Malaysia on Tuesday released the full transcript of communications
between the Boeing 777 and local air traffic control before it
dropped from civilian radar in the early hours of March 8 as it flew
from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The correction comes as Malaysian authorities face heavy criticism,
particularly from China, for mismanaging the search, now in its
fourth fruitless week, and holding back information. Most of the 239
people on board the flight were Chinese.
"There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript,"
Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in the
statement, without giving explanation for the changes in the
reported last communication.
"The transcript was initially held as part of the police
investigation," he added.
Minutes after the final radio transmission was received the plane's
communications were cut off and it turned back across Peninsular
Malaysia and headed towards the Indian Ocean, according to military
radar and limited satellite data.
The search is now focused on a vast, inhospitable swathe of the
southern Indian Ocean west of the Australian city of Perth, but an
international team of planes and ships have so far failed to spot
any sign of the jetliner.
"In this case, the last known position was a long, long way from
where the aircraft appears to have gone," retired Air Chief Marshal
Angus Houston, the head of the Australian agency coordinating the
operation, told reporters in Perth.
"It's very complex, it's very demanding and we don't have hard
information like we might normally have," he said.
Malaysia says the plane was likely diverted deliberately, probably
by a skilled aviator, leading to speculation of involvement by one
or more of the pilots. Investigators, however, have determined no
apparent motive or other red flags among the 227 passengers and 12
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The transcript, issued on Tuesday and shared with families of the
passengers and crew, covers about 55 minutes of apparently routine
conversation, beginning about quarter of an hour before take-off.
The last exchange took place at 1:19 a.m. Nothing appeared to be
wrong, as Malaysian air traffic controllers told the pilots they
were entering Vietnamese air space, and received a fairly standard
sign-off with call sign in reply.
Air Traffic Control: "Malaysian Three Seven Zero contact Ho Chi Minh
120 decimal 9, good night."
MH370: "Good night, Malaysian Three Seven Zero."
"Previously, Malaysia Airlines had stated initial investigations
indicated that the voice which signed off was that of the co-pilot,"
Transport Minister Hishammuddin said in the statement.
"The police are working to confirm this belief, and forensic
examination of the actual recording is on-going."
Malaysia's ambassador to China had told Chinese families in Beijing
as early as March 12 that the last words from the cockpit had been
"All right, good night", which experts said was more informal than
called for by standard radio procedures.
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