Pres­sure on Malaysia, Boe­ing to fund fresh search for MH370

The Weekend Australian - - THE NATION - EAN HIG­GINS

Pres­sure is mount­ing on the Malaysian gov­ern­ment to re­new the hunt for Malaysia Air­lines flight MH370, and on the air­craft’s man­u­fac­turer, Boe­ing, to fund a new search.

The gi­ant US plane-maker’s Euro­pean ri­val, Air­bus, has told The Week­end Aus­tralian it con­trib­uted €12 mil­lion in cash plus tech­ni­cal and lo­gis­ti­cal sup­port to­wards the suc­cess­ful two-year un­der­sea search for one of its air­craft, the A330 flown as Air France flight 447, which went down in the At­lantic in June 2009.

Air­bus has im­plied Boe­ing has a sim­i­lar duty to help solve the mys­tery of MH370, the Boe­ing 777 that dis­ap­peared on March 8, 2014, with the loss of 239 lives.

As the fifth an­niver­sary of the loss of MH370 ap­proaches, next of kin have called on Malaysia to launch a new un­der­sea search.

“This year has to be the year that some­thing hap­pens,” Danica Weeks, who lost her hus­band Paul on MH370, told The Week­end Aus­tralian. “I need some ac­tion with the Malaysian gov­ern­ment.”

Ms Weeks said Boe­ing should help fund a re­newed search.

MH370 van­ished from air traf­fic con­trollers’ screens 40 min­utes into a sched­uled flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing, when its pi­lots ceased ra­dio con­tact and its sec­ondary radar transpon­der was turned off.

Mil­i­tary pri­mary radar and au­to­matic satel­lite “hand­shakes” later re­vealed the plane had turned back, darted around the Malaysia-Thai­land airspace bor­der, and flown up the Straits of Malacca be­fore turn­ing south to the south­ern In­dian Ocean.

Two un­der­sea searches, one led by the Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau and an­other by the pri­vate Bri­tish-owned, Hous­ton­based ma­rine sur­vey com­pany Ocean In­fin­ity, have failed to find the air­craft.

In July, the Malaysian-led safety in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port into the dis­ap­pear­ance of MH370 said it was not pos­si­ble to de­ter­mine what hap­pened to the plane with­out the re­cov­ery of the wreck­age and the black box flight data and cock­pit voice recorders.

Air France 447 dis­ap­peared on a flight from Rio de Janeiro to Paris on June 1, 2009, but its rest­ing place was not dis­cov­ered un­til May 2011.

The re­cov­ery of the black boxes re­vealed the air­craft had stalled af­ter ice crys­tals de­vel­oped in the plane’s Pi­tot tubes, which mea­sure airspeed, caus­ing the au­topi­lot to dis­en­gage. The pi­lots re­acted in­cor­rectly, putting the plane into a stall from which it never re­cov­ered.

Boe­ing spokesman David Sid­man said the US com­pany had sup­ported the Malaysian MH370 in­ves­ti­ga­tion “by pro­vid­ing tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise and as­sis­tance”.

“Should cred­i­ble new in­for­ma­tion emerge that re­sults in gov­ern­ment au­thor­i­ties re­sum­ing the search, Boe­ing stands ready to pro­vide tech­ni­cal sup­port as re­quested by the gov­ern­ment in­ves­ti­gat­ing au­thor­i­ties,” he said.

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