Plane Off Radar 17 Minutes Before Malaysia Noticed

Malaysia releases preliminary report 54 days after Flight 370 vanished
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2014 7:56 AM CDT
Plane Off Radar 17 Minutes Before Malaysia Noticed
Relatives listen as part of the audio communications between Flight 370's cockpit and air traffic controllers is played in Beijing, China, Wednesday, April 30, 2014.   (AP Photo/Alexander F. Yuan)

The first report on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 is out, and it reveals that Malaysian officials didn't notice the plane had disappeared from radar for 17 minutes—and they took four hours to muster an official rescue operation. CNN reports that the plane went off radar at 1:21am on March 8; at 1:38am, air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, asked Malaysian air traffic control about the plane's whereabouts. More:

  • As for the four-hour gap that followed, the preliminary report details no activities taken during that time beyond noting that Kuala Lumpur was in touch with Singapore, Hong Kong, and Cambodia.
  • In fact, the five-page report doesn't detail much, notes CNN, which points out the preliminary report on Air France 447's 2009 disappearance numbered 128 pages. Mashable has the full report here.
  • The report includes a sole safety recommendation, which was also made after the Air France disaster: that real-time tracking of commercial flights be required.

  • Today's update was preceded by another, from Malaysia Airlines, directed to the families of the flight's passengers: Go home. The airline says it will shut down the support centers it has been operating "around the world" by Wednesday; the center at the Lido Hotel in Beijing will close tomorrow. Relatives had been receiving daily briefings at these locations, reports CNN. Now, the airline's CEO says in a statement that they will instead be updated "within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends." The AP notes that the airline, which has been putting the relatives up in hotels, plans to establish "family support centers" in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.
(Read more Malaysia stories.)

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