Malaysia will release MH370 satellite data

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IOL pic mar26 malaysia plane search satellite hands pointing Reuters Staff at the satellite communications company Inmarsat point to a section of the screen showing the southern Indian Ocean to the west of Australia, at their headquarters in London, on March 25, 2014. File picture: Andrew Winning

Kuala Lumpur -

Malaysia said on Tuesday it will publicly release satellite data used to narrow down the search for the missing jetliner to the southern Indian Ocean.

The Civil Aviation Department and the British company Inmarsat in a joint statement said they would do this “in line with our commitment to greater transparency”.

Some family members of the 239 people on the plane have demanded raw satellite data to be made public for independent analysis.

The government says calculations using Inmarsat data showed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 veered off course and ended in the Indian Ocean after it went missing March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

No wreckage has been found, and an underwater hunt led by Australia continues.

Authorities believe the plane was flown deliberately off course, but are still investigating the cause of the disappearance.

“In moving forward, it is imperative for us to provide helpful information to the next of kin and general public, which will include the data communication logs as well as relevant explanation to enable the reader to understand the data provided,” the statement said. It stressed the data was just one of many elements in the investigation.

The statement didn't say when or how the data will be released.

Malaysia has been criticised for its handling of the crisis, especially by relatives of Chinese passengers who make up the majority on board the plane.

Earlier this month, family members urged Malaysia, China and Australia to review Inmarsat data for its accuracy. In a letter to the countries' leaders which is also posted on their Facebook page, the relatives said the data did not “support a definitive conclusion that no other flight path was possible”.

“We feel that it is necessary that the data be subject to independent third-party review. It is our hope that with out-of-box thinking, the whole world can help to look for the plane,” the letter said.

The search has moved into a new phase, with a Chinese navy survey ship to start mapping the seabed off the west Australian coast this week. - Sapa-AP

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