Breaking tonight is news that the two transponders on Malaysia MH370 were turned off manually, and separately, 14 minutes apart and the time the aircraft flew after losing contact has been upped from four hours to five hours.
The data reporting system, they believe, was shut down at 1:07 a.m. The transponder — which transmits location and altitude — shut down at 1:21 a.m.
This indicates it may well have been a deliberate act, ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said.
U.S. investigators told ABC News that the two modes of communication were “systematically shut down.”
That means the U.S. team “is convinced that there was manual intervention,” a source said, which means it was likely not an accident or catastrophic malfunction that took the plane out of the sky. Source: ABC News
Fox News’ Catherine Herridge said she was told that the USS Kidd is heading for the Indian Ocean, and would not be pulled off active duty and sent to the Indian Ocean unless there was some “evidence.”
Several reports tonight say the USS Kidd is headed to the Malacca Strait which is a smaller area than the Indian Ocean, but which feeds into the Pacific and Indian Oceans. The map below shows where Malaysia military said they tracked the plane on radar turning west, and making it to the Malacca Strait.
News reports have swatted the flight from the Gulf of Thailand to the Malacca Strait, the Andaman Sea and now fully into the Indian Ocean. Malaysian military reported that the Boeing 777-200ER had made a turn to fly in the opposite direction of the intended path (see map above), which would have taken it back toward Malaysia, the Malacca Strait, the Andaman Sea, and maybe beyond, as some US/Pentagon sources are saying data from the engine showed the aircraft flying for another four hours, making the Indian Ocean a point of interest (see that enormous area in the map below).
What to believe? 1) The engine was sending data to Roll-Royce, the engine manufacturer, for 4 hours after losing contact, or 2) Malaysian authorities, who say Rolls-Royce received no engine data after the flight ‘went missing.’
Wall Street Journal, March 13, 2014:
Malaysia Airlines missing jet transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites over the course of five hours after it disappeared from radar, people briefed on the matter said, as searchers zeroed in on new target areas hundreds of miles west of the plane’s original course.
The satellites also received speed and altitude information about the plane from its intermittent “pings,” the people said. The final ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a normal cruising altitude. They added that it was unclear why the pings stopped. One of the people, an industry official, said it was possible that the system sending them had been disabled by someone on board…
the U.S. planned to move surveillance planes into an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles or more west of the Malay peninsula where the plane took off, said Cmdr. William Marks, the spokesman for the U.S. Seventh Fleet.
He said the destroyer USS Kidd would move through the Strait of Malacca, on Malaysia’s west coast, and stay at its northwest entrance…
The automatic pings, or attempts to link up with satellites operated by Inmarsat PLC, occurred a number of times after Flight 370’s last verified position, the people briefed on the situation said, indicating that at least through those five hours, the BoeingCo. BA -2.04% 777 carrying 239 people remained intact and hadn’t been destroyed in a crash, act of sabotage or explosion.
Malaysia is still maintaining they have no data showing that MH370 was in the air, or was pinging after contact was lost. Andy Pasztor, co-author of the Wall Street Journal article linked above was on with Megyn Kelly tonight and said authorities are considering that MH370 was “set-down” sometime during the five hours.
There was some unconfirmed talk today that baggage had not been thoroughly scrutinized — not that it hadn’t been checked properly but perhaps a deeper investigation of who checked what, and what size, etc. is warranted. And the first thought is that a bomb in baggage could have brought the plane down. When authorities say the two transponders were shut-down “manually” and 14 minutes “apart.”
But if the flight turned-back west, a bomb can’t cause a plane to change course. What, besides a catastrophic event keeps the pilots from sending an emergency signal? A box knife to the throat could do it (and did it on 9/11/01).
If the pilots were disoriented and went off course, and didn’t realize it for hours, they wouldn’t shut down the transponders — would they?
A wayward missile could take down a plane, but it would be detected by radar. Leads us to the question again, can an explosion disable transponders, render then unworkable, and do it 14 minutes apart? This video at WSJ indicates that an explosion can disable a transponder, as can a complete electrical failure.
Where is the Black Box, which we are told has battery life for 30 days? How deep must water be to keep a black box from pinging? See here, some changes in the future if manufacturers can work through all the regulations.
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