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Tasnim Lokman
New Straits Times
Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014

Asia

MH370 probe team may be forced to 'start again'

New Straits Times | Tasnim Lokman | Tuesday, Apr 22, 2014

China's People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy Liaison Officer Commander Lin Wan, transits from the Luyang II class Guided Missile Destroyer Haikou (DDG-171) to board the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success as they continue to search in the Indian Ocean for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 11, 2014.

KUALA LUMPUR - Members of the International Investigation Team (IIT) who have been putting their heads together since day one to find Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are now looking at the likelihood of starting from scratch in hopes of finally solving this unprecedented aviation mystery.

Sources within the team that is based in Kuala Lumpur told the New Straits Times that among areas they were revisiting was the possibility that the Boeing jetliner had landed somewhere else, instead of ending up in the southern Indian Ocean.

"We may have to regroup soon to look into this possibility if no positive results come back in the next few days ... but at the same time, the search mission in the Indian Ocean must go on.

"The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found a single debris that could be linked to MH370.

"However, the possibility of a specific country hiding the plane when more than 20 nations are searching for it, seems absurd," the sources said, adding that one possibility was that the flight had crashed landed in a remote location.

The sources admitted that it was difficult to determine if the plane had really ended in the Indian Ocean, though calculations carried out pointed to the direction.

They pointed out that the Malaysian-led investigation team, together with experts from Inmarsat and the United Kingdom's Air Accidents Investigation Branch, had to rely on a communications satellite (Inmarsat), which did not provide any definite details, including the plane's direction, altitude and speed.

"A communications satellite is meant for communication... the name is self-explanatory. The reason investigators were forced to adopt a new algorithm to calculate the last known location of MH370 was because there was no global positioning system following the aircraft as the transponder went off 45 minutes into the flight," one of the sources said.

The IIT, he added, was also looking at adding more assets to be deployed to the existing search area in the Indian Ocean, as well as widening the search area as they feared that the search team had been "looking for the plane in the wrong place".

"We can't focus on one place too long as the ocean is very big although the search team has been following the leads received and analysed.

"It is by luck if we find the wreckage using the Bluefin-21... there is no physical evidence and we are totally depending on scientific calculations since day one, including the pings."

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