Pentagon convinced of ‘manual intervention’ in MH370 transponder, communications shutdown

The Malay Mail Online
March 14, 2014

KUALA LUMPUR, March 14 — Seven days since flight MH370 fell off the radar, two senior US defence officials are now convinced there was “manual intervention” that led to the shutdown of two communication systems aboard the jumbo jet that happened separately.

US broadcasting network ABC News cited one of the military officials as saying the information indicates the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) plane did not fall out of the sky due to a catastrophic failure of its systems, a theory that had been previously floated after the Boeing 777-200 vanished without a trace.

The report also cited US investigators saying the two modes of communication were “systematically shut down”.

That means the US team “is convinced that there was manual intervention”, ABC News reported on its website this morning, citing anonymous sources—bolstering speculation of a hijack.

According to ABC News’ report of the two unnamed Pentagon officials, the data reporting system was shut down at 1.07am on March 8, and the transponder, which transmits location and altitude, was shut down shortly after at 1.21am.

This is despite acting Transport Minister and Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein saying in a news conference yesterday that the last transmission from the aircraft was at 1.07am on March 8, which indicated that everything was normal.

MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, who was also at the same press conference, reiterated the minister’s statement, saying the last High-Speed transmission was at 1.07am and that “was the last transmission that we ever see from the aircraft, it did not run beyond that”.

Two days ago however, Department of Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman had said the last posting was at 1.21am.

“In our secondary radar, we look at our radar and it was posting at about 1.21 in the morning, and the target disappeared at 1.30 in the morning,” he said.

Azharuddin was also present at the press conference yesterday, but did not mention the posting at 1.21am.

The inconsistent statements has added on to the many contradictory statements made by Malaysian officials since the investigation began.

New developments this morning has also pointed a second time to the possibility that missing plane had remained airborne for several hours after it disappeared from civilian radar at 1.30am on March 8.

According to a Reuters report, satellites had picked up faint electronic pulses from the MAS aircraft after its disappearance, which it said suggested that the plane’s maintenance troubleshooting system were “switched on and ready to communicate” with satellites at the time.

Citing sources, the report said the system “pings” about once every hour and in the case of MH370, around five or six such pulses were heard. This could mean that MH370, which was Beijing-bound and ferrying 239 people, had continued to fly on for a number of hours after it left the radar screens.

This latest data conflicts, however, with claims just yesterday evening from Malaysian authorities who had disputed reports in the Wall Street Journal that had pointed to the same possibility.

WSJ’s report had pointed to data allegedly transmitted from the Boeing 777’s Rolls Royce engines, which was described as “inaccurate” by Hishammuddin and confirmed by both the engine manufacturer Rolls Royce and Boeing Co.

The international business newspaper has since corrected its report, however, admitting it had wrongly cited US investigators as basing their suspicions on signals from the plane’s Rolls Royce engines.

  1. #1 by Justice Ipsofacto on Friday, 14 March 2014 - 11:10 am

    So kerismuddin bin lembuddin rubbished wsj’s report that mh370 flew on (westwards) for another 4-5 hrs. And his reason was rather simplistic; i.e. that after the final message was communicated by the pilot the plane turned silent and invisible (and therefore, going by his logic, the plane (wot?) crashed? exploded?).

    Of course that was kerismuddin we are talking about. He is in the habit of shooting from the hip – very much like the hamidi fella (who incidentally has gone quiet after the rant on the two “asian looking imposters”).

    The plane went quiet and invisible. (1) It could hv exploded in midair in which case there must be debris somewhere in the ocean. (2) If not then obviously the plane must have flew on for sometime to an unknown destination.

    These are two mutually exclusive probable events. In other words, the truth will either be (1) or (2).

    The extensive and intensive search efforts have failed to produce any positive results. None whatsoever. That being the case, event (2) would now would stand out more in terms of probability.

    I would say, given the negative results, we should now chart a new course of action in the direction of event (2).

  2. #2 by yhsiew on Friday, 14 March 2014 - 11:34 am

    So far the search operation is focused on the sea. Why don’t they search the jungles and mountains as well?

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