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Malaysia releases satellite data used to trace the final hours of flight MH370

The data, provided by a British satellite operator, is raw and described as “highly technical”.

Relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane listen to a briefing by members of the team tasked with searching for the plane at a hotel in Beijing, China.
Relatives of Chinese passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 plane listen to a briefing by members of the team tasked with searching for the plane at a hotel in Beijing, China.
Image: AP/Press Association Images

MALAYSIAN AUTHORITIES HAVE released raw satellite data used to determine that missing flight MH370 went down in the southern Indian Ocean, information demanded by passengers’ relatives who are frustrated over the failure to find any wreckage.

The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) said in a statement it had worked with Inmarsat to provide 47 pages of data communication logs recorded by the British satellite operator, as well as explanatory notes for public consumption.

Analysts said it would take time to draw any conclusions from the raw, “highly technical” data.

The families of the 239 passengers and crew on board the Malaysia Airlines plane had demanded the information be made public after a massive and costly search for the flight, which mysteriously diverted from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route 11 weeks ago, found nothing.

Officials, relying in part on the Inmarsat data, have said they believe the plane ended up over the southern Indian Ocean, where it crashed into the sea.

Australia, which is leading the hunt in the Indian Ocean, has committed up to €61 million towards the search operation over two years.

The numerical data used the Doppler effect — the change in frequency of waves from a moving object — to decipher the Boeing 777′s final flight path.

Inmarsat’s interpretation of the data was subsequently verified by the international investigation team, which includes the DCA, the US National Transport Safety Board, Britain’s Air Accidents Investigations Branch, and China’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Department.

But, with no sign of the plane found since its disappearance on March 8, relatives were sceptical.

“There is no mention on why they are so sure the Inmarsat data is highly accurate and reliable, to the extent that they have thrown all resources there,” the families said in a May 20th report to the governments of Malaysia and Australia, which is coordinating the search efforts.

The DCA has previously stressed that satellite data was just one of several elements being examined by investigators.

- © AFP, 2014

Read: Australia, Malaysia and China to meet to make sure MH370 search “doesn’t stop” >

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