on the request of the Malaysian government.

The Kidd, with a MH-60 helicopter on board, had completed a search of 15,000 square miles but "no debris or wreckage associated with an aircraft was found," it said.

At one point both the Kidd and another US destroyer were taking part in the search but now the US navy planned to rely on a P-8 Poseidon plane and a P-3 Orion aircraft for the effort, officials said.

"With the search area expanding into the southern Indian Ocean, long-range patrol aircraft such as the P-8A Poseidon and P-3C Orion are more suited to the current SAR (search and rescue) mission," the US Pacific Fleet said in a statement.

1.32 pm: How searchers are looking for the MH370 black box

Searchers looking for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane have discovered new signals consistent with those emitted by so-called black boxes in the Indian Ocean, but they do not want to send a submersible down yet to look for the plane. For now, they will continue to use the towed pinger locator to get a better fix on the location. Here's why:

The Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield picked up the signals using a US Navy device called a towed pinger locator. It's essentially a long cable with a listening device, or hydrophone, attached to the end. It's pulled behind the boat at a depth of 3 kilometers (1.9 miles).

The pinger locator is designed to detect signals at a range of 1.8 kilometers (1.2 miles), meaning it would need to be almost on top of the black boxes — the flight data and voice recorders — to detect them if they were on the ocean floor, which is 4.5 kilometers (3 miles) under the surface.

The first signal from the black boxes was picked up Saturday evening and lasted two hours and 20 minutes before it was lost as the ship moved forward. The ship then turned around and a few hours later picked up a second signal that lasted for 13 minutes. It picked up signals again on Tuesday.

The signals picked up twice on Tuesday lasted 5 and a half minutes and 7 minutes but they were weaker, indicating that the black boxes are running out of battery. They have a stated shelf-life of 30 days, but sometimes they last longer. The plane disappeared just over a month ago, on 8 March. The signals have given searchers a better idea of the location of the devices, which are now believed to be within a roughly 20-kilometer (12-mile) radius. Still, that is a 1,300-square -kilometer (500-square-mile) plot of the ocean floor, an area as wide as a large city.

___

Why not send an underwater craft?

When crews determine the best possible location, the next step will be to send down the US Navy's autonomous underwater vessel Bluefin 21, an unmanned submersible that can create a sonar map of the seafloor and any wreckage, as well as take photos.

But the sonar can scan only about 100 meters (330 feet). As for its ability to take photos, it can see with lights and cameras only a few meters away in a landscape that is completely dark.

So, even after the search area has been narrowed down, deploying the underwater vehicle now to find the black boxes would be the equivalent of looking for a desktop computer-sized object in a city the size of Los Angeles.

This means the Bluefin 21 will take six times longer to cover the same area than it does the towed pinger locator.

11.20 am: Ocean debris left by jet depends on angle, speed of aircraft

Exactly how the plane hit the water makes a big difference to the teams undertaking the painstaking search for the wreckage. Investigators have frustratingly little hard data to work out how Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 came down in the Indian Ocean on March 8 with 239 people on board.

If the plane ran out of fuel at its normal cruising altitude and the pilots were incapacitated, the autopilot would stop working and the aircraft could dip into an increasingly steep and rapid dive, aviation experts said. Under this scenario, the plane could hit the water nose-first and close to perpendicular with the surface, piercing the ocean like an arrow.

As far as the plane landing safely on water, the chances are very slim. According to Graham Edkins, a former Australian government senior air crash investigator, said it requires an almost unbelievable confluence of skill, conditions and luck.

More details here.

9.55 am: Details emerge on the two new pings that have been located

According to  agency reports, one ping was detected on Tuesday afternoon and lasted five minutes, 25 seconds, while a second was picked up on Tuesday night and lasted seven minutes. The pings are a hopeful sign that ship could be found soon.

Two new pings have been heard. AP

Two new pings have been heard. AP

MH370 went missing on 8 March, nearly a month back with 239 people on board. The batteries on the ship's blackboxes will run out this month and thus it is crucial that the ship is found soon, if  the investigators are to know what went wrong with the plane that caused it to crash.

8.30 am: Two more signals located 

According to an AP alert, Australian official have said that  the  search equipment has relocated underwater signal in hunt for missing jet. More updates as they unfold.

A ship searching for the missing Malaysian jet has detected two more underwater signals, raising hopes the wreckage of the plane will be spotted soon, the Australian official in charge of the search said Wednesday, reports Associated Press. 

Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search for the missing plane in the southern Indian Ocean, said that the Australian navy's Ocean Shield picked up the two signals in a sweep on Tuesday.

"I think we are looking in the right area but I am not prepared to confirm anything until such time someone lays eyes on the wreckage," he said.

The Ocean Shield first detected the sounds late Saturday and early Sunday before losing them, but managed to find them again on Tuesday, Houston said. The ship is equipped with a US Navy towed pinger locator that is designed to pick up signals from a plane's black boxes — the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder.

End of updates 9 April

10.00 am: Hunt for MH370 will be most expensive ever in aviation history

The hunt for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 will cost millions of dollars, becoming the most expensive search in aviation history with 26 countries contributing planes, ships, submarines and satellites to the international effort, says a Reuters report.

A month into the search for the jet, estimates compiled by Reuters show that at least $44 million has already been spent on the deployment of military ships and aircraft in the Indian Ocean and South China Sea by Australia, China, the United States and Vietnam. The figure is based on defence force statistics on available hourly costs of various assets, estimates by defence analysts and costs reported by the Pentagon.

9.00 am:  Ships hunting for more pings, but unable to reconfirm earlier signals

Search crews hunting for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet have failed to relocate faint sounds heard deep below the Indian Ocean that officials said were consistent with a plane's black boxes, the head of the search operation said Tuesday, reports Associated Press. 

Angus Houston, the retired Australian air chief marshal who is heading the search operation far off Australia's west coast, said sound locating equipment on board the Ocean Shield has picked up no trace of the signals since they were first heard late Saturday and early Sunday.

Time is running out to find the devices, whose locator beacons have a battery life of about a month. Tuesday marks exactly one month since the plane vanished.

8.00 am: Search for MH370 moves underwater

A robotic search vehicle is likely to be sent deep into the Indian Ocean on Tuesday, to look for wreckage of a missing Malaysian jetliner on the sea floor, as officials say the chance of finding anything on the surface has dwindled, reports Reuters.

Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, said the month-long hunt was at a critical stage given the black box recorder batteries were dying - or had died.

An Australian ship that picked up signals consistent with the beacons from aircraft black box recorders over the weekend had not registered any further pulses, Houston said.

End of updates for 7 April

9:45 am: Officials say signals detected consistent with black box signals

An Australian official overseeing the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane says underwater sounds picked up by equipment on an Australian navy ship are consistent with transmissions from black box recorders on a plane.

Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean, calls it "very encouraging."

But he said Monday that it may take days to confirm whether signals picked up by the ship Ocean Shield are indeed from the flight recorders on Flight 370.

He says the position of the noise needs to be further refined, and then an underwater autonomous vehicle can be sent in to investigate.

7:00 am: Specialised British ship joins search efforts

A British navy ship with sophisticated sound-locating equipment arrived Monday in a patch of the southern Indian Ocean to determine whether underwater sounds picked up by a Chinese ship crew using a hand-held device came from the missing Malaysia Airlines black boxes.

Britain reported the HMS Echo had arrived in the new area. It will be in a race against time to determine what the noises are, because the battery-powered pingers that emit sounds from the black boxes are on the verge of dying out.

Meanwhile, the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, which is carrying high-tech sound detectors from the U.S. Navy, was investigating a sound it picked up in another area about 555 kilometers (345 miles) away.

Australian authorities said once it had finished that investigation, it would head the new area to help the HMS Echo. Searchers on Monday were anticipating good weather, with nine military planes, three civilian planes and a total of 14 ships expected to search for Flight MH370, which vanished a month ago.

End of updates for 5 April

7.29 pm: Chinese vessels fail to find confirmed clues from missing jet

After detecting signals possibly from the black box of the missing Malaysian plane, China's search vessels failed to find any confirmed clues today to conclusively establish that the pings are from the MH370.

Vessels of China's ministry of transport searching for the missing passenger jet have searched a total of 136,000 square kilometers by midday today, Zhuo Li, an official with the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center, said.

10.30 am: ‘Pulse signals’ in MH370 search remain unverified

The head of the multinational search for the missing Malaysia airlines jet says that electronic pulses reportedly picked up by a Chinese ship are an encouraging sign but stresses they are not yet verified, reports Associated Press.

Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston told reporters in Perth that two naval ships with high-technology equipment are being sent to the area where the signals were reported to try to confirm or rule out whether they were from the missing plane's flight recorders.

8.45 am:   Chinese ship searching for MH370 detects signal

A Chinese patrol ship searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 detected a pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5 kHz per second in the south Indian Ocean on Saturday, state news agency Xinhua reported.

37.5 kHz per second is currently the international standard frequency for the underwater locator beacon on a plane's "black box".

However it is not clear whether the signal is connected to the missing MH370 flight.

End of updates for 4 April

10.20 am: 2 ships to start black box hunt for MH370

Crews searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet launched a targeted underwater hunt on Friday for the plane's black boxes along a stretch of remote ocean, with just days left before the devices' batteries are expected to run out.

The Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, which is dragging a towed pinger locator from the US Navy, and the British navy's HMS Echo, which has underwater search gear on board, will converge along a 240-kilometer (150-mile) track in a desolate patch of the southern Indian Ocean, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search.

End of updates for 3 April

8.40 am: Malaysia PM arrives in Australia as search for MH370 continues

Malaysia's prime minister on Thursday arrived at the Australian air force base serving as a hub for the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak met with his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, at the base near the west coast city of Perth, and received a briefing by Angus Houston.

9:45 am: Officials say signals detected consistent with black box signals

An Australian official overseeing the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane says underwater sounds picked up by equipment on an Australian navy ship are consistent with transmissions from black box recorders on a plane.

Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search in the southern Indian Ocean, calls it "very encouraging."

But he said Monday that it may take days to confirm whether signals picked up by the ship Ocean Shield are indeed from the flight recorders on Flight 370.

He says the position of the noise needs to be further refined, and then an underwater autonomous vehicle can be sent in to investigate.

7:00 am: Specialised British ship joins search efforts

A British navy ship with sophisticated sound-locating equipment arrived Monday in a patch of the southern Indian Ocean to determine whether underwater sounds picked up by a Chinese ship crew using a hand-held device came from the missing Malaysia Airlines black boxes.

Britain reported the HMS Echo had arrived in the new area. It will be in a race against time to determine what the noises are, because the battery-powered pingers that emit sounds from the black boxes are on the verge of dying out.

Meanwhile, the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, which is carrying high-tech sound detectors from the U.S. Navy, was investigating a sound it picked up in another area about 555 kilometers (345 miles) away.

Australian authorities said once it had finished that investigation, it would head the new area to help the HMS Echo. Searchers on Monday were anticipating good weather, with nine military planes, three civilian planes and a total of 14 ships expected to search for Flight MH370, which vanished a month ago.

End of updates for 5 April

7.29 pm: Chinese vessels fail to find confirmed clues from missing jet

After detecting signals possibly from the black box of the missing Malaysian plane, China's search vessels failed to find any confirmed clues today to conclusively establish that the pings are from the MH370.

Vessels of China's ministry of transport searching for the missing passenger jet have searched a total of 136,000 square kilometers by midday today, Zhuo Li, an official with the China Maritime Search and Rescue Center, said.

10.30 am: ‘Pulse signals’ in MH370 search remain unverified

The head of the multinational search for the missing Malaysia airlines jet says that electronic pulses reportedly picked up by a Chinese ship are an encouraging sign but stresses they are not yet verified, reports Associated Press.

Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston told reporters in Perth that two naval ships with high-technology equipment are being sent to the area where the signals were reported to try to confirm or rule out whether they were from the missing plane's flight recorders.

8.45 am:   Chinese ship searching for MH370 detects signal

A Chinese patrol ship searching for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 detected a pulse signal with a frequency of 37.5 kHz per second in the south Indian Ocean on Saturday, state news agency Xinhua reported.

37.5 kHz per second is currently the international standard frequency for the underwater locator beacon on a plane's "black box".

However it is not clear whether the signal is connected to the missing MH370 flight.

End of updates for 4 April

10.20 am: 2 ships to start black box hunt for MH370

Crews searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet launched a targeted underwater hunt on Friday for the plane's black boxes along a stretch of remote ocean, with just days left before the devices' batteries are expected to run out.

The Australian navy ship Ocean Shield, which is dragging a towed pinger locator from the US Navy, and the British navy's HMS Echo, which has underwater search gear on board, will converge along a 240-kilometer (150-mile) track in a desolate patch of the southern Indian Ocean, said Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search.

End of updates for 3 April

8.40 am: Malaysia PM arrives in Australia as search for MH370 continues

Malaysia's prime minister on Thursday arrived at the Australian air force base serving as a hub for the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak met with his Australian counterpart, Tony Abbott, at the base near the west coast city of Perth, and received a briefing by Angus Houston, the head of a joint agency coordinating the search.

End of updates for 2 April

13.50 pm: Malaysia narrows criminal probe to crew of missing flight

Malaysia is focusing its criminal investigation on the cabin crew and pilots of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, after clearing all 227 passengers of any involvement, the country's police chief was reported as saying on Wednesday, according to Reuters.

National police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the passengers had been cleared of possible involvement in hijacking, sabotage or having personal or psychological problems that could have been connected to the flight's disappearance on March 8. "They have been cleared of the four," he was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama.

Malaysian authorities have still not ruled out mechanical problems as causing the disappearance, but say evidence suggests the plane was deliberately diverted from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

10.40 am: Malaysia police chief warns mystery of Jet might not be solved

The investigation into what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may take a long time and may never determine the cause of the tragedy, Malaysia's national police chief warned on Wednesday, reports Associated Press.

Khalid Abu Bakar said the criminal investigation was still focused on four areas — hijacking, sabotage and personal or psychological problems of those on board the plane.

"Investigations may go on and on and on. We have to clear every little thing," Khalid said. "At the end of the investigations, we may not even know the real cause. We may not even know the reason for this incident."

10.00 am: UK submarine joins hunt for MH370 

Britain's Royal Navy submarine HMS Tireless arrived in the search area about 1,500 kilometres northwest of Perth this morning, according to media reports. The personal jet of Peter Jackson - Oscar-winning New Zealand movie director - is also being used in the hunt.

Up to 10 planes and nine ships will assist in today's search for the Boeing 777-200, a new Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre (JACC) here managing the search said in a statement today.

7.10 am: Malaysian authorities have once again bought out the theory that the missing flight MH370 was deliberately diverted, reports Sydney Herald.  According to the report, Malaysian authorities "believe there was a “deliberate action” by someone on board the missing Malaysian airliner to divert it from its scheduled flight path." 

“MH370’s movements were consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane,” Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Tuesday night, adds the report.

End of updates for 1 April 

5.30 pm: Malaysia govt could sue newspapers over 'false media' reports

Malaysia's authoritarian government, said on Tuesday it would compile "false" media reports over the crisis and consider filing lawsuits, reports AFP.

Transport and Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on his Twitter feed the country's attorney general had been instructed to "compile evidence and advise" on possible legal action.

Hishammuddin, who has run the government's near-daily briefings on the situation, has repeatedly denied various anonymously-sourced reports revealing details of Malaysia's investigation into the March 8 disappearance of MH370 with 239 people aboard.

He took particular aim on Monday against British tabloid the Daily Mail, which at the weekend quoted a "source close to the family" of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah as saying police had learned he was emotionally unstable before the flight amid alleged marital trouble.

5.16 pm: Malaysia releases full transcript of of communications between the pilots of missing Flight MH370 and air traffic controllers

Malaysia releases full transcript of of communications of communications between the pilots of missing Flight MH370 and air traffic controllers, from preparations for takeoff to the last exchange of words in-flight on March 8, reports AFP.

Here is the full transcript of the exchange as it was released by Malaysia:

"MAS 370" refers to transmissions from the cockpit of the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines plane, while "ATC" is Malaysian air traffic control. The transcript does not identify which of the two pilots was variously speaking.
12:25:53 (MAS 370) Delivery MAS 370, good morning
12:26:02 (ATC) MAS 370 standby and Malaysia Six is cleared to Frankfurt via AGOSA Alpha Departure six thousand feet squawk two one zero six [squawk refers to a transponder code assigned to a departing flight by air traffic controllers]
12:26:19 (ATC) ... MAS 370 request level
12:26:21 (MAS 370) MAS 370 we are ready requesting flight level three five zero to Beijing
12:26:39 (ATC) MAS 370 is cleared to Beijing via PIBOS A departure six thousand feet squawk two one five seven
12:26:45 (MAS 370) Beijing PIBOS A six thousand squawk two one five seven, MAS 370 thank you
12:26:53 (ATC) MAS 370, welcome over to Ground
12:26:55 (MAS 370) Good day
12:27:27 (MAS 370) Ground MAS 370 good morning, charlie one requesting push and start
12:27:34 (ATC) MAS 370 Lumpur Ground, morning, push back and start approved Runway 32 right exit via Sierra 4
12:27:40 (MAS 370) Push back and start approved 32 right exit via Sierra 4 POB 239 Mike Romeo Oscar
12:27:45 (ATC) Copied
12:32:13 (MAS 370) MAS 377 request taxi.
12:32:26 (ATC) MAS 37..... (garbled) ... standard route. Hold short Bravo
12:32:30 (MAS 370) Ground, MAS 370. You are unreadable. Say again.
12:32:38 (ATC) MAS 370 taxi to holding point Alfa 11 Runway 32 right via standard route. Hold short of Bravo.
12:32:42 (MAS 370) Alfa 11 standard route, hold short Bravo MAS 370.
12:35:53 (ATC) MAS 370 Tower
12:36:19 (ATC) (garbled) ... Tower ... (garbled)
(MAS 370) 1188 MAS 370, thank you
12:36:30 (MAS 370) Tower MAS 370, morning
12:36:38 (ATC) MAS 370, good morning. Lumpur Tower. Holding point... (garbled)... 10 32 Right
12:36:50 (MAS 370) Alfa 10 MAS 370
12:38:43 (ATC) 370 line up 32 Right Alfa 10.
(MAS 370) Line up 32 Right Alfa 10 MAS370.
12:40:38 (ATC) 370 32 Right, cleared for take-off. Good night.
(MAS 370) 32 Right, cleared for take-off MAS 370. Thank you, bye.
[The plane takes off at 12:41 am, and by 12:46 am passes from ground ATC to outbound radar control]
12:42:05 (MAS 370) Departure Malaysian Three Seven Zero
12:42:10 (ATC) Malaysian Three Seven Zero selamat pagi (good morning) identified. Climb flight level one eight zero cancel SID turn right direct to IGARI
12:42:48 (MAS 370) Okay level one eight zero direct IGARI Malaysian one err Three Seven Zero
12:42:52 (ATC) Malaysian Three Seven Zero contact Lumpur Radar One three two six, good night
(MAS 370) Night one three two six, Malaysian Three Seven Zero
12:46:51 (MAS 370) Lumpur Control, Malaysian Three Seven Zero
12:46:51 (ATC) Malaysian Three Seven Zero, Lumpur Radar, good morning. Climb flight level two five zero
12:46:54 (MAS 370) Morning, level two five zero, Malaysian Three Seven Zero
12:50:06 (ATC) Malaysian Three Seven Zero, climb flight level three five zero
12:50:09 (MAS 370) Flight level three five zero, Malaysian Three Seven Zero
01:01:14 (MAS 370) Malaysian Three Seven Zero, maintaining level three five zero
01:01:19 (ATC) Malaysian Three Seven Zero
[The last transmission by the plane's Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) -- which relays key information on the plane's mechanical condition every 30 minutes -- takes place at 1:07 am]
01:07:55 (MAS 370) Malaysian... Three Seven Zero maintaining level three five zero
01:08:00 (ATC) Malaysian Three Seven Zero
01:19:24 (ATC) Malaysian Three Seven Zero contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9, good night
01:19:29 (MAS 370) Good night, Malaysian Three Seven Zero
[The last transmission from the plane's communication transponder is at 1:21 am, and it vanishes from ATC radar at 1:30 am]

4.00 pm: Australia says search for MH370 could drag on

Australia, which is coordinating the search for the Boeing 777, cautioned that it "could drag on for a long time" and would be an arduous one.

3.43 pm: Malaysia releases MH370 cockpit transcript, says nothing abnormal

Malaysian authorities on Tuesday released the transcript of communications between the cockpit crew of missing Flight MH370 and air traffic controllers, saying the exchanges showed nothing untoward.

"There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript," a statement by Defence and Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

The 43 separate transmissions over nearly 54 minutes are thick with air-traffic and navigational jargon and give no hint of trouble aboard the ill-fated plane, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

The transcript concludes with Malaysian air traffic control first bidding MH370 "good night", as it instructs the pilots next to contact controllers in Vietnam, over which the plane was due to fly.

The final entry from just after 1:19 am comes from one of the two MH370 pilots, who says "good night, Malaysian three seven zero".

The plane disappeared from radar shortly thereafter and is yet to be found, though Malaysia now believes it was deliberately diverted and flew on for hours to the Indian Ocean, where it is presumed to have crashed.

The transcript — and particularly the final words from MH370 — have been the subject of much speculation following earlier statements by authorities and the airline that the last transmission from the plane was a casual "All right, good night".

That apparent non-standard sign-off fuelled speculation that one of the pilots — either Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, or First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27 — diverted the plane on purpose.

Under pressure to clarify the matter, the government corrected the final words late on Monday but until now had not released a full transcript.

Tuesday's statement said the transcript was "initially held as part of the police investigation", but gave no other reason for the delay.

Malaysia Airlines had said previously that the last words were believed uttered by First Officer Fariq, but the statement said the ongoing investigation was yet to confirm that.

2.00 pm: Search for missing jet may take a while, says Australia

Australia warned Tuesday the hunt for missing Flight MH370 could be long and frustrating as a vessel equipped with a specialised "black box" locator raced against the clock to reach the Indian Ocean search area.

Despite an extensive multinational search southwest of Perth, no wreckage has been identified since the Malaysia Airlines plane vanished on March 8, with objects retrieved from the desolate seas turning out to be fishing gear or flotsam.

Retired Australian air chief marshal Angus Houston, who is heading a new coordination centre in Perth, said it was the most challenging search and rescue operation he had ever seen and cautioned about any quick fixes.

"I say that because the starting point whenever you do a search and rescue is the last known position of the vehicle or aircraft. In this particular case, the last known position was a long, long way from where the aircraft appears to have gone," he said.

Houston noted that it look more than 60 years to find HMAS Sydney, which was sunk in the Indian Ocean in 1941 by a German warship, and the search for MH370 is "not something that's necessarily going to be resolved in the next two weeks".

"This could drag on for a long time but I think at this stage that it's very important to pursue all the leads," he added, as 10 planes and nine ships, some with helicopters, resumed the search in worsening weather.

1.15 pm: Australia will deploy a modified Boeing 737 to act as a flying air traffic controller

Australia will deploy a modified Boeing 737 to act as a flying air traffic controller over the Indian Ocean to prevent a mid-air collision among the aircraft searching for the Malaysia Airlines jetliner that went missing over three weeks ago, an official said Tuesday, reports Associated Press.

An air force E-7A Wedgetail equipped with advanced radar will be deployed "in the near future" to monitor the increasingly crowded skies over the remote search zone, said Angus Houston, who heads the joint agency coordinating the multinational search effort.

1.05 pm: Malaysia tragedy highlights need for better tracking systems for aircrafts, says IATA

Malaysia's missing jet tragedy illustrates the needs to improve in-flight tracking of passenger aircraft, the International Air Travel Association (IATA) said on Tuesday, adding: "We cannot let another aircraft simply vanish."

"MH370 has highlighted the need to improve our tracking of aircraft in flight," Tony Tyler, head of the airline industry trade body, said in a statement. "In a world where our every move seems to be tracked, there is disbelief both that an aircraft could simply disappear and that the flight data and cockpit voice recorders are so difficult to recover."

Debris from the plane is yet to be recovered, after nearly three weeks since the plane went missing.

10:30 am: 11 aircraft and 9 ships part of search operations today

An Australian official heading the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight has said that the operation is the most challenging one he'd ever been a part of.

11 planes and 9 ships are part of the search operations today, Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said.

He said the focus of the search was to find debris of the aircraft presently but admitted that could take a long time.

Houston said that the search operations are based on the data they have but said approximations were difficult since the altitude and speed of the aircraft weren't known.

9:00 am: Malaysia says last words from missing flight weren't 'All right, good night'

The last words from the cockpit of the missing Malaysian airliner were a standard "Good night Malaysian three seven zero", Malaysian authorities said, changing their account of the critical last communication from a more casual "All right, good night."

The correction almost four weeks after Flight MH370 vanished was made as Malaysian authorities face heavy criticism, particularly from China, for mismanaging the search and holding back information.

"Good night Malaysian three seven zero" would be a more formal, standard sign-off from the cockpit of the Boeing777, which was just leaving Malaysia-controlled air space on its route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

"We would like to confirm that the last conversation in the transcript between the air traffic controller and the cockpit is at 0119 (Malaysian Time) and is "Good night Malaysian three seven zero," the Department of Civil Aviation said in a statement late on Monday.

Minutes later its communications were cut off and it turned back across Malaysia and headed toward the Indian Ocean.

Malaysia's ambassador to China told Chinese families in Beijing as early as 12 March, four days after the flight went missing, that the last words had been "All right, good night".

The statement said authorities were still conducting "forensic investigation" to determine whether the last words from the cockpit were by the pilot or the co-pilot. Previously, Malaysia Airlines has said that the words were believed to have come from the co-pilot.

End of updates for 31 March

1.10 pm: Objects spotted before have nothing to do with MH370

A cluster of orange objects spotted by a search plane hunting for any trace of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet turned out to be nothing more than fishing equipment, Australian officials said.

Associated Press reported that Jesse Platts, a spokesman for the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, said the objects had been analyzed and officials had confirmed "they have nothing to do with the missing flight."

7.20 am: Australian PM says search for jetliner will go on

Australia's prime minister says the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is "an extraordinarily difficult exercise" but that it will go on as long as possible, reports Associated Press.

Tony Abbott said on Monday that although no debris has been found in the southern Indian Ocean that can be linked to the plane missing for more than three weeks, the searchers are "well, well short" of any point where they would scale the hunt back.

Abbott says the best brains in the world are applying themselves to this task and adds: "If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it."
End of updates for 30 March

2.13 pm: Chinese relatives demand an apology from Malaysia government

Several dozen Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight 370 demanded that Malaysia apologize for its handling of the search for the missing plane and for the prime minister's statement saying it crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.

Holding up banners that read "We want evidence, truth, dignity" in Chinese, and "Hand us the murderer. Tell us the truth. Give us our relatives back" in English, the group staged a protest at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur just hours after flying in from Beijing.

Flight booking website eLong said it was suspending Malaysia Airlines flight sales until the relatives are satisfied with the government's response. Last Wednesday, Chinese touring agency CYTS said it would stop offering tours to the country because of safety concerns.

Even popular actress Zhang Ziyi spoke out. "Malaysian government, you have hurt the entire world ... You have misjudged the persistence in seeking truth by the world's people, including all the Chinese," she wrote on her microblog.

The protesters Sunday repeatedly chanted slogans in Chinese: "We want evidence! We want the truth! We want our relatives!"

Jiang Hui, the relatives' designated representative, said they wanted a government apology for what they see as missteps in the initial handling of the disaster as well as Prime Minister Najib Razak's statement that indicated the plane had crashed with no survivors. Jiang said the relatives felt the conclusion was announced without sufficient evidence.

"We also request that Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysian government apologize for making the conclusion on 24 March, without direct evidence or a sense of responsibility, that the plane was destroyed and people died," Jiang said.

He said the group wanted to meet airline and government officials, although he stopped short of saying that included Najib, as earlier proposed by some relatives.

Before the protest, Ong Ka Ting, the Malaysian prime minister's special envoy to China, went to the hotel to greet the relatives.

"I'm sure in Beijing they've already had a lot of discussions and we understand their feelings, and we know that definitely by coming over here there will be a lot more discussions and meetings," Ong said. "So we try our best to assist them."

Jiang said the relatives wanted the government to release information and data related to the investigation in a "prompt and comprehensive way." They also wanted the airline to set up meetings with representatives from Boeing, Rolls Royce and Inmarsat, saying the lack of interaction was troubling.

"It has been 22 days now and none of their people have shown up," he said, referring to the companies. "Could it be that there really are problems with the quality of their products? What are they worried about?"

12.13 pm: Australia hopeful that clues will help narrow search

Australia's prime minister said on Sunday that he was hopeful a clue would emerge soon to narrow the hunt for Flight 370, as more objects are pulled from the southern Indian Ocean and checked to see if they are part of the plane that went missing more than three weeks ago.

Associated Press reported that even though more ships are scouring the area off western Australia, none of the recovered items has been connected to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane.

The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft is projected on the surface of the southern Indian Ocean as its crew search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. AFP

The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K2 Orion aircraft is projected on the surface of the southern Indian Ocean as its crew search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. AFP

In Sydney, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described the "intensifying search effort" as positive because objects "have been recovered from the ocean."

The Australian Maritimes Safety Authority said 10 planes took part in the search Sunday, leaving in staggered times from the western city of Perth. Eight ships were on the scene, including the Australian navy supply ship HMAS Success, which is to store any wreckage found.

The ships are trying to locate and identify the objects sighted by aircraft over the past two days.

11.23 am: Chinese families head to Malaysia to meet top officials

Several dozen Chinese relatives of passengers on Flight 370 arrived in Malaysia on Sunday to demand to meet top officials for more information about what happened to the airliner that has been missing for more than three weeks.

Associated Press reported that 29 Chinese family members arrived in Kuala Lumpur after an overnight flight from Beijing, said Malaysia Airlines commercial director Hugh Dunleavy.

A man who gave only his surname, Xu, said in brief comments that the relatives want to meet officials "at the very highest levels."

In Beijing before they boarded the flight, one relative said they would demand to meet the prime minister and the defense minister, who is the chief spokesman for the government.

"We have questions that we would like to ask them in person," said Wang Chunjiang, whose younger brother, lawyer Wang Chunyong, was on Flight 370.

9.30 am: Black box detector to join search operations in Indian Ocean

A warship with an aircraft black box detector was set to depart Australia on Sunday to join the search for the missing Malaysian jetliner, a day after ships plucked objects from the Indian Ocean to determine whether they were related to the missing plane.

It will still take three-to-four days for the Australian navy ship, the Ocean Shield, to reach the search zone, an area roughly the size of Poland about 1,850 kms to the west of Australia. - IANS

8.40 am: 'Debris found in Indian Ocean not related to flight MH370'

Some objects scooped out of the ocean off Western Australia are not part of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, authorities have said.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority ( AMSA) has confirmed a Chinese ship retrieved objects from the southern Indian Ocean Saturday.

It's, however, believed that the items are not related to the flight and are more likely fishing objects or rubbish, TVNZ quoted AMSA as saying early on Sunday. -IANS

Updates for 29 March end

2.40 pm: No debris recovered for now, says Malaysia's Defence minister

No debris spotted in an area off the west coast of Australia has been recovered, a Malaysian minister involved in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 said Saturday, adding he hoped for some news soon, reports Associated Press. 

Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters near Kuala Lumpur after meeting several families of passengers on the plane that there was no new information on the objects, which could just be regular debris floating in the ocean, or could be from the missing plane.

"I've got to wait to get the reports on whether they have retrieved those objects .... Those will give us some indication," said Hishammuddin, who was accompanied by his wife and children as he visited the relatives at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia.

A Chinese plane was reported to have spotted 3 objects in the search area. More details are awaited on that.

12.30 pm: China's state news agency says Chinese aircraft spots 3 objects in search area for missing jet

China's state news agency says Chinese aircraft spots 3 objects in search area for missing jet, reports Associated Press.

Xinhua News Agency said on Saturday that the Chinese military plane Ilyushin IL-76 sighted the three floating objects of white, red and orange colours respectively, from an altitude of 300 meters (yards).

10.45 am: Interpol has rejected Malaysia's claims on checking for stole passports 

Interpol has rejected comments from a Malaysian minister that it takes too much time and is too difficult to check the international police agency's database to confirm if a passport has been stolen, says an Associated Press report.

The issue arose because two passengers used stolen passports to board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. Initially it was believed that the stolen passports could have been used by terrorists.

"Malaysia's decision not to consult Interpol's Stolen and Lost Travel Documents (SLTD) database before allowing travelers to enter the country or board planes cannot be defended by falsely blaming technology or Interpol," said the agency, based in Lyon, France. "If there is any responsibility or blame for this failure, it rests solely with Malaysia's Immigration Department."

10.20 am: Ships still to recover, verify objects from sea as search operations for MH370 continue

Objects spotted floating in a new search area for debris from the missing Malaysian jetliner need to be recovered and inspected before they can be linked to the plane, Australian officials said on Saturday, reports Associated Press.

Planes from China and Australia were combing the newly targeted area off the west coast of Australia after several objects were spotted on Friday, including two rectangular items that were blue and gray, and ships on the scene will attempt to recover them, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

"The objects cannot be verified or discounted as being from MH370 until they are relocated and recovered by ships," the authority said in a statement. "It is not known how much flotsam, such as from fishing activities, is ordinarily there. At least one distinctive fishing object has been identified."

End of updates for 28 March

5:58 pm: Australia spots objects in the Indian Ocean

Australian authorities said a search plane had spotted objects in the new Indian Ocean search area where an international team is looking for wreckage from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, Reuters reported.

The Australian Maritime and Safety Authority (AMSA) said it was awaiting images from the Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion, which was on its way back to base.

The sightings would need to be confirmed by ship, which was not expected until Saturday, AMSA said in its official twitter feed.

9.19 am: Search for MH 370 shifts to new area

Australian search authorities said on Friday they were shifting the area of search for a Malaysian airliner missing for almost three weeks with 239 people on board due to a "new credible lead" from analysis of radar data provided by Malaysia.

The new information was based on analysis of radar data between the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca before radar contact was lost, AMSA said in a statement.

"As a result today's search will shift to an area 1,100 km (685 miles) to the northeast based on updated advice provided by the international investigation team in Malaysia."

Analysis indicated that the aircraft was traveling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel usage and reducing the possible distance the aircraft traveled south into the Indian Ocean, it said.

7.44 am: Search operations for Malaysian flight resumed

An air search of the remote southern Indian Ocean resumed on Friday, seeking to confirm if hundreds of objects spotted by satellites are debris from a Malaysian jetliner presumed to have crashed almost three weeks ago with the loss of all on board.

A Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 took off from Perth before dawn, heading 2,500 km (1,550 miles) southwest into the search area where high winds and icy weather had halted flights on Thursday.

From Reuters

End of updates from 28 March

4.50 pm: China pushes Malaysia to coordinate search

Financial Express quoted Reuters and Associated Press as saying that China is pushing Malaysia to coordinate the international search for missing MH370.

Special Zhang Yesui told Xinhua that China will also intensify its search efforts for the plane.

2.19 pm:  Now Thailand satellite spots 300 floating objects in South Indian ocean

 Thailand has spotted 300 floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean during a satellite search for the missing Malaysian airliner, its space agency said Thursday.

The objects, ranging from two to 15 metres (6.5 to 50 feet) in size, were scattered over an area about 2,700 kilometres southwest of Perth, Anond Snidvongs, executive director of the Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency, told AFP.

12.17 pm: Ships to continue search, planes return

Due to unfavourable weather conditions, the planes have been ordered to return while the ships have been asked to continue with the search, reports The Straits Times. Bad weather is expected to disrupt search operations in the next 24 hours.

10.10 am: Search for MH370 cancelled again amid bad weather

Aircraft searches for a Malaysia jetliner presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean have been called off for Thursday due to bad weather, a US Navy officer told Reuters.

"The forecast in the area was calling for severe icing, severe turbulence and near zero visibility," said Lieutenant Commander Adam Schantz, the officer in charge of the U.S. Navy Poseidon P8 aircraft detachment.

"Anybody who's out there is coming home and all additional sorties from here are cancelled."

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority confirmed flights had been cancelled due to the weather.

9.23 am: Black box will stop emitting signals by 12 April

Equipment inside two nearly indestructible boxes aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane recorded critical information that would help investigators reconstruct what went wrong. The flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder have beacons that are sending out "pings" which searchers could track back to the main wreckage. But the batteries run out in about two weeks.

Satellite images show debris floating in the southern Indian Ocean, but search crews still have not confirmed it is from the plane. If they can do that, searchers will calculate where the bulk of the plane may have come to rest on the sea floor — and then go to that area and start listening for the pings.

They're commonly called black boxes, but the flight data recorder and the cockpit voice recorder are actually orange — so they can be more easily seen. The data recorder logs performance and other metrics, including speed, altitude and direction. In all, it can keep 1,000 different measurements, giving investigators a rich cache of information. Those measurements cover the 25 hours prior to a crash. The voice recorder captures two hours of sound from several microphones in the cockpit. It runs on a continuous loop, so audio from the critical moments during which the plane diverted west from its Malaysia-China route — about seven hours before it is believed to have crashed — have been erased.

Each recorder has its own beacon, bolted to the box's outside, which once activated by water emits a chirp every second. The chirp can't be heard by the naked ear — it requires special equipment to detect. A beacon's battery is designed to last 30 days. Once that month is up, the pings begin to fade in the same way that a flashlight with failing batteries begins to dim. Authorities believe the plane crashed 8 March. So the pingers would begin to fade around April 7, and could go silent around April 12.

The data and voice recorders are tough though. Honeywell Aerospace made the boxes in the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. They are engineered to survive a super-hot fire for an hour, stay intact during a violent impact, and withstand the tremendous pressure of being under 20,000 feet (more than 6,000 meters) of water (ocean depth in the search area averaged 10,000 to 15,000 feet (3,000 to 4,500 meters)), Honeywell spokesman Steve Brecken said. The flight data recorder should retain its information for at least two years.

7.50 am: US-based law firm to sue Malaysia Airlines, Boeing

A US-based law firm said it expects to represent families of more than half of the passengers on board the missing Malaysian Airlines flight in a lawsuit against the carriers and Boeing Co., alleging the plane had crashed due to mechanical failure.

Chicago-based Ribbeck Law has filed a petition for discovery against Boeing Co., manufacturer of the aircraft, and Malaysian Airlines, operator of the plane in a Cook County, Illinois Circuit Court. The petition is meant to secure evidence of possible design and manufacturing defects that may have contributed to the disaster, the law firm said. - Reuters

7.23 am: Ships, planes race to beat bad weather in search for MH370

Aircraft and ships scouring the southern Indian Ocean for wreckage of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 were racing to beat bad weather on Thursday and reach an area where new satellite images showed what could be a debris field.

The international search team has been bolstered to 11 military and civilian aircraft and five ships that will criss-cross the remote search site with weather conditions forecast to deteriorate later in the day. - Reuters

Updates for 26 March end

6:00 pm: Australia says no debris found by its planes yet

After another day of search, Australian aircraft searching for debris of the missing Malaysian jet has said that it has found no signs of debris yet.

The Staits Times quotes the last statement from an Australian pilot as saying that they found the weather was good but had no findings other than "mammal activity".

5.37 pm: French satellite finds possible debris field in South Indian ocean

A French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of a missing jetliner found a possible plane debris field containing 122 objects, a top Malaysian official said Wednesday, calling it "the most credible lead that we have."

Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the objects were more than 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Australia, in the area where a desperate, multinational hunt has been going on since other satellites detected possible jet debris.

Clouds obscured the latest satellite images, but dozens of objects could be seen in the gaps, ranging in length from one meter (yard) to 23 meters (25 yards). Hishammuddin said some of them "appeared to be bright, possibly indicating solid materials."

The images were taken Sunday and relayed by French-based Airbus Defence and Space, a division of Europe's Airbus Group; its businesses include the operation of satellites and satellite communications.

Various floating objects have been spotted by planes and satellites over the last week, including on Wednesday, when the Australian Maritime Safety Authority sent a tweet saying three more objects were seen. The authority said two objects seen from a civil aircraft appeared to be rope, and that a New Zealand military plane spotted a blue object.

None of the objects were seen on a second pass, a frustration that has been repeated several times in the hunt for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, missing since March 8 with 239 people aboard. It remains uncertain whether any of the objects came from the plane; they could have come from a cargo ship or something else.

"If it is confirmed to be MH370, at least we can then we can move on to the next phase of deep sea surveillance search," Hishammuddin said.

3:10 pm: Malaysia says 122 objects of interest found in Indian Ocean

The Malaysian defence minister said that they had found 122 objects in the southern Indian Ocean, which were being investigated.

"With better weather conditions, planes are investigating further," he said.

Hishamuddin Hussein said that various objects had been detected by satellites and the investigation into what they were continued.

8.45 am: China appoints special envoy to press for details on MH370

China has appointed a special envoy to Kuala Lumpur to press for details about the fate of the missing Malaysian airliner, as family members of the passengers accuse the Malaysian government of lying about the flight's final hours, media reports said.

Deputy Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui would act as the special envoy and head for Kuala Lumpur as soon as possible to "learn about the situation" and "ask the Malaysian side to properly handle related issues", South China Morning Post reported Tuesday.

The crisis over Malaysia Airlines flight 370 topped the agenda of a central government meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang Tuesday in Beijing.

Two Chinese expert teams are already in Kuala Lumpur.

The General Office of the State Council has promised to continue to provide passengers' family members with medical treatment, psychological counseling and legal assistance, according to China Daily.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Monday that based on analysis of satellite data the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean and there were no survivors.

However another deputy foreign minister, Xie Hangsheng, told Malaysia's ambassador to Beijing, Iskandar Sarudin, that China wanted the precise data that prompted Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak to announce that the flight had "ended" in the southern Indian Ocean.

"We demand the Malaysian side make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgment," Xie said.

7.32 am: Hunt for Flight 370 resumes in calmer seas

The search for the remains of Flight 370 began anew in remote waters of the Indian Ocean off western Australia in calmer seas, reports Associated Press.

Gale-force winds that forced an all-day delay Tuesday died down, allowing a total of 12 planes and two ships from the United States, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand to resume the hunt for any pieces of the Malaysia Airlines jet.

The search zone based on the last satellite signals received from the Boeing 777, it was still estimated at 1.6 million square kilometers (622,000 square miles), an area bigger than Texas and Oklahoma combined.

On Sunday, Malaysia had announced that the flight had likely crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean. For Chinese relatives of passengers on board, who had been waiting for nearly three weeks, Malaysia's response hasn't been enough. Relatives took to protests outside the Malaysia embassy in Beijing, shouting, "Liars!."

End of updates for 25 March

4.30 pm: Investigators probe 'final ping' from flight MH370

Satellite data that confirmed a Malaysian jetliner missing for more than two weeks crashed in the Indian Ocean included a final electronic signal that is still being investigated, Malaysian acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Tuesday.

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

Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Sunday that groundbreaking satellite-data analysis by the British company Inmarsat had revealed that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which vanished while flying to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March, had crashed thousands of miles away in the southern Indian Ocean.

Preliminary analysis of the satellite "pings" had only been able to place the plane's final position in one of two vast arcs stretching from the Caspian Sea to the southern Indian Ocean.

3.56 pm: How classroom physics and a British satellite helped locate MH370

Investigators are closer to solving an international aviation mystery thanks to a British communications satellite and classroom physics.

A masterful analysis of a handful of faint signals sent from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to an Inmarsat satellite led officials to conclude that the Boeing 777 crashed in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean, with all 239 lives likely lost. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called the effort "a type of analysis never before used in this investigation of this sort."

More precise information about the plane's last position is helping authorities refine the search being undertaken by planes and ships in seas 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia. Investigators had precious little information to examine otherwise because the transponder, identifying the jet to air traffic controllers, was deactivated about the same time the jet veered off course from its original destination, Beijing, early 8 March.

Even with other communications shut down, the plane automatically sent a brief signal — a "ping" or a "handshake" — every hour to an Inmarsat satellite. The pings did not show the jet's location, speed or heading, but an initial analysis showed the last ping came from a position along one of two vast arcs north and south from the Malaysian Peninsula.

A statement from Inmarsat said it was able to use "detailed analysis and modelling" of transmissions from the missing flight and "other known flights" to describe "the likely direction of flight of MH370." The company did not respond to repeated requests for comment from The Associated Press.

A company official told London's Daily Telegraph that engineers analyzed the pings by measuring the change in frequency related to the satellite's position, which helped them map the plane's movement. Inmarsat compared those findings to other aircraft that used a similar path and found "extraordinary matching" that allowed them to determine the plane had taken the southern route over the Indian Ocean, Chris McLaughlin, senior vice president of external affairs at Inmarsat, said.

Think of a horn being honked in a passing car. To the driver, the sound is constant. To an observer, the sound is high pitched as the car approaches and is lower after the car passes. That's because on approach, each successive sound wave is sent from a slightly closer position to the observer. The sound waves get compressed, resulting in a higher frequency. The opposite happens as the car moves away. It's called the Doppler effect for Austrian physicist Christian Doppler, who first put forward the theory in 1842.

The same effect applies to "pings" from the plane to the satellite orbiting in a fixed position, which would arrive at a higher frequency if the plane was moving toward the satellite and decrease in frequency when moving away.

"By analyzing that you can determine speed and direction," said Joseph Bermudez Jr., chief analytics officer and co-founder of AllSource Analysis, a commercial satellite intelligence firm. And by determining the area from which the last signal was sent, then estimating fuel left, it "could give you an approximate area of where the aircraft impacted."

Inmarsat sent its data to investigators days after the plane went missing. But it continued to run its own analysis to see if it could wring out any more clues.

The company's engineers were dealing with a "totally new area," Inmarsat's McLaughlin told the BBC. "This really was a bit of a shot in the dark." However, the latest information could only go so far in pinpointing the jet's location.

"We can't help you with any closer data," he said.

Satellite specialists were impressed by Inmarsat's analysis.

"They exploited a digital trail that was never intended for that use. It was just a shadow that somebody spotted and made use of," said David Cyganski, dean of engineering at Worcester Polytechnic Institute.

2.36 pm: What Malaysia Airlines is doing for relatives of MH370 passengers

Malaysia Airlines says it is providing comprehensive support for the families of the 239 people aboard Flight 370.

FOOD AND LODGING: Hotel, transportation, meals and other expenses have been provided for up to five family members per passenger since the flight disappeared March 8, and the airline intends to continue the support as long as families require it.

FINANCIAL HELP: The airline provided US$5,000 per passenger to the next of kin initially and will offer more payments as the search for the jetliner continues.

ROUND-THE-CLOCK CARE: It has assigned more than 700 caregivers — including two per family — to offer support and counseling to families on a 24-hour basis.

10.30 am: Malaysia government offers $5000 as compensation to family members

The Malaysian government has said that it has offered family members of those on board flight MH370 compensation of $5000 each, and is preparing to pay more. The relatives of passengers aboard the plane have already been put up in hotels at the expense of the airline as search efforts continued.

They added that it was not correct" to say families have been isolated during search for MH370 and that this was a "painful period" for the airline.

Both Malaysian airlines and the Malaysian government have come under massive criticism.

Family members of the missing passengers have complained bitterly about a lack of reliable information. Many have said they suspect they are not being told the whole truth — a not-uncommon mindset among ordinary Chinese accustomed to dealing with their own opaque and single-party communist state.

Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng told Malaysia's ambassador to Beijing that China wanted to know what exactly led Malaysia to announce Monday night that the plane had been lost, China's Foreign Ministry said on its website Tuesday.

"We demand the Malaysian side to make clear the specific basis on which they come to this judgment," Xie was quoted as telling Datuk Iskandar Bin Sarudin.

10.26 am: Chinese relatives protest at Malaysia embassy

Furious over Malaysia's handling of the lost jetliner a day after the country said the passengers must be dead, Chinese relatives of the missing marched Tuesday to the Malaysia Embassy, where they threw plastic water bottles, tried to rush the gate and chanted, "Liars!"

The Chinese government, meanwhile, demanded that Malaysia turn over the satellite data it used to conclude that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was lost in the southern Indian Ocean with no survivors during a flight to Beijing.

Among the flight's 239 passengers, 153 were Chinese nationals, making the incident a highly emotional one for Beijing, and the government's demand reflected the desire among many Chinese relatives of passengers for more conclusive information on the plane's fate.

Nearly 100 relatives and their supporters marched to the embassy in the late morning, wearing white T-shirts that read "Let's pray for MH370" as they held banners and chanted.

"Tell the truth! Return our relatives!" they shouted. There was a heavy police presence at the embassy when the group arrived, and journalists were being kept away.

Family members of the missing passengers have complained bitterly about a lack of reliable information. Many have said they suspect they are not being told the whole truth — a not-uncommon mindset among ordinary Chinese accustomed to dealing with their own opaque and single-party communist state.

8.50 am: Angry Chinese relatives to march on Malaysian embassy

Angry relatives of Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines plane denounced the Kuala Lumpur government and its national carrier as "executioners" on Tuesday and said they would march on the Malaysian Embassy.

Early in the morning, just hours after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean, an unidentified family member read out a statement at the Beijing hotel where many of the relatives of those on board were staying, denouncing the airline, the Malaysian government and military for "constantly trying to delay, hide and cover up the truth".

It was "an attempt to deceive the families of the passengers and an attempt to deceive the people of the world", said the statement, which was later posted on a Chinese microblog by the "Malaysia Airlines MH370 Family Committee".

In a later statement, the families said they would head to the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing on Tuesday morning to "protest, seek the truth and the return of their family members."

The families, in a statement, said they would "take all possible means" to pursue the "unforgivable guilt" of the airline, the Malaysian government and the military.

"These despicable acts have not only fooled and devastated physically and mentally the families of our 154 Chinese passengers, at the same time they have also misled and delayed the rescue operation, wasted a lot of manpower, material resources and lost the most precious time for the rescue efforts," the unidentified family member told reporters.

"If our 154 loved ones on board have lost their precious lives on the plane because of this, then Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysia government and the Malaysia military are the real executioners who have killed our loved ones."

Bad weather and rough seas on Tuesday forced the suspension of the search for any wreckage of the missing Malaysian jetliner that officials are now sure crashed in the remote Indian Ocean off Australia with the loss of all 239 people on board.

7.45 am: US sends search equipment to help locate MH370

The Pentagon has sent a black box locator and a robotic underwater vehicle, to Perth, Australia to help search for the debris of missing Malaysian plane in Indian Ocean.

While the locator, towed pinger could help locate the black box, the Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle would help find the wreckage of the Malaysian plane, that went missing about a fortnight ago while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

"This afternoon, the towed pinger locater, as well as a Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle were flown out of JFK Airport, New York to Perth. They'll arrive sometime tomorrow," the Pentagon Press Secretary, Rear Admiral John Kirby, told reporters on Monday. - PTI

7.10 am: China asks Malaysia for proof that MH370 crashed into ocean

China's Deputy Foreign Minister Xie Hangsheng has reportedly asked Malaysia's Ambassador to China, Iskandar Bin Sarudin, to provide "detailed evidence" based on which they concluded that the plane has crashed, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said.

"We demand the Malaysian side to 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," Xie said, according to a statement on the ministry's website, The Star Online reported.

Updates end for 24 March

8:15 pm: Relatives break down on hearing news about Flight MH370

Women shrieked and sobbed uncontrollably. Men and women held up their loved ones who were nearly collapsing. Their grief came pouring out after 17 days of waiting for some definitive word on the fate of their relatives aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Relatives of passengers in Beijing had been called to a hotel near the airport to hear the announcement. Afterward, they filed out of a conference room in heart-wrenching grief.

Associated Press reported that one woman collapsed and fell on her knees, crying "My son! My son!"

8:00 pm: Malaysia Airlines releases statement, says search operations to continue

In a brief statement Malaysia Airlines has said that it fears missing flight MH370 has ended in the Indian Ocean and will continue search:

Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume that MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean. As you will hear in the next hour from Malaysia’s Prime Minister, new analysis of satellite data suggests the plane went down in the Southern Indian Ocean.

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.

We know there are no words that we or anyone else can say which can ease your pain. We will continue to provide assistance and support to you, as we have done since MH370 first disappeared in the early hours of 8 March, while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The ongoing multinational search operation will continue, as we seek answers to the questions which remain. Alongside the search for MH370, there is an intensive investigation, which we hope will also provide answers.

We would like to assure you that Malaysia Airlines will continue to give you our full support throughout the difficult weeks and months ahead.

Once again, we humbly offer our sincere thoughts, prayers and condolences to everyone affected by this tragedy.

7: 30 pm: Malaysian PM says flight has crashed in southern Indian Ocean

The Malaysian Prime Minister has said that as per an analysis by a British satellite tracking they have evidence to indicate that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight flew towards the southern corridor of where search operations were being carried out.

He said that as per the data the last location was in the southern Indian Ocean and was far from any landing strip.

"I inform you with deep sadness and regret that according to this new data Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean," Najib Razak said.

He said they would give more information tomorrow.

The Prime Minister said that they had shared this information out of respect for the families of the passengers.

"For them the past few weeks have been heartbreaking. I am sure this news has been harder still," Razak said.

He urged the media to give the relatives the space they needed at this difficult time.

However, he did not mention whether any debris had been found in the present search corridor.

7:15 pm:Malaysia Airlines says that MH370 has been lost

"We assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived,"Malaysia Airlines has said in a statement to the relatives of the passengers.

Sky News reports that the families of the passengers are to be flown to Australia only increasing the possibility that the debris of the flight has been found in the southern Indian Ocean.

6:30 pm: Malaysian PM to address press at 19:30 IST, debris found?

The Malaysian Prime Minister has said that he will address the press in some time which has prompted speculation that search and rescue attempts may have finally found something related to the missing flight MH370.

Australian channels are reporting that the families of the missing passengers have also been told to attend a screening of the press conference.

3:40 pm: Both pilots had adequate experience, say Malaysian authorities

At the daily press conference today, the Malaysian transport minister said that while it was focussed on search in the northern and southern corridors, its focus would shift to the southern Indian Ocean.

The Malaysian authorities clarified that there was no evidence of any distress signal that had been picked up from the missing jet by any satellite.

They also said that both pilots were adequately trained on operating the Boeing 777 aircraft. The airline clarified  that its pilot was an examiner of other pilots training to use the aircraft and the co-pilot had adequate flying experience prior to the missing flight.

3:30 pm: Chinese and Australian planes identify possible debris from missing jet

Chinese and Australian planes on Monday spotted several objects in an area identified by multiple satellite images as containing possible debris from the missing Malaysian airliner, boosting hopes the frustrating search in the southern Indian Ocean could turn up more clues to the jet's fate.Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the crew on board an Australian P3 Orion had located two objects in the search zone — the first grey or green and circular, the second orange and rectangular.An Australian navy supply ship, the HMAS Success, was on the scene Monday night trying to locate and recover the objects, and Malaysia's Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the vessel could reach them within a few hours or by Tuesday morning.

2.25 pm: FBI to question pilot's wife amid suspicions of his role in a potential hijacking

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) will be questioning the wife of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who commanded the missing Malaysian airliner, amid growing suspicions that he may have hijacked the flight, IANS reported.

Faizah Khan, a mother of three, will face questioning in an investigation conducted by the FBI, the Daily Mirror reported on Monday.

Sources close to Shah have said that his personal life was quite complicated. His relations with his wife had deteriorated to the point where he was no longer in a relationship with her, despite living together with their children in the same house.

His unstable personal life and his support of an opposition political leader recently jailed in Malaysia, has brought him into prime focus.

The police are also examining the two-minute phone call that Captain Zaharie received from a mysterious woman who used a mobile number with a fake identity, before take-off 8 March.

Investigators are still trying to find clues in Captain Zaharie's flight simulator which was found at his residence by the Malaysian police. All the game logs in the personal flight simulator were deleted 3 February. He played three games on his simulator -- Flight Simulator X, Flight Simulator 9 and X Flight Simulator.

FBI agents are still investigating the simulator's hard disk.

2.05 pm: US Navy aircraft fails to find objects spotted by Chinese plane

Australian authorities said a US Navy P-8 Poseidon, the most advanced search aircraft in the world, had been unable to find objects spotted earlier on Monday by a Chinese aircraft hunting for clues to the missing Malaysia jet in the Indian Ocean.

"A US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft was tasked to investigate reported object sightings by the Chinese aircraft made at 33,000 ft," an AMSA spokeswoman said in an emailed response to Reuters.

"The objects were spotted by the Chinese aircraft as it was heading back to Perth. Drift modelling was undertaken on the sighting. The P-8 was unable to relocate the reported objects."

10.45 am: Chinese plane spots suspicious white object in Indian Ocean 

A Chinese plane on Monday spotted a white, square-shaped object in an area identified by satellite imagery as containing possible debris from the missing Malaysian airliner, reports Associated Press.

The crew aboard an IL-76 plane sighted the object in the southern Indian Ocean and reported the coordinates to the Australian command center, which is coordinating the multinational search, as well as the Chinese icebreaker Snow Dragon, which is en route to the area, China's Xinhua News Agency reported.

From 10,000 meters (33,000 feet), the spotters saw two larger floating objects and some smaller, white debris scattered over several square kilometers (miles), the report said. It gave no other details.

9.50 am: China says Chinese plane spots object in area where satellite images indicated possible debris 

An Associated Press news alert has said that a Chinese plane has spotted an object in the area where satellite images indicated possible debris from MH370. The search area was expanded after images from a French satellite, which showed possible debris nearly 850 kilometers (530 miles) north of the previous search zone.

China's state news agency says a Chinese plane crew has spotted a white, square-shaped object in an area identified by satellite imagery as containing possible debris from the missing Malaysian airliner.

Xinhua News agency says the crew aboard the IL-76 plane spotted the object in the southern Indian Ocean search area on Monday.

8.20 am: Search area expanded after images from French satellite 

Australian Maritime Safety Authority's rescue coordination center said the search area was expanded from 59,000 to 68,500 square kilometers (22,800-26,400 square miles), including a new separate area because of data provided by France on Sunday, reports the Associated Press.  The latest search area based on French radar data was 850 kilometers (530 miles) north of the previous search zone, adds the report.

The US Pacific command has also added that it is sending a black box locator to the region. The Towed Pinger Locator has highly sensitive listening capability so that if the wreck site is located, it can hear the black box pinger down to a depth of about 20,000 feet (6,100 meters).

Sunday's search had revealed nothing new for the ongoing operations. 

Flight 370 vanished March 8 with 239 people aboard while en route from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing, setting off a multinational search that has turned up no confirmed pieces and nothing conclusive on what happened to the jet.

7.20 am: Bad weather to affect search operations

The search for MH370 is likely to take a hit today with forecasts predicting bad weather conditions in the Indian Ocean where at least 10 Chinese ships have joined operations to looking for the missing Malaysian jet.

Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss on Monday said that weather conditions in the area were not good and could hamper search operations to a large extent.

"It is a very difficult task. Today we expect the weather to deteriorate. Unfortunately forecasts ahead are not all that good," Mr. Truss said on Monday. "The search area is very large today, around 68,000 square kilometers (26,000 square miles). That's a lot of water to look for a tiny object," he told the Wall Street Journal.

Updates for 23 March end

4.15 pm: French satellites also spot 'potential' debris

French satellites have spotted "potential objects" in the southern search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

"This morning, Malaysia received new satellite images from the French authorities," Malaysia's transport ministry said in a statement. "Malaysia immediately relayed these images to the Australian rescue co-ordination centre."

The ministry did not give any other details on the satellite images.

This area is also thought to be close to an area of the Indian Ocean where Australia and China have also had satellites capture images of objects that could be debris from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing March 8 with 239 people on board.

12.30 pm: Wooden pallet, other plane debris spotted in Indian ocean?

Planes and a ship scrambled Sunday to find a pallet and other debris in a remote patch of the southern Indian Ocean to determine whether the objects were from the Malaysia Airlines jet that has been missing for more than two weeks.

The pallet was spotted by a search plane Saturday, but has not been closely examined. Wooden pallets are commonly used in shipping, but can also be used on planes.

Mike Barton, chief of Australian Maritime Safety Authority's 's rescue coordination center, told reporters in Canberra, Australia, that the wooden pallet spotted by a civilian search aircraft was surrounded by several other nondescript objects, including what appeared to be strapping belts of different colors and lengths.

It was not immediately known if any pallets were used on Flight 370 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board.

A New Zealand Orion P3 plane tried to find it, but failed, Barton said.

"So, we've gone back to that area again today to try and re-find it," he said. A merchant ship also was sent to try to identify the material.

8.45 am: More planes have joined search after Chinese satellites are believed to have spotted images of possible debris from MH370 

More planes were joining the search Sunday of a remote patch of the southern Indian Ocean after China released a satellite image showing a large object floating in the search zone, reports Associated Press. The Chinese satellite images are close to the location where Australia was also searching for the missing plane.

Currently the search area in the Indian Ocean is about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia. Australia's search did not reveal any object.  Sunday's search involving eight aircraft has been split into two areas within the same proximity covering 59,000 square kilometers (22,800 square miles), reports Associated Press.

These areas have been determined by drift modelling, the AMSA said.

8.00 am: China investigating new images of possible, says Malaysia Minister

Chinese satellites have spotted new debris images close to the search area where Australia's search operation was also location. According to Malaysian Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, "Chinese ships have been dispatched to the area. Beijing is expected to make an announcement in a few hours."

One of the objects was very large, measuring 22.5 metres (74 feet) by 13 metres (42 feet), the ministry said in a statement, correcting the minister's earlier statistics of 22 metres by 30 metres.

End of updates for 22 March
8.52 pm: British daily publishes final communication from MH 370

The final 54 minutes of communication between the pilots of the missing Malaysian plane and air traffic control has been published by a British newspaper, but Malaysia described it as inaccurate.

The Daily Telegraph published what it said was the transcript of communications between the pilots and Malaysian air control, although it appeared to throw little light on the reasons for the disappearance.

Department of Civil Aviation Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said, "The transcript between the pilots and air traffic control with the investigation team and is being analysed, but it cannot be publicly released."

He said that the transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication did not "indicate anything abnormal". The transcript published by the Telegraph "is not accurate".

The Telegraph claimed that though the sequence of messages appear to be the routine ones, two potentially odd moments have been found.

Earlier, Defence and Transport Minister Hishammuddin Husein said transcript of the conversation was released yesterday to investigators.

4:30 pm: Suspicious object spotted by Chinese satellite was floating 120 kms from possible debris

A suspicious object spotted by a Chinese satellite was floating 120 km (72 miles) from possible debris announced by Australia in the search for a missing Malaysian jet, the official Xinhua news agency said, Reuters reported.

"The location of the suspicious object is along the southern corridor missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 might have taken," it said, adding the object was spotted on 18 March, two days after the satellite image announced by Australia.

4:02 pm: Norwegian firm that helped search for Air France jet says ready to help with MH370

Swire Seabed, a Bergen-based Norwegian company involved in the search for a missing Air France jetliner nearly five years back, has said it is ready to join a similar hunt aimed at locating the Malaysian airliner that went missing a fortnight back.

"It takes time to search for objects on the seabed. For example, it will take about three weeks to perform a search operation in an area of 1,000 sq km, depending on water depth," said Frode Gaupaas, chief operating officer of Swire Seabed, IANS reported.

"We are ready to join the search if we are asked about it," Xinhua quoted him as telling the Aftenposten, a Norwegian-language newspaper.

The company owns one of the few mini-submarines that can dive 6,000 metres deep in the sea.

The vessel, Seabed Worker, which was used in the search for an Air France plane in the Atlantic, would be shipped to Australia when requested, said Gaupaas

Describing deep sea search as highly specialized, Gaupaas said that all available data -- maps, photographs, wind and weather -- must be collected and analysed to assess the most likely position of the aircraft.

Side-scan sonar and autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) are often employed for locating objects on the seabed.

Mini-submarines can film findings in real time and use remote controlled arms (robot arms) to highlight parts of a crashed plane, said Gaupaas.

"If you have made a discovery of the wreckage, the first priority is to find and raise the flight data recorders and other parts that may be significant to find out what happened to the plane," said Gaupaas.

3:20 pm: China says its satellites may have found images of objects

In a dramatic development during the press conference, a note was handed to the Malaysian minister which stated that Chinese satellites had detected objects of 22 metres by 30 metres in the southern Indian ocean.

The minister said they would need to verify with the Chinese about what had been found.

It wasn't clear whether the objects were found in the region where the search is presently on.

3:00 pm: 'Transcript of conversation between Pilot of airplane and air traffic controller indicates nothing abnormal'

Malaysia minister Hishamuddin Hussein has said that the search corridor where they are hunting for the missing aircraft is very challenging and clarified that they have had no debris that has been found yet.

The minister also said that the government wouldn't release the transcript of the conversation between the Air Traffic Controller and the pilots of the missing flight just yet.

"However, I can clarify the transcript doesn't indicate anything abnormal," he said

He said that the government was receiving updates from the Australian team on an hourly basis.

11:30 am: Malaysia seeks undersea surveillance equipment

Malaysia has sought undersea surveillance equipment from the US to search the missing plane that mysteriously disappeared two weeks ago with 239 people on board, the Pentagon said.

In a phone call to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, Malaysia's Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein "requested that the US consider providing some undersea surveillance equipment", Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

"Hagel assured Hishammuddin that he would assess the availability and utility of military undersea technology for such a task and provide him an update in the very near future," Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said.

Officials did not say precisely what equipment the Pentagon might provide but the US military has invested heavily in undersea surveillance.

08:30 am: Two weeks on still no sign of Flight MH370

Three Australian planes took off at dawn Saturday for a third day of scouring the desolate southern Indian Ocean for possible parts of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, now lost for two full weeks.

Australia promised its best efforts to resolve "an extraordinary riddle," but two days of searching the seas about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth have not produced any evidence.

A satellite spotted two large objects in the area earlier this week, raising hopes of finding the Boeing 777 that disappeared March 8 with 239 people on board.

"It's about the most inaccessible spot that you could imagine on the face of the Earth, but if there is anything down there, we will find it," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at a news conference in Papua New Guinea.

"We owe it to the families and the friends and the loved ones of the almost 240 people on Flight MH370 to do everything we can to try to resolve what is as yet an extraordinary riddle," he added.

A total of six aircraft were to search the region Saturday: two ultra long-range commercial jets and four P3 Orions, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

Because of the distance to the area, the Orions will have enough fuel to search for two hours, while the commercial jets can stay for five hours before heading back to the base.

Two merchant ships were in the area, and the HMAS Success, a navy supply ship, was due to arrive late Saturday afternoon. Weather in the search zone was expected to be relatively good, with some cloud cover.

End of updates for 21 March

3.09 pm: No trace of jet debris yet, search will continue says Malaysia

Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has reconfirmed that there has been no trace of plane debris so far, despite satellite images showing two objects that could have belonged to the missing plane floating in the southern Indian Ocean.

Hussein said however that the search would continue.

Addressing a daily press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Hussein said a British ship would also join in the search, adding that he had spoken with British and French teams about the rescue efforts.

He added that Kazakhstan had also confirmed that there had been no sign of the plane in their territory.

1.48 pm: Debris spotted on satellite may have sunk: Australia

Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss said on Friday objects spotted on satellite images that sparked an international hunt in the remote southern Indian Ocean for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have sunk.

The satellite images were taken on 16 March.

"Something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating," he told reporters in Perth. "It may have slipped to the bottom."

Truss said the search continued in treacherous seas in an area some 2,500 km (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth, and Australian, New Zealand and US aircraft would be joined by Chinese and Japanese planes over the weekend.

1.33 pm: Still no evidence that objects in Indian Ocean are objects from missing plane

Investigators have not received evidence so far that two objects spotted by satellite in the Indian Ocean come from a missing passenger jet, a top Malaysian official said on Friday.

"I have been getting reports all morning. There is no positive corroboration yet," Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters.

He was speaking after a search force resumed the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the remote southern Indian Ocean, trying to confirm a potential debris field.

1.23 pm: Search planes fail to find debris from missing jet

Search planes sent to find objects in the south Indian Ocean that may be from the missing Malaysia Airlines jet began returning without success Friday, and an Australian official said the hunt would be extended again for another day.

The planes are part of an international effort to solve the nearly 2-week-old aviation mystery by locating two large objects a satellite detected floating off the southwest coast of Australia about halfway to the desolate islands of the Antarctic.

The area in the southern Indian Ocean is so remote is takes aircraft four hours to fly there and four hours back, and leaves them only about two hours to search.

The satellite discovery raised new hope of finding the vanished jet and sent another emotional jolt to the families of the 239 people aboard.

But like the first day of searching Thursday, efforts so far Friday have been fruitless, said John Young, manager of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's emergency response division.

"Although this search area is much smaller than we started with, it nonetheless is a big area when you're looking out the window and trying to see something by eye," Young said.

"So we may have to do this a few times to be confident about the coverage of that search area," he said.

Five planes were sent out, with the last expected to head back to Perth in western Australia about 1100 GMT, he said.

Young said that although the weather improved from Thursday, there was still some low cloud cover over the search area 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) from western Australia. Given that radar did not pick up anything on Thursday, searchers were using their eyes instead of equipment to try and spot the objects, forcing the planes to fly very low over the water.

The aircraft are planning to head back to the search zone on Saturday, but the search area will change slightly depending on water movements overnight, Young said.

AMSA officials are also looking to see if there is any new satellite imagery that can help provide searchers with new or more information, he said.

Speaking at a news conference in Papua New Guinea, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said, "We've been throwing everything we've got at that area to try to learn more about what this debris might be."

He said that the objects "could just be a container that's fallen off a ship — we just don't know."

Abbott spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, whom he described as "devastated." Of the 227 passengers on the missing flight, 154 were from China.

 

10.00 am: China sends 3 warships to join search for Malaysia plane

China is sending three warships to join the search for possible pieces of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in the southern Indian Ocean, the government said Friday.

The ships are en route to the area where a satellite image showed two large objects floating about 2,300 kilometers (1,400 miles) west of Australia, the National Maritime Search and Rescue Center said Friday.

It gave no indication when they might arrive at the remote site, but earlier Chinese news reports said the ships — the Kunlunshan, the Haikou and the Qiandaohu — were searching near the Indonesian island of Sumatra.

The center said a fourth Chinese vessel, the icebreaker Snow Dragon, is in the western Australian port of Perth following a trip to Antarctica and might join the search.

9.15 am: Australia resumes remote ocean search for plane debris

Australia resumed the search for possible wreckage from Malaysian airlines flight MH370 in a remote, storm-swept stretch of the Indian Ocean, hoping for better weather as spotters seek to identify the objects shown on grainy satellite images.

Nearly two weeks after Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar over the South China Sea, the search focus has switched to an isolated section of ocean 2,500 kilometres (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth.

Satellite images have emerged showing two indistinct floating objects in the area -- the largest estimated at 24 metres (79 feet) across -- which Australia and Malaysia have described as "credible" leads.

Five aircraft were taking part in Friday's operations -- three Australian air force P-3 Orions, a US Navy P-8 Poseidon and a civil Bombardier Global Express jet.

Hampering the effort is the distance from the west coast of Australia, which allows the planes only about two hours of actual search time before they must return to Perth.

A Norwegian merchant ship is already helping scour the search area, but Australia's HMAS Success, which is capable of retrieving any wreckage, was still days away.

Poor weather has compounded the difficulty in finding the objects. Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said rain showers eased Friday but that drizzle, low cloud cover and reduced visibility would continue.

Although Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott cautioned that the objects may yet prove to be the latest in a number of false leads, his announcement of the satellite image analysis galvanised a search that had seemed stuck in a downward spiral of frustration and recrimination.

The nature of the events that diverted MH370 from its intended flight path on March 8 remain shrouded in mystery, although Malaysian investigators have stuck to their assumption that it was the result of a "deliberate action" by someone on board.

Three scenarios have gained particular attention: hijacking, pilot sabotage, and a sudden mid-air crisis that incapacitated the flight crew and left the plane to fly on auto-pilot for several hours until it ran out of fuel and crashed.

If the objects in the remote southern Indian Ocean are shown to have come from MH370, some analysts believe the hijacking theory will lose ground.

"The reasonable motives for forcing the plane to fly there are very, very few," Gerry Soejatman, a Jakarta-based independent aviation analyst, told AFP.

The area is well off recognised shipping lanes, and the Norwegian car transporter was understood to have taken two days to reach it.

"It's really off the beaten track," said Tim Huxley, chief executive of Wah Kwong Maritime Transport Holdings in Hong Kong. "It's a lonely, lonely place."

9.15 am: Delays in identifying satellite images due to 'vast amounts of data'

Delays in identifying satellite images that may show debris of a missing Malaysian plane in the southern Indian Ocean were due to the vast amounts of data that needed to be analysed, Australian authorities and the U.S. company that collected the images said.

Australia rushed four international aircraft to an area about 2,500 km (1,500 miles) southwest of Perth on Thursday after analysis of satellite images identified two large objects that may have come from the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing almost two weeks ago with 239 people aboard.

DigitalGlobe Inc , a Colorado-based company that collects satellite imagery for the U.S. government and other countries as well as private companies, confirmed it had collected the images on March 16. It did not say when the images were provided to Australian authorities.

Australian Acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said on Friday the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), which is leading the search for the Boeing 777 airliner in the southern Indian Ocean, had only received the satellite images on Thursday morning.

However, the data was analysed by Australia's Defence Imagery and Geospatial Organisation (DIGO) before that.

8.00 am: Winds, rain, currents hamper search for debris spotted in satellite images

If two blurred objects photographed from space are confirmed as debris from Flight MH370, scientists will still face a daunting task to find and recover the sensitive recorders containing clues to the Malaysian jet's disappearance.

With so little known about why the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight changed course and disappeared after leaving Kuala Lumpur on 8 March, finding the 'black boxes' is seen as the only real hope of understanding what happened to the plane and the 239 people on board.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday said objects possibly belonging to the plane had been discovered in the Indian Ocean. The area is around 2,500 km southwest of Perth, above a volcanic ridge in waters estimated to be 2,500 to 4,000 metres (8,200 to 13,120 feet) deep.

"It can be incredibly rough and difficult. It can be very windy with strong currents, though it can equally be calm," said David Gallo, director of special projects at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in Falmouth, Massachusetts, referring to the general area where the objects were seen.

"If it is confirmed as debris, then the first priority is to recover and record each piece and see how high or low it is sitting in the water. This may help indicate how it has been moved by currents and winds," said Gallo.

The immediate problem will be to find the debris, which may have moved since the satellite images were taken on 16 March. It could take several days to verify the satellite lead, a source close to the investigation said.

Military aircraft from Australia, the United States and New Zealand have so far found nothing during a search hampered by strong winds and rain. Neither has a merchant ship in the area. If the objects - the biggest measures up to 24 metres (79 feet) - are from the Boeing 777, recovery teams will work as quickly as possible to locate the rest of the wreckage in the hope it leads them to the data and cockpit voice recorders.

-- end of updates for 20 March --

8.50 pm: China's request to enter Indian waters to search for missing jet rejected

After objections raised by the defence forces, India today rejected China's request for permission to allow its four warships to enter Indian maritime zone to search for the missing Malaysian airliner.

China, whose 150 nationals are on board the aircraft, had yesterday sent a formal request to India to allow their warships including a salvage vessel and two frigates to enter Indian waters in the Andaman Sea to locate the plane.

The request was politely declined and the Chinese Navy was told that Indian Navy and the Air Force were already scanning the area and there was no need for anybody else to search the area, sources told PTI.

The defence forces had raised objections over the entry of Chinese warships into the Indian waters and that too in an area in Bay of Bengal where India's military assets are mainly to guard against China and these could get exposed if the Chinese warships are allowed in, they said.

Sources said the Chinese People's Liberation Army's Navy (PLAN) had justified its presence in the Indian Ocean Region in the name of anti-piracy patrol and allowing it to station itself in the Andaman Sea for search operations would not have been prudent.

Meanwhile, India is all set to deploy long-range maritime surveillance aircraft including the P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft and the C-130J Super Hercules aircraft for the search operations in the new area south of Indonesia.

These two aircraft are capable of undertaking long-range sorties and refueling themselves at designated locations as the Malaysian authorities have requested India and other countries to search in areas 5,000 km south of Jakarta in the Indian Ocean Region.

India has so far deployed six warships and five maritime surveillance aircraft to locate the missing airliner with 239
passengers on board.

The assets deployed for the search operations include INS Saryu, INS Kumbhir and INS Kesari from the Navy and ICGS Kanaklata Barua and ICGS Bhikaji Cama.

The Navy had deployed two of its P-8I maritime surveillance aircraft from INS Rajali in Tamil Nadu for locating the missing plane along with its Dornier maritime surveillance aircraft.

The IAF has also pressed into action its C-130J Super Hercules Special Operations aircraft fitted with modern surveillance capabilities to find the plane.

4.50 pm: Weather hampers search ops for missing Malaysian jet

After the significant radar hits in Southern Indian Ocean, the search operations have been getting hampered due to weather conditions.

TV reports say, that heavy clouds and rain has reduced visibility making it difficult for search crew to visualise debris.

3.52 pm: Significant radar hits found during search for missing jet in Indian Ocean

Reports are coming in that radar hits of 'significant size' have been found by the light crew combing Southern Indian Ocean.

Further details on this development are awaited.

3.20 pm: Regret the way Chinese families were treated, says Malaysian minister

Transport minister Hussein says, "My heart is with the Chinese families, we regret the way they were treated yesterday."

As the press conference goes to a question-answer session, a Malaysian official says, "We regret what happened yesterday with the Chinese relatives."

"Special envoy for China along with Chinese officials will hold briefing for the Chinese families," he said.

3.12 pm: China sending more ships to look for missing jet, says Malaysian official

Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Bin Hussein said that China was sending in more help to look for the missing flight.

"China is using 21 satellites and is willing to send more ships to the search area," he said.

Hussein also said, "We must never, ever give up hope."

3.10 pm: Every effort being made to find missing jet, says Malaysian official

Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Bin Hussein said that every effort was being made to locate the object found by Australian satellites.

"While some objects have been found in southern search corridor, there is no confirmation if they are from MH370," Hussein said and added, "Every effort is being made to locate images found by the satellites."

He said 29 aircrafts and 18 ships were deployed in the search for the flight that has been now missing for more than 10 days. "With every passing day our search has intensified," he said.

10.10 am: Objects found in the southern search corridor, says Australian authorities

In a press meet, Australian authorities said that though they can't confirm if the objects photographed by the satellite indeed belong to the missing Malaysian plane, they have been found in the search area for the jet, determined by the investigation agencies. "Commercial satellites have been redirected to take high resolution images of the objects," says officials, adding that the objects are 'indistinct' in the available images.

"It could be containers from the ships fallen from board, it could be something else. But since they have been spotted in the search areas, we are trying to make sure what they are," said John Young, an Australian official, when asked if objects of those dimensions are usually spotted in the sea at other times.

They also said that several aircraft have been deployed to search the area properly and the country has been regularly briefing all other countries involved in the search.

10.03 am: Objects spotted might not be from missing Malaysian jet, says Australian authorities

Following is the full text of the statement issued by the AMSA on the objects spotted in Southern Indian Ocean, by Australian satellite:

Statement from AMSA Emergency Response Division General Manager John Young

* All times will be expressed in Australian Eastern Daylight Savings Time.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority is coordinating the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft, with assistance from the Australian Defence Force, the New Zealand Air Force and the United States Navy.

AMSA’s Rescue Coordination Centre Australia has received satellite imagery of objects possibly related to the search for the missing aircraft, flight MH370.

RCC Australia received an expert assessment of commercial satellite imagery on Thursday.

The images were captured by satellite. They may not be related to the aircraft.

The assessment of these images was provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organisation as a possible indication of debris south of the search area that has been the focus of the search operation.

The imagery is in the vicinity of the search area defined and searched in the past two days.

Four aircraft have been reoriented to the area 2500 kilometres south-west of Perth as a result of this information.

A Royal Australian Air Force Orion aircraft arrived in the area about 1.50pm.

A further three aircraft have been tasked by RCC Australia to the area later today, including a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion and United States Navy P8 Poseidon aircraft.

The Poseidon aircraft is expected to arrive at 3pm. The second RAAF Orion is expected to depart RAAF Base Pearce at 6pm.

The New Zealand Orion is due to depart at 8pm.

A RAAF C-130 Hercules aircraft has been tasked by RCC Australia to drop datum marker buoys.

These marker buoys assist RCC Australia by providing information about water movement to assist in drift modelling. They will provide an ongoing reference point if the task of relocating the objects becomes protracted.

A merchant ship that responded to a shipping broadcast issued by RCC Australia on Monday is expected to arrive in the area about 6pm.

Royal Australian Navy ship HMAS Success is en route to the area but is some days away from this area. She is well equipped to recover any objects located and proven to be from MH370.

The focus for AMSA is to continue the search operation, with all available assets.

The assets are searching for anything signs of the missing aircraft.

Weather conditions are moderate in the Southern Indian Ocean where the search is taking place. Poor visibility has been reported.

AMSA continues to hold grave concerns for the passengers and crew on board.

9.40 am: Reports suggest that a Malaysian minister has confirmed new lead in probe

According to latest reports, a Malaysian minister has confirmed to news agency Reuters that a new lead has emerged in the search for the missing flight MH370. The announcement comes immediately after the Australian PM declared that satellite images have spotted objects that might be parts of the missing plane.

The Wall Street Journal has also reported that Malaysia Defense Ministry has issued a statement saying aircraft, vessels en Route to verify possible debris in southern Indian Ocean.

9.10 am: Finding plane top priority, says US President Barack Obama

Associated Press reports that President Barack Obama has said finding out what happened to the missing Malaysia Airlines plane is a top priority for the US. In his first public comments on the mind-boggling disappearance, Obama said Wednesday that every available U.S. resource is being used in the search, including the FBI, the National Transportation Safety Board and others who deal with aviation.

Finding the plane will take time because the search area is so vast, he said, but the U.S. will continue working in close cooperation with the Malaysian government, which is leading the investigation, "to see if we can get to the bottom of this."

8.54 am: Meanwhile, India denies having spotted plane debris off Andhra Coast

Officials in Andhra Pradesh on Wednesday denied TV reports that pieces of what was suspected to be an aircraft were seen near the coast. Officials in Nellore district in south coastal Andhra off the Bay of Bengal found the report by a Telugu news channel to be untrue.

The district authorities deputed some officials along with boats to Kutta Gouduru beach in T.P. Gudur mandal following reports that some fishermen saw objects resembling parts of an airplane.

The fishermen had informed police, who in turn alerted district-level authorities. However, after a search in the area, it was dismissed as a rumour.

From IANS

8.45 am: Has Australian search team spotted parts of the plane?

Australia's prime minister says objects possibly related to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight have been spotted on satellite imagery.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott told Parliament in Canberra on Thursday that a Royal Australian Airforce Orion has been diverted to the area to attempt to locate the objects. The Orion is expected to arrive in the area Thursday afternoon. Three additional aircraft are expected to follow for a more intensive search.

It was also reported that the Australian Maritime Safety Authority will hold a media briefing soon.

With inputs from AP

7.42 am: Malaysia seeks FBI help to analyse simulator data

The FBI joined forces with Malaysian authorities in analyzing deleted data on a flight simulator belonging to the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, while distraught relatives of the passengers unleashed their anger — wailing in frustration at 12 days of uncertainty.

Files containing records of flight simulations were deleted Feb. 3 from the device found in the home of the Malaysia Airlines pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu said.

It was not immediately clear whether investigators thought that deleting the files was unusual. The files might hold signs of unusual flight paths that could help explain where the missing plane went. Then again, the files could have been deleted simply to clear memory for other material.

Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference that Zaharie is considered innocent until proven guilty.

From Associated Press

End of updates from 19 March

6.50 pm: Malaysian government, oppn fight over missing jet

It took more than a week, but both sides of Malaysia's bitterly contested political divide are now sparring over the disappearance and hunt for the missing jetliner, a possible distraction for a government already under fire for its handling of the crisis.

The opposition is attacking the government, relishing in the international criticism that has been directed at leaders unused to such scrutiny. Pro-government blogs are focusing on the pilot's support for opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, hoping that suspicions against the former will discredit the latter.

Malaysian politics have been defined in recent years by the government's attempts to stop the rise of opposition parties chipping away at its five-decade grip on power.

Anwar, the opposition movement's main leader, spent six years in jail on corruption and sodomy charges, a campaign that Western rights groups and governments say is politically motivated.

The missing plane has reopened this fault line because the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, is a supporter of Anwar and the uncle of his daughter-in-law. It got extra traction locally when the Daily Mail, a British tabloid, described Zaharie as a "political fanatic," and used this to buttress a theory that he was involved in the plane's disappearance.

6.13 pm: Malaysia gives Indian govt new search coordinates for missing jet

Television reports suggest that now, Malaysia has given the India government new search coordinates for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Further details on this development are awaited.

3.25 pm: Files recently deleted from pilot's simulator, says Malaysian official

During a press conference today a Malaysian Minister said that reports of the missing plane sighted in Maldives were untrue.

He said, "Have asked respective countries to provide background of all passengers on board the MH370."

TV reports also suggested that before this press conference some relatives of passengers on board the missing flight barged into the venue and demanded that the truth be told to them.

The official also said files were recently deleted from flight simulator of pilot aboard missing jet.

3.06 pm: Background check on passengers produces no information

Background checks on nearly all but three of the 239 passengers and crew on board a missing Malaysia Airlines jet have produced no "information of significance", Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Wednesday.

"We have received passengers' background checks from all countries apart from Ukraine and Russia," Hishammuddin told reporters at a daily briefing.

"So far no information of significance on passengers has been found." he said. There were two Ukranians and one Russian on the plane.

1.12 pm: Meanwhile, relatives of Chinese passengers on MH370 accuse Malaysia of incompetence

Tempers flared Wednesday among Chinese relatives of passengers aboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, as frustration grew with what one called the airline's "shameful role" and the search entered its 12th day. "We do not have any other way of dealing with this other than to be angry and to cry. Your way of dealing with it is either lying or playing a shameful role," one relative shouted, waving his arms furiously at a representative from the airline.

The angry exchanges took place at a daily meeting between company officials and family members at a hotel in Beijing, as multinational efforts have failed to find any trace of the plane which had 153 Chinese aboard.

"Look what we have been talking about today -- trivial matters," the man shouted angrily. "What are we coming here for? We just want to know where our relatives are and where the plane is." 

 From AFP.

12.34 pm: Malaysian plane in Indian Ocean?

Investigators examining the March 8 disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 people aboard believe it most likely that the plane flew into the southern Indian Ocean, a source close to the investigation said on Wednesday.

"The working assumption is that it went south, and furthermore that it went to the southern end of that corridor," said the source, referring to a search area stretching from west of Indonesia to the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

Reuters

11.04 am: Did the plane crash off Langkawi islands?

A Google plus post by former pilot Chris Goodfellow - that was later published by Wired suggests that the truth could be much simpler and less complex than originally thought. There was an electric fire onboard. The experienced pilot with no time on his hands, sought to divert the flight to the island of Langkawi. This is what happened according to Goodfellow:

"What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on  the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route - looking elsewhere was pointless."  

However, this theory too has been debunked. In an article published on Slate, Jeff Wise says, "Goodfellow’s account is emotionally compelling, and it is based on some of the most important facts that have been established so far. And it is simple—to a fault. Take other major findings of the investigation into account, and Goodfellow’s theory falls apart. According to Wise, Goodfellow falters on a number of factors.

Read the complete article on Firstpost here

8.24 am: Has Hyderabad techie managed to spot missing flight over Andaman Islands?

After singer Courtney Love declared that she might have spotted the missing jet, a Hyderabad techie has also claimed that he has satellite images of what he thinks is the missing Malaysian plane. According to a report on The Hindu, 29-year-old  Anoop Madhav Yeggina, found a picture of what seemed like a huge jet flying very low over the Andaman Islands. He was reportedly going over the pictures of DigitalGlobe Satellite QB02 when he spotted this image.

Anoop told The Hindu:

“I am confident that the image is that of the missing plane because of many reasons. First giveaway is the fact that the image was captured just above a forest and very close to the Shibpur air strip of Andaman Islands. The air strip is exclusively used by the defence forces with no permission for civilian aircraft in this area. A close look at the image will reveal if it is flying extremely low so much so that the clouds are above it which suggests it was done to avoid detection by radar. Most importantly, the standard scale measurement and colour of the missing plane matches with that of the plane in the image,” said Mr. Anoop.

Read the complete story here.

8.21 am: Missing jet didn't land on Indian Ocean base, says US

The United States has ruled out the possibility of the missing Malaysian plane landing at its Indian Ocean base in Diego Garcia.
"I'll rule that one out," White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday when asked about such news reports appearing mainly in the Chinese press.

Carney said the Malaysian government has the lead in this investigation and the US officials are in Kuala Lumpur working closely with the Malaysian government on the investigation. "This is a difficult and unusual situation, and we are working hard, in close collaboration with the Malaysian government and other partners, to investigate a number of possible scenarios for what happened to the flight. Our hearts
of course go out to the families of the passengers. They are in a truly agonizing situation," he said.

From PTI

--- End of updates from 18 March ---

9.30 pm: Now Maldivians may have seen mysterious Malaysian plane

Deepening the mystery of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, residents of the remote Maldives island of Kuda Huvadhoo in Dhaal Atoll claimed that they have seen a "low flying jumbo jet" on 8 March, the day on which the aircraft disappeared.

The Haveeruonline report said that the aircraft was travelling at a very low attitude making tremendous noise from "North to South-East, towards the Southern tip of the Maldives – Addu".

"I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly," said an eyewitness to Haveeruonline.

"It's not just me either, several other residents have reported seeing the exact same thing. Some people got out of their houses to see what was causing the tremendous noise too," the witness said.

6:15 pm: 10 days later, Thailand gives radar data

Thailand's military says its radar detected a plane that may have been Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 just minutes after the missing jetliner's communications went down, and that it didn't share the information earlier because it wasn't specifically asked for it.

Thai air force spokesman Montol Suchookorn said Tuesday the plane followed a twisting flight path to the Strait of Malacca, which is where Malaysian radar tracked Flight 370 early 8 March.

But Montol said the Thai military wasn't sure whether it detected the same plane.

The search for the jet has entered its second week. AP

The search for the jet has entered its second week. AP

Asked why it took so long to release the information, Montol said, "Because we did not pay any attention to it." He said the plane never entered Thai airspace and that Malaysia's initial request for information was not specific.

5:00 pm: Has Courtney Love found the missing jet?

She's known more for her headline-making ability than those in the area of search and rescue, but singer Courtney Love has created a storm on Twitter by claiming that she may have found the missing Malaysian flight MH370.

The singer posted a series of images on her Twitter timeline that she claimed could be of the missing aircraft, the search for which has entered its second week.

 

 

  4.16 pm: Search area for missing jet is now as big as Australia: Malaysian govt Malaysia has said the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet now encompassed and area slightly larger than the entire land mass of Australia. "The entire search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles (7.7 million square kilometres)," acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in a daily press briefing on Tuesday evening. Australia has a land mass of around 7.6 million square kilometres. The search area extends north into south central Asia, passing across far western China, including Xinjiang and Tibet, as well as south deep into the Indian Ocean west of Australia. "This is an enormous search area. And it is something that Malaysia cannot possibly search on its own," Hishammuddin said. "I am therefore very pleased that so many countries have come forward to offer assistance and support to the search and rescue operation." 26 countries have deployed dozens of aircraft to search for the missing Beijing-bound jet that went missing in the early hours of March 8. 3.35 pm: Furious Chinese families threaten to go on hunger strike Furious Chinese families threatened to go on hunger strike until the Malaysian government tells them the truth about the fate of their relatives aboard a Malaysia Airlines flight which went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Ten days after the airliner vanished an hour into its flight, hundreds of family members are still waiting for information in a Beijing hotel. Around two thirds of the 239 passengers on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are Chinese. Families vented their pain and anger on Chinese representatives sent by the airline to meet them on Tuesday and demanded to see the Malaysian ambassador. "What we want is the truth. Don't let them become victims of politics. No matter what political party you are, no matter how much power you have, if there isn't life, what's the point? Where is compassion?" asked one middle-aged woman angrily. "You're always going back and forth. I think your government knows in their heart why we want you to answer us. Because you're always tricking us, telling us lies," added one man. Speaking to reporters, a woman who had led the chanting held up a piece of paper with slogans written on it, and said the families were calling for a hunger strike. "Respect life, return our relatives. Can everyone read it? Can everyone read it?" she asked. "We're going on hunger strike. I'm representing," she said. "The families are on the point of collapse. There are so many families coming and going, some have already left. The young people can stand it, but the elderly have already broken down," she shouted. It was not clear how many of the relatives would join the hunger strike, or if it had even begun. China has repeatedly called on the Malaysian side to do a better job at looking after the relatives of the Chinese passengers, and to provide them with updated information. 3.10 pm: Precise time at which system was disabled has no bearing on search operations, says govt Addressing the media at its daily press briefing, the Malaysian government has said that the precise time at which the communications system of MH370 was disabled has no bearing on the search operations for the site. The Malaysian Transport minister said that the position of the government, which was that the communications system of the jet had been deliberately switched off, and that the plane had been flown for some hours after it was reported missing, remained unchanged. He said that the jet seemed to have been deviated from its flight path between 1.07pm and 1.37pm. 3.00 pm: Malaysia govt says new search area is 2.2 mn nautical miles The Malaysian government has said that the new search area, which has been divided into several corridors and quadrants is now 2.2 million nautical miles. Australia and Malaysia have agreed to take the lead in one corridor, while China and ASEAN will take the lead in another. 2.51 pm: Sri Lanka allows use of airspace to search for missing jet Sri Lanka today allowed flights from Malaysia, Australia, New Zealand and the US to use its air space for search operations to trace the missing Malaysian passenger aircraft. The External Affairs Ministry said that a request had been made for Lanka's air space to be used during the search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which suddenly disappeared with 239 people on board on 8 March. It said the request has been granted for aircraft from Malaysia, US, Australia and New Zealand in the on going search and rescue operations. Lankan Mission in Malaysia had asked the Malaysian authorities if any direct assistance was required in the search and rescue operations but so far such assistance has not been sought, the ministry said. 12.50 pm: Malaysia denies cold shouldering US Malaysia rejected criticism on Tuesday from US government officials that it has not been sharing as much information as it could with foreign governments about the disappearance of passenger jet more than a week ago. Two US security officials said on Monday that the Malaysia had still not invited the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to send a team to Kuala Lumpur to assist in the probe into the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. "I have been working with them," Malaysia's Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told Reuters on Tuesday, when asked if the country had requested FBI help. "It's up for the FBI to tell us if they need more experts to help because it's not for us to know what they have." While Malaysia's police special branch has been providing some information to US law enforcement and intelligence agencies, US sources said, the FBI is only collaborating with Malaysian authorities via an agent, known as a "legal attache", assigned to the American Embassy in Kuala Lumpur. The FBI and other U.S. law enforcement agencies, such as elements of the Department of Homeland Security, indicated some time ago they were eager to send teams to Kuala Lumpur, but will not do so unless formally invited. Asked if any FBI staff had travelled from outside Malaysia, Hishammuddin said: "Once I have spoken to one FBI representative, I assume the whole FBI would be behind it." 11.50 am: Malaysia under scrutiny as plane mystery drags on Malaysia vehemently denies mishandling crucial information on the fate of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370, but questions persist as to whether early missteps and secrecy contributed to the disappearance of a huge passenger plane on a clear night. Foreign media reports, especially those in China's state media, have accused the Malaysian authorities of incompetence, misleading the public and exacerbating the suffering of the relatives of those missing. Two-thirds of the passengers on the Boeing-777 that effectively vanished 11 days ago were Chinese nationals. The Malaysian government has pleaded for patience and understanding, arguing it has no choice but to hold back information that has not been painstakingly verified. Critics say the lack of progress in the search for the plane is symptomatic of an inefficient ruling elite unused to tough questioning. "The Malaysian leadership is not used to being held to account on anything," Michael Barr, an Asian politics expert at Flinders University in Australia, told AFP. "They are more used to controlling the press and silencing critics," he said. The authoritarian Barisan Nasional government has been in power since independence from colonial rulers Britain in 1957. It has overseen decades of growth that have seen Malaysia emerge as Southeast Asia's third largest economy, posting a healthy GDP expansion of 4.7 percent last year. But analysts say unchallenged power has also bred apathy and inefficiency. The stumbles over the missing plane search show that the government "lacks the ability to handle many technical matters with assurance and to communicate its purposes globally with clarity and agility," said Clive Kessler, emeritus professor of sociology and anthropology at the University of New South Wales. Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim who, along with right groups, has routinely accused the government of civil liberties abuses and corruption, was even more scathing. "The mysterious disappearance of MH370 reflects not only an incompetent regime ruling the country but an irresponsible government," Anwar told AFP. He was speaking in response to speculation that the captain of this airliner -- a member of Anwar's party -- may have been driven by political motives to sabotage the plane. Anwar said he was "disgusted" by what he saw as an attempt to smear the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and somehow implicate the opposition leadership in the March 8 disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 11.30 am: Australia sharply reduces search for missing plane in Indian Ocean Australia's maritime safety agency said on Tuesday it had sharply reduced its search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner to a 600,000 sq km (230,000 sq mile) corridor in the southern Indian Ocean, but that is still roughly the size of Spain and Portugal combined. Strong currents and high seas are making the task more daunting, it said. In the northern hemisphere, a separate search area is along an arc stretching from Malaysia through northern Thailand, Myanmar and China to Kazakhstan. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), said the southern search field had been narrowed from 19 million sq km, based on analysis of satellite data collected from the plane by the United States National Transportation Safety Board. AMSA had streamlined that data further to account for water movements in the days since Flight MH370 disappeared 10 days ago. "It's the result of some analysis of the possible movement of the aircraft," John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of AMSA, told reporters. "There are some assumptions built in, including the speed of the aircraft." 10.30 am: Why were there no cell phone calls by passengers of missing jet? As time passes, the mysteries surrounding MH370 only seem to grow. The latest question that is being reportedly asked is, why was there no mobile communication by any of the passengers who were aboard the plane after it was diverted? According to a NY Times report, as far as investigators have been able to determine, there have been no phone calls, Twitter or Weibo postings, Instagram photos or any other communication from anyone aboard the aircraft since it was diverted. According to the report: The apparent absence of any word from the aircraft in an era of nearly ubiquitous mobile communications has prompted considerable debate among pilots, telecommunications specialists and others. Most of the people aboard the plane were from Malaysia or China, two countries where mobile phone use is extremely prevalent, especially among affluent citizens who take international flights.Some theorize the silence signifies that the plane was flying too high for personal electronic devices to be used. Others wonder whether people aboard the flight even tried to make calls or send messages. 9.30 am: China begins search for missing jet in its territory Reuters reports: China has begun to searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 passengers and crew on board in Chinese territory which covers a northern corridor through which the aircraft could have flown, said state news agency Xinhua on Tuesday, quoting Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang. 9.09 am: No evidence that Chinese passengers could be involved in hijack, says China Meanwhile, China stepped up pressure on Malaysian authorities by declaring that they have thoroughly probed the passengers from their country aboard MH370 and concluded that they could not have helped orchestrate a terror attack on a hijack situation. "There is no evidence of Chinese passengers being involved in a hijack or terror attack on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing earlier this month, state media on Tuesday cited China's ambassador to Malaysia as saying." 8.55 am: Malaysian PM calls up Manmohan Singh, provides new search coordinates As the missing plane mystery deepens, Malaysian authorities are all set to provide Indian search teams with new coordinates to resume search. The Indian Express reports that Malaysian PM Najib Razak has called up Manmohan Singh and updated him about the new search plan. IE quotes a government source:  “The Malaysian side were very appreciative of Indian efforts to find the missing aircraft. Now, they have to give us the coordinates of the Northern Arc —  which covers several countries, and the Southern Arc — which covers the Indian Ocean. The Indian side will then work on those two possible flight paths.” 8.50 am: Did missing Malaysian jet fly to Taliban-dominated territory? According to a report in The Independent, the missing jet could have been flown to Taliban territory. Latest investigations have revealed that the last message that the air traffic controllers received from the plane's cockpit, 'All right, good night', came after one of the communication systems had been switched off. However, how that leads to the conclusion that the plane might have been flown to Taliban territory is not clear. 7.30 am: Flight's path might have been changed from computer system and not manually on the flight Nine days after it went missing, the US investigators have suggested that the aircraft's path might have been changed manually, but through a computer programme developed by someone who has intense knowledge about aircraft systems, reports New York Times.  NYT reports: "Instead of manually operating the plane’s controls, whoever altered Flight 370’s path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials. The Flight Management System, as the computer is known, directs the plane from point to point specified in the flight plan submitted before each flight. It is not clear whether the plane’s path was reprogrammed before or after it took off." This new development has strengthened the probe teams' belief that the plane was deliberately diverted and they now plan to thoroughly investigate the captain and the first officer. Read the full NYT report here.  7:10 am: US Navy ship drops out of search, returns to normal duties The US Navy ship that has been helping search for the missing Malaysian airliner is dropping out of the hunt, US military officials said on Monday. The Associated Press reported, that the USS Kidd, an Arleigh Burke-class destroyer that has been searching in the Indian Ocean, will return to its normal duties. The decision was made in consultation with the government of Malaysia. A Pentagon spokesman said Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel told Malaysian Minister of Defense Hishammuddin Tun Hussein on Monday evening that the United States is fully committed to working with Malaysia to locate the plane. The Navy's 7th Fleet determined that long-range naval aircraft are a more efficient means of looking for the plane or its debris, now that the search area has broadened into the southern Indian Ocean. Long-range Navy P-3 and P-8 surveillance aircraft remain involved in the search, Cmdr. William Marks, a spokesman for the 7th Fleet, said in an emailed statement. -- End of updates from 17 March --- 3: 30 pm: No hostage demands or distress signal gives hope flight wasn't hijacked, says authorities Malaysia said that it had asked all nations where the aircraft could have gone to verify using ground and satellite information where the flight may have gone. However, the government said that it was still focussed on finding the aircraft and it would not like to say for certain that the families of the passengers on board should fear the worst. "We estimate the plane could have had another 30 minutes of fuel," the transport minister said. The fact that there is no distress signal or demands from terror groups gave authorities hope that the flight hadn't been hijacked, the authorities said. 3:25 pm: Have recording of last transmission from co-pilot, analysing it, says Malaysia Airlines The Malaysia Airlines CEO said that they had recorded the conversation between the cockpit of the missing jet and the air traffic controller and had verified it to be the voice of the co-pilot. The authorities also said that the last communication had been received at 1:19 am on Saturday and they were analysing to check if the co-pilot was under stress during the last transmission. 3:20 pm: Psychometric tests were carried out on pilot, says Malaysia Airlines Malaysia Airlines said that psychometric tests were normal for its pilots and said it will look into the aspect. "We will look at whether we should tighten the measures," the airline CEO said. The Malaysia Airlines CEO said that they were presently at a stage of heightened security and checking everything before a flight. The Malaysian government said that they had no evidence to suggest that passengers had attempted to use their cell phones to make contact with anyone. "It is part of the investigations," the Malaysian transport minister said. 15:00 pm: Not withholding info, probing past of crew of MH370, say Malaysian authorities Malaysia today listed the various measures it is undertaking in its search for the missing aircraft and said it had also tied up with Chinese authorities for the search. The Malaysian government said that the police had begun investigating all the crew and ground staff who worked on the missing flight. "We have taken a flight simulator from the pilot's residence with the permission of his family," the Malaysian minister for aviation said, adding that they had worked with FBI and Interpol He also denied withholding information and said they were doing so in a organised matter. "We will not withhold any information but will not do so until verified by international investigating agencies," he said. The Malaysian government said that based on the information that it had given to US authorities, it had begun searching the Western coast of the nation. 12.40 am: Malaysian Police now investigating flight engineer on board MH370 Malaysian police are investigating a flight engineer who was among the passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane as they focus on the pilots and anyone else on board who had technical flying knowledge, a senior police official said. The aviation engineer is Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, 29, a Malaysian who has said on social media he had worked for a private jet charter company. "Yes, we are looking into Mohd Khairul as well as the other passengers and crew. The focus is on anyone else who might have had aviation skills on that plane," a senior police official with knowledge of the investigations told Reuters. 11:00 am: Australia takes over southern vector of search Australia has accepted a request from Malaysia to take charge of the "southern vector" of the search for a Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for more than a week with 239 people on board, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday. Abbott said he had offered additional surveillance resources to bolster the two Australian Orion aircraft already searching for the plane during a recent phone call with Prime Minister Najib Razak. "He asked that Australia take responsibility for the search in the southern vector, which the Malaysian authorities now think was one possible flight path for this ill-fated aircraft," Abbott told lawmakers in parliament. "I agreed that we would do so." 10:30 am: Last message from plane came after systems were disabled The last words from the cockpit of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 - "all right, good night" - were uttered after someone on board had already begun disabling one of the plane's automatic tracking systems, a senior Malaysian official said. Both the timing and informal nature of the phrase, spoken to air traffic controllers as the plane with 239 people aboard was leaving Malaysian-run airspace on a March 8 flight to Beijing, could further heighten suspicions of hijacking or sabotage. The sign-off came after one of the plane's data communication systems, which would have enabled it to be tracked beyond radar coverage, had been deliberately switched off, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Sunday. "The answer to your question is yes, it was disabled before," he told reporters when asked if the ACARS system - a maintenance computer that sends back data on the plane's status - had been deactivated before the voice sign-off. -- end of updates for 16 March 2014 --  7.40 pm: PM Manmohan Singh assures Malaysia of all possible assistance PM Manmohan Singh has assured Malaysian PM Najib Razak of all support after he requested India's assistance to corroborate possible paths that missing Malaysian airliner MH370 might have taken after losing contact with ATC radar. PM Najib had earlier called Singh to request tech assistance. Click here for the full report. 6.30 pm: India clears its passengers Indian intelligence officials have cleared the five Indians on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, police said today. As new information emerged that the communication system in the missing aircraft was deliberately disabled and its transponder switched off before the plane veered from its path, police focused their probe on the crew, passengers and the ground staff and sought background checks of all people on board.

"We are still awaiting reply from all agencies, especially intelligence reports from many countries. So far, Indian and Chinese authorities have cleared the list," police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said. (PTI) Click here for the full report. 4.28 pm: Malaysia still waiting for background checks on passengers Malaysian investigators are still waiting for some countries to send background checks on passengers who were on a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner as they intensify inquiries into a suspected deliberate diversion of the plane, the country's police chief said on Sunday. "There are still a few countries yet to respond to our requests," Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference. Police are also investigating airport ground staff and have intensified their checks on the two pilots, including examining a flight simulator seized from the captain's home, he said. Investigators have stepped up their scrutiny of the 239 crew members and passengers of lost Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. 3.56 pm: 25 countries involved in search for missing plane, says Malaysia Malaysia said on Sunday the number of countries involved in efforts to find a missing passenger jet had nearly doubled to 25 as it began a new push to find the plane across a vast arc of land and ocean. "The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation has increased from 14 to 25, which brings new challenges of coordination and diplomacy to the search effort," said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's defence and transport minister. 3.10 pm: Search and rescue operations are now focused on both land and sea, says Malaysian authorities Addressing a press conference in Kuala Lampur, Malaysian authorities said today that the search operation has entered a new phase, and only facts which are corroborated will be released. The authorities said that they are re-investigating the details of crew, passengers on board the missing plane as information revealed yesterday has provided new leads. "Hijack, sabotage, personal problem, psychological problem are still the four possible options. Search and rescue operations are now focused on both land and sea," a Malaysian minister said on missing flight. The conference was being addressed by Malaysia's transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar and Malaysian Aviation Chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman. 'Twenty five countries now involved in search for missing flight, this is an unprecedented situation," said Malaysia police chief. The Malaysian police chief said that ground staff as well as passengers and crew being investigated in search for missing plane. Malaysia civil aviation chief said that it is possible that the aircraft was on the ground when some satellite signals sent. However, Malaysia's transport minister said that the main focus is on search and rescue operations. "We don't want to speculate on any other theories," he added. 2. 30 pm: Captain of the missing Malaysian jet an engineering buff, passionate pilot The captain of a missing Malaysian jet is an engineering buff who assembled his own home flight simulator, while friends of the co-pilot have defended his reputation after one report portrayed him as a cockpit Casanova, reports AFP.

 Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, reportedly joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and is praised as a passionate pilot who has logged 18,365 hours of flying time at work and still more at home on his sophisticated simulator.
A tribute page that has garnered more than 400 comments largely from well-wishers, shows pictures of the complex set-up including Zaharie posing in front of it.
His YouTube channel at www.youtube.com/user/catalinapby1 features videos showing him cheerfully explaining how to fix an air-conditioner, patch damaged windows, and other DIY projects.
Malaysian media reports have quoted colleagues as calling Zaharie a "superb pilot", who also served as an examiner, authorised by the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department, to conduct simulator tests for pilots.
His first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, who joined the airline at the age of 20, studied piloting at a flight school on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi.
An Australian television report made waves this week by broadcasting an interview with a young South African woman who said Fariq and another pilot colleague invited them into the cockpit of a flight he co-piloted from Phuket, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur in 2011.
Passengers have been prohibited from entering cockpits during a flight since the 9/11 attacks on the United States. Malaysia Airlines said it was "shocked" by the reported security violation, but that it could not verify the claims.
The son of a high-ranking official in the public works department of a Malaysian state, he is a mild-mannered "good boy" who regularly visited his neighbourhood mosque outside Kuala Lumpur, said the mosque's imam, or spiritual leader.
Fariq also attended occasional Islamic courses, said Ahmad Sharafi Ali Asrah, who rejected the account of the supposed cockpit security breach.
"This story doesn't make sense and I feel it's just an effort to discredit Fariq or the airlines," Ahmad Sharafi said.
"He is a good boy and keeps a low profile."
Fariq had a brief brush with fame when he appeared in a CNN travel segment with the network's correspondent Richard Quest in February, in which Fariq helped fly a plane from Hong Kong to Kuala Lumpur.
The segment portrayed Fariq's transition to piloting the Boeing 777-200 after having completed training in a flight simulator.
"It was interesting to watch the way he brought the aircraft in to land," Quest said, according to the CNN website, calling Fariq's technique "textbook-perfect".
Prime Minister Najib Razak announced Saturday that satellite and radar data clearly indicated the plane's automated communications had been disabled and the plane then turned away from its intended path and flown on for hours.
In three of the four flights used for the 9/11 attacks, hijackers who seized control of the aircraft are believed to have manually turned off each plane's transponder, which sends flight data back to air-traffic control.
Terence Fan, an aviation expert at Singapore Management University, cited the crash of EgyptAir Flight 990 in October 1999 in the Atlantic Ocean -- which killed 217 people -- as an example of a crash allegedly deliberately caused by a pilot.
A US investigation said the first officer crashed the jet when the captain went on a break, findings disputed by Egyptian officials.

12. 50 am: Malaysian police examine pilot's flight simulator According to Associated Press reports, Malaysian authorities on Sunday were examining an elaborate flight simulator taken from the home of the pilots of the missing jetliner, after it was established that whoever flew off with the Boeing 777 had intimate knowledge of the cockpit and knew how to avoid detection when navigating around Asia. Satellite data suggested the plane flew for at least 7 ½ hours — more than six hours after the last radio contact — and that it could have reached north into Central Asia or deep into the southern Indian Ocean, posing awesome challenges for efforts to recover the plane and flight data recorders vital to solving the mystery of what happened on board. Given that the northern route would take the plane over countries with busy airspace, a southern path is seen as much more likely. The southern Indian Ocean is one of the most remote stretches of water in the world, the third deepest and has little radar coverage. The wreckage might take months — or longer — to find, or might never be located. There appeared to be some confusion Sunday as India, one of 12 countries contributing planes and vessels to the search, said it had stopped looking while waiting for confirmation from Malaysia on where to look. Malaysia's acting transport minister tweeted he was in meetings to decide the "next course of action" after Saturday's revelations. In a statement on Sunday, Malaysia's Transport Ministry said that police searched the homes of both the pilot and the co-pilot on Saturday. It didn't say whether this was the first time they had done this since the plane went missing eight days ago. It said police were examining an elaborate flight simulator taken from the home of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah. The statement also said they were investigating engineers who may have had contact with the plane before it took off. The flight departed Kuala Lumpur at 12:40 a.m. heading toward Beijing. Investigators now have a high degree of certainty that one of the plane's communications systems — the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) — was partially disabled before the aircraft reached the east coast of Malaysia, Najib said. Shortly afterward, someone on board switched off the aircraft's transponder, which communicates with civilian air traffic controllers. Najib confirmed that Malaysian air force defense radar picked up traces of the plane turning back westward, crossing over Peninsular Malaysia into the northern stretches of the Strait of Malacca. Authorities previously had said this radar data could not be verified. The air force has yet to explain why it didn't spot the plane flying over the country, and respond. The search was initially focused on the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, where the plane severed its communication links. That search has now ended. "One that thing that does bother me greatly is the fact that unidentified aircraft could navigate back over Malaysia and out to sea without a physical or material response to that fact," said Britain-based aviation security consultant Chris Yates. "They were not watching." (Associated Press)  10.29 am: India puts search for missing jet on hold India on Sunday has put its search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on hold, at the request of the government in Kuala Lumpur, which wants to reassess the week-old hunt for the Boeing 777 that is now suspected of being hijacked. India had been searching in two areas, one around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and a second further west in the Bay of Bengal. Both searches have been suspended, but may resume, defence officials said. "It's more of a pause," said Commander Babu, a spokesman for the country's Eastern Naval Command. "The Malaysian authorities are reassessing the situation. They will figure whether they need to shift the area of search." -- end of updates for 15 March 2014 --  8.53 pm: Thailand calls off search for missing Malaysian jet Thailand today called off its search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane over the Gulf of Thailand and Andaman Sea after Malaysian Premier said hunt for the aircraft will shift to two new destinations. Navy commander Adm Narong Pipattanasai ordered the search to stop after Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed that flight MH370 had changed its course to a new destination, including Kazhakistan and southern Indian ocean, Thai navy spokesman Adm Karn Dee-ubon said here. But the navy still directed four ships - HTMS Pattani, HTMS Tapi, HTMS Songkhla and HTMS Sattahip - to stand ready in case the Malaysian government needed help for another search, said Rear Adm Karn. "Our most updated information in the radar system was in Hat Yai in southern Thailand where the air force detected MH370 flying out of Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia. That was the first and last time we detected MH370," air force spokesman AM Monthon Sutchukorn said. 6.54 pm: Signals from MH370 received by satellite firm may help search A British satellite communications company today said it had recorded electronic ping signals from the missing Malaysian aircraft which could be analysed to help estimate its location. As the hunt for Flight MH370 remained inconclusive, the information from Inmarsat could prove to be a valuable break in the frustrating search for the plane with 239 people aboard that mysteriously vanished from radar screens last week. Inmarsat described the communication signals from the plane as "routine" and "automated", without disclosing any details regarding the timing of the signals in relation to the aircraft's disappearance on 8 March. Inmarsat said in a statement that it handed the information to communications specialist SITA which, it adds, has shared the data with the airline. It has not stated which satellites were involved. Inmarsat operates about 10 geostationary satellites through which it handles satcom datalink transmissions including those from the aeronautical sector. 4.14 pm: Bangladesh joins search for missing Malaysian jet Bangladesh today joined international search operations to trace the missing Malaysian plane by deploying frigates and aircraft in its exclusive economic zone in the Bay of Bengal. In line with Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's directive, two patrol aircraft and two navy frigates — BNS Omar Faruque and BNS Bangabandhu — have joined the search, primarily to look for the aircraft in Bangladesh's exclusive economic zone, a defence ministry spokesman told PTI. Bangladesh decided to join the search for the missing Flight MH370 with 14 other countries in view of emerging possibilities that the plane could be tracked down in the Bay of Bengal, he said. Replying to a question, the official said no time limit was issued for the duration of the campaign. The decision came amid reports suggesting that faint electronic signals sent to satellites from the missing aircraft show it might have been flown thousands 3.19 pm: Malaysian cops raid house of missing jet's captain Malaysian police today went to the house of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing flight MH370, minutes after Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that investigators will refocus on the crew and passengers of the aircraft that disappeared eight days ago. Two police officers went to 53-year-old Capt Zaharie's house in the suburb of Shah Alam here, officials said, without further elaborating. Zaharie, a pilot with 18,365 flight hours under his belt, is reportedly also a flight instructor. He has been in the news after the mysterious disappearance of the plane on March 8. The questions have been raised in the media over a flight simulator found at his home. The move came hours after Prime Minister Najib said the missing aircraft's communication system and the transponder were switched off deliberately "by someone on the plane". He stopped short of saying the plane had been hijacked. Zaharie and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, were among the 12-member crew of the plane with 227 passengers on board including five Indians and one Indian-origin Canadian. Outside of aviation, he had a YouTube channel dedicated to DIY projects, where he told viewers how to fix home appliances like air-conditioners. 11.51 am: Press conference of Malaysian PM begins Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak's press conference begins. He thanks the multi-national search effort, says this has been an unprecedented event. "We followed every credible lead, sometimes they led nowhere," he says. "There has been i