|(Flight MH370) Malaysia contradicts pilot’s sign off released earlier, refuses to reveal transcript
Malaysia's civil aviation department said late yesterday the last of one of the pilots of missing Malaysia Airline Boeing 777 were “Good night Malaysian three seven zero,’’ and not the more casual “All right, good night'' originally reported.
The admission is likely to add to criticism of the Malaysian authorities' handling of the search for the plane, AFP reports.
Chinese relatives of those on board the missing plane have been particularly scathing, accusing Malaysia of incompetence and even a cover-up.
“We would like to confirm that the last conversation in the transcript between the air traffic controller and the cockpit is at 0119 [Malaysian time] and is ‘Good night Malaysian three seven zero,’’’ the department said in a statement last night.
”The authorities are still doing forensic investigation to determine whether those last words from the cockpit were by the pilot or the co-pilot.''
Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya had said on March 17 the last words from the cockpit were believed to have been spoken by the co-pilot.
Shortly after the last message from the plane communications were cut and the Boeing 777, carrying mostly Chinese nationals, vanished.
The civil aviation department said a full transcript would be released during a briefing with relatives of the missing passengers.
The move comes after testy exchanges yesterday between foreign journalists and Malaysian Transport and Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein, who insisted: “We are not hiding anything, we are just following the procedure that has been set.''
Malaysia insists it is being transparent, but has yet to release any details of its investigation into what happened, which has included investigating the backgrounds of everyone on the flight, including its crew.
In the early days of their daily press briefings after the plane went missing, Malaysian officials made a series of contradictory statements that added to the confusion.
Notably, there have been about-turns regarding the crucial sequence of events in the plane's cockpit before it veered off course, and Malaysia's armed forces have been criticised for failing to intercept the diverted plane when it appeared on military radar.
Such mis-steps have fuelled relatives' anger, with families of Chinese passengers accusing Malaysian officials of incompetence and deceit.