Airline Boss: MH370 May Not Be In Indian Ocean

Emirates Airlines boss Sir Tim Clark tells a German magazine that the failure to find any debris raises a "degree of suspicion".

Emirates Airlines boss Sir Tim Clark tells a German magazine that the failure to find any debris raises a “degree of suspicion”.

In a World where we hear the word ‘Conspiracy’ and look the other way, we see here a ‘Conspiracy’ a great huge one at that. What happened to this plane? Where are the people? I have heard many theories but as yet we don’t know. For an Airline boss to say this is “Suspicious” tells us all we need to know

There have been plenty of conspiracy theories about what happened to missing jet MH370 but now the respected head of one of the world’s leading airlines says he believes the plane was not on autopilot at the end and may not even be in the Indian Ocean. Emirates Airlines boss Sir Tim Clark made the controversial comments in an interview with German magazine Der Spiegel. “MH370 was, in my opinion, under control, probably until the very end,” he said. His theory goes against current thinking that the aircraft was on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. He added: “Our experience tells us that in water incidents, where the aircraft has gone down, there is always something.

“We have not seen a single thing that suggests categorically that this aircraft is where they say it is, apart from this so-called electronic satellite ‘handshake’, which I question as well.” The plane that disappeared was a Boeing 777 and Emirates operates 127 such aircraft, more than any other airline. Sir Tim said he was suspicious of the fact that no-one seems to know where the plane ended up. “There hasn’t been one over-water incident in the history of civil aviation – apart from Amelia Earhart in 1939 – that has not been at least 5 or 10% trackable. “But MH370 has simply disappeared. For me, that raises a degree of suspicion. I’m totally dissatisfied with what has been coming out of all of this,” he told the magazine. Sir Tim called for more transparency in the investigation.

He said: “There is plenty of information out there, which we need to be far more forthright, transparent and candid about. “Every single second of that flight needs to be examined up until it, theoretically, ended up in the Indian Ocean – for which they still haven’t found a trace, not even a seat cushion.” Australian Danica Weeks lost her husband Paul on the flight. In response to the comments from the respected airline chief she told Channel 9 news: “He’s the man in the know so why aren’t they talking to us? And what is all the silence about?” Earlier this week the Australian Transportation Safety Bureau (ATSB) said latest analysis suggested the Malaysia Airlines flight went into a slow left turn and spiralled into the Indian Ocean when its fuel ran out. An interim report pointed investigators towards the southern section the current search zone.

Frankfurt authorities prepare for Ebola – Is it about to get bad?

Are we ready for Ebola? It's a question the German media have been asking for weeks. Frankfurt Airport has come under particular scrutiny due to its size. But could Frankfurt really be an entry point for the disease?

Are we ready for Ebola? It’s a question the German media have been asking for weeks. Frankfurt Airport has come under particular scrutiny due to its size. But could Frankfurt really be an entry point for the disease?

Some of the taxi drivers at Frankfurt Airport feel helpless against the disease

Some of the taxi drivers at Frankfurt Airport feel helpless against the disease

Ebola continues to rage in Africa. So far, the virus has claimed more than 1,500 lives in the West African countries of Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. But the deadly disease has stirred fears on the European continent as well, triggering a string of false alarms. With several airlines including British Airways and Air France cancelling flights to affected countries, European airports have been on the alert for weeks. As Germany’s biggest airport, Frankfurt has come under particular scrutiny. Over 58 million passengers pass through its sliding glass doors and terminals every year. The taxi drivers outside the airport’s international arrivals terminal are concerned that one of those passengers could be carrying the Ebola virus. “I often have a bad feeling about it,” one of them comments. “Every time I leave the airport here with passengers I always say: ‘May I ask where you’ve just come from?’ And then I can usually make up my own mind.” He says he has even considered wearing mouth protection. Two others say they have a duty to take people to where they need to go, and they don’t ask where people have just come from. “What can you do? That’s the way it is. We have to keep working,” says one, and takes a drag from his cigarette.

Emergency medical care

The taxi drivers have to depend on airport safety measures and on passengers from affected countries making sure they get checked for Ebola. But according to Bonn-based

René Gottschalk's team at the health authority meet daily to discuss Ebola measures

René Gottschalk’s team at the health authority meet daily to discuss Ebola measures

journalist Abu-Bakarr Jalloh, that is easier said than done. Jalloh recently returned from Freetown in Sierra Leone, where he had been in close contact with Ebola patients on a reporting assignment. He was feeling unwell and tried desperately to get a blood test to confirm he was Ebola-free. He was shocked by the response of medical staff.

“You go to the emergency clinic and you would sit there for hours and hours and tell them ‘Hey my case could be very serious, take it seriously.'” Even when he explained that he could be a carrier of the virus, he was told that emergency patients are the priority. “As long as you don’t look like you’re dying, you’re not a priority,” Jalloh said. Jalloh says the response he got to his case in Germany has made him think that “the measures that authorities in Europe and airliners are taking aren’t sufficient.”

Staff at the regional health authority in Frankfurt would surely disagree . Chief public health consultant René Gottschalk estimates that employees there have been spending around 30 percent of their time dealing with Ebola-related issues in recent weeks. Every day, Gottschalk and his team meet in the so-called “Ebola crisis management room” to prepare for a potential Ebola case. The team includes infectious disease specialists and a crisis management expert who liaises with the police and the fire brigade. The walls in the room are plastered with maps, health warnings and lists of emergency contacts, flight numbers and airports in Africa.

Of course, a large chunk of the Ebola-related work at the health authority currently consists of press requests regarding Frankfurt airport’s precautions. His team has been so overwhelmed that it has gone from answering individual requests to arranging larger-scale events for journalists. Gottschalk thinks that reporting on the disease hasn’t amounted to scare-mongering, but that the amount of reports has stoked fears. “People read, see and hear more than twice a day that Ebola is a problem in Germany. But it isn’t a problem.”

Red, yellow and green

Isolation ward 68 at Frankfurt's university hospital is prepared for Ebola patients

Isolation ward 68 at Frankfurt’s university hospital is prepared for Ebola patients

Gottschalk explains that there’s a clear procedure for the event that a passenger suspected of having Ebola comes to Frankfurt airport: The flight would land outside the airport grounds. Passengers on board would then be classified according to how likely they are to be carrying the virus, using a traffic light color-coding system.

“If a passenger is marked red, we will transport him directly from the aircraft to the university hospital. Passengers marked yellow will enter the airport in a specialized area. Only passengers marked green will enter the airport and travel on,” Gottschalk explains. The same marking procedure is used for other viral hemorrhagic fevers, such as Lassa fever, which are transmitted from person to person through bodily fluids rather than through the air. There was a suspected case of Ebola on a flight from Addis Ababa to Frankfurt on August 15, 2014. But the passenger had tested negative for Ebola before flying and was allowed to travel on after being examined on the plane. An elderly couple who had been on the same flight told DW they felt “the airport staff did a good job. We felt safe and had the feeling that they knew what they were doing.”

Isolating the virus

But if there were to be a case of the virus at the airport, an infected passenger would be taken directly to Frankfurt’s university hospital, for treatment in isolation ward 68. The two-bed ward there is sealed off from the rest of the hospital, using airlock doors and negative pressure in the room. Before entering, medical staff would put on sterile protective clothing, including an orange plastic overall, two pairs of gloves, rubber boots and head covering. A built-in hose blows filtered air into the hat and into the entire gown. That way, if the suit ripped, air would blow any potential bacteria out of the suit.

.Not a European battle

Timo Wolf, a consultant in infectious diseases who runs the ward, explains that doctors at the hospital train in the isolation ward every three months. Wolf says working in the gear is “very physically straining,” so staff need to

Staff in the isolation ward wear full-body protective gear

Staff in the isolation ward wear full-body protective gear

practice performing medical procedures in the full-body suits, which he says feel like hot, heavy, scuba-diving suits.

Such preparations are very necessary, Wolf believes. “I think it’s possible, if not likely, that in the next couple of weeks, we will be confronted with a suspected or maybe even a definite case of Ebola.” Frankfurt’s system is tried and tested, Wolf says. The ward has treated Lassa fever and had a SARS patient in 2003.

“I think that there’s no reason to be afraid of anything now in Europe. I think that in the long run, this game has to be won in Western Africa,” Wolf says

Ebola outbreak: Emirates becomes first major international airline to suspend all flights to virus-affected region

Just the start?

Just the start?

I was speaking to some friends on Skype earlier yesterday and we asked this exact question ‘How long till Countries close Air traffic or Airline stop flying to effected areas” Well here we are, I believe this will be the first of many. I live on a small Island and the Government in the UK have hinted about closing travel in and out of the UK

From the UK Government:

The UK government is closely monitoring the spread of the Ebola virus in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. This page will be updated regularly.
Ebola virus
An Ebola outbreak was confirmed in Guinea in March 2014 and quickly spread to Liberia.

Ebola haemorrhagic fever is a rare but severe disease caused by the Ebola virus. Ebola is highly transmissible by direct contact with organs or bodily fluids of living or dead infected persons and animals.

The UK government is closely monitoring the outbreak in Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. This is the largest outbreak of the Ebola virus in recent times and there are no reports of British citizens being infected.

Should I be worried about this outbreak?
This is not an issue that affects the UK directly. We have experienced scientists and doctors – the Royal Free Infectious Disease Unit, the Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine – and a lot of experience of dealing with dangerous diseases. The risk of this disease spreading fast in the UK is much lower because of that.

The UK government is taking precautionary measures and looking at capability but is confident that the UK has experienced people who are ready to deal with anything if it were to arrive here. Read the latest assessment of the outbreak in West Africa and an assessment of the situation in the UK by Public Health England. Following a meeting of government committee COBR, Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said: We’ve looked at how we are co-ordinating with our French and American colleagues under the World Health Organisation; we’ve considered what additional measures the UK could take to help control the outbreak in West Africa; and we’ve also looked at what measures we need to put in place on a precautionary basis in case any UK nationals in West Africa should become affected by the disease. We do not, at the moment, think this is an issue that affects the UK directly.

What are the arrangements at the border?
Border Force has been working closely with Public Health England and other agencies to ensure staff are prepared to deal with the threat of the Ebola virus.

As part of this planning, guidance has been issued to front line staff on how to identify and safely deal with suspected cases of Ebola that makes clear what steps need to be taken should a passenger arrive at the border unwell.

If a person is identified at the border as being a potential carrier of Ebola they will be immediately referred by a Border Force officer to a specialist medical care provider and reported to the Public Health England.

Travel advice
Travellers to Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea are advised to follow the health advice issued by the National Travel Health Network and Centre.

Get the latest travel advice for Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea. Government actions to help affected countries. In Liberia and Sierra Leone, the Department for International Development is making a £2 million package of assistance available to partners including the International Federation of the Red Cross (IFRC) and Médecins Sans Frontières that are operating in Sierra Leone and Liberia to tackle the outbreak.

This latest round of funding is in addition to support the UK has been providing since the outbreak of the disease in February 2014. In Sierra Leone and Liberia the UK has been supporting agencies to increase awareness and understanding of the disease within the community, to improve treatment for those infected and to prevent its spread within and across borders. This includes working with the WHO to train health workers and provide the supplies they need to tackle the outbreak. The UK has also funded initiatives to improve public information, including radio messaging programmes, on the outbreak in Sierra Leone to help control the spread of the disease. In Liberia the UK has provided chlorine and other materials for hygiene and sanitising. Other organisations helping to contain the outbreak

International agencies such as Médecins Sans Frontières, UNICEF, WHO, the UN Population Fund, USAID and the Red Cross have all been on the ground helping the health services of the countries affected. The international community has contributed more than £2 million in aid, including £300,000 from the EU. Get the latest advice and information if you are a humanitarian aid worker. On 2 and 3 July WHO convened a meeting in Accra to coordinate regional activity and develop an Ebola virus response strategy. The UK government is supporting this process.


The Emirates airline has suspended all flights to Guinea in West Africa in a bid to prevent the further spread of the deadly Ebola virus.  The Dubai-based airline is the first major international airline outside Africa to impose a ban in response to the outbreak, which has so far killed more than 729 people across four countries. Described by the World Health Organisation (WHO) as by far the worst outbreak ever recorded in the disease’s four-decade history, it originated in Guinea and spread to Liberia and Sierra Leone. A further case was reported after a man flew to Lagos, Nigeria – sparking fears the disease would be spread further by international air travel.

Emirates said its flights to Conakry, the capital of Guinea, were suspended from Saturday until further notice. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers, however the safety of our passengers and crew is of the highest priority and will not be compromised,” a statement read. The airline, which does not operate services to Sierra Leone or Liberia, said it would continue to provide flights to Dakar in Senegal. It said further decisions on West Africa would be “guided by the advice and updates from the government and international health authorities”.

The heads of state of the four countries affected by the outbreak met with Dr Margaret Chan, the Director-General of the WHO, to discuss the crisis on Friday. Dr Chan warned of the potentially “catastrophic consequences” of an outbreak “moving faster than our efforts to control it”, and the world leaders agreed to take stronger measures to ensure Ebola does not spread beyond the region. The Emirates’ ban follows the issuing of guidelines from both the WHO and International Air Transport Association (IATA), which has also seen several major airlines and airports begin screening passengers for illness. Nigeria’s largest airline Arik Air, which flies to a limited number of international destinations including London, has stopped flights to Liberia and Sierra Leone. And the pan-African airline Asky was suspended by Nigeria’s civil aviation authorities for bringing the first Ebola case, involving the Liberian diplomat and US citizen Patrick Sawyer, to Lagos.