The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019

Latest Signal Not Missing Plane, Australia Says

By Sid Astbury

SYDNEY — The latest signal reported in the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet in the Indian Ocean probably did not come from the plane, the body coordinating the hunt said Friday.

“The signal reported in the vicinity of the Australian Defense vessel Ocean Shield is unlikely to be related to the aircraft black boxes,” Search leader Angus Houston told reporters in Perth.

The statement came after analysis of the data from sound-locating buoys dropped by a Australian patrol plane Thursday near where a navy ship had monitored a possible signal from the missing Boeing 777.

“On the information I have available to me, there has been no major breakthrough in the search for MH370,” Houston said.

The Ocean Shield first heard a promising signal on Saturday, then on Tuesday again picked up acoustic signals on the pinger locator it is towing.

On Thursday there were early reports that the buoys dropped from the plane in the same spot had confirmed the acoustic signal, raising hopes that the batteries in the black box were holding out beyond their one-month life span.

But this was not borne out by an analysis of the data overnight, Houston said Friday, without giving further details.

Prime Minister Tony Abbott, speaking in China, said he was still confident that signals picked up this week were transmitted from MH370.

“We have very much narrowed down the search area and we are very confident the signals are from the black box,” Abbott said.

MH370 went missing more than a month ago an hour into a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Worries about the life of the black box batteries had brought a new urgency, with expectations a probe would be sent down with either sonar or a camera if the signal was confirmed.

The underwater drone aboard the Ocean Shield is not capable of retrieving the black boxes and at the steep depth would be operating at the limit of its capability.

“A decision as to when to deploy the autonomous underwater vehicle will be made on advice from experts on board the Ocean Shield and could be some days away,” Houston said.

Ships and planes have yet to sight a debris field or pick up items that could be linked to MH370.

Speaking earlier this week, Houston warned the families of those aboard MH370 that the best they might be able to hope for was a photograph of wreckage.

“I’m informed by experts that there’s a lot of silt down there,” Houston said. “That could complicate the search because the silt on the bottom of the ocean can be very thick and things disappear into it and it makes a visual search underwater very difficult.”

Preparations are being made to ferry the bereaved out to the spot where MH370 is likely to have gone down.

Malaysia Airlines has offered families free flights and Australia has waived visa fees. Most of those aboard were Chinese nationals.

AFP Photo/Chaideer Mahyuddin

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

This is the first of what is sure to be way too many campaign columns to come. If you’d like them to land in your email inbox every time I write one, please buy a subscription.

Keep reading...Show less

Tape of home invasion attack on Nancy Pelosi's husband Paul Pelosi

Youtube Screenshot

Video released Friday of the harrowing home invasion and assault that nearly killed then-Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s husband in October brought little in the way of self-reflection or regret from far-right Internet trolls and Fox News stars who spent months baselessly insisting that the attack had actually resulted from a gay tryst gone wrong. Instead, the denizens of the right-wing conspiracy theory ecosystem either claimed that the new evidence proved that they were right all along, or used it to float additional conspiracy theories about why it hadn’t been released earlier.

The key facts were available within hours of the October 28, 2022, attack. Law enforcement swiftly alleged that David DePape broke into the Democratic leader’s home in the middle of the night seeking to harm her and pummeled her 82-year-old husband Paul, sending him to the hospital for emergency surgery. Journalists who reviewed DePape’s Internet history subsequently revealed that he had been radicalized online and espoused a wide array of right-wing conspiracy theories, including QAnon.

Keep reading...Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}