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Phuket Gazette World News: Chinese, Australian ships try to verify potential ‘pings’ from Malaysia jet

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Phuket Gazette World News: Chinese, Australian ships try to verify potential ‘pings’ from Malaysia jet | The Thaiger
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PHUKET MEDIA WATCH

– World news selected by Gazette editors for Phuket’s international community

Chinese, Australian ships try to verify potential ‘pings’ from Malaysia jet
Reuters / Phuket Gazette

PHUKET: Chinese and Australian ships hunting for a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner have picked up separate acoustic signals in different parts of a vast Indian Ocean search area and are trying to verify if one could be from the plane’s black box recorders.

Australian search authorities said on Sunday a Chinese patrol vessel, the Haixun 01, had picked up a fleeting “ping” signal twice in recent days in waters west of Perth, near where investigators believe Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went down on March 8.

More planes and ships were being sent to assist in that area. Meanwhile, Australia’s HMAS Ocean Shield had reported a separate “acoustic event” some 300 nautical miles away.

The Ocean Shield is carrying sophisticated U.S. Navy equipment designed to pick up signals sent from the black boxes, which may hold the key to why the aircraft ended up thousands of kilometres off course.

“We are treating each of them seriously. We need to ensure before we leave any of those areas that this does not have any connection with MH370,” Retired Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, head of the Australian agency coordinating the operation, told a media conference in Perth.

A black box detector deployed by the Haixun 01 picked up the signal with a frequency of 37.5kHz per second – the same as emitted by flight recorders – at about 25 degrees south and 101 degrees east, Xinhua reported on Saturday.

Australian search authorities said such a signal would be consistent with a black box, but both they and Xinhua stressed there was no conclusive evidence linking it to the Boeing 777.

“The 37.5kHz is the specific frequency that these locator pingers operate on,” said Anish Patel, president of Sarasota, Florida-based Dukane Seacom, which made the black box locator.

“It’s a very unique frequency, typically not found in background ocean noise,” such as whales or other marine mammals, he told Reuters.

A U.S. government source close to the MH370 investigation said on Sunday that the “pings” have not yet been validated. The source also said that no additional, trustworthy information had turned up to explain why the plane disappeared.

Southern area back in focus

Houston said analysis of earlier satellite data had again led investigators to refine the search area towards the southern part of the corridor.

“The area of the highest probability is, what we think, the southern part where Haixun 01 is operating. That is why we are really interested in the two acoustic encounters that Haixun 01 has had.”

The water was around 4,500 metres (14,764 ft) deep in that part of the search area, Houston added.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said he was “hopeful but by no means certain” that the reported pulse signals were related to MH370.

“This is the most difficult search in human history. We are searching for an aircraft which is at the bottom of a very deep ocean and it is a very, very wide search area,” Abbott told reporters in Tokyo, where he is on a visit.

Up to a dozen planes and 13 ships will be scouring three separate areas about 2,000 km (1,243 miles) northwest of Perth, Australia’s Joint Agency Coordination Centre said on Sunday.

Sonar equipment

Authorities have not ruled out mechanical problems as a cause of the plane’s disappearance, but say the evidence, including loss of communications, suggests it was deliberately diverted.

Malaysian authorities have faced heavy criticism, particularly from China, for mismanaging the search and holding back information. Most of the 227 passengers were Chinese.

Malaysia said on Saturday it had launched a formal investigation into the plane’s disappearance that would include experts from Australia, the United States, China, Britain and France.

Normally, a formal air safety investigation is not launched until wreckage is found. But there have been concerns that Malaysia’s informal investigations to date have lacked the legal standing of an official inquiry convened under U.N. rules.

Under International Civil Aviation Organisation rules, the country where the aircraft is registered leads the investigation when the incident takes place in international waters.

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the investigation would comprise three groups: one would examine maintenance records, structures and systems; an “operations” group would study flight recorders, operations and meteorology; and a “medical and human factors” group would look into psychology, pathology and survival.

— Phuket Gazette Editors

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Drugs

2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck

Caitlin Ashworth

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2 million methamphetamine pills found in parked truck | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Line Today

Police found more than 2 million methamphetamine pills in a truck parked at petrol station at Prachuap Khiri Khan’s Bang Saphan Noy district. Police are still looking for the driver.

The Narcotics Suppression Bureau alerted local police about a truck in the area suspected of trafficking drugs. Police spotted a truck that matched the description and saw it turning in to a petrol station.

Police followed, but by the time they reached the vehicle, it was parked and the driver was no where in sight. Officers suspect the driver fled the scene.

The truck had a number of cardboard boxes containing thousands of methamphetamine pills. Police say all together they seized 2,002,000 pills. They also found a bank deposit passbook, 2 identification cards and other documents. The evidence was passed on to the Narcotics Suppression Bureau who are now working on the case.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

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Hua Hin

Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border

Caitlin Ashworth

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Hua Hin schools close after students get fever, families crossed Myanmar border | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai PBS

Class is cancelled for a week at 2 schools after some students reported a high fever. School officials discovered many Burmese students and parents have been crossing the Thai-Myanmar border. The Thai government recently told immigration police to patrol the country’s natural borders such as along jungles and rivers after Myanmar reported a spike in coronavirus cases.

The 2 Prachuap Khiri Khan schools – Anun School and Wang Ta Krai School – will be closed until at least September 7. Some of the students need to quarantine for 14 days before returning to school. Public health officials have taken fluid samples to test for Covid-19. The results have not yet been released at this stage.

The province is on the Malay peninsula and borders Myanmar’s Tanintharyi region. The community has a large Burmese population. Out of the 576 students at Anun School, 300 of them are migrants. Out of the 310 students at the Wang Ta Krai School, 45 of them are migrants.

When students from the Anun School students did not show up in class due to high fever, school officials looked into their case and learned that their families had recently returned from areas around the Thai-Myanmar border. Wang Ta Krai School has not reported any suspected cases.

Most of the cases in the recent spike in Myanmar involve the western Rhakine state, on the other side of Myanmar from the Thai border.

SOURCE: Nation Thailand

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Tourism

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes

The Thaiger

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Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | The Thaiger
PHOTO: Thai VietJet adds a BKK-Nakhon Si Thammarat flight to their schedule

Whilst much of the world waits to get back into Thailand, the local airlines are starting to flex their domestic muscles and add new routes.

Thai AirAsia is launching 2 new routes from Chiang Mai, starting yesterday, offering a one-way fare for as low as 790 baht on flights to Hua Hin, and Udon Thani in the northeast. The cheapie fares will only run until August 16, or when they’re booked out. The fares will cover travel from today up to March 26 next year.

Thai Air Asia is attempting to bump up its direct domestic travel from Chiang Mai that will avoid doing a stop-over in Bangkok for these new routes.

The new flight from Chiang Mai to the coastal town of Hua Hin is targeting Thais and expats living in the north who want a seaside break and couldn’t be bothered sitting in a bus for 24 hours.

The bi-weekly flights depart every Friday and Sunday which gives travellers at both ends of the route an excuse for weekend travel. Thai Air Asia are now servicing 30 domestic routes that started again in May when Thai-registered airlines restarted limited domestic services.

But the locally-based airlines are still not allowed to fly internationally, and, based on comments from the TAT, that may not happen until early 2021. A deputy governor of the Tourism Authority of Thailand said last Friday there was “no signs to show international tourism would reopen this year and even Chinese New Year in February 2021 was now in jeopardy… It is not a rosy picture.”

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

 

Meanwhile Thai Vietjet has started a new service from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport to Nakhon Si Thammarat in Thailand’s Deep South.

The first flight landed over the weekend to a water salute welcome at Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport. Thai Vietjet’s latest service into southern Thailand operates daily but they’re hoping to ramp up to four flights a day in October.

A promotional fare of just 199 baht, excluding tax and fees, is on sale at www.vietjetair.com.

Air Asia and VietJet add some extra domestic routes | News by The Thaiger

SOURCE: TTRWeekly

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