Group: Explain MH370 discrepancy

Group: Explain MH370 discrepancy
Malaysian Transport Minister Hussein answers more questions as he leaves a crowded news conference about missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport

PETALING JAYA - An international group wants Malaysia to explain the content of the preliminary report on Flight MH370 which highlighted a captain's claims that the aircraft had never left the Malaysian airspace.

The unnamed captain claimed that based on "known information", MH370 had never left Malaysian airspace.

"Why does he think that the plane never left Malaysian airspace or based on what information did he make this assessment?" asked the group aligned to American Phillip Woods, one of the 239 passengers and crew who had gone missing in the plane on March 8.

The group had sent an analysis of the Preliminary Report on MH370 via e-mail to Malaysian Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak, Australian Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss and to representatives of various agencies involved in the search and rescue operation.

In an immediate response, Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Aziz Kaprawi said various countries, including the United States, Australia and China, had acknowledged British satellite firm Inmarsat's calculation indicating that MH370 had crashed in the Indian Ocean.

"Inmarsat data indicated that the aircraft had flown across the Indian Ocean," he said.

The Boeing 777-2H6ER plane went missing at 1.21am while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

Next-of-kin of the passengers and crew members had demanded for Inmarsat's raw data to be made available to the public so that people could justify its deduction.

This had prompted acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein to instruct the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to discuss with Inmarsat on the release of the raw data.

Aziz said the armed forces had verified a possible turn back, as no other aircraft was scheduled to fly in the area at that time.

Other questions raised by the group include why the Australian Defence Force, which allegedly had capability to observe northern air and sea activities up to 3,000km, did not confirm if it had detected MH370 over the Indian Ocean before it went missing.

The group also questioned why there were no radar feedback from Singapore, Thailand and Indo­nesia.

Former prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad called on Boeing to explain its patent for "uninterruptible" autopilot system where an aeroplane could be controlled via remote access as part of its counter-terrorism measures.

Stressing that it was not fair to blame MAS and Malaysia over the missing plane, he said Boeing should have the answers as it built and equipped the aircraft.

Dr Mahathir said Boeing would have ensured the communications and GPS equipment in the aircraft could not be easily disabled, as those were vital to the safety and operation of the plane.

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