Missing jet: Cockpit transcript reveals final 54 minutes conversation

Last Updated 22 March 2014, 10:54 IST

The final 54 minutes of conversation between the pilots of the missing Malaysian airliner and the control tower has been revealed in a transcript reported by the Daily Telegraph.

The transcript of the conversation between the co-pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Fariq Abdul Hamid, and the control tower begins at 12.15 a.m March 8 from the time the aircraft was taxiing on the runway to its last known position above the South China Sea at 1.19 a.m with the final message by Hamid being "all right, good night."

The investigators claim that the conversation began from a point when the flight was already sabotaged and their reports state that the conversation seemed "perfectly routine" but however two odd features stood out.

The first odd feature pointed out by the analysts was that at 1.07 a.m the message saying that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet was repeated twice with an interval of six minutes.

The Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) also sent out the last message at the exact same time before being disabled after 30 minutes which might be a deliberate attempt. Investigators believe that the ACARS was switched off even before Hamid's final, 1.19 a.m farewell.

A separate transponder was switched off at 1.21 a.m. The second odd feature stated by the investigators was that the plane's disappearance is not an accident. After the loss of communication, the flight turned west at a point where the handover from air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur to those in Ho Chi Minh City took place.

"If I was going to steal the aeroplane, that would be the point I would do it. 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," the Daily Telegraph quoted Stephen Buzdygan, a former British Airways pilot who flew Boeing 777s, as saying.

According to the cockpit transcripts, 27-year-old Hamid kept giving location, altitude and ascent accounts from the moment of sign-in at 12.36 a.m. The fresh revelations involving the transcript add to the speculation whether the missing MH370 was a victim of a sudden accident or a hijacking. If the pilots had anything to do with the disappearance, they were very careful in hiding their intentions.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City.

The search for the missing plane is now concentrated over a 23,000 sq km area in the southern Indian Ocean.

(Published 22 March 2014, 10:43 IST)

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