Valdosta Daily Times

Top News

April 1, 2014

Australia says no time limit on Flight 370 search

PERTH, Australia — Although it has been slow, difficult and frustrating so far, the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is nowhere near the point of being scaled back, Australia’s prime minister pledged Monday.

The three-week hunt for Flight 370 has turned up no sign of the Boeing 777, which vanished March 8 with 239 people bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpur. Ten planes and 11 ships found no sign of the missing plane in the search zone in the southern Indian Ocean, about 1,850 kilometers (1,150 miles) west of Australia, officials said.

The search area has evolved as experts analyzed Flight 370’s limited radar and satellite data, moving from the seas off Vietnam, to the waters west of Malaysia and Indonesia, and then to several areas west of Australia. The search zone is now 254,000 square kilometers (98,000 square miles), about a 2 1/2-hour flight from Perth.

Items recovered so far were discovered to be flotsam unrelated to the Malaysian plane. Several orange-colored objects spotted by plane Sunday turned out to be fishing equipment.

Those leading the effort remain undaunted, with Prime Minister Tony Abbott saying officials are “well, well short” of any point where they would scale back the hunt. In fact, he said the intensity and magnitude of operations “is increasing, not decreasing.”

“I’m certainly not putting a time limit on it. ... We can keep searching for quite some time to come,” Abbott said at RAAF Pearce, the Perth military base coordinating the operation.

“We owe it to the families, we owe it to everyone that travels by air. We owe it to the anxious governments of the countries who had people on that aircraft. We owe it to the wider world which has been transfixed by this mystery for three weeks now,” he said.

“If this mystery is solvable, we will solve it,” Abbott said.

On Monday, former Australian defense chief Angus Houston began his role of heading the new Joint Agency Coordination Center, which will oversee communication with international agencies involved in the search.

The center said Tuesday’s search would focus on a much smaller 64,975 square kilometers (25,087 square miles) of ocean west of Perth, with poor weather and low visibility forecast.

Nine ships would search four separate areas within the search zone, and 10 planes would join Tuesday’s search, the center said.   

The center did not immediately respond Tuesday to a request for an explanation of the more refined search area. It also did not say how far west of Perth Tuesday’s search would be conducted.

“Yesterday’s search revealed nothing that was seen or found that had any connection to the Malaysian aircraft,” Houston told Australia’s Seven Network television earlier Tuesday.

“If we can find any debris anywhere, that will enable the search to be focused much more precisely and the high technology can then come into play,” he added.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak plans to travel to Perth on Wednesday to see the search operations firsthand.

Abbott called the operation “an extraordinarily difficult exercise.”

“We are searching a vast area of ocean and we are working on quite limited information,” he said, noting that the best brains in the world and all technological mastery is being applied to the task.

The Ocean Shield, an Australian warship carrying a U.S. device that detects “pings” from the plane’s flight recorders, left Perth on Monday evening for the search zone, a three- to four-day trip. The Australian Maritime Safety Authority, which is coordinating the search, said it conducted sea trials to test the equipment.

Investigators are hoping to first find debris floating on the surface that will help them calculate where the plane went into the water.

In Malaysia, several dozen Chinese relatives of Flight 370 passengers visited a Buddhist temple near Kuala Lumpur to pray for their loved ones. They offered incense, bowed their heads in silence and knelt several times during the prayers.

Buddhist nuns handed out prayer beads to them and said: “You are not alone. You have the whole world’s love, including Malaysia’s.”

The family members later expressed their appreciation to the Chinese government and the people of Malaysia and the volunteers who have been assisting them. They bowed in gratitude but said they were still demanding answers.

The comments were seen as a small conciliatory gesture after relatives held an angry protest Sunday at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur, calling on the Malaysian government to apologize for what they called missteps in handling the disaster.

1
Text Only
Top News
  • Kingston’s loss means less clout for Ga.

    For two decades, Rep. Jack Kingston was a congressman who routinely crushed his opponents on election night — winning a new term every other year with vote totals between 63 and 77 percent.

    July 28, 2014

  • IMG_3745.jpeg Gas leak on West Adair

    A gas leak has occured on West Adair Street, between Tombs and Oak Street. The leak began just after 11 a.m.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • salmonella 2 copy.jpg Trial nears for suspects in salmonella case

    Three people accused of scheming to manufacture and ship salmonella-tainted peanuts that killed nine people, sickened more than 700 and prompted one of the largest food recalls in history are set to go to trial this week in south Georgia.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP4507280123 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, July 28, 2014
    Today is Monday, July 28, the 209th day of 2014. There are 156 days left in the year. 
     

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Commercial driver training program expanding

    Department of Driver Services (DDS) Commissioner Rob Mikell announced recently an expansion of the commercial driver training program administered by the Agency’s Regulatory Compliance Division. DDS will now offer a Commercial Driver License (CDL) Instructor Training Class for customers who have applied to be CDL instructors. The session will provide additional guidance as the applicants prepare for the final exam.

    July 28, 2014

  • Tentative deal reached on VA reform

    The chairmen of the House and Senate Veterans Affairs committees have reached a tentative agreement on a plan to fix a veterans’ health program scandalized by long patient wait times and falsified records covering up delays.

    July 27, 2014

  • Heat advisory for much of South Georgia

    A heat advisory is in place for much of South Georgia until 7 p.m.

    July 27, 2014

  • 2 injured in western Georgia small plane crash

    Fire officials say two people were hospitalized after small plane crash in western Georgia. 

     

    July 27, 2014

  • Nuclear Construction_Rich(1) copy.jpg Promises of easier nuclear construction fall short

    The U.S. nuclear industry has started building its first new plants in decades using prefabricated Lego-like blocks meant to save time and money and revive the once promising energy source.
    So far, it’s not working.

    July 27, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deadline nears for alligator hunt

    Gator hunting is no longer reserved for University of Georgia sports fans, but hunters must file applications by the end of July.

    July 27, 2014

Top News
Poll

Do you agree with the millage rate increases?

Yes. We need to maintain services
No. Services should have been cut.
     View Results