MH370: Search expands off West Coast, cargo also a focus

The Malacca Straits off of Malaysia's west coast are now a search focus after Malaysia's air force chief says military radar picked it up at that location at 2:40AM and the aircraft's cargo manifest is also under scrutiny.


Malaysia Airlines MH 370 MH370


With the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 expanded to the Malacca Straits off the west coast of Malaysia following the revelation by Malaysia’s air force chief that military radar showed the aircraft off Malaysia’s west coast near the island of Pulau Perak at 2:40AM, cargo is also being considered in the broad mix of potential factors for the aircraft’s disappearance.

Malaysian officials from the onset said the aircraft might have turned back as its last radar contact appeared to indicate a u-turn and initially in the early hours of the mystery said the last radar sighting from its Subang air traffic control – which covers Kuala Lumpur airport – lost contact with the aircraft at 2.40AM (which was later revised to 1:30AM), which appears to jell with the air force chief’s latest comments.

Singaporean authorities have been reported as saying they detected a rapid descent which could have affected whether the aircraft was picked up on radar screens. Flightradar24.com, which has provided much of the public images of the flight’s position said its coverage was limited to 30,000 feet (9,100 metres) in that area.

MH 370’s cargo manifest has also come under scrutiny with aviation experts highlighting it is as important as the passenger manifest in trying to determine what went wrong onboard the aircraft. This includes scrutinising the manifest for potentially dangerous goods that could have contributed or caused physical damage to the aircraft, such as lithium batteries which have come under scrutiny after being suspected in a number of aircraft incidents in recent years and face tighter regulations going forward.