April 21st, 2014
04:16 AM ET

Ferry Crew's Actions 'Akin to Murder'

 South Korean President Park Geun-hye on Monday likened the actions of the captain and some crew members of the sunken ferry Sewol to murder, as police made more arrests and divers continued searching the submerged vessel.

The captain of the South Korean ship, Lee Joon-seok, is already facing a series of criminal charges for his role in last week's sinking, in which at least 64 people have died and 238 others remain missing. Many of them are students and teachers on a field trip from a high school near Seoul.

"The actions of the captain and some of the crew are absolutely unacceptable, unforgivable actions that are akin to murder," Park said Monday in comments released by her office. She said she and other South Koreans were filled with "rage and horror."

Her strong words come after more details emerged over the weekend about the chaos and confusion aboard the doomed ferry as the disaster unfolded in the cold waters of the Yellow Sea off South Korea's southwest coast.

A radio transcript released by authorities suggested that passengers on the ship couldn't reach lifeboats to escape because the ship tilted so quickly that it left many of them unable to move.

As the search goes on, the actions of the captain and crew remain under scrutiny.

The captain was not in the steering room when the accident took place, according to police and his own account.

He said he plotted the ship's course, and then went to his cabin briefly "to tend to something." It was then, the captain said, that the accident happened.

A crew member, described as the third mate and identified only as Park, appeared in handcuffs with Capt. Lee at the weekend.

The third mate said she did not make a sharp turn, but "the steering turned much more than usual."

The captain and the third mate both apologized to the bereaved families.

Park is facing charges including negligence and causing injuries leading to deaths, authorities said. A technician with the surname Cho is also facing the same charges, they said.

The captain was one those rescued soon after the Sewol began to sink, violating an "internationally recognized rule that a captain must stay on the vessel," maritime law attorney Jack Hickey said.

"Pretty much every law, rule, regulation and standard throughout the world says that yes, the captain must stay with the ship until all personnel are safely off of the ship, certainly passengers."

MORE on CNN.com

Posted by , ,
Filed under: News • Videos • World News
April 7th, 2014
09:46 AM ET

U.S. Locator Hears Signals 'Consistent' With Pingers

After weeks of searching vast swaths of ocean, investigators now have their "most promising" lead yet in efforts to find Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

A pinger locator in the Indian Ocean has detected signals consistent with those sent by a flight data recorder and a cockpit voice recorder, said the head of the Australian agency coordinating search operations.

The signals were picked up Sunday by the Ocean Shield, an Australian navy ship that's towing a sophisticated U.S. pinger locator through an area about 1,750 kilometers (1,100 miles) northwest of Perth. The first detection lasted for more than two hours; a second lasted for about 13 minutes.

The sounds were heard in a part of the ocean that's about 4,500 meters (about 14,800 feet) deep, retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston said Monday.

FULL POST

Posted by , ,
Filed under: News • Videos • World News
April 4th, 2014
09:51 AM ET

Underwater Search in 'Area of Highest Probability'

The hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has penetrated beneath the waves as searchers race to catch pings from the missing plane's flight data recorders before they fall silent.

But the area of the southern Indian Ocean where British and Australian naval ships are deploying sophisticated listening technology remains nothing more than an educated guess at where the plane may have hit the water.

The British Royal Navy survey ship HMS Echo and the Australian naval supply ship Ocean Shield began searching the ocean's depths along a single 240-kilometer (150-mile) track Friday, said retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, the head of the Australian agency coordinating the search efforts.

The Ocean Shield is equipped with high-tech gear borrowed from the United States: the TPL-25, a giant underwater microphone that will listen for the pings from the flight data recorders, and the Bluefin-21, an underwater robot that can scour the ocean bed for signs of wreckage. The HMS Echo also has advanced sensor equipment.

Time is running out in the efforts to detect the pings as the batteries that power the recorders' beacons are expected to expire in the coming days.

"If they do find it, I think it'll be remarkable," said Bill Schofield, an Australian scientist who worked on developing flight data recorders.

Nearly four weeks have passed since the jetliner vanished with 239 people on board. With investigators still apparently stumped by the case, information in the flight recorders could help them unravel the mystery of what happened the night the plane dropped off radar.

But there are no new clues behind the area where the underwater search is concentrated. It's based on the same kind of analysis of radar, satellite and other data that investigators have used to determine a series of shifting search areas in recent weeks.

"The area of highest probability as to where the aircraft might have entered the water is the area where the underwater search will commence," Houston said at a news conference Friday. "It's on the basis of data that arrived only recently, and it's the best data that is available."

'Just a guess'

Until searchers can find a confirmed piece of debris from the plane, which would give them a clearer idea of where the main bits of wreckage might be located, there is no certainty the technology is being pointed in the right direction.

"Really the best we can do right now is put these assets in the best location - the best guess we have - and kind of let them go," U.S. Navy Cmdr. William Marks told CNN. "Until we get conclusive evidence of debris, it is just a guess."

Searching with the pinger locator trailing from a ship is painstaking work, another U.S. Navy official said.

"It is a very slow proceeding search, 2 to 3 knots depending on the depth," said Capt. Mark M. Matthews, director of ocean engineering. But since it doesn't rely on daylight, the device can keep searching 24/7.

"It's going to take time," Matthews said, adding that the Bluefin-21 robot would only be deployed if the searchers get a clear fix on the beacons sending out the pings.

The ocean in the general area where the search is taking place is between 2,000 meters and 4,000 meters (6,500 feet and 13,000 feet) deep. The pinger locator can search as deep as 20,000 feet (6,100 meters), according to the U.S. Navy.

See updates on this story at CNN.com. 

Posted by ,
Filed under: News • Videos • World News
April 3rd, 2014
10:59 AM ET

Flight 370 Search: 'We Cannot be Certain of Ultimate Success'

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday described the search for Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 as "the most difficult in human history" and warned there was no guarantee the missing plane would be found.

"We cannot be certain of ultimate success in the search for MH370," he said at a news briefing in Perth, the western Australian city that is serving as the hub for search operations. "But we can be certain that we will spare no effort - that we will not rest - until we have done everything we humanly can."

Abbott was speaking during a visit to Perth by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who met with members of the search teams who have been scouring a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean for traces of the jetliner.

"They told me of the difficulties of a search like this, of distance and weather and of maintaining morale over a long period," Najib said.

His visit came on the 27th day of the hunt for the passenger jet, which disappeared March 8 over Southeast Asia with 239 people on board.

Investigators are yet to provide an explanation of why the plane flew way off course or pinpoint exactly where it ended up. Officials say that an analysis of the available data suggests the jet's journey finished in the southern Indian Ocean.

But is that the right area?

Aviation journalist Jeff Wise raised his doubts with Chris Cuomo on "New Day" Thursday.

WATCH FULL CLIP ABOVE 

Posted by , ,
Filed under: News • Videos • World News
« older posts
newer posts »