Malaysia is certain that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean where search efforts are ongoing, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said today (Feb 24).
He pointed out that data from British satellite communications firm Inmarsat and the local air traffic controllers have all indicated that the jetliner flew to the current search zone in the Indian Ocean, which is spread out over 60,000 sq km.
Mr Liow, who was commenting on UK paper Daily Mail’s report claiming that MH370 had been deliberately flown off-course towards the Antarctica, neither refuted nor agreed with the article.
Daily Mail yesterday reported that experts believe the missing jetliner had flown on for hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers, and that after its last radio call, the aircraft first made a turn to the left followed by two more turns that took it westwards before it headed south towards the Antarctica.
Mr Liow insisted that Inmarsat and the ATC were very certain that the electronic handshakes detected from the jetliner while heading towards the southern arc were from MH370 as each plane has its own unique signal.
“The search is still ongoing and we have completed 35 per cent of the search in the identified area,” he told a press conference during the Penang MCA Chinese New Year open house.
He said Malaysia, in collaboration with Australia and China, is very committed to finding the missing plane within the search area.
With the first year anniversary from when the plane went missing on March 8 looming, Mr Liow said Malaysia will be discussing plans with China and Australia to organise an event in remembrance of the 239 people on board the missing plane.
“I understand Malaysia Airlines will have a remembrance for the victims in a gathering, but on the federal government level, we will first discuss with China and Australia on the kind of programmes we could organise for the anniversary.
Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8 last year, dropping off radar coverage not long after taking off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport en route to Beijing.
There were 239 passengers and crew on board the plane that remains missing till today, with no indication as to its resting place despite months of searching.
On Jan 29 this year, Putrajaya declared Flight MH370 an air accident according to criteria set by the International Civil Aviation Organisation and that all the people on board were presumed dead.