A report released today by Malaysia’s Office of the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents urges a new way of tracking commercial jets in real-time while admitting that authorities failed to begin searching for the airline until the plane was nearing its present location (the bottom of the ocean).
While CNN saw some of its highest ratings in years during the search, the families of the 239 people on board the plane will take little comfort in this fact. The bulk of the victims in the presumed crash were Chinese and hundreds of family members have been in Kuala Lumpur awaiting the discovery of the plane. Today, the Malaysian government urged these family members to return home to China and await the plane’s discovery in “the comfort of their own homes.”
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While the search for the plane continues, the inaction of Malaysia is glaring. The last interaction with the flight crew of MH370 came at 1:19:24 a.m. Malaysia time. At that time, Malaysian air traffic control was handing the plane over to Vietnamese air traffic control. “Good night, Malaysian three seven zero,” was spoken by whomever was in control of the plane.
Inaction from the start
Two minutes later at 1:21:04, the flight was observed on radar as it passed a guidepoint dubbed IGARI on its way into Vietnamese air space. At 1:21:13, just nine seconds later, the plane disappeared from Malaysian Radar. Seventeen minutes later, Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control contacted Malaysian controllers inquiring into its whereabouts. While Malaysian air traffic control made several attempts to contract the plane, it wasn’t until over four hours passed from the aircraft disappearing from radar that air traffic control finally activated its Rescue Coordination Center.
At the point that air traffic control activated its Rescue Coordination Center, the flight had been airborne for over five and a half hours. The plane only had enough fuel to stay aloft for roughly seven hours.
Of course the plane has yet to be found and no debris from the plane has been located despite CNN’s numerous repeatedly claims to the contrary. Searchers are generally resigned to the belief that the plane turned west, crossed Malaysia and then headed south before its believed to have crashed into the southern Indian Ocean. So far, the multimillion dollar search involving a number of countries has found squat.
The aerial search was called off some time ago and most of the search is now being conducted underwater with the U.S. underwater robot with the codename Bluefin-21.