Malaysia has released a transcript of the final words spoken from the cockpit of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which contradicts earlier reports but does not indicate “anything abnormal”, authorities said on Tuesday.
The final words heard by Kuala Lumpur air traffic control were: “Goodnight, Malaysian Three Seven Zero” and not “All right, goodnight”, as previously reported, according to Malaysia’s civil aviation authority. The correction is likely to anger the families of those missing, particularly in China, where there have been accusations that Malaysia has mismanaged the search and deliberately withheld information.
“We would like to confirm that the last conversation in the transcript between the air traffic controller and the cockpit is at 01:19 (Malaysian time) and is ‘Goodnight, Malaysian Three Seven Zero’,” the department of civil aviation said in a statement. It did not offer any explanation as to why the incorrect final words had been allowed to circulate for weeks.
The transcript directly contradicts what Malaysia’s ambassador to China told families in Beijing just a few days after the flight went missing more than three weeks ago – and which was widely circulated in the media – that the last words were a casual “All right, goodnight”, indicating an unusual informality from the cockpit just minutes before its communications were cut off and the plane diverted from Kuala Lumpur towards its intended destination of Beijing.
While Malaysia Airlines officials had previously indicated that the voice issuing the message belonged to the co-pilot, investigators are still working with police and forensic experts to confirm this, the statement added. Malaysian authorities – as well as international investigators – still believe MH370’s movements to be “consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane”, the statement said.
Officials will be sharing the transcript with the families of those missing on Wednesday at a “closed-door briefing” in Kuala Lumpur, where Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak’s special envoy to China is due to moderate and technical experts from Malaysia, China and Australia are expected to participate. But British experts from Inmarsat, the satellite company which concluded that the plane most likely went down over the southern Indian Ocean, will not be part of the briefing.