Search for missing jet switches to human sighting

Canberra, March 21: The search for objects possibly related to the missing Malaysian airliner Friday changed from radar detection to visual sightings, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said.

“Noting that we’ve got no radar detections yesterday (Thursday), we have re-planned the search to be visual … so aircraft flying relatively low with very highly skilled and trained observers looking out of the aircraft windows and looking to see objects,” John Young, general manager of AMSA’s Emergency Response Division General Manager said in a pre-recorded video on Friday.

AMSA held no press conference Friday.

Young said Thursday’s search was aimed at relocating objects that were possibly related to two objects spotted by satellite imagery. However the weather conditions “were not particularly good”.

“Today, the forecast is better. The forecast was for some low cloud but relevantly clear underneath the cloud,” he said.

He said the switch to visual sightings means “we will need more aircraft for a search area that type”.

AMSA tasked five aircraft for Friday’s search.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City.