Malaysia Airlines, Day 11: Mystery Deepens, Families Opt Hunger Strike

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is still being sought, and now it is day 11 since the disappearance. One of the latest bits of information on the status of the missing flight came from The New York Times on Monday night, where it was reported that the first turn that deviated the flight from its set path was carried out via a computer system instead of manually. Citing senior American officials, the report said that someone in the cockpit purposely changed the course by feeding seven or eight characters into a computer which is installed between the captain and first officer.

Malaysia Airlines mystery deepening 

In separate but related news, the Thai military has come out with radar evidence which shows that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 turned around as it flew over Pulau Perak in the Strait of Malacca. One of the spokesperson of the Royal Thai Air Force shared the findings with CNN. The radar evidence was collected by the Thai military on March 8. The data shows that at 1:22 a.m. local time, the Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared from radar, and at 1:28 a.m., an unidentified aircraft was traced traveling in the opposite direction of MH370.

“The unknown aircraft’s signal was sending out intermittently, on and off, and on and off,” said the Thai military spokesman.

Families threatening a hunger strike

On Tuesday, Malaysian officials said that the search area for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet now covers an area which is marginally bigger than the entire land mass of Australia. Acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters that the entire search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles (7.7 million square km), while Australia has a land mass of around 7.6 million square km. The search area now stretches from southern central Asia, across western China, and into the Indian Ocean west of Australia.

Twenty-six countries are making a joint effort to trace the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and its 239 passengers and crew. On Tuesday, Australian and American authorities informed the media that they have started the search in the Indian Ocean and admitted that the search is similar to looking for a needle in a haystack.

“A needle in a haystack remains a good analogy,” Emergency Response General Manager John Young of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

At a time when officials are declaring the search a difficult task, families of the missing Chinese passengers are threatening to go on a hunger strike if the Malaysian authorities fail to provide relevant information. Families revealed their intentions after a meeting with the airline in Beijing.

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