A newly released MH370 report revealed that a Malaysia Airlines flight was missing for 17 minutes before air traffic controllers realized it was gone, critical time that allowed the plane to go missing.
The report was released Thursday by the Malaysian government and had other information, including audio recordings of conversations between the cockpit and air traffic control and the plane’s seating plan.
The MH370 report noted that commercial aircraft are not always tracked in real time, and once the Malaysia Airlines plane was determined to be missing, there was already critical time lost.
The flight disappeared while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, with officials determining that someone in the cockpit disabled the transponder. The 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board the missing Malaysia Airlines plane are believed to be dead.
The plane disappeared from radar at 1:21 am on March 8, and at 1:38 am, Vietnamese air traffic controllers began contacting Kuala Lumpur after they failed to make verbal contact with the pilots. It was another four hours before Malaysian authorities launched an official search and rescue operation, the report noted.
Malaysian officials have made an effort to release all information possible, although they have been criticized for failing to share information in the past.
“The prime minister set, as a guiding principle, the rule that as long as the release of a particular piece of information does not hamper the investigation or the search operation, in the interests of openness and transparency, the information should be made public,” Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in a statement Thursday.
The MH370 report is released as the trail for the missing plane has gone cold. An extensive search of a promising section ocean floor off the coast of Australia turned up nothing, and search officials say they are now shifting to a more wide-ranging search that could take years.