MH370: Nothing odd in transcripts

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IOL pic mar26 malaysian plane flowers on fence Reuters A memorial cross and bouquet in honour of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are seen outside the front gate of the Royal Australian Air Force base Pearce, in Bullsbrook near Perth, on March 26, 2014. Flight MH370 vanished from civilian radar screens less than an hour after taking off on March 8 and search aircraft based out of RAAF base Pearce are trying to locate any debris in the southern Indian Ocean. Picture: Jason Reed

Kuala Lumpur - Malaysian authorities on Tuesday released the full transcript of communications between the pilots of missing Flight MH370 and air traffic controllers, saying the exchanges showed nothing unusual.

“There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript,” a statement by Defence and Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said.

The 43 separate transmissions over nearly 54 minutes are thick with air-traffic and navigational jargon and give no hint of trouble aboard the plane, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

The transcript concludes with Malaysian air traffic control first bidding MH370 “good night”, as it instructs the pilots next to contact controllers in Vietnam, over which the plane was due to fly.

The final entry from just after 1.19am comes from one of the two MH370 pilots, who says: “Good night, Malaysian three seven zero.”

The plane disappeared from radar shortly thereafter and is yet to be found, though Malaysia now believes it was deliberately diverted and flew on for hours to the Indian Ocean, where it is presumed to have crashed.

The transcript - and particularly the final words from MH370 - have been the subject of much speculation following earlier statements by authorities and the airline that the last transmission from the plane was a casual “Alright, good night”.

That apparent non-standard sign-off fuelled speculation that one of the pilots - either Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, or First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27 - diverted the plane on purpose.

Under pressure to clarify the matter, the government corrected the final words late on Monday, but until now had not released a full transcript.

Tuesday's statement said the transcript was “initially held as part of the police investigation”, but gave no other reason for the delay.

Malaysia Airlines had said previously that the last words were believed uttered by First Officer Fariq, but the statement said the ongoing investigation was yet to confirm that. - AFP



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