Australia refocuses search for MH370 as kin demand disclosure
12 May 2014
The search for Malaysian Airline's Flight MH370 has got fresh impetus as an Australian naval vessel carrying an underwater drone in the search for Malaysia Airlines' dissappeared aircraft left port on Saturday eventide on its second mission to scan the part of the Indian Ocean where the longest sonar ''ping'' was heard.
The 'Ocean Shield' is heading to the area where a signal was first located and heard for about two hours on 5 April, about 1,000 miles northwest of Perth, to launch the Bluefin-21 submersible.
Meanwhile, some of the grieving families of the 239 people aboard the vanished jet, including five from India, have demanded the release of raw satellite data to help them reach closure on the over two months long aviation mystery
The next of kin of the passengers and crew of Flight MH370 have formed Voice370, short for MH370 Victims Families and Crew Association.
In an open letter signed by family members from China, Malaysia, the United States, New Zealand and India, it urged the Malaysian government to release the raw Inmarsat data so that ''it can be subject to broader analysis by relevant experts''.
The letter, addressed to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping, also requested the Joint Agency Coordination Centre to release the pings recorded by the towed pinger locator.
More than two dozen countries have been involved in the hunt for the Boeing 777 that disappeared from radars shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, with a bulk of the passengers aboard being Chinese.
Weeks of daily sorties have failed to turn up any trace of the plane, even after narrowing the search area. The focus is now on the area where the first, and longest, signal was detected on the day of the plane's disappearance, US Navy Capt Mark Matthews said in Washington.
Australia, China and Malaysia last week pledged not to give up searching for the plane, even though air and surface searches for debris have been abandoned.
The Ocean Shield returned to Stirling Naval Base earlier last week after more than a month at sea to resupply, change its crew and perform software modifications and maintenance on the Bluefin submersible.
Malaysia believes the flight was deliberately diverted by someone on board and that satellite data indicates it crashed in the Indian Ocean, west of the Australian city of Perth.
Investigators, including the FBI, are looking into a range of aspects, including hijack, sabotage, personal and psychological problems, that may have caused the incident.