Published March 21, 2014
A transcript of cockpit communications from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 from the time it took off until its disappearance 54 minutes later shows no indication of anything amiss or hint of the drama to follow, The Daily Telegraph reported Friday.
The British newspaper said a full transcript of communications between co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid and air traffic controllers from the flight’s taxi down the Kuala Lumpur runway to his final message of “all right, good night” was completely routine, with no report of any onboard problems.
Among things discussed were the plane’s location, ascent and altitude, the paper said, with no sign it shortly would veer off course and vanish.
News of the cockpit transcript came as aircraft and ships headed to the desolate southern Indian Ocean to hunt for the Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard that disappeared exactly two weeks ago.
A satellite spotted two large objects in the area earlier this week, raising hopes of finding the aircraft. Three Australian planes took off at dawn Saturday for a third day of scouring the region about 1,550 miles southwest of Perth.
Australian officials tried to tamp down expectations after a fruitless search Friday, even as they pledged to continue the effort.
"It's about the most inaccessible spot that you could imagine on the face of the Earth, but if there is anything down there, we will find it," Prime Minister Tony Abbott said at a news conference in Papua New Guinea.
A total of six Australian aircraft were to search the region Saturday: two ultra long-range commercial jets and four P3 Orions, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.
Two merchant ships were in the area, and the HMAS Success, a Navy supply ship, was due to arrive late Saturday afternoon. Weather in the search zone was expected to be relatively good, with some cloud cover.
Two Chinese aircraft are expected to arrive in Perth on Saturday to join the search, and two Japanese aircraft will arrive Sunday. A small flotilla of ships from China is still several days away.
AMSA officials also were checking to see if there was any new satellite imagery that could provide more information.
Abbott spoke with Chinese President Xi Jinping, describing him as "devastated." The passengers included 154 Chinese.
The search area indicated by the satellite images in the southern Indian Ocean is a four-hour round-trip flight from western Australia, leaving planes with only enough fuel to search for about two hours.
The area now being searched, far from where the initial days of the hunt were focused, was suggested by British satellite company Inmarsat just two days after the plane disappeared, an official told Fox News. The company claims it shared the data with Malaysian investigators on March 12, but it was not until March 15 that Malaysian authorities acknowledged data showed the plane was not in the Strait of Malacca or the South China Sea and shifted the search effort to the Indian Ocean.
Inmarsat Senior Vice President Chris McLaughlin told Fox News’ "The Kelly File" that his company also determined the plane had continued to fly for seven hours after air traffic controllers lost contact. From that determination, it was able to suggest a new search site - the one now being scrutinized.
"We looked at the data that we had on our network and we found that signals had continued to be received for a number of hours after it had lost contact with the radar and the ACARS management system," he said. "We are absolutely certain we were seeing the readings from this particular aircraft."
Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet, but have said the evidence so far suggests it was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next.
Police are considering the possibility of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board.
The Associated Press contributed to this report