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MH370 cockpit-ATC talk shows nothing abnormal: Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur: The Malaysian government Tuesday released the 64-minute transcript of communications between the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and the air traffic controller (ATC) and said it revealed nothing "abnormal".

Acting Transport Minister Hishammudin Hussein said in a statement Tuesday that the transcript has been shared with the families of all the 239 people on-board the Beijing-bound flight that went missing March 8 and was later declared "lost", The Star reported.

"There is no indication of anything abnormal in the transcript," said Hishammuddin.

The transcript of the conversation between the co-pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, Fariq Abdul Hamid, and the control tower begins at 12.15 a.m. March 8 from the time the aircraft was taxiing on the runway to its last known position above the South China Sea at 1.19 a.m with the final message by Hamid being "Good night, Malaysian three seven zero."

Search mission for Malaysian airlines
Search mission for missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370 in the Southern Indian Ocean. Pic/AFP

The 43 separate transmissions over nearly 64 minutes are thick with air-traffic and navigational jargon and give no hint of trouble aboard the ill-fated plane.

Investigators had earlier pointed out two odd features which stood out during the conversation.

The first odd feature analysts pointed out was that at 1.07 a.m. the message saying that the plane was flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet was repeated twice with an interval of six minutes.

The aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) also sent out the last message at the exact same time before being disabled after 30 minutes which might be a deliberate attempt. Investigators believe that the ACARS was switched off even before Hamid’s final 1.19 a.m. farewell.

A separate transponder was switched off at 1.21 a.m.

The second odd feature stated by the investigators was that the plane's disappearance was not an accident. After the loss of communication, the flight turned west at a point where the handover from air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur to those in Ho Chi Minh City took place.

According to the cockpit transcripts, 27-year-old Hamid kept giving location, altitude and ascent accounts from the moment of sign-in at 12.36 a.m.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Malaysian Prime Minster Najib Razak at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur March 24, citing British investigators from its Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), said flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean".

"Based on their new analysis, Inmarsat and the AAIB have concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor, and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth," he added.

A multinational search operation for the lost jet continues in the southern Indian Ocean some 1,850 km west of Australia.

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