[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific

New account of MH370 pilot's final words

Authorities revise pilot's last words to control tower, amid criticism of handling Malaysian jet's disappearance.

Last updated: 31 Mar 2014 19:29
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Malaysia says the plane was likely to have been diverted deliberately far off course [AP]

The last words spoken by one of the pilots of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane to the control tower were "Good night Malaysian three seven zero", Malaysia's civil aviation authority said, changing its previous account of the last message as being a more casual "All right, good night".

The correction of the official account of the last words was made as Malaysian authorities continued to face heavy criticism for their handling of the disappearance, particularly from families of the Chinese passengers on board Flight MH370 who have accused Malaysia of mismanaging the search and withholding information.

"We would like to confirm that the last conversation in the transcript between the air traffic controller and the cockpit is at 0119 (Malaysian Time) and is "Good night Malaysian three seven zero," the Department of Civil Aviation said in a statement on Monday, according to the Reuters news agency.

Malaysia's ambassador to China told Chinese families in Beijing as early as March 12, four days after the flight went missing, that the last words had been "All right, good night."

"Good night Malaysian three seven zero" would be a more formal, standard sign-off from the cockpit of the Boeing 777, which was just leaving Malaysia-controlled airspace on its route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Minutes later its communications were cut off and it turned back across Malaysia and headed towards the Indian Ocean.

Search effort

More than three weeks later, a huge international search effort is taking place in the southern Indian Ocean,off western Australia, but has so far failed to turn up any wreckage.

The statement from the aviation authority came after Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was questioned at a news conference on Monday about the last words from the cockpit and fended off demands to release the official transcript.

The statement said authorities were still conducting a "forensic investigation" to determine whether the last words from the cockpit were by the pilot or the co-pilot.

Previously, Malaysia Airlines said the words were believed to have come from the co-pilot.

The civil aviation department said the investigating team had been instructed to release the full transcript at the next briefing with relatives.

Malaysia says the plane, which disappeared less than an hour into its flight, was likely to have been diverted deliberately far off course.

Investigators have determined no apparent motive or other red flags among the 227 passengers or the 12 crew.

About two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese nationals.

429

Source:
Reuters
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
Italy struggles to deal with growing flood of migrants willing to risk their lives to reach the nearest European shores.
Israel's Operation Protective Edge is the third major offensive on the Gaza Strip in six years.
Muslims and Arabs in the US say they face discrimination in many areas of life, 13 years after the 9/11 attacks.
At one UN site alone, approximately four children below the age of five are dying each day.
Featured
The conservative UMP party suffers from crippling internal divisions and extreme debt from mismanagement.
More than fifty years of an armed struggle for independence from Spain might be coming to an end in the Basque Country.
After the shooting-down of flight MH17, relatives ask what the carrier has learned from still-missing MH370.
Human rights and corporate responsibility prompt a US church to divest from companies doing business with Israel.
Afghan militias have accumulated a lengthy record of human-rights abuses, including murders and rapes.
join our mailing list