The last radio transmission from the cockpit of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was “alright, good night”, it emerged in Beijing on Wednesday as relatives of missing passengers clamour for information.
The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished early on Saturday without making a distress call and no confirmed wreckage has been found, despite a vast search.
A total of 153 of the 239 people on board the aircraft are Chinese, and Malaysian officials spoke to passengers’ relatives and friends at a hotel in the Chinese capital.
Malaysia’s ambassador to China Iskandar Sarudin said one of the pilots said “alright, good night” as the flight switched from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace, according to Singapore’s Straits Times newspaper.
Malaysia’s department of civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman later confirmed to AFP that those were the last words from the cockpit.
The ambassador also defended the crew, according to the Straits Times, after an Australian television report that co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, violated airline rules in 2011 by allowing two young South African women into the cockpit during a flight.
Relatives told reporters the event had been “orderly”, in contrast to a meeting with Chinese officials on Monday, when reports said family members hurled abuse at government representatives.
Some attacked Beijing’s own response as the crisis entered its fifth day.
“I think the Chinese government needs to be more active with this,” said a man surnamed Zhang, whose daughter was on board, coming back from a business trip.
“After all, this is happening to Chinese people,” he added.