Missing Malaysia Plane, The last words spoken by one of the pilots of the missing Malaysian Airlines airliner to the control tower were “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”, Malaysia’s civil aviation authority said, changing the previous account of the last message as a more casual “All right, good night.”
The correction of the official account of the last words was made as Malaysian authorities 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 holding back 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.
“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 air space on its route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Minutes later its communications were cut off and it turned back across Malaysia and headed toward the Indian Ocean. More than three weeks later, a huge international search effort is going on in the southern Indian Ocean off western Australia, but has so far failed to turn up any wreckage.
The statement from the civil aviation authority came after acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was questioned at a news conference on Monday over the last words from the cockpit and fended off demands to release the official transcript.
The statement said authorities were still conducting “forensic investigation” to determine whether the last words from the cockpit were by the pilot or the co-pilot. Previously, Malaysia Airlines has said that the words were believed to have come from the co-pilot.
SEARCH HAS ‘NO TIME LIMIT’
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday the hunt for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has no time limit, despite the failure of an international operation to find any sign of the plane in three weeks of fruitless searching.
A total of 20 aircraft and ships were again scouring a massive area in the Indian Ocean some 1,200 miles west of Perth, Australia, where investigators believe the Boeing 777 carrying 239 people came down.
“I’m certainly not putting a time limit on it,” Abbott told reporters after meeting flight crews at Pearce airbase in Perth.
“The intensity of our search and the magnitude of our operations is increasing, not decreasing,” he said, adding that searchers owed it to grieving families of passengers to continue the hunt.
Families have strongly criticized Malaysia’s handling of the search and investigation, including the decision last week to say that, based on satellite evidence, the plane had crashed in the southern Indian Ocean on March 8.
Abbott rejected suggestions his Malaysian counterpart had been too hasty to break that news, given that no confirmed wreckage from the plane has been found and its last sighting on radar was northwest of Malaysia heading towards India.
“No, the accumulation of evidence is that the aircraft has been lost and it has been lost somewhere in the south of the Indian Ocean,” he said.