China Wants Satellite Evidence Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Crashed, And So Do Families & Experts
On Tuesday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that, based on new data, it was safe to conclude that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 plummeted into the Indian Ocean. But for many, the announcement isn't enough to put an end to hopes about the missing jet, and relatives and experts are asking where the evidence is. China, meanwhile, has demanded that Malaysia hand over the Flight 370 satellite information it used to conclude that the plane "ended" in the Indian Ocean.
In the early hours of Tuesday morning, an unidentified family member of one of the Chinese passengers on board read out a statement to the press on behalf of the friends and relatives gathered. The statement denounced Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysian government and the military for attempting to "delay, hide and cover up the truth."
"If our 154 loved ones on board have lost their precious lives on the plane because of this, then Malaysia Airlines, the Malaysia government and the Malaysia military are the real executioners who have killed our loved ones," the unidentified family member told reporters, according to Reuters.
Later Tuesday morning, hundreds of relatives and friends of many of the Chinese passengers marched to the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing to express their anger and frustration, demanding that Malaysian authorities tell them the real truth about what happened to their loved ones.
They marched peacefully, chanting "Malaysian government has cheated us" and "Malaysia, return our relatives," while holding up signs, one of which said "MH 370, Don't let us wait too long!"
A brief scuffle with police ensued when protesters threw water bottles in the direction of the embassy and tried to storm the building, demanding to see the ambassador.
As yet, no debris has actually been recovered from the missing aircraft. Barring the new data analysis, which has narrowed the search area down to the southern arc, which stretches into the Indian Ocean, nothing more is known about Flight 370. All of the questions about what actually happened on the night of March 8 still remain.
And the search and rescue operation is still frantically racing to recover the black box, which is designed to only ping signals for 30 days.
So, what is the evidence that Razak based his comments on? Well, in his announcement Monday, Razak said that new data analysis by global satellite network Inmarsat and the UK's Air Accidents Investigation Branch confirmed that MH370 took the southern path.
Apparently, Inmarsat's engineers were able to figure out the path that the plane took by looking at expansion and compression of that satellite's signal. They were able to use this data to determine whether the plane was moving toward or away from the satellite. This basically relies on the time it takes for a signal sent out from the satellite to bounce off the plane and return; if the length of time is increasing, then the plane is moving away from the satellite.
This is what gave the investigators they the two flight-path arcs they'd initially proposed — one stretching north, and the other south. Further analysis of the data — based on the fact that as the earth is not perfectly round, a curve stretching to the north would look slightly different to a curve stretching to the south — confirmed that the actual route taken was the one to the south.
But searches in the area have still failed to positively identify any debris from the plane, or to locate the black box. Debris has been spotted floating in the water within the search area, around four hours off the west coast of Perth, but subsequent searches have failed to locate the material. On Tuesday, bad weather forced the Australian government to suspend the search, pushing the recovery effort into another day.
All the while, the clock is ticking on the black box, which only has a battery life of 30 days. The U.S. Navy has brought in a Towed Pinger Locator which they are hoping will speed up the search. The U.S. military also said Monday that it would be sending an unmanned submersible craft, called a Bluefin-21 autonomous underwater vehicle, which searches for wreckage using sonar technology. The Bluefin-21 was sent by air from New York, and was due to arrive in Perth on Tuesday.
The search will resume Wednesday, when the weather is expected to have improved.