(Editor’s Note: What follows is Slack & Davis’ intriguing analysis the Lost Malaysia Flight 370 & Investigation)
Despite the tireless efforts of search crews and investigators from around the world, not one piece of debris has been recovered since the massive search for the missing Malaysia Flight 370 (MH370) began in early March 2014. The ongoing search spans more than 4.6 million square kilometers of sea, a total of 26 participating countries, and usage of 82 aircraft and 84 vessels. The grueling search has created more questions than definitive answers as to what happened to the Malaysian aircraft. As passengers’ and crew members’ families continue to wait for answers about their loved ones, the painstaking search goes on to find credible information about MH370.
In early April 2014, four underwater signals were detected. The sounds were initially thought to be consistent with the “pings” that would have been emanating from the flight data and cockpit recorders’ beacons before their batteries died. The Bluefin-21 an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) has been deployed in the area where the sounds were detected off the coast of western Australia, to depths of 4,500 meters (15,000 feet). To date, no aircraft debris has been located on or below the ocean’s surface.
Malaysian Authorities Attempted to Handle Investigation on Their Own
The most upsetting and disturbing aspect of the investigation started at the onset of MH370, shortly after take-off, when the pilots failed to check in as scheduled with the air traffic controllers in Vietnam’s airspace. Due to the unknown whereabouts of the commercial plane that remain true to this day, the rest of the information about the location of the plane and which direction it veered off in is still mostly speculation. The inability to account for the aircraft’s location has been the major cause for concern for global aviation safety experts.
Mere speculation coupled with the Malaysian government’s attempts to handle the initial investigation on their own, a country not equipped to deal with a major aviation disaster, has raised many eyebrows about the lack of leadership and coordination necessary to deal with an investigation of this significance.
Results of the Preliminary Report from Malaysia Chief Inspector
On April 9, 2014 the Office of the Chief Inspector of Air Accidents Ministry of Transport Malaysia released a preliminary report to the public. The document addresses the known history of the flight up to the last communication with on-ground traffic controllers at 01:07:49 MYT on March 8. The report also addresses the search and rescue efforts (SAR) conducted in the South China Sea which was then redirected as an underwater sea operation to the southern part of the Indian Ocean where the last known message was received by ground satellite station at 08:19 MYT. The investigation continues to analyze the satellite data and aircraft performance for further clues.
The preliminary report of missing MH370 concludes with, “a recommendation that the International Civil Aviation Organization examine the safety benefits of introducing a standard for real-time tracking of commercial air transport aircraft.”
The search for MH370 is the longest and most expensive in aviation history. The Australian and Malaysian governments are being pressured to reveal every aspect of the investigation in order to show what lengths they are willing to go to give closure to the grieving family members of the MH370 passengers and crew members, who desperately want and deserve answers.