nb_cid nb_clickOther -tt-nb this.style.behavior='url(#default#homepage)';this.setHomePage('http://www.aol.com/?mtmhp=acm50ieupgradebanner_112313 network-banner-empty upgradeBanner
Search AOL Mail
AOL Mail
AOL Favorites

Signal problem may be at the root of plane's disappearance

Satellite Image Of Floating Debris Provides Hope In Search of Missing Malaysian Airliner

WASHINGTON (AP) -- A Malaysia Airlines plane was sending signals to a satellite for four hours after the aircraft went missing, an indication that it was still flying, said a U.S. official briefed on the search for the plane.

The Boeing 777-200 wasn't transmitting data to the satellite, but was instead sending out a signal to establish contact, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the situation by name.

Boeing offers a satellite service that can receive a stream of data during flight on how the aircraft is functioning and relay the information to the plane's home base. The idea is to provide information on whether maintenance work or repairs are needed before the plane lands so mechanics and parts can be ready, saving time and money.

Malaysia Airlines didn't subscribe to that service, but the plane still had the capability of connecting with the satellite and was automatically sending pings, the official said.

"It's like when your cellphone is off but it still sends out a little `I'm here' message to the cellphone network," the official said. "That's how sometimes they can triangulate your position even though you're not calling because the phone every so often sends out a little bleep. That's sort of what this thing was doing."

The continuing pings led searchers to believe the plane could have flown hundreds of miles or more beyond its last confirmed sighting on radar, the official said. The plane had enough fuel to fly about four more hours, he said.

The plane was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when radar contact was lost. However, messages involving a different, more rudimentary data service called the Aircraft Communications and Reporting System did not stop simultaneously with signals from the plane's transponder, a device used to identify the plane to radar, the official said. The data messages continued after the transponder went silent, the official said, although he wasn't certain for how long.

The plane was initially thought to have gone down over the South China Sea. According to defense officials, the USS Kidd, a destroyer, is heading into the Indian Ocean. A U.S. surveillance plane is in the Strait of Malacca region and another U.S. surveillance plane is now en route to Malaysia, defense officials said.

Boeing officials declined to comment when contacted by The Associated Press.


Associated Press writers Lolita C. Baldor in Washington and Scott Mayerowitz in New York contributed to this report.

Join the discussion

1000|Characters 1000  Characters
EzinWy March 13 2014 at 10:35 PM

Time to call in Raymond 'Red' Reddington ...
He'll get to the bottom of this.

Flag Reply +3 rate up
ladycrazyat60 March 13 2014 at 8:57 PM

If it flew 4 more hours is it possible the plane could be in VietNam jungles/

Flag Reply +3 rate up
onemissourian March 13 2014 at 10:18 PM


Flag Reply +9 rate up
rancarawan March 13 2014 at 10:17 PM

I was thinking the same thread as Guy. This missing plane could be an old fashioned hijacking, not due to contemporary terrorism, pilot error or weather. Based on previous data provided; the plane has been displayed on maps to have turned back in a trajectory of 120 to 150 degrees from it's original path, continued flight at a lowered altitude with it's transponder off. The Malaysian government has probably been negotiating with those who have control of the plane, and the 239(?) occupants. They may now even be on the ground. Question is what runway could handle a 777 and can the cloud sourcing of satcom maps for the 4 hr period in question identify missing plane.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
1 reply
richyalf rancarawan March 13 2014 at 10:23 PM

Pyongyang was within range of this flight.

Flag Reply 0 rate up
Mike March 13 2014 at 9:01 PM

Is this verified or not? They can't seem to keep their stories straight now...AND CNN has been 24/7 on this and is just throwing out ideas and theories with nothing to back it up. Irresponsible coverage

Flag Reply +5 rate up
2 replies
milty420 Mike March 13 2014 at 9:09 PM

CNN is bought and paid for by the OH BUMMER REGIME

I don't believe a word they say, OR oh bummer

Remember when Obama PROMISED

“If you like your insurance you can keep it”
“If you like your doctor you can keep it”

He said those statements for 2 YEARS!!!!!

He was LYING the entire time. just like SHOVEL READY JOBS!!!

Flag Reply +1 rate up
JOHNNY 65 Mike March 13 2014 at 9:25 PM

Try Fox News they pretend to know it all.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
earthlovenews March 14 2014 at 2:40 AM

Correction: I don't fly and THIS IS why. Sorry for typos.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
marshgps March 13 2014 at 10:16 PM

as one who just spent 4 months flying around south Asia and who last year flew from Kuala Lampur
to Chengdu, China I am aghast that these airlines are so confounded by their lack of technology, passport inspections and a reluctance to avail themselves of all that Boeing has to offer.
I feel very lucky to have survived thus far.

Flag Reply +4 rate up
f9ladyhawk March 14 2014 at 1:18 AM

I believe some evil transgression has occure here, and is being hidden/covered up by some corrupt government entity...

Flag Reply +7 rate up
Ron March 14 2014 at 2:36 AM

I find it inconceivable that in this day and age there is no foolproof method of keeping communications going between an aircraft and land based tracking systems no matter what happens to the aircraft. I suspect there might be a way to do this but cost considerations are blocking the implementation of such a system.

Flag Reply +2 rate up
4 replies
gabrielleyoung1 March 14 2014 at 1:18 AM

I believe hypoxia is out of the question. Pilots know not to "stay" at a high altitude. The thought of this 777 just vanishing into thin air is as crazy as the hypoxia thing. I believe this plane was hijacked. But just going off radar...

Flag Reply +4 rate up
aol~~ 1209600



World Series

More From Our Partners