A new report has been released lambasting the Malaysian government and Malaysian Airlines for their handling of the missing MH370 flight. While the Malaysian government has already been slammed for its management of the missing aircraft in the weeks after the plane disappeared, the new report highlights the precious few hours after the aircraft went missing and Malaysia’s haphazard response.
The report and supporting documents were released on the order of Prime Minister Najib. Given the fall-out of the botched search effort, the Malaysian government is desperately trying to stem the bad publicity by increasing transparency. Of course, given the nature of the information being released, it could only go to fuel the flames.
Mishandled from the get go
Apparently, the missteps began within an hour after the plane disappeared. By 1.20 am the plane appeared to have slipped the watchful eyes of air traffic controls. Instead of immediately sounding the alarm, however, confusion set in.
Malaysian Airlines own operations center continued to report that everything was normal, even after the plane stopped responding to contact from the ground and had diverted off its flight path. At one point, ground crews concluded that the plane was flying over Cambodia even though no part of the plane’s flight plane called for such a route.
Eventually, ground control figured out that the plane was, in fact, not flying over Cambodia. And yet again no alarm was raised as air traffic controllers frantically searched for the plane. Foreign authorities were also contacted in the early hours to see if they had spotted the plane. At least a dozen meetings between ground authorities occurred before emergency actions were taken.
Alarm eventually sounded
Despite the fact that the plane had already gone missing by 1.20 am, no alarms were raised until 5:30am, more than four hours after the plane had disappeared. Shockingly, even this didn’t spur Malaysian authorities into action. A full scale search for the missing plane wouldn’t begin until 10:30am.
At this point Malaysian Transportation Minister Hishammuddin Hussein learned that the play may have possibly ventured into the Indian Ocean. By the time Malaysian finally sounded the alarm, nine hours had already passed. To put this into perspective, international protocols generally call for an emergency response within a half hour of a plane losing contact with the ground.
Even once the alarm was raised, Malaysia continued to mishandle the crisis, drawing criticism from emergency experts from around the world and strong rebukes from China.