Dr Mahathir: Is it safe to fly in a boeing 777?

Dr Mahathir: Is it safe to fly in a boeing 777?
A Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines plane.

The former Malaysian prime minister slammed Boeing, asking if it was still safe for people to fly the planes made by the US manufacturer. Malaysian Airlines' flight MH370, a Boeing 777 aircraft, disappeared without a trace two months ago. It was on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

In his blog yesterday, Dr Mahathir Mohamad, 88, wrote: "If this can happen to MH370, a 777 Boeing, is it safe to fly in such planes? When will another plane disappear?

"The assumption is that MH370 fell into the Indian Ocean. Can a plane that heavy, made of glass, aluminium, titanium and composites, plunge into the sea and not break up, leaving broken parts and oil slicks?

"Even if the sea was calm a plane would break up. The engines too can break off and leave traces of oil etc. Whether the pilots were in control or not, when the fuel was exhausted the plane must drop (sic)."

The Malay Mail, quoting Dr Mahathir's blog, reported that he said the plane "cannot achieve a soft landing like the Hudson River case. It must drop into the sea violently. Even if the sea was calm, the plane must break up".

"But the suggestion is that the whole plane sank intact into the sea. Is this possible?" he asked.

This is the second time Dr Mahathir has taken aim at Boeing. Two weeks ago, he demanded that Boeing take responsibility for the aircraft's disappearance.

He wrote: "Until now nothing has been found to indicate the breakup of the plane.

"Boeing has a lot to answer. Until the plane is found and the causes of the failure of communication equipment and the disappearance are fully explained, one must conclude that Boeing aircraft are dangerous to fly in."

His remarks come a day after almost 350 family members of passengers of the missing plane demanded that raw data be released for independent analysis, preferably to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.

The non-profit research facility was responsible for finding the remains of the missing Air France flight AF447 in 2009, almost two years after it crashed into the Atlantic Ocean.

Amid questions about how the investigation has been conducted, the family members made the demand on Thursday in an open letter sent to the leaders of Malaysia, China and Australia.

This article was published on May 10 in The New Paper.

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