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Flight MH370 transcript leaked: Final 54 minutes of Flight MH370 communication

Flight MH370 has been missing now for more than two weeks, but something is definitely amiss in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Why is the transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication between the pilot of Flight MH370 and air traffic controllers being kept a secret and has to be leaked via China, as reported by The Telegraph on March 21, 2014? And why did it take Malaysia Airlines until Friday to disclose that the plane was carrying some lithium ion batteries, which are deemed “dangerous” cargo and can overheat and cause fires?

The Telegraph

In regard to the leaked transcript of the final 54 minutes of communication between the flight deck on board the missing plane and air traffic controllers, Malaysia’s defense minister slammed the transcript as inaccurate and having been leaked from sources in China. Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said details of the communication between the pilots and ground control "were still being analyzed by experts and his government was not ready to release them yet."

The Flight MH370 transcript that was leaked shows the conversation between the co-pilot and the control towers from the time the Boeing 777 was taxiing to its final message at 1:19 a.m. of “all right, good night.” During the past two weeks, whether intentional or not, Malaysian officials did not clarify that the final communication was between the 27-year-old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid and the control towers and not the missing Malaysian plane’s captain, 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

Even though Malaysian officials say that the real transcript -- which they are still analyzing -- does not show anything unusual, according to The Telegraph, analysts said that while sequence of messages appeared “perfectly routine,” two features might have been potentially odd:

  • “The first was a message from the cockpit at 1.07am, saying the plane was flying at 35,000ft. This was unnecessary as it repeated a message delivered six minutes earlier. But it occurred at a crucial moment: it was at 1.07am that the plane’s Acars signalling device sent its last message before being disabled some time in the next 30 minutes, apparently deliberately. A separate transponder was disabled at 1.21am but investigators believe the Acars was shut down before Hamid’s final, 1.19am farewell.”
  • “The other odd feature, one reason for suspicions that the plane’s disappearance was no accident, was that its loss of communication and subsequent sharp turn west occurred at the handover from air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur to those in Ho Chi Minh City. ‘If I was going to steal the aeroplane, that would be the point I would do it,’ said Stephen Buzdygan, a former British Airways pilot who flew 777s. '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’.”

Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared just hours after Malaysia sentenced opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim to five years in prison, an individual who captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah supported. According to Pentagon officials, Malaysia has asked the United States for undersea surveillance technology as the Chinese government released satellite pictures on Saturday of floating object in the southern Indian Ocean about 74 feet long and 43 feet wide. Malaysia’s acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the search was proving frustrating and cautioned: “This is going to be a long haul. We have to trench down and the focus is to reduce the area of search and possible rescue.” How about also focusing on providing the desperate families of the passengers of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 and the rest of the world with some useful truth?

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