HOUSTON, WE HAVE A PROBLEM
... kindness is killing the families
Four-time Walkley Award winning political commentator and Churchill Fellow, has returned to the fray over concern that the integrity of news dissemination is continually being threatened by a partisan media.
As suggested here one year ago an extended search for MH370 will be an exercise in futility. It’s a commendable attempt to give bereaved families closure but the search is providing anything but closure, it is providing a forlorn hope... something, anything, no matter how unrealistic, to cling to.
The aircraft will never be found, it is gone, and until Angus Houston is honest enough to admit that, then families will continue to suffer endless false expectations and cockamamie conspiracy theories.
Watching that poor woman in tears, a year after the disappearance, hoping beyond all hope she might still be able to put her husband to rest, was tragic.
The aircraft turned south-west, most likely on auto pilot, and eventually plunged at high speed into an uncharted southern Indian Ocean. The degradation in “handshakes” from a remote sensor tells us that much.
Okay, so here are the facts, the Indian Ocean is over 10 times the area of Australia. In places it is deeper than Mount Everest is high. There are hundreds of sea mounts falling off into narrow valleys, gorges, ledges and chasms akin to a thousand Grand Canyons.
When the aircraft hit the water it would have disintegrated leaving disparate and shattered wreckage spread over a wide area... wreckage that would not even resemble an aircraft. Deep-water currents would have carried bits and pieces of the wreckage further afield.
To suggest that some tiny sonic marine vessel could detect where most of the aircraft rests is fanciful. Houston should put a stop to it now, accept that it’s a lost cause and give families a starting point to begin closure.
And those idiots who believe it’s hidden in a hangar in Pakistan somewhere should also stop the nonsense. It’s not fair.
Australia is shouldering most of the cost involved ($100 million has been set aside, with more to come if needed) and that’s indicative of Malaysia’s and China’s hopes of finding anything.
When I was doing search and rescue in the Pacific, I recall I was pretty pissed at a Port Vila pub one night when an inter-island Twin Otter carrying nine people mistook the harbor for a runway that had no localiser.
I was there within 15 minutes to find seven people floundering in the rough water. I lowered the skids to the surface and all of them grabbed the starboard skid of the Jetranger.
I jerked the chopper straight back up, loosening their wet grips, or we were all going straight in the drink. I yelled as loud as I could for some of them to grab the other skid. But they didn’t understand.
I had the cyclic hard on the opposite metal and they were pulling the chopper into the sea. They were exhausted and appeared too weak to climb up into the chopper anyway.
So I chucked them an inflatable life raft, went back to the pub and rang Emergency Services. There was no answer except for an answer machine: “In case of an emergency call …”. That number didn’t answer either and this time there was no answer machine.
I tried to wake the Minister for Island Affairs but he was out like a light on the pool table with a Fosters in each hand and fresh vomit covering yesterday’s vomit on his suit. By the time private boats arrived, there was not a sign of anyone.
The next morning five people were found, still alive. They had been dragged by the current to the opposite shore line. There was no life-raft… it would have been in Japan by then.
Four of the poor bastards drowned somewhere, two I assumed were still in the aircraft.
Later the same day I looked for the downed Otter. My fishing boat had a good depth sounder. The local Navy boat had none, and a bloke in a flash Admiral’s uniform didn’t appear to know what a depth-sounder was.
So the entire Navy of one followed me around until we spotted it at 2,000 ft. I took a GPS fix and arranged for a marine crane from Noumea while the “Admiral” explained to the Press how his Navy had discovered the plane.
Four days later the crane arrived but the downed aircraft was no longer there. The 8 knot current had picked it up and “flown” it to God knows where. Neither it, nor four of its nine passengers, were seen again.
That’s the difficulty of finding an aircraft in relatively shallow water just four days after it has been located. What chance a year later, covered in marine growth in the bloody Southern Ocean?
Chasing multiple phantom “pings” in different areas simply meant that not one of them was real.