Malaysia Flight #370: People’s Republic of China’s Search Activities
We’re now in the 40th day of the disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370. There were 228 passengers onboard—152 were Chinese citizens. Accordingly, the People’s Republic of China has an extraordinary interest in locating the missing aircraft—to maintain national prestige and to assuage the families of the missing. Daily, over 200 family members are pressing Malaysian and Chinese officials for information. There is none.
The Chinese deployed over a dozen ships, several aircraft, and satellites in the multi-nation search. Unfortunately, the effort of the Chinese on station in the Indian Ocean have hindered the search efforts instead of helping or they have remained silent.
For example, on Friday, 4 April (27 days after the dissapearaance), the Chinese Xinhua News Agency reported that the sailors on the Chinese patrol ship Haixum 01 heard electronic pings at 3.5 Kilohertz and at one-second intervals—the frequency that the Flight Data Recorded (“black box”) would transmit and the correct interval. Such electronic signals are similar to those of the black box transmissions but were not confirmed as such. Please note that it was the official new agency of the People’s Republic of China that made the announcement—not the ship on station. Nevertheless, the ships location in the south Indian Ocean was reported as a spot in the Indian Ocean is about 950 miles west of Perth, Down Under.
Within a few days, the lead searcher discounted this Chinese claim as bogus. Senior searchers speculate that this false report by the Chinese probably was intended to project competence and regain lost prestige. Actually, investigating this false report distracted and delayed the search effort for several critical days while the batteries on the black box were fresh and transmitting strong signals.
China’s rush to be first with search results by report bogus signals signifies incompetents or dissembling.
Captain (ret) S. Martin Shelton has a lifetime fascination with Far East Studies.