• Thu
  • Oct 23, 2014
  • Updated: 4:04pm
Malaysia Airlines flight 370
CommentInsight & Opinion

Families right to keep asking questions after bungled investigation

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 4:45am
UPDATED : Thursday, 27 March, 2014, 4:45am

Malaysia's prime minister, Najib Razak, could not have been any blunter when he announced that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 had gone down in a remote part of the southern Indian Ocean and that none of the 239 people on board had survived. The conclusion was based on analysis of British satellite data and, as far as officials in charge of the investigation were concerned, was indisputable. No matter how unwelcome that may be for relatives of those missing, that is not an unreasonable assumption given that almost three weeks have passed since the plane disappeared. But the government's bungling of the crisis and the lack of wreckage make accepting such a claim difficult; not until hard evidence is provided will it be believed by the victims' families and many countries, including China.

There is good reason for doubt. From the outset, Malaysian officials have caused confusion and anger with conflicting statements and insufficient information. Its agencies and other governments have failed to co-ordinate and co-operate. No passenger plane before has disappeared in such mysterious circumstances, but that is no excuse for failing to follow accepted investigative procedures and practices. The protests of relatives for answers and Beijing's sending of an envoy to Kuala Lumpur seeking the satellite data is understandable.

More than 20 countries were quick to join the search but, not wanting to let other governments know about their capabilities, were slow to share radar and satellite information. Inmarsat, the private British satellite company whose data Najib based his announcement on, did not have such concerns. The data from "pings" from the plane to one of its satellites was handed to Malaysian officials four days after flight MH370 disappeared, leading to the search shifting from the South China Sea to the Indian Ocean. Its further ground-breaking analysis led to the conclusion that the jet had plunged into icy waters 2,400 kilometres southwest of Australia.

The lack of verified wreckage and no signals yet having been picked up from the plane's data recording black boxes are cause for families to continue to ask questions. Nations involved in the search have to redouble efforts through greater resources and better co-ordination. Until conclusive evidence is provided, there will be continued scepticism. Only when the plane is found can investigators begin to determine what could and could not have happened to flight MH370.


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This article is now closed to comments

If you carefully study how this article is written, no doubt it's being written by a non-native, presumably mainland Chinese, presumably commie author. How can common sense, logic and also the command of English stoop so low?
Investigation bungled? How? China more open if such incident were to happen within her border. SCMP now sounding more communist everyday - ignore facts, ban free press and blame foreigners to bolster own legitimacy. If People's Daily were to write this I would understand, but SCMP ... ?
What would editors do without the power of hindsight? The investigation was not bungled - the search was in the wrong place because of a lack of information not cooperation. the mis-steps were actually in communication, but one wonders how much the media has contributed to that, demanding information that just isn't there. A UK newspaper yesterday alleged that the pilot went up to extreme altitude to knock out the passengers; HTF can they know that at this stage? This is just one of many 'expert' theories. They are all **** until we have evidence.
Oh yes and what made everybody suspicious of divulging their defensive capabilities? China? Maybe if China was not so belligerent and has not claimed the entire South China Sea, countries would be less fearful. China was even asking to search territorial water of its Adversary India....perhaps with an intent to map the sea bed for their submarines? Who knows?
Furthermore, I wonder if the author realized they are looking for this plane on the other side of the world from where its supposed to be. How often has that happened? Never! Nobody knew what happened and the plane's DISAPPEARANCE is still largely a mystery. What were they supposed to tell you? They believe conclusively this was the result. If they did not tell you this, you would say they knew it was gone but kept the families hoping. They had no idea WTF happened or where the plane was and for a developing country like Malaysia and like China, this was beyond their capabilities. It was a Malaysian investigation, because a Malaysian flagged airplane disappeared. I can sure you that China would have handed the same facts applied to a Chinese plane much worse. The Chinese government has a penchant for never telling the truth and always withholding information, no matter if its pollution data or how a human rights campaigner dies in prison. Pathetic nameless editorial.


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