The search for missing MAS flight MH370 continues its 50th day since the plane detoured from its Beijing route and flew in the direction of the South Indian Ocean.
- Five percent of 10km radius search area remains in underwater search
Dr M: Don't blame MAS, blame Boeing
12.30pm: Former Prime Minister Dr Mahathir Mohamad says the relatives of MH370 passengers are holding the wrong people hostage, and the blame should fall squarely on the aircraft’s manufacturer Boeing.
“Boeing built this aircraft. Boeing must explain how all these means of tracking the plane can be disabled, can fail.
“Either Boeing technology is poor or it is not fail-safe. I would not like to fly in Boeing aircraft unless Boeing can explain how all its system can fail or be disabled,” he wrote in his blog last night.
He says if someone had tried to take over the aircraft, the crew - at least one of the two pilots - would have attempted to stop it and make a distress call.
Till today, investigators have not established a single plausible theory why the plane diverted from its route and vanished without a trace.
Bluefin to search adjacent areas as next step
11.05am: The Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has aborted its mission for the third time since the MH370 search began, to resolve a "software issue", says the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC).
“The AUV has technically sophisticated equipment and a reset is not uncommon. Overnight Phoenix (the AUV’s manufacturer) technicians resolved the issue and mission 14 is now underway,” it says in today's statement.
As with yesterday, only five percent of the 10-kilometre radius search area remains uncharted and there is still no sign of wreckage.
“If no contacts of interest are made, Bluefin-21 will continue to examine the areas adjacent to the 10km-radius,” says the JACC.
Meanwhile, eight military aircraft and 11 ships will be scouring 57,311 square kilometres of ocean surface, about 1,584 kilometres northwest of Perth.
The Bluefin-21 Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) is due to finish its first round of searching soon.
If it could not find the source the ping signals that were heard over two weeks ago, it would spark a renewed and even larger underwater search effort in the South Indian Ocean, and possibly the abandonment of surface search efforts.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein have both signalled that a review of the operation will be necessary, and the Ministry of Transport is already seeking more underwater search equipment for the task.
Over the past two days, Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak, his Australian counterpart Abbott, and the Chinese Foreign Ministry have all vowed to keep searching for the missing aircraft.
Thus far, the only clues to MH370's whereabouts were a series of hourly "handshakes" between the aircraft and an Inmarsat communications satellite in the early part of the search, and acoustic pings heard on four different occasions in the same area that are found to be consistent with black box underwater locator beacons (pingers).
The current underwater search area is a 10-kilometre radius around where the pings were heard for a second time on April 7, and was also the strongest signal detected before the pingers fell silent.