Monday, March 10, 2014

Appeal to search missing Malaysian flight

The Beijing-bound Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 over the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam after it lost contact with the ground controllers.
There are still no clues about the whereabouts of the missing plane.

 Malaysia Airlines said it was working with authorities who activated their search and rescue team to locate the aircraft.

The route would take the aircraft from Malaysia across to Vietnam and China.
(New York Times)

The Boeing 777 was traveling smoothly in clear weather at about 35,000 feet, when it vanished from radar screens.
Its last known location was captured on Flightradar 24, a popular aircraft live-tracking site, over the South China Sea/Gulf of Thailand almost due north of Kuala Terengganu in Malaysia approximately 45 minutes after take off.

 NGA nautical chart of the area in the Marine GeoGarage
Last detected signal was reported to be 120 Nm from east Kota Baru.
Vietnam navy said plane may have crashed 153 miles off Tho Chu island. 
The bathymetry of this SE Asia area shows an extensive shallow water.
Given the relatively shallow depth of the Gulf of Thailand, the possible crash area, the flight-data recorder (or "black box") and cockpit voice recorder should be located fairly quickly -- a key difference between Malaysia 370 and the similarly baffling Air France 447, which went down in 2009 in the middle of the Atlantic at a depth of 4,000 meters.

 An multinational air and sea search has now been launched,
with this area being the current area of interest.

Last known position of flight MH370 : 06°55'15" N / 103°34'43" E
Other ref : Flightaware

 View of oil spills seen from a Vietnamese air force plane on Saturday in the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
Preliminary investigations into the whereabouts of flight MH370 are said to be narrowing on the possibility of a mid-air disintegration.

A photo taken by personnel on board a Vietnamese search aircraft in an undisclosed area on March 9 shows possible debris from the missing Malaysia Airline.
Vietnamese officials said they believe the object is one of the plane's doors, according to local news media reports.

GeoSage, a developer in image fusion and spectral transformation analysis, is suggesting that Landsat-8 satellite imagery might come to rescue in this case.
However, there are no readily available maps for the vast and empty ocean.

Though satellite imagery (Landsat-8) acquired for the same day can be rapidly explored.
It would be a good opportunity to explore whether the timely Landsat-8 satellite imagery has captured something for the surrounding ocean region where the plane was reportedly missing.
Luckily, there are three scenes captured on the same day for the surrounding ocean region. Unfortunately, no imagery is available for the main suspect area.

Nevertheless, given the surprisingly lack of any information and useful maps, the Landsat-8 scenes that are now processed (at 15m-resolution) might still be useful for the swift search and possibly rescue exercises.
At least, with the satellite imagery the search can be more targeted and one can exclude large areas without any traces at this stage.

Want to help find the Malaysian Airlines flight?
So spend a few minutes on this website reviewing satellite images :
 Tomnod : crowdsource satellite imagery to look for Malaysia Airlines Flight
with images captured by Digital Globe on Sunday 9 March.
DigitalGlobe is enlisting the crowd to scan and tag images of more than 1,200 square miles of ocean for any visible evidence that could help locate the Malaysia Airlines 777 aircraft that went missing this weekend.
The Longmont-based earth-imagery company deployed its FirstLook service on Sunday, directing two of its five satellites to snap photos of the area in the Gulf of Thailand, where investigators suspected the plane may have crashed, and then activated its crowdsourcing platform, Tomnod.

A lot of ocean to cover, they need a lot of eyes.

Links :