Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: UK's Telegraph Publishes Cockpit Communication Transcript While Search Continues In Southern Indian Ocean

Flight MH370 diagram search australia
A diagram showing the search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean is seen during a briefing by John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), in Canberra March 20, 2014. Reuters/Sean Davey

A transcript of communications from the cockpit of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, before it went missing on March 8, was published by the London-based newspaper, The Telegraph, Saturday, even as military and commercial aircraft and ocean-going vessels scoured a remote section of the southern Indian Ocean for signs of debris that could potentially belong to the missing plane.

The report from the Telegraph published the transcript of what are said to be the last 54 minutes of communications from the the jetliner's cockpit and quoted analysts suggesting that there are at least two unusual aspects of the communication that could strengthen the theory of a hijacking.

The first instance is believed to be the pilots' confirmation of the plane's altitude, which occurs twice in the span of about six minutes, while the second confirmation coincides with the last message from the plane's Acars signaling device, which is suspected to have been deliberately disabled sometime in the following 30 minutes. The other unusual feature, reportedly apparent from the transcript, is that the loss of communication from the plane and its subsequent turn westward and away from its scheduled flight path seems to have happened when air-traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur were handing over the plane to those in Ho Chi Minh City.

“If I was going to steal the aeroplane, that would be the point I would do it,” Stephen Buzdygan, a former British Airways pilot who flew 777s, told the Telegraph, adding: “There might be a bit of dead space between the air-traffic controllers … It was the only time during the flight they would maybe not have been able to be seen from the ground.”

Meanwhile, efforts to look for debris -- spotted by a satellite earlier this week -- in the southern Indian Ocean, about 1,500 miles southwest of Perth, continued for a third day. Australia dispatched six planes, including two commercial aircraft with volunteer observers, Bloomberg reported. The search is being assisted by two merchant vessels while China would deploy at least seven ships to the area, the report said.

“It is a very remote area but we intend to continue the search until we are absolutely satisfied that further searching would be futile,” Australia's Deputy Prime Minister Warren Truss told reporters Saturday at an airbase near Perth, according to Bloomberg. “That day is not in sight.”

Access the Telegraph story and transcript here.

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