New information on efforts to recover Malaysia Flight 370 - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

New information on efforts to recover Malaysia Flight 370

Posted: Updated:
Australian officials moved the search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast Friday following a new analysis of radar data. (AP Photo/Michael Martina, Pool) Australian officials moved the search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast Friday following a new analysis of radar data. (AP Photo/Michael Martina, Pool)

PERTH, Australia (AP) — Australian officials moved the search area for the lost Malaysian jetliner 1,100 kilometers (680 miles) to the northeast Friday following a new analysis of radar data, and planes quickly found multiple objects in the new zone.

Five out of 10 aircraft hunting for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 found objects of various colors Friday, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said. It said it was not clear whether the objects were from the plane, and photos of them would be analyzed overnight.

AMSA said the items included two rectangular objects that were blue and grey — among the colors of the missing plane. A Chinese patrol ship in the area will attempt to locate the objects on Saturday, it said.

The three-week hunt for the jet has been filled with possible sightings, with hundreds of objects identified by satellite and others by plane, but so far not a single piece of debris has been confirmed.

Australian officials said they turned away from the old search area, which they had combed for a week, because a new analysis of radar data suggests the plane had flown faster and therefore ran out of fuel more quickly than previously estimated. The new area is closer to land and has calmer weather than the old one, which will make searching easier.

"We have moved on" from the old search area, said John Young, manager of AMSA's emergency response division.

The radar data that was re-analyzed was received soon after Flight 370 lost communications and veered from its scheduled path March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carrying 239 people turned around soon after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, flew west toward the Strait of Malacca and disappeared from radar.

The search area has changed several times since the plane vanished as experts analyzed a frustratingly small amount of data from the aircraft, including the radar signals and "pings" that a satellite picked up for several hours after radar and voice contact was lost.

The latest analysis indicated the aircraft was traveling faster than previously estimated, resulting in increased fuel use and reducing the possible distance it could have flown before going down in the Indian Ocean. Just as a car loses gas efficiency when driving at high speeds, a plane will get less out of a tank of fuel when it flies faster.

Malaysia's civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that personnel at Boeing Co. in Seattle had helped with the analysis of the flight.

Planes and ships had spent a week searching about 2,500 kilometers (1,550 miles) southwest of Perth, Australia, the base for the search. Now they are searching about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of the city.

"This is our best estimate of the area in which the aircraft is likely to have crashed into the ocean," Martin Dolan, chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, said at a news conference in Canberra.

He said a wide range of scenarios went into the calculation. "We're looking at the data from the so-called pinging of the satellite, the polling of the satellites, and that gives a distance from a satellite to the aircraft to within a reasonable approximation," he said. He said that information was coupled with various projections of aircraft performance and the plane's distance from the satellites at given times.

Dolan said the search now is for surface debris to give an indication of "where the main aircraft wreckage is likely to be. This has a long way to go."

A number of the objects spotted Friday were white or light in color, AMSA said, adding that the finds needed to be confirmed by ship.

Young said the hundreds of floating objects detected over the last week by satellites in the former search area, previously considered possible wreckage, "may or may not actually be objects."

"In regards to the old areas, we have not seen any debris and I would not wish to classify any of the satellite imagery as debris, nor would I want to classify any of the few visual sightings that we made as debris. That's just not justifiable from what we have seen," he said.

But in Malaysia, Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference that because of ocean drifts, "this new search area could still be consistent with the potential objects identified by various satellite images over the past week."

The new search area is about 80 percent smaller than the old one, but it remains large: about 319,000 square kilometers (123,000 square miles), about the size of Poland or New Mexico.

Sea depths in the new area range from 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) to 4,000 meters (13,120 feet), Young said. There are trenches in the area that go even deeper, Australia's national science agency said in a statement. That includes the Diamantina trench, which is up to 7,300 meters (24,000 feet) deep, but it was unclear whether the deepest parts of the trench are in the search area.

If the wreckage is especially deep, that will complicate search efforts. The U.S. Navy is sending equipment that can hear "black box" pings up to about 6,100 meters (20,000 feet) deep, and an unmanned underwater vehicle that operates at depths up to 4,500 meters (14,800 feet).

Young said a change in search area is not unusual.

"This is the normal business of search and rescue operations — that new information comes to light, refined analyses take you to a different place," Young told reporters. "I don't count the original work as a waste of time."

He said the new search zone, being about 700 kilometers (434 miles) closer to mainland Australia, will be easier to reach. Planes used so much fuel getting to and from the old search area that had only about two hours of spotting time per sortie.

The new area also has better weather conditions than the old one, where searches were regularly scrapped because of storms, high winds and low visibility.

"The search area has moved out of the 'roaring 40s,' which creates very adverse weather," Young said, referring to the latitude of the previous search area. "I'm not sure that we'll get perfect weather out there, but it's likely to be better than we saw in the past."

Australia's HMAS Success was expected to arrive in the area Saturday, Young said. The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration patrol boat Haixun 01 was also on site, and several more Chinese ships were on their way.

Malaysian officials said earlier this week that satellite data confirmed the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Authorities are rushing to find any piece of the plane to help them locate the black boxes, or flight data and voice recorders, that will help solve the mystery of why the jet flew so far off-course. The battery in a black box normally lasts for at least a month.

Officials are already preparing for the hunt for the black boxes. The U.S. Navy towed pinger locator and Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle are to be fitted onto an Australian vessel, the Ocean Shield, when it reaches Albany, a port near Perth, in a day or two, said a government official who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

He did not say how long it would take to reach the search area. He said the Chinese ships are also expected to have acoustic sensors that can listen for black box pingers.

The lack of results from the search gave one Malaysian family a little hope that the authorities were wrong in their calculations.

Eliz Wong Yun Yi, 24, whose father was on the plane, said her family stopped watching the daily Malaysian news conference because they felt the government was not upfront with information. All the new satellite data added to the confusion, she said.

"After so many days, still no plane. We will not believe what they say until the plane wreckage is found. I want to stay positive and believe that my father will come back," she said. Her father, Wong Sai Sang, a 53-year-old Malaysian property sales manager, had been on his way to Beijing for work.

___

Wong reported from Kuala Lumpur. Associated Press writers Scott McDonald and Eileen Ng in Kuala Lumpur, Kristen Gelineau in Sydney, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Australia, and Nick Perry in Wellington, New Zealand, contributed to this report.

  • Central Alabama NewsMore>>

  • Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:54 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:54:07 GMT
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
  • Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

    Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:49:49 GMT
    A demoted worker shot and critically wounded his company's CEO before fatally shooting himself Thursday inside a downtown high-rise office building in Chicago's bustling financial district, police said. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a worker at a technological company pulled a gun after entering the 17th-floor office to meet one-on-one with his CEO. There was a struggle for the gun, and the CEO was shot twice before the gunman fatally shot himself, McCarthy said. McCarthy said the...More >>
    A demoted worker shot and critically wounded his company's CEO before fatally shooting himself Thursday inside a downtown high-rise office building in Chicago's bustling financial district, police said. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a worker at a technological company pulled a gun after entering the 17th-floor office to meet one-on-one with his CEO. There was a struggle for the gun, and the CEO was shot twice before the gunman fatally shot himself, McCarthy said. McCarthy said the...More >>
  • Rainbow City woman, 56, killed in accident on I-59 near Argo Wednesday night

    Rainbow City woman, 56, killed in accident on I-59 near Argo Wednesday night

    Thursday, July 31 2014 11:48 AM EDT2014-07-31 15:48:12 GMT
    A Rainbow City woman was killed and her husband was injured Wednesday in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 59 near Argo, Alabama State Troopers said.More >>
    A Rainbow City woman was killed and her husband was injured Wednesday in a single-vehicle crash on Interstate 59 near Argo, Alabama State Troopers said.More >>
  • Birmingham Area NewsMore>>

  • 4 injured in small plane crash in Helena

    4 injured in small plane crash in Helena

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:49:40 GMT
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
  • Pelham City Schools prepares for first year

    Pelham City Schools prepares for first year

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:57 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:57:52 GMT
    Children are getting ready for a new school year in a new school system.Pelham City Schools will hold their first classes a week from tomorrow. It comes after the city broke-off from Shelby County.Superintendent Scott Coefield says everyone is working long hours right now to prepare for the start of school, even exchanging emails as late at 10 and 11 at night. There's been a lot to do and the number one goal right now is to make sure "Day One" goes well."We're pedaling hard."Adrenalin is rush...More >>
    Children are getting ready for a new school year in a new school system.Pelham City Schools will hold their first classes a week from tomorrow. It comes after the city broke-off from Shelby County.Superintendent Scott Coefield says everyone is working long hours right now to prepare for the start of school, even exchanging emails as late at 10 and 11 at night. There's been a lot to do and the number one goal right now is to make sure "Day One" goes well."We're pedaling hard."Adrenalin is rush...More >>
  • Safety audit aimed to make football fields safer

    Safety audit aimed to make football fields safer

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:22 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:22:05 GMT
    Little league football practice kicked off this week at the Fultondale Park and Recreation Field. The department is working to make this season safer for those young athletes.More >>
    Little league football practice kicked off this week at the Fultondale Park and Recreation Field. The department is working to make this season safer for those young athletes.More >>
Most Popular
Stories
Videos
loading...
  • Latest StoriesMore>>

  • 4 injured in small plane crash in Helena

    4 injured in small plane crash in Helena

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:49:40 GMT
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
    Authorities are investigating a small plane crash in Helena Thursday afternoon, a fire spokesman said.More >>
  • Pedestrian struck, killed by Amtrak train in Tuscaloosa

    Pedestrian struck, killed by Amtrak train in Tuscaloosa

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:36 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:36:56 GMT
    A pedestrian was struck and killed by a train departing Tuscaloosa Thursday afternoon, ABC 33/40 reporter Isaiah Harper has learned.More >>
    A pedestrian was struck and killed by a train departing Tuscaloosa Thursday afternoon, ABC 33/40 reporter Isaiah Harper has learned.More >>
  • Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Repairing burst Los Angeles main could take days

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:28 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:28:02 GMT
    Hundreds of cars submerged below murky water. A landmark basketball court, newly refurbished, showing signs of buckling. Soaked and stained carpets. An athletic track coated in mud.More >>
    Repair crews on Thursday were shoring up a giant hole in the middle of Sunset Boulevard caused by a ruptured pipe, as officials at the water-logged University of California, Los Angeles, continued to assess damage from the...More >>
  • Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig

    Lackey goes from Red Sox to Cards for Kelly, Craig

    Thursday, July 31 2014 3:04 PM EDT2014-07-31 19:04:28 GMT
    The Boston Red Sox have traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline, a person with knowledge of the deal said.More >>
    The Boston Red Sox traded right-hander John Lackey to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Joe Kelly and outfielder Allen Craig before Thursday's deadline.More >>
  • Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Judge delays decision on abortion law

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:54 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:54:07 GMT
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
    A federal judge is delaying his decision on an Alabama law that could close some abortion clinics. U.S. District Judge Myron Thompson told attorneys in June that he hoped to rule by the end of July. But Thompson notified attorneys Thursday that he needs extra time and will have a ruling by Monday. Thompson said he needs time to consider a federal appeals court ruling Tuesday that blocked a similar Mississippi law. Alabama's law requires doctors at abortion clinics to have approval to admit pa...More >>
  • Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

    Demoted worker shoots CEO, kills self in Chicago

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:49 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:49:49 GMT
    A demoted worker shot and critically wounded his company's CEO before fatally shooting himself Thursday inside a downtown high-rise office building in Chicago's bustling financial district, police said. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a worker at a technological company pulled a gun after entering the 17th-floor office to meet one-on-one with his CEO. There was a struggle for the gun, and the CEO was shot twice before the gunman fatally shot himself, McCarthy said. McCarthy said the...More >>
    A demoted worker shot and critically wounded his company's CEO before fatally shooting himself Thursday inside a downtown high-rise office building in Chicago's bustling financial district, police said. Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy said a worker at a technological company pulled a gun after entering the 17th-floor office to meet one-on-one with his CEO. There was a struggle for the gun, and the CEO was shot twice before the gunman fatally shot himself, McCarthy said. McCarthy said the...More >>
  • 2014 USA Today preseason coaches poll: FSU No. 1, Alabama No. 2, Auburn No. 5

    2014 USA Today preseason coaches poll: FSU No. 1, Alabama No. 2, Auburn No. 5

    Thursday, July 31 2014 1:40 PM EDT2014-07-31 17:40:23 GMT
    The 2014 USA Today preseason college football coaches poll was released Thursday and reigning national champion Florida State sits atop the rankings.More >>
    The 2014 USA Today preseason college football coaches poll was released Thursday and reigning national champion Florida State sits atop the rankings.More >>
  • Tuscaloosa police: Missing girl reportedly spotted riding bicycle on Rice Mine Road Wednesday afternoon

    Tuscaloosa police: Missing girl reportedly spotted riding bicycle on Rice Mine Road Wednesday afternoon

    Thursday, July 31 2014 12:18 PM EDT2014-07-31 16:18:20 GMT
    A 13-year-old girl who has been missing since Sunday was reportedly spotted Wednesday afternoon, but she was never located, Tuscaloosa police said today.More >>
    A 13-year-old girl who has been missing since Sunday was reportedly spotted Wednesday afternoon, but she was never located, Tuscaloosa police said today.More >>