MH370: Last communication by co-pilot

By Chan Kok Leong, Monday, March 17, 2014

Investigations show that last communication with air traffic control was by co-pilot

Investigations show that last communication with air traffic control was by co-pilot

KUALA LUMPUR - Authorities shed more light on the case of the missing jetliner MH370 on Monday when they revealed that the last piece of communication - “Alright, good night” - was by the co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.

Malaysian Airlines (MAS) CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, however, could not confirm whether this was after or before MH370’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was switched off.

“Initial investigations showed that it was the co-pilot who spoke the last time on tape,” Yahya told reporters Monday.

Along with that piece of information, police are said to be looking into pilot suicide as a likely cause for the disappearance of the MAS passenger plane.

However, transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein declined to say if any of the crew or passengers had any personal problems.

The last Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) transmission was at 1.07am (local time) while the last pilot communication with air traffic control was at 1.19am.

At this point, it is unknown whether the ACARS was deliberately switched off. But the minister said that the ACARS did not transmit 30 minutes later as normally programmed.

According to Hussein, investigators were also looking into rumors that the plane had flown as low as 5,000 feet to evade radar.

Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minster Tony Abbot told members of Parliament that Australia would take the lead in the search for MH370 in the southern vector.

The southern vector covers the Indian Ocean while the northern vectors covers Central Asia.

Malaysia’s search for the missing Boeing 777-200ER has been expanded from 14 countries to 25 covering an area stretching from the south of the Indian Ocean to Central Asia.

Flight MH370 went missing after losing radio contact with Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control after leaving Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8. The Beijing-bound flight carried 239 passengers including 12-flight crew from 14 different countries.

The aircraft is now believed to have turned back from its original flight path and followed a route between navigational waypoints (aviation corridors N571 and P628). N571 or waypoint Vampi is used by commercial airplanes traveling to the Middle East while P628 or waypoint Igrex is used to fly to Europe.

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