An aviation expert has alleged that Malaysian and Australian authorities, who are handling the search for missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, could be involved in a cover-up, local media reports said Sunday. Desmond Ross, who is also a pilot, also claimed that a breach of protocol by authorities made the ongoing search costly, The Malaysian Insider reported.

Ross, who is a pilot and air-traffic management specialist, reportedly blamed the authorities' failure to release recordings from the first hours of the aircraft's disappearance for the delay in finding the Boeing 777. “If proper protocols had been followed, we would not be looking for the aircraft today,” Ross said, according to The Malaysian Insider

Writing for Aviation Business Asia Pacific magazine, Ross also reportedly raised doubts over the official version of Flight MH370’s final moments.

“Many facts are missing, but many are available and should be released. We know that the initial period was filled with confusion and even misinformation from the airline itself which, at one stage, told ATC (Air traffic control) that it had contact with the aircraft in Cambodian airspace,” he reportedly said.

Ross also reportedly referred to a BBC documentary called “Where is Flight MH370?” in which Malaysian authorities in charge of the search said that they could not reveal the military’s tracking of the missing jetliner due to security reasons. He also claimed it could be a case of "criminal negligence" if there had been no recording of communication between civil air-traffic controllers at the Kuala Lumpur control center and military air defense officers.

“Nobody can tell us that the recordings do not exist,” Ross reportedly said, adding that Malaysia and Australia “could be accused of covering up vital information which would help the families and independent investigators to work out what happened.”

Meanwhile, Voice370, a group representing the family members of MH370 passengers, reportedly released a statement last week urging “authorities to make a full release of all cargo carried onboard MH370, stating clearly what was in the cargo hold.”

Malaysia’s Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said last week that he was optimistic that the new phase of the underwater search will be successful in finding the jetliner, which disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

The search for Flight MH370, which has entered its seventh month, resumed after a four-month break in September, and has so far yielded no concrete clues as to the whereabouts of the aircraft.