MH370 case shows Malaysia gvmt’s disorganisation

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search-area-for-flight-mh370Confusion in the global community and frustration among the passengers’ relatives of missing flight Malaysia Airlines MH370 grew as a high military official first said the air force had tracked the plane, but later denied the statement.

Malaysia’s Berita Harian newspaper on Tuesday quoted Air Force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the plane was last detected by military radar at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca at 2.40am on March 8, hundreds of kilometers off course.

“I wish to state that I did not make any such statements,” Rodzali said in a statement on March 12. The air force chief said he had merely repeated that “military radar tracking suggested the plane might have turned back”.

A senior military officer who had been briefed on the investigation said that the aircraft had made a detour to the west after communications with civilian authorities ended.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the officer said.

A spokesman for the Malaysian prime minister’s office said he had not been informed by the military of evidence showing the plane had recrossed the Malay Peninsula to reach the Malacca Strait.

“The people I checked with were not aware of that,” spokesman Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad told Reuters.

Malaysian authorities have previously said that flight MH370 disappeared around 1.30am, roughly midway between Malaysia’s east coast town of Kota Bharu and southern Vietnam, about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast, while Kota Bharu is on the northeast coast.

After the comments from the officer, a non-military source familiar with the investigations said the reported detour was one of several theories and was being checked. If the plane had made such a detour it would undermine the theory that it suffered a sudden, catastrophic mechanical failure, as it would mean it flew at least 500 kilometers after its last contact with air traffic control.

A huge international search operation has been mostly focused on the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand off Malaysia’s east coast, although the Strait of Malacca has been included since March 9. Navy ships, military aircraft, helicopters, coast guard and civilian vessels from 10 nations have criss-crossed the seas off both coasts of Malaysia without success.

In the absence of any concrete evidence to explain the plane’s disappearance, authorities have not ruled out anything. Police have said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery, along with the possibility of a hijacking, sabotage or mechanical failure.

US planemaker Boeing has declined to comment beyond a brief statement saying it was monitoring the situation.

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Reading Time: 2 minutes

Confusion in the global community and frustration among the passengers’ relatives of missing flight Malaysia Airlines MH370 grew as a high military official first said the air force had tracked the plane, but later denied the statement.

Reading Time: 2 minutes

search-area-for-flight-mh370Confusion in the global community and frustration among the passengers’ relatives of missing flight Malaysia Airlines MH370 grew as a high military official first said the air force had tracked the plane, but later denied the statement.

Malaysia’s Berita Harian newspaper on Tuesday quoted Air Force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the plane was last detected by military radar at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca at 2.40am on March 8, hundreds of kilometers off course.

“I wish to state that I did not make any such statements,” Rodzali said in a statement on March 12. The air force chief said he had merely repeated that “military radar tracking suggested the plane might have turned back”.

A senior military officer who had been briefed on the investigation said that the aircraft had made a detour to the west after communications with civilian authorities ended.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the officer said.

A spokesman for the Malaysian prime minister’s office said he had not been informed by the military of evidence showing the plane had recrossed the Malay Peninsula to reach the Malacca Strait.

“The people I checked with were not aware of that,” spokesman Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad told Reuters.

Malaysian authorities have previously said that flight MH370 disappeared around 1.30am, roughly midway between Malaysia’s east coast town of Kota Bharu and southern Vietnam, about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing.

The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast, while Kota Bharu is on the northeast coast.

After the comments from the officer, a non-military source familiar with the investigations said the reported detour was one of several theories and was being checked. If the plane had made such a detour it would undermine the theory that it suffered a sudden, catastrophic mechanical failure, as it would mean it flew at least 500 kilometers after its last contact with air traffic control.

A huge international search operation has been mostly focused on the shallow waters of the Gulf of Thailand off Malaysia’s east coast, although the Strait of Malacca has been included since March 9. Navy ships, military aircraft, helicopters, coast guard and civilian vessels from 10 nations have criss-crossed the seas off both coasts of Malaysia without success.

In the absence of any concrete evidence to explain the plane’s disappearance, authorities have not ruled out anything. Police have said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might shed light on the mystery, along with the possibility of a hijacking, sabotage or mechanical failure.

US planemaker Boeing has declined to comment beyond a brief statement saying it was monitoring the situation.

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