Mar 21 2014
What can a transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication from the flight deck aboard missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 tell us?
The moment flight MH370 turned unexpectedly westwards is the point at which Malaysian air traffic controllers handed over to their Vietnamese colleagues, the final communications from the cockpit revealed. It fuels theories that the missing Malaysia Airlines plane was hijacked, as one former pilot said it is the point at which the flight would have momentarily been invisible to ground control.
UK Daily Mail The final 54 minutes of communication between the flight deck of the Malaysia Airlines plane and ground control has emerged as day two of a major search of the southern Indian Ocean found no sign of possible debris spotted on satellite. The full communication record of MH370, including the vital moments prior to the disappearance of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers could provide crucial clues as to what happened to the aircraft.
The transcript reveals all communication between the cockpit and ground control from its taxi on the runway to its final message at 1.07am local time, when co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid said: ‘Alright, good night.’ Two minutes after this final message the plane’s transponder was disabled.
Adding weight to the theory that the plane could have been hijacked, the transcript reveals that the point at which the plane took a sharp west turn, was when air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur handed over to their colleagues in Ho Chi Minh City. Former British Airways pilot, Stephen Buzdygan told The Telegraph, if he was planning to steal an aeroplane, that would be the moment to choose. He said: ‘There might be a bit of dead space between the air traffic controllers … It was the only time during the flight they would maybe not have been able to be seen from the ground.’
Another odd feature of the conversations on board the plane is a message repeated by the flight deck, telling air traffic controllers that the plane was flying at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet. The message, experts say, was unnecesarily repeated six minutes after it was first delivered.
The transcript and final communications mark another piece of evidence to help investigators piece together what happened to the stricken plane. The banter between Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Hamid give no hint of the drama that was to ensue.
‘The communication up until the plane went to the changeover [to Vietnam] sounds totally normal,’ Mr Mr Buzdygan said. ‘I’ve done it hundreds of times. It is perfectly normal.’
Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia’s Civil Aviation Authority and the office of the Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak were contacted by the Telegraph, for confirmation of the communications report. Only the prime minister’s office responded, saying it would not release the information.