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MISSING MH370: Controllers continue to dwell on what went wrong
Publication Date : 23-03-2014
Air traffic controllers (ATC) who monitored the MH370 flight at the Subang Department of Civil Aviation are still running through that fateful night in their mind, wondering what went wrong.
A DCA source described the communications between the aircraft and those on the ground as normal aviation talk and nothing was amiss.
“He (pilot) requested to climb to 35,000 feet and clearance was given. Then the pilot informed ATC the aircraft had climbed to that altitude and was maintaining at that level, and ATC replied okay,” he said.
Upon reaching the Vietnamese airspace, the ATC informed the pilot he was being handed over to Ho Chi Minh.
The ATC’s reported final words to the pilot were: “MH370, Ho Chi Minh 1270, good night.”
The DCA officer told The Star that the response which came back was “Malaysian 370 good night” and not “all right, good night” as reported in The Telegraph.
He also said that the local ATC only realised something was wrong when their Vietnamese counterparts informed them that they could not locate the plane.
Contrary to what was reported in that newspaper, he said there was no dead space between the air traffic controllers here and in Vietnam.
The Telegraph reported that the plane’s disappearance was no accident and its loss of communication and subsequent sharp turn west occurred at the handover from ATCs in Kuala Lumpur to those in Ho Chi Minh City.
“The handover is usually very smooth, there is no dead space as reported,” he said.
DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman also said that the transcript published by The Telegraph was inaccurate.
“The transcript (of the final 54 minutes of communication from MH370) before its disappearance is not authentic,” he told a press conference.
However, when pressed by reporters whether the transcript could be dismissed, Azharuddin only maintained that it was inaccurate. He also said the DCA could not reveal the actual transcript because it was against standard protocol following investigations.