MH370: Focus now on Bay of Bengal for missing jet
Publish Date: Mar 15, 2014
MH370: Focus now on Bay of Bengal for missing jet
Royal Malaysian Air Force Navigator captain, Izam Fareq Hassan marks locations on a map onboard a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a search and rescue (SAR) . Photo by AFP
  • mail
  • img

WASHINGTON - A US naval ship and surveillance plane are heading to the Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal to search for a missing Malaysian airliner that vanished a week ago, officials said.
US media reports, meanwhile, suggested the plane experienced marked changes in altitude after it lost contact with ground control, and altered its course more than once as if still under the command of a pilot.
A P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd, were due to aid the international hunt for the jet as the search effort extended further west, Pentagon spokesman Colonel Steven Warren said.
"At Malaysia's request, the USS Kidd is north of the Strait of Malacca in what we're calling the western search area," Warren told reporters in Washington.
The Kidd was preparing to search the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal for the Malaysia Airlines plane.
"The P-8 will be searching a much larger search area... the southern portion of the Bay of Bengal and the northern portion of the Indian Ocean," Warren said, adding that final orders had yet to be issued.
The Boeing 777 vanished off the radar early Saturday over the South China Sea with 239 people on board, after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.
The plane's fate has vexed investigators and Malaysian authorities have dramatically expanded the scope of the search operation.
In the latest twist, The New York Times, citing a preliminary assessment by a person familiar with the data, said radar signals recorded by the Malaysian military appeared to show the jet climbing to 45,000 feet (13,700 meters) -- above the approved altitude limit for a Boeing 777-200.
The radar track then shows the missing plane descending unevenly to an altitude of 23,000 feet, below normal cruising levels, as it approached the densely populated Malaysian island of Penang, the report said.
Then it turned from a southwest-bound course, climbed to a higher altitude and flew northwest toward the Indian Ocean.
The hunt had initially focused on the South China Sea east of Malaysia -- along the intended route of the jet.
But Malaysia's government was now looking at a vast area, extending to the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean, with 13 countries now involved in the desperate search.
The Pentagon said a second naval destroyer, the USS Pinckney, which had assisted the search effort this week, was due to depart for Singapore for scheduled maintenance.
The P-8 aircraft now in the area was replacing a P-3 Orion surveillance plane that had taken part in the initial hunt for the airliner.
After flying over the Gulf of Thailand on Thursday looking for signs of plane debris, the P-3 reported "nothing found," Warren said.

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Kenyan president fires five graft-tainted ministers
President Uhuru Kenyatta fired five government ministers embroiled in corruption scandals in a cabinet reshuffle late Tuesday amid growing criticism of runaway graft in Kenya....
Germany to send 650 troops to Mali to relieve France
Germany will send up to 650 soldiers to Mali, Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Wednesday, to provide some relief to France in its global fight against the Islamic State jihadists....
Nigeria faces separatist pressure over oil wealth sharing
When Boko Haram captured territory in Nigeria's northeast last year and declared a caliphate, there were real fears for the sovereignty of Africa's most populous nation....
Turkey shoots down Russian war plane on Syria border
NATO member Turkey on Tuesday shot down a Russian fighter jet on the Syrian border, threatening a major spike in tensions between two key protagonists in the four-year Syria civil war....
US issues global travel alert due to
The United States issued a worldwide travel alert on Monday warning American citizens of "increased terrorist threats" in the wake of the Paris attacks...
Mali in mourning as siege hotel yields clues
FRENCH and UN investigators joined a Mali police probe into a jihadist siege at a luxury hotel that left at least 19 dead as flags were lowered for three days of mourning...
Is Uganda ready for the pope's visit?
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter