MH17 Joint Investigation Team Releases New Information and Video

♠ Posted by Mick Rooney in ,,

The JIT (Joint Investigation Team) examining the cause of the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 has released a video asking for witnesses in the area of eastern Ukraine to come forward with information in relation to the transport of a BUK anti-aircraft system through Ukraine on July 17th and 18th of 2014.

The video provides some new information potentially implicating Russia and rebel separatists with a series of newly released intercepted phone calls which occurred after the downing of MH17. The JIT has also revealed that it managed to identify and seize a Volvo low-load
er truck used to transport a BUK missile launcher system between July 16th and 18th, 2014.

The English translation provided in the video, while generally accurate, does use the word 'car' but the Russian word used is actually 'машина' or 'mashina' which means machine or heavy vehicle.

You can find the original press release (in Russian) on the JIT's website.


Germanwings Crash Was Deliberate Act by Co-Pilot

♠ Posted by Mick Rooney in ,,
    Brice Robin, Marseille Public Prosecutor, has delivered the devastating news to relatives and media that the actions of co-pilot Andreas Lubitz were 'voluntary and deliberate' and showed a 'willingness to destroy the aircraft.'

    Robin also confirmed that the Captain left the cockpit (possibly to use the toilet) and was prevented from re-entering the cockpit. Lubitz did not respond to repeated attempts by the Captain to gain entry to the cockpit or communications from ATC and ...other aircraft.

    Robin also described the co-pilot's breathing as normal on the CVR in the final ten minutes of the aircraft's descent. Communication appeared normal between the pilots for the first half hour, though Lubitz's responses while running through the checklist for landing at Dusseldorf appeared to become terse and 'laconic' before the Captain left the cockpit.

    Robin's comments today appear to rule out any suggestion of incapacitation of crew and was a deliberate act.

Germanwings Flight 9525: Recovery Operation | Live Stream | Latest

♠ Posted by Mick Rooney in ,,


Search and rescue operation continues in French Alps where the Germanwings plane bound for Dusseldorf crashed with 150 passengers and crew onboard.

10:00 am (CET)
Next of kin have been arriving this morning and are due to travel to the crash site.

Cockpit voice recorder (CVR) recovered late yesterday from mountain slope. The device was heavily damaged but investigators are hopeful recording can be extracted.

11:00 am (CET)
Haltern School which lost sixteen exchange students and two teachers in the air disaster is currently hosting a press conference with Haltern Mayor, Bodo Kimpel and school management.

15:00 pm (CET)
Searchers at the crash site have found the container shell for second 'black box' — the FDR (Flight Data Recorder) but not the recording memory itself. The shell is very badly damaged and searchers are still looking for it.

15:30 pm (CET)
Germanwings Airlines has postponed releasing the passenger flight manifest because it is having difficulties contacting next of kin. The following is a provisional list of nationalities:

72 — Germany
35 — Spain
2 — Argentina
2 — Australia
2 — Iran
2 — United States
2 — Venezuela
1 — Belgium
1 — Britain
1 — Colombia
1 — Denmark
1 — Israel
1 — Japan
1 — Mexico
1 — Netherlands

The above list was released about 4 hours ago is already inaccurate because the UK Foreign Affairs Office has already confirmed three Britons were on the flight. At least 19 passenger nationalities are listed as unknown. Germanwings and Lufthansa now under considerable pressure to release the passenger information and questions being asked as to why this information was not correctly recorded before boarding.

16:00 pm (CET)
European leaders of Spain, France and Germany due to address media shortly at crash site.
20:00 pm (CET)
French President Francois Hollande has said part of the case for the plane's second black box (FDR) had been found but not its contents. Remi Jouty, Director of the French aviation investigation team refused to confirm this.

DSB Says it Will Not Rely on Single Source for Final Conclusion on MH17

Over the past two weeks 533 relatives of 151 victims of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 visited the wreckage of the Boeing 777 which was blown out of the sky over Eastern Ukraine last July. Among them were relatives of victims from other countries. Groups of next of kin were taken around the three locations where the wreckage is located; the hangar where the investigation is taking place and the two shelters where the remaining pieces of wreckage are stored.

In the shelters, relatives were allowed touch a number of pieces of wreckage. In the hangar where the actual investigation is taking place, they viewed the wreckage from a raised platform. In addition, there was a site set up where flowers could be left.

The great majority of the next of kin were pleased to have been offered the opportunity to visit the wreckage. To actually see the pieces of wreckage is important.

Tjibbe Joustra, Safety Board Chairman

Reconstruction begins
In the past months the pieces of wreckage have been carefully checked, sorted and investigated. In February, the team of international investigators performed, among other matters, fracture investigation, investigated the failure mechanism and investigated the impact patterns. Now that the visits by the next of kin have taken place, work on the three-dimensional reconstruction will begin. The reconstruction will focus on the exterior of the cockpit and a part of the business class section. Once the reconstruction is complete the next of kin will receive an invitation to see this.

At the Air Force base in Gilze-Rijen both the Dutch Safety Board and the Public Prosecutor are investigating the wreckage. In addition to the investigation into the cause of the accident, the Safety Board is also investigating the release of passenger name lists and the decision processes regarding flight routes. The Public Prosecutor‘s criminal investigation aims to bring those responsible for the accident before a judge.

This week the Dutch Safety Board said it wants to be able to confirm its final conclusion against multiple sources and not one. The DSB was reacting to a speculative news report broadcast on Dutch TV news channel RTL in recent days.

This is a complex and time-consuming process. As a part of this, the link to the Malaysian Airlines aeroplane has to be demonstrated for each source, in part because the aeroplane crashed in an area of civil conflict.

The investigation into the cause of the accident is ongoing and is focusing on many more sources than just the pieces of shrapnel. Additional material for investigation is welcome for this, but it is important that it be irrefutably demonstrated that there is a relationship between any material and the aeroplane that crashed. The Dutch Safety Board will accept any such material and include it in the investigation.

Interim Report on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Released

♠ Posted by Mick Rooney in ,
On March 8th, 2015 the Malaysian Ministry of Transport (MOT) published its Interim Report in accordance with ICAO rules. There is not a lot new in the report as far as progressing the search for MH370. The Interim Report consists of an accompanying statement and a factual document totalling almost 600 pages, mostly consisting of technical data, repair records, radar charts and full work details of the crew.

Here some of the main points:

1. There is little here that the MOT and DCA in Malaysia could not have made available in the preliminary report.

2. The radar charts represent the data collected but are not the original radar data shots.

3. There is little factual detail backed up with explanation on the Inmarsat data and how it was deciphered, calculated and delivered, considering the entire search is based on this.

4. One of the most welcome aspects of this report is finally having all the ATC transcripts from centres and the full audio communication received from MH370.

5. The report (as near as any report can at this stage) finds no evidence that the Captain and First Pilot are suspected of wrongdoing and no evidence for suspicion of crew hijack. In regards to this, the report is in stark contrast to what Malaysian authorities were alluding to for months after the loss of MH370.

6. Unfortunately the report does not resolve the missing manifest NBR01, which may or may not refer to the baggage containers. We may never know. But what it does do is show where every piece of cargo was stored on the plane, including a consignment of Lithium batteries.

7. The lithium battery cargo was stored mid to front in the cargo bay and the containers in front were left empty.

8. The ATC transcripts reveal a chaotic period of confusion lasting nearly four and a half hours after contact was lost with MH370.

9. The ping beacon in the Flight Data Recorder may or may not have been replaced. It highlights more a failure of maintenance computer systems at MAS than it does a fact that the aircraft was flying with a dead or weak FDR beacon battery. The potential dead battery had no impact with the FDR's ability to function and record data during the flight. The MAS system records the FDR beacon as due for replacement, but doesn't have a computerised report signed off to show it was carried out.

10. The real question to ask, if the pinger beacon on the FDR was weak or expired, is what impact would this have had on earlier searches conducted? It leaves the possibility that the FDR may have been present in an area searched in March/April 2014.

11. Once again, and not the first time, MAS seem to be changing their data records on what was reported in the first weeks and months of the search.

12. There is little or no reference to the search itself, and drift patterns of debris and pronouncements made last year about where debris should wash up if the SIO is in the right area. After one year, I'd expect a little more conviction in a report as to the validity of its search and what it is based on.

The search is set to conclude in May 2015 with approximately 44% of the priority search area covered. The head of the MH370 investigation and Malaysian government haver indicated that if the current search concludes with no evidence, then a period of re-assessment of all available data may occur before the next phase of the search is agreed.

Full text of the statement that accompanied the interim report can be found here.

Missing Voices, Still Lives: Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 One Year On

♠ Posted by Mick Rooney in ,,

This week marks the one year anniversary since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing. In a week when there will be renewed discussion about what happened the aircraft and its 239 passengers and crew, the families of those on board are no closer today to finding out what happened their loved ones. Sakinab Shah's brother Ari was the captain of flight MH370 and she and her family have endured a particularly difficult time at the hands of the media. This week she wanted to commemorate her brother and share something of the person he was with others. Sakinab has been kind enough to share her thoughts and words here.


Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah

(Sakinab Shah)

(Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah - photo courtesy of Sakinab Shah)
On March 8th 2014, my life and the lives of all the families and friends of passengers and crew of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 changed forever. 239 people are still missing and they have no voices. It has been left to us to give back their voices. One year on, we still hear their voices as clear as if it were yesterday.

At the time of the tragic occurrence of MH370, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah or Ari (as he was fondly called), was 53 years old married to his childhood sweetheart Faizah Khanum, had two sons (Ahmad Idris & Ahmad Seth), a daughter Aishah and a grandson from Idris.

People can be very hard and callous. As if to rub salt into the wound, stories of Zaharie and Faizah abound in the media declaring their marriage was on the rocks, that there was an impending divorce suit in the Syariah Court... Blah, blah, blah... all junk, all rubbish. Sorry, but you the media failed us horribly.

Besides being a doting father, Ari was generous, kind and cool with a warm sense of humour. He had a passion for life, for family and above all for flying. I wasn't kidding when I said that if he could he would have attached wings to himself. He had as much as a man could possibly want in his life; a professional career, family, friends, health and a more than comfortable life. He was very open-minded, coming from a family with a pretty wide range of nationalities through intermarriages. He got on extremely well with family members. The younger ones simply adored him... their Uncle Ari. He was very savvy at DIY. He could fix anything; garden fixtures, floor tiles, old doors, etc. My home and the homes of my sisters and brothers are not short of the things that remind us of him every day; framed pictures, leaking windows now repaired, a fish pond levelled up and nicely tiled, a new TV installed... I could go on and on.

The rollercoaster ride since March 2014 has never really stopped, except perhaps momentarily. I want the world to know here is a loving man who will stop at nothing to render help when it is needed. His presence during every family function never failed to light up the occasions. He was always sought after by sisters, brothers, nieces and nephews alike… a man of integrity. He was a generous brother and uncle who often came bearing gifts from his overseas trips.

I want to relate my daughters’ memorable occasions with him. During his younger days he would take my girls kite flying. On one of those days, my girls often relate how when the line snagged and the kite blew away. He packed them all in the car and drove to hunt for the runaway kite which he finally located in someone else’s possession. He negotiated to have the kite back, and they were thrilled. They still remember this today and such fond memories of him since childhood.

I remember taking a road trip with him some two years back from Kuala Lumpur to Krabi in Thailand. It was a long journey, filled with laughter and humour, because he brought out the best in every situation. With his wit and pleasant demeanour, he managed to solve some issues at the border crossing between Malaysia and Thailand. That was a good experience for me and my sister. We are proud of him. It was during this trip that we talked about doing a similar road trip to Italy which unfortunately will never happen.

There was a time in my hour of need when Ari came to my a knight in shining armour. My ailing husband whom Ari had great respect and affection for was seeking treatment in a neighbouring country whilst I came home to attend to some legal matters. Then I received the dreadful news of his passing. Shrouded in my own grief and misery, my mind was running a blank as to what to do next. The kids were with my husband. Whilst trying to figure things out, low and behold my brother Ari was at the gate calling out my name, and I thought he was at work only to find out later that he took emergency leave. In a nutshell, he came in, hugged me, and told me to go get ready because we had to rush to the airport. He had already booked tickets for the next flight out of Kuala Lumpur to join my mourning kids and my late husband. He didn't say very much but he did the necessary. Every minute of that encounter lingers vividly in my mind though it was some six years ago. I will forever cherish his concern for my welfare.

Ari was a simple village boy of humble beginnings but had high ambitions of becoming a commercial pilot. With the current chatter about MH370 involving big name media organisations like National Geographic, I feel compelled to divulge some information about Captain Zaharie's scholastic ‘prowess’ and academic achievements. I am doing this with some regret knowing that he would not be too happy at this disclosure. Throughout his secondary schooling he was by no means a student genius. In fact he was just an average student. Such being the situation, he certainly didn't have the right foundation to be able to figure out a scheme to hijack his own plane and then to disappear into thin air without leaving a trace.

Without a doubt he had a strong sense for loyalty towards Malaysia Airlines (MAS). His aviation training in the Philippines was sponsored by MAS. It was there he served as a pilot and later as a training captain. He had an unblemished flying record of eighteen thousand plus hours, I am proud to say. It is sheer dedication to this profession that prompted him to set up his own home flight simulator just to equip himself in order to give a better teaching experience to his students, all at his own expense.

As a training captain he often expressed joy and satisfaction with the camaraderie he shared with all his students. Following March 8th 2014, we received feedback from many of these students, both locally and internationally, all in praise of his accommodating ways and generosity at sharing his knowledge. I know for certain Zaharie opted to remain loyal to MAS despite a few challenging offers from other airlines that came his way. It was his love for family that made him want to remain with MAS until his retirement.

When the devastating news of MH370 was broadcast, like everybody else, we were also in a state of shock and disbelieve. The last time we met with Zaharie was some two weeks prior to March 8th when we were together for dinner. He was no different from his normal, usual self. He was loud, jovial, and full of chuckles with his share of jokes. After March 8th, confusion and contradiction of statements by people in authority seemed to be the order of the day. There were so many questions regarding Captain Zaharie by netizens, so in good faith we decided to share some of his remarkable attributes by way of videos with the public.

There were many consoling and enlightening comments. This is very much appreciated but some of the media pounced upon it like hungry starved wolves with their twisted and conniving misinterpretations of the visuals. Disgusting! At one stage we issued a lawyer's letter to a certain local media outlet to put a stop to their rumour mongering.

We continue to pray and hope that this bizarre mystery will unravel soon. We stand firm in the belief that no matter how long the night, dawn will still break. As things stand today, with no tangible evidence to show, NO ONE, be you politician, scientist, aviation expert, plane crash investigator, pilot, retired pilot, media or whoever else... NONE OF YOU have a right to blame Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah for any wrongdoing.

Ari was no ordinary brother to all his siblings. He has a special place in our hearts. We are proud to call him our brother. There are many other wonderful and interesting traits of his which I prefer to keep within the family.

Sakinab Shah

(Sister of Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah)

March, 2015.