Titanic discoverer weighs in on missing jetliner - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Titanic discoverer weighs in on missing jetliner

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A Rhode island Air National Guard C-130J. A Rhode island Air National Guard C-130J.
NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. -

Five days after disappearing from radar, no debris field has been found from a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner that's presumed to have crashed on a flight to Beijing.

Dozens of ships and aircraft continue to search 35,000 square miles of ocean, and people are searching satellite images on the web.

The only official hopeful clue is a Chinese satellite image its government says might indicate a crash site of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.

Bob Ballard, a professor at University of Rhode Island's School of Oceanography who discovered the wreck of the Titanic in 1985, weighed in Thursday.

"If you know anything about the circulation of the current this time of year in that area, it's counterclockwise. And so it makes sense that the debris would be to the east and south of the impact site," Ballard said.

When the Rhode Island Air National Guard is called out on a search, it uses the workhorse C-130J, under the direction of the Coast Guard, the Navy or the National Transportation Safety Board.

"If we were doing a grid search pattern, it would look just like a grid," said Maj. Christopher Peloso of the RIANG. "If it was a diagonal pattern, we'd put that in here and that it would track the plane's progress on that panel."

There is no night vision on this aircraft, so it's all what the eye can see.

On active search, the crew of the C-130J would look through the cockpit windows initially, but it could also open up the back hatches to get a good view of the ocean just below.

"Anything that could be out there, that would pop out as unusual," Peloso said.

Millions have flocked to a high resolution satellite imaging website, voluntarily combing through hundreds of thousands of images looking and tagging suspect locations.

"It's possible that they were just off the radar, but it's unfortunate. I really do hope that they find that aircraft," Peloso said.

Search the satellite imagery at DigitalGlobe.

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