In an attempt to boost the ongoing search for the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that vanished last Saturday with at least 239 passengers on board, the Chinese government has redeployed 10 satellites to survey the suspected areas where the plane is thought to have disappeared off the radar. The decision was made amid rising frustrations among friends and families of the missing passengers who seem to have more questions than answers regarding the entire search process.
Reports from Xi’an Satellite Monitoring Center indicate that the 10 satellites were redeployed to boost the search on Saturday, immediately after receiving the news of the plane’s disappearance. The military-owned surveillance center also confirmed that the redeployed satellites were divided into four categories – the Haiyang, Gaofen, Fengyun and Yaogan to provide enough support for aircraft and ships at the main search station.
Unconfirmed reports also suggest that some of the satellites deployed for the search and rescue mission had to change their initial undisclosed functions. They were now focusing on a new mission that involved the collection of weather data, assisting communications and searching various areas where the aircraft might have lost its direction.
An unnamed spokesman for the Xi’an center also revealed that Beidou, a Chinese global navigation system, was deployed to aid the 10 satellites by delivering quick and reliable data.
Aircraft was in good condition
Meanwhile, in a bid to dispel the rising speculation regarding the condition of the missing aircraft, Malaysia Airlines issued a strong statement explaining that the missing Boeing 777 had undergone routine maintenance checks 12 days before takeoff and that there was no cause of alarm as far as its health was concerned. Currently, 10 nations are involved in the search for the Beijing-bound aircraft and as days go by, investigators are hoping to receive more technical support from other nations.
Despite the introduction of 34 aircraft and 40 ships, there is still no clue about the whereabouts of the missing plane as the search process enters its fourth day. Investigators also overruled earlier reports of oil slicks spotted off the Vietnam coast claiming that they had nothing to do with the disappeared airbus.
Possible foul play
According to the Director General of Malaysian Civil Aviation department, Mr Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the possibility of foul play could not be overruled. This comes a few days after it was discovered that two suspected passengers were travelling on stolen passports.
So far, one of the suspects has been identified while the identity of the remaining one is still unclear. Malaysia Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar also confirmed to the press that the identified suspect was not a Malaysian. However, the role of an Iranian national identified as “Mr. Ali” in booking the two tickets belonging to the suspects has opened a new chapter of investigations. Speaking to Associated Press, Mr. Abu Bakar insisted that it is not strange to find businessmen in Malaysia using nicknames when interacting with their clients and this gives the police a good reason to find out more about Mr. Ali’s real identity.
By Andrew Amoth Wandola