China Demands Malaysia Turn Over Satellite Information

ChinaMalaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak spoke Monday about multiple reports that both Australian and Chinese ships in the Indian Ocean have spotted large pieces of debris believed to be that of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. He said British and Inmarsat Technology reveal that, through enhanced analysis never before used in a search of this magnitude, flight MH370 ‘ended’ in the Indian Ocean. But this is not enough for China, which is demanding that Malaysia turn over the information gained through Inmarsat’s satellite data.

Suspicious objects were found last week by Chinese planes in the southern areas of the Indian Ocean, which Malaysian authorities say are remnants of flight MH370. Australian planes also spotted large pieces of debris in the same area, about 75 miles north of the Chinese, which confirmed it was the missing plane. Flight MH370 ended in an area of the Indian Ocean, about 1,500 miles from the shores of Perth, Australia.

Upon this announcement, the families of the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 broke down, as all hope of finding their loved ones are now gone. Many of them were in a Beijing hotel conference room; 150 of the 239 people on board are from China. There were sounds of anger, grief and sorrow when the announcement was made. Once the family members exited the conference room, they were bombarded by the media. Many of the family members lashed out at the photographers, striking them in anger.

The Australian Maritime division is continuing to extensively search the area that Inmarsat and British intelligence confirmed as the area of the crash, but the area is larger than the state of Texas. Inmarsat is the owner of a network of global satellites and they have been performing extensive and unprecedented amounts of calculations to pinpoint the possible end location of flight MH370. The types of data they were returning has never been done on a search of this size. Both Inmarsat and the Accidents Investigation Branch of the British agreed on the same location. After receiving his information and speaking with the families of the passengers on flight MH370, Najib Razak made his announcement. The Malaysian Prime Minister confirmed that the new location developments reveal flight MH370 ended in remote waters of the Indian Ocean, and no one on board survived. Although the search is still ongoing for remnants of the plane, China wants Malaysian officials to turn over the satellite information and demands they know why the Prime Minister said the plane was lost.

China is angry, saying that Malaysian officials have been too secretive and hid the truth from the rest of the countries searching. They say that because Malaysian officials kept the information to themselves, many hours of manpower was wasted. The United States Navy flew in advanced locators specializing in finding black boxes from airplanes once the announcement was made yesterday. Since there previously had not been enough substantial information, the Navy could not use the technology.

Now that Malaysian and Australian officials have narrowed the search area with certainty, they can scan the area and attempt to pick up the pings from the black box. Black box batteries have a life span of about 30 days after a crash, but the salt water can shorten that. It has been two weeks since the crash, which means the Navy still has time to scan the area and hopefully locate the black box. If they do find it, as well as the debris from the plane, it will be a sorrowful experience, but one that could help the Chinese cope with their loss.

There is also much investigation to be done as to why the plane disappeared in the first place. Investigations have shown that the plane’s communications were shut off and the aircraft’s abrupt change of direction indicated it was under the control of a skilled pilot. There are many theories on why the plane turned back abruptly, including terrorism, mental health problems in the pilots, sabotage and technical problems. Commercial satellites picked up little pings emitting electronically from flight MH370, indicating that the plane flew an additional six hours. That has given rise to the plane’s malfunction as the reason for its disappearance.

Currently, Australian ships are searching the waters, but there will not be any definite answers as to why it disappeared until the black box is discovered. What is currently known is that the Malaysian Prime Minister announced on Monday that the location of flight MH370 ended its route in a desolate area of the Indian Ocean, with no survivors. For China, they will not accept this answer until Malaysian officials answer their demands and turn over the satellite information on which they based their conclusions.

Commentary by Chris Dragicevich


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