Home English News Statement Today By Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin On The Missing MAS Plane

Statement Today By Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin On The Missing MAS Plane

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Kuala Lumpur, March 13 – Following is the statement by Defence Minister and acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein at a press briefing on the search for the missing flight, MH370, in Sepang, Selangor, Thursday:

“It is now six days since MH370 disappeared. There are currently 43 ships and 40 aircraft searching the South China Sea (26 ships and 25 aircraft) and the Strait of Melaka (17 ships and 15 aircraft).

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“We are grateful for the assistance from around the world. With every passing day, the task becomes more difficult. As always, our thoughts and prayers are with the families of those on the flight. We will spare nothing in our efforts to find MH370.

“Before I take questions, I would like to clear up a few issues.

Engine Data

“I would like to refer to news reports suggesting that the aircraft may have continued flying for some time after the last contact. As Malaysia Airlines will confirm shortly, those reports are inaccurate.

“The last transmission from the aircraft was at 0107 which indicated that everything was normal. Rolls Royce and Boeing teams are here in Kuala Lumpur and have worked with MAS and the investigations team since Sunday. This issue has never been raised.

“Whenever there are new details, they must be corroborated. Since today s media reports, MAS has asked Rolls Royce and Boeing specifically about this data. As far as Rolls Royce and Boeing are concerned, those reports are inaccurate.

Chinese Satellite Imagery

“A Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency surveillance plane was dispatched this morning to investigate potential debris shown on Chinese satellite images.

“We deployed our assets but found nothing. We have contacted the Chinese embassy who notified us this afternoon that the images were released by mistake, and did not show any debris from MH370.

Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Directive

“The aircraft had been fully serviced and was fit to fly according to engineering and maintenance records. All maintenance checks were in order.

“The last routine maintenance service was conducted on 23 February 2014; the next service was due on 19 June.

Radar Signal

“It suggested that there was a possibility that an aircraft had passed over to the Strait of Melaka. We have a duty to investigate any possibility. We owe it to the families of those on the flight to follow up every lead.

“On that basis, we dispatched extra ships and aircraft to search the area. However, our main effort has been in the South China Sea.

“We are working very closely with FAA and the NTSB. On the issue of the possible air turn-back, they have indicated to us that based on the information and data given by the Malaysian authorities, the US team was of the view that there were reasonable grounds for the Malaysian authorities to deploy resources to conduct search on the western side of peninsular Malaysia.

“Under the circumstances, it is appropriate to conduct a search if the evidence suggests there is a possibility of finding the missing aircraft.

Raw Data

“As I am sure you can understand, we would not ordinarily release raw data from our military radars. But in this case we have put the search effort above our national security. We have shared our data with our international partners, including the US and China, to help with the search effort.

Police Investigation into Pilots

“Reports suggesting that the Malaysian police searched the homes of the MH370 crew are not true, and the Royal Malaysian Police have issued a statement to that effect.

Malaysia’s Response

“I want to touch on the question of Malaysia’s response. First, this situation is unprecedented. MH370 went completely silent whilst over the open ocean. We are in the middle of a multinational search involving many countries and more than 80 ships and aircraft.

“This is a crisis situation. It is a very complex operation, and it has not always been easy. We are devoting all our energies to the task at hand. And I want to be very clear: our focus has been on finding the aircraft. We have not done anything that could jeopardise the search effort.

“There are times when we have not been able to reveal information – for example, some radar signals – because they require analysis and confirmation by other agencies before being released. To release such information before it was ready could have compromised the investigation or the search efforts – and added to the anguish of the relatives.

“Malaysia has nothing to hide. We have spared no expense and no effort. From day one, we have been in regular contact with neighbouring countries, and accepted all international offers of help. We have followed protocols as stipulated by the International Civil Aviation Organisation since the incident began.

“Much has been made about the extension of the search areas. Some claim that Malaysia has slowed down the search. That is not true. In fact, we have intensified the search. Again, let me be clear: there is no real precedent for a situation like this. The plane vanished. We extended the search area because it is our duty to follow every lead. We owe it to the families. And we will not give up.”

– Bernama