Miss­ing air­craft could have been hi­jacked – re­port

In­de­pen­dent find­ings re­leased four years on

The Press and Journal (Moray) - - NEWS -

An in­de­pen­dent re­port re­leased more than four years af­ter the dis­ap­pear­ance of Malaysia Air­lines Flight 370 has high­lighted short­com­ings in the gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse and raised the pos­si­bil­ity of “in­ter­ven­tion by a third party”.

The Malaysian-led re­port, pre­pared by a 19-mem­ber in­ter­na­tional team, re­it­er­ated the as­ser­tion that the plane was de­lib­er­ately di­verted and flown for more than seven hours af­ter sev­er­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor Kok Soo Chon said the cause of the dis­ap­pear­ance can- not be de­ter­mined un­til the wreck­age and the plane’s black boxes are found.

He said there was no ev­i­dence of ab­nor­mal be­hav­iour or stress in the two pi­lots that could lead them to hi­jack the plane, but all pas­sen­gers were also cleared by po­lice and had no pi­lot train­ing.

“We are not of the opin­ion that it could be an event com­mit­ted by the pi­lot,” Mr Kok told a me­dia brief­ing.

“We can­not rule out un­law­ful in­ter­fer­ence by a third party.”

This could in­clude some­one hold­ing the pi­lots hostage, he said. But he added that no group has said it hi­jacked the plane and no ran­som de­mands have been made, com­pound­ing the mys­tery.

Mr Kok said it was up to po­lice to in­ves­ti­gate.

He said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed lapses by air traf­fic con­trol, in­clud­ing a fail­ure to swiftly ini­ti­ate an emer­gency re­sponse and mon­i­tor radar con­tin­u­ously, re­ly­ing too much on in­for­ma­tion from Malaysia Air­lines and not get­ting in touch with the mil­i­tary for help.

The plane, car­ry­ing 239 peo­ple from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing, van­ished on March 8 2014 and is pre­sumed to have crashed in the far south­ern In­dian Ocean. The re­port said there was in­suf­fi­cient in­for­ma­tion to de­ter­mine if the air­craft broke up in the air or dur­ing im­pact on the wa­ter.

Scat­tered bits of de­bris that washed ashore on African beaches and In­dian Ocean is­lands in­di­cated a dis­tant re­mote stretch of the ocean where the plane likely crashed.

But a search op­er­a­tion in­volv­ing Aus­tralia, Malaysia and China failed to pin­point a lo­ca­tion. A sec­ond, pri­vate search by US com­pany Ocean In­fin­ity which fin­ished at the end of May also found no sign.

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