Malaysia releases transcript of last words from missing plane

Crew member Koji Kubota (L) of the Japan Coast Guard and John Pumpa of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) look out an observation window aboard the Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream V aircraft as it searches for debris from the missing plane. Credit: Reuters
Crew member Koji Kubota (L) of the Japan Coast Guard and John Pumpa of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) look out an observation window aboard the Japan Coast Guard Gulfstream V aircraft as it searches for debris from the missing plane. Credit: Reuters

 The last words from the cockpit of a missing Malaysian jet were a standard “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”, Malaysian authorities said, changing their account of the critical last communication from a more casual “All right, good night.”

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 crew.

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.

SEARCH GOES ON

Nine ships and 10 aircraft resumed the hunt for wreckage from MH370 on Tuesday, hoping to recover more than the fishing gear and other flotsam found since Australian authorities moved the search 1,100 km (685 miles) north after new analysis of radar and satellite data.

Houston said the challenging search, in an area the size of Ireland, would continue based on the imperfect information with which they had to work.

“But, inevitably, if we don’t find any wreckage on the surface, we are eventually going to have to, probably in consultation with everybody who has a stake in this, review what to do next,” he said.

Using faint, hourly satellite signals gathered by British firm Inmarsat PLC and radar data from early in its flight, investigators have only estimates of the speed the aircraft was travelling and no certainty of its altitude, Houston said.

Satellite imagery of the new search area had not given “anything better than low confidence of finding anything”, said Mick Kinley, another search official in Perth.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak will travel to Perth late on Wednesday to see the operation first hand. He was expected to meet Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Thursday.

Among the vessels due to join the search in the coming days is an Australian defense force ship, the Ocean Shield, that has been fitted with a sophisticated U.S. black box locator and an underwater drone.

Time is running out because the signal transmitted by the missing aircraft’s black box will die about 30 days after a crash due to limited battery life, leaving investigators with a vastly more difficult task.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Mayor pledges lower greenhouse gas emissions from New…

Just hours before the start of the People’s Climate March on Sunday, and two days ahead of the United Nations Climate Summit, Mayor Bill de…

National

The best places to see the Northern Lights…

A large solar storm hit the Earth's atmosphere and will tonight illuminate the skies with aurora borealis -- also known as the Northern Lights.

Local

Police officer killed Sunday morning Bronx crash, 8…

One NYPD police officer was killed and eight other officers were injured early Sunday morning when the van they were traveling in crashed  in the…

National

Pennsylvania police shooter manhunt near home of suspect's…

A police manhunt intensified on Friday for the gunman who killed an officer and wounded another in an ambush at a Pennsylvania police barracks a week ago.

Television

'How to Get Away with' mischaracterizing Shondra Rhimes

Shonda Rhimes read Alessandra Stanley's New York Times piece about her being "an angry black woman" and "a romance writer" and it did not sit well with her.

Gossip

New nude celebrity selfies leak … and Clay…

A new batch of nude selfies of Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, Vanessa Hudgens, Lake Bell and Avril Lavigne hit the web and Clay Aiken has something to say!

Television

James Spader's route to villainy on "The Blacklist"

In honor of the second season premiere of "The Blacklist" tonight, where James Spader plays good guy/bad guy Raymond “Red” Reddington, it’s a good time to look back at Spader’s…

Television

True Detective

NFL

Jay Cutler takes Marc Trestman's coaching to heart

While Jay Cutler turned to an autobiography on the man who would be his head coach, Trestman had personal experience with the player.

NFL

Jets vs. Bears: 3 things to watch

Jets fans likely chalked up Monday's matchup with the Bears as a loss when the NFL schedule came out. But given their team's play so…

NFL

Rashad Jennings carries Giants in first win this…

Rashad Jennings, who came to New York from Oakland last year, by way of Jacksonville, was highly coveted this offseason by general manager Jerry Reese.

NFL

3 things we learned as Giants pick up…

The Giants picked up their first win of the season over the Texans.

Career

Here's how to make the most of visit…

You’re primped, you’re looking polished, you’re prepared with a stack of resumes. Job fair hunters, unite! There are a few things to keep in mind…

Education

Learn how to study effectively and stop cramming…

Picture this: It’s midterm week, and college students everywhere are trying to frantically memorize all of the math formulas, political theories and historical facts that…

Parenting

How motherhood inspired Bethenny Frankel's new book

Bethenny Frankel's new children's book is about how her daughter and dog didn't always get alone.

Parenting

A sneaky way to serve kids fruits and…

"My First Juices and Smoothies" gives smoothie recipes for kids.