Report: Missing Plane's Transcript Includes 'Potentially Odd' Moments

Friday, 21 Mar 2014 09:06 PM

By Todd Beamon

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A transcript of the last 54 minutes to cockpit communications between the co-pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 and the control tower includes exchanges from a point at which investigators believe the plane had been sabotaged, The Telegraph of London reports.

The transcript, published by the Telegraph on Friday, detailed communications between the co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, and the control tower at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

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Analysts told the newspaper that the communications appeared "perfectly routine" — except for two features, which the Telegraph described as "potentially odd."

A message from the cockpit at 1:07a.m., which said the Boeing 777 jet was flying at 35,000 feet, is the first instance, the Telegraph reports.

The message was not necessary, repeating the same information from six minutes earlier.

It occurred, however, at a critical moment, the Telegraph reports. At 1:07 a.m., the plane's Acars signaling device sent its last message before being disabled — deliberately, apparently — sometime during the following 30 minutes.

A separate transponder was disabled at 1:21a.m., but investigators have said that they believed the Acars device was shut down before Hamid’s final farewell at 1:19 a.m.

It was then that Hamid said, "all right, good night,” according to the transcript.

The second unusual feature, which the Telegraph said has led to suspicions that the Boeing's disappearance was most likely intentional, occurred at 1:19 a.m.

At that time, the handover from air-traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur to those in Ho Chi Minh City occurred, the Telegraph reports. It was also when the plane lost communication with control towers and made its subsequent sharp turn west.

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

"There might be a bit of dead space between the air-traffic controllers," he added. "It was the only time during the flight they would maybe not have been able to be seen from the ground."

The developments came as the Pentagon considered whether to provide undersea sonar equipment to Malaysia to track the missing plane amid concerns that debris may have sunk to the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

Malaysia's Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein made the request to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel. So far, the Pentagon has spent $2.5 million on the search.

"No specific request was made for any particular type. It was just a general request for us to help them locate the wreckage and/or the black box," Pentagon spokesman Rear Admiral John Kirby said.

"The Secretary said he would consider the request, that he would examine whether we had anything that was both available and potentially helpful, and that he would get back to the minister in the very near future."

Reuters contributed to this report.

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