The Malaysian government today released the full transcript of the final recorded conversation between ground control and the cockpit of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370.
“Good night Malaysian Three Seven Zero” were the final words spoken from the cockpit, in what appears to be a normal series of exchanges in the transcript. The final words in the communication log differ, however, from what Malaysian officials initially said were the last words—
“All right, good night.”
This discrepancy has added to the frustration of the missing passengers’ families, who continue to challenge the credibility of Malaysian officials in their investigation, the Associated Press reports.
"This sort of mistake hits at the heart of trust in their communications. If Malaysia is changing what the pilot said, people start thinking, 'What are they going to change next?'" said Hamish McLean, an expert in risk and crisis communication at Griffith University in Brisbane, Australia.
"Information is in a crisis is absolutely critical. When we are dealing with such a small amount of information its needs to be handled very carefully," he said.
The Malaysia government released the transcript after repeated media requests. Investigators are examining the final recorded communication for any clues as to what was happening in the cockpit, the Associated Press reports.
The forensic examination could shed light on who was in control of the cockpit and will also seek to determine if there was any stress or tension in the voice of whoever was communicating with ground control -- crucial factors in an air disaster investigation.
A major international effort to find the Boeing 777 has been underway since March 8, when the plane lost contact on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were 12 crew members and 227 passengers on board the flight.
Last week, the search area was shifted as a result of new radar data analysis. The current search area is 98,000 square miles and is about a 2 1/2-hour flight from Perth, Australia (which is on the west coast of the country). The previous search area was further away from land (about a four-hour flight) and was plagued with harsher weather conditions that hindered searchers.
Today, Australia deployed a Boeing 737 to serve as an air traffic controller for the aircrafts searching for the missing jetliner, the Associated Press reports. Ten planes and nine ships were involved in today’s search efforts. The search for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 has come up empty so far.
In the wake of the plane’s dissappearance, the International Air Transport Association announced today that it is creating a task force to address security improvements in tracking aircrafts and screening passengers, the Associated Press reports.
"We cannot let another aircraft simply vanish," said Tony Tyler, the director general of IATA, whose 240 member airlines carry 84 percent of all passengers and cargo worldwide.
"In a world where our every move seems to be tracked, there is disbelief that an aircraft could simply disappear," Tyler said. "Accidents are rare, but the current search for 370 is a reminder that we cannot be complacent on safety."