TORONTO – In a newly released preliminary report of its investigation into the disappearance of Flight MH370, Malaysia recommends introduction of real-time aircraft tracking.
The brief five-page report was dated April 9 but only released on Thursday to reporters via email and not at a news conference, according to South China Morning Post.
No major revelations were released and “most of the information was a recap of what has been released over time.”
The Boeing 777 jet disappeared March 8 while travelling from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, to Beijing. Officials are still searching for the plane, which is believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
In the report, Malaysia’s Transport Ministry points to the disappearance of flight MH370 and Air France flight AF447 in 2009 as evidence that such real-time tracking would help to better track aircraft.
“There have now been two occasions during the last five years when large commercial air transport aircraft have gone missing and their last position was not accurately known,” he said. “This uncertainty resulted in significant difficulty in locating the aircraft in a timely manner.”
The report also states that the night that plane disappeared, an official rescue operation was activated by the airline only four hours after it was noticed that the plane had gone off radar.
No explanation as to what happened during those four hours was provided.
According to reports, a full list of the cargo has been released and that the plane carried lithium batteries, which Malaysia Airlines only admitted to carrying two weeks after the plane disappeared and after having denied it.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines is telling relatives of passengers they should return home.
The airline has been putting relatives up in hotels where they’ve been briefed on the search since the aircraft disappeared.
READ MORE: Cockpit audio released for first time
But the airline has now issued a statement saying relatives should move out of hotels and wait for any news at home.
It’s closing family assistance centres and says it will soon make advance compensation payments to relatives
Radar and satellite data show the jet veered far off course for unknown reasons. An analysis indicates it would have run out of fuel in the ocean off western Australia where a massive multinational hunt has been focused, but not one piece of confirmed debris has been found.
The air search for the plane was called off this week.
READ MORE: Aerial search for missing plane called off
Hishammuddin, who is also acting transport minister, said he will go to Australia next week to discuss the next phase of the search, a greatly expanded underwater hunt, and the cost involved.
The head of the Australian agency leading the search has predicted that the search could drag on for as long as a year.
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