Friday, May 2, 2014

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Day 55 May 2 , 2014 .....Missing Jet Recordings May Have Been 'Edited': Experts ......... Preliminary report released ( no new insights ) , family member irate that they were not briefed prior to the release..... Malaysia Airlines to pay compensation one day ( just not today or tomorrow )


Missing Jet Recordings May Have Been 'Edited': Experts

Audio recordings of the final conversations between pilots of the missing Malaysian jet and teams of air traffic controllers on the ground were "edited" before they were made public, voice experts say.
The tapes also appear to be recorded by at least two different audio sources, one of which may have been a digital recorder held up to a speaker, they said.
The analysts cautioned that their observations don't necessarily imply anything about the investigation into the missing flight.
The quality and brevity of the interactions between the cockpit and controllers made it impossible to glean any information about the pilots' state of mind before the plane disappeared, or even to determine whether both the pilot and co-pilot were speaking or if just one can be heard.
The audio recordings were published Thursday for the first time as part of a preliminary report by Malaysian authorities. In the report, Malaysia's Air Accident Investigation Bureau said a lack of real-time tracking devicescaused "significant difficulty" in the hunt for MH 370, which disappeared March 8.

Analysts who listened to the recordings for NBC News did not know why they were edited, but discovered at least four clear breaks in the audio that indicated edits.
"It's very strange," said audio-video forensic expert and registered investigator Ed Primeau of Primeau Forensics, who has analyzed hundreds of audio recordings. He said the beginning and end of the recording are high-quality with a low noise floor, meaning ambient background noise is almost silent, unlike the middle.
"At approximately 1:14 (a minute, 14 seconds into the audio, which can be heard here), the tone of the recording change to where to me, it sounds like someone is holding a digital recorder up to a speaker, so it's a microphone-to-speaker transfer of that information. That's a pretty big deal because it raises the first red flag about there possibly being some editing," he said.
The next part that raises questions is two minutes, six seconds in, through two minutes, nine seconds in, he said.
"I can hear noise in the room, along with the increase in the noise floor. I can hear a file door being closed, I can hear some papers being shuffled. so I'm further convinced that, beginning at 1:14 continuing through 2:06 to 2:15, it's a digital recorder being held up to a speaker."
Long gaps in the communication throughout the recording also imply some editing, he said.
"But yet, at 6:17, there's a huge edit because the conversation is cut off. It's interrupted. And the tone changes again," he said. "The noise floor, when you're authenticating a recording from a forensic perspective, is a very important part of the process. All of a sudden, we go back to the same quality and extremely low noise floor that we had at the beginning of the recording."
Kent Gibson, a forensic audio examiner with Forensic Audio in Los Angeles, added that there appear to be additional edits at 2:11 and 5:08, and agreed it sounded as though the middle section was recorded with a microphone near a speaker.
"You can hear, at 4:07, pages turning or a person breathing, which is unusual," he said.
While it's not uncommon for the background of a recording to change when a cockpit communication turns over from ground control to air controllers — which happened about four minutes into this recording — that doesn't explain the noises that are heard.
"It's not unusual that there would be clicks when they push the button on the microphone, but it's very unusual to have a disturbance. Normally you wouldn't have any background," Gibson said.
A cut-off word also isn't out of the realm of possibility, he said.
"It wouldn't be unthinkable to have a truncated word because if somebody let go of the trigger on the microphone, it might cut off their word," he said. "But it would be very unusual to find a background differential at the same time, suggesting that Malaysian authorities or whoever presented this made edits for whatever reason."
Gibson said it’s possible the tapes could have been edited by Malaysian authorities "if the pilot dropped a hint that they didn't want to get out, if he said something that doesn't fit with the Malaysian government's party line."
But, he said, "It's more likely to be an inadvertent thing. But it's not the way to handle evidence."
The recording also could have come from different sources, he added.
"You can assume that the recording while they're still on the ground came from the tower and then you could assume that the communication with air controllers was while they're in the air," he said. "They may have just mishandled the cobbling of it together."
This doesn't necessarily prove anything about the investigation, he added.
"Unfortunately, there are no smoking guns, except there are edits. And there are clear edits," he said.
Tom Owen, a consultant for Owen Forensic Services audio analysis and chairman emeritus of the American Board of Recorded Evidence, said edits were to be expected.
"There's things that have to do with timelines and radar that they have available, but they don't make them available," he said. "They wouldn't give you anything that would be enlightening for the public to any secretive information. I don't see that as a problematic issue."
Primeau disagreed.
"This is not a good maneuver or a good faith move by the Malaysian government because of all these questions with regard to the different anomalies and edits that are in this recording," he said.
Audio experts felt the quality of the transmissions was too low to offer analysis of the pilots' voices.
Forensic audio expert Paul Ginsberg said even after enhancing and slowing down the conversations, there wasn't good enough, or long enough, sound samples to make a determination on the pilots' stress level.
"It's analogous to blowing up a photograph. It's the same amount of information," he said. "I don't know that any such determination would be admissible."

Malaysia Chronicle.....

Friday, 02 May 2014 08:12

MH370 remains a MYSTERY as Malaysia releases report that sheds no new light

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MH370 remains a MYSTERY as Malaysia releases report that sheds no new light
KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia on Thursday made public a report on Flight MH370 and other data in its most extensive release of information on the airliner yet, but which contained no new clues on what happened to the missing plane.
The brief five-page report dated April 9, and which was submitted earlier to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), was mostly a recap of information that had already been released over time.
It contained no major revelations in what remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
"Over a month after the aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport, its location is still unknown," the report said.
The Malaysia Airlines flight vanished March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard.
It is believed to have crashed in the Indian Ocean, but a massive search for wreckage has been fruitless.
The information release was accompanied by audio recordings of verbal exchanges between the cockpit of the jet and air traffic controllers, and documents pertaining to the cargo manifest.
The collected information also recapped exchanges between the flag carrier and confused Malaysian, Vietnamese and Cambodian air-traffic controllers as they sought to determine what happened to the plane after it disappeared from primary radar over the South China Sea at 1:21 am on March 8.
The main report is required by the ICAO within 30 days of a crash, and Malaysian authorities have confirmed it was submitted on time.
However, they waited another three weeks before releasing the brief document, with Prime Minister Najib Razak saying last week he wanted it to be reviewed first by an "internal" team of experts.
Recommendation on real-time tracking
Malaysia's long-ruling government, which has a poor record on transparency, was heavily criticised for a seemingly chaotic response and contradictory statements on MH370 in the early days of the crisis.
It has been tight-lipped about the progress of its ongoing investigations.

Friday, 02 May 2014 08:13

MH370 families slam EVASIVE M'sian govt: Why weren't we briefed on preliminary report?

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MH370 families slam EVASIVE M'sian govt: Why weren't we briefed on preliminary report?
PETALING JAYA - Family members of the crew aboard MH370 felt that the authorities should have briefed them on the preliminary report on the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight before it was made public.
Nurlaila Ngah, the wife of steward Wan Swaid Wan Ismail, 42, said she did not expect anything shocking in the report.
"As family members, we feel that we should have been briefed on it," she said at the Labour Day celebrations organised by MTUC here, which also saw the participation of the National Union of Flight Attendants Malaysia (Nufam) on Thursday.
Nurlaila, 40, a former MAS stewardess, also called on the airline to be more sensible towards the family members.
"When the incident first broke, MAS' human resource department deposited my husband's salary straight into his bank account. That prevented me from accessing the money.
"I struggled to pay bills and support the family with the help of friends and relatives before MAS eventually issued cheques to us," said the mother of three children.
Wan Swaid was among the 12-member Malaysian crew in Flight MH370, which went missing en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.
Intan Maizura Othman, the wife of another steward, Mohd Hazrin Mohamed Hasnan, 34, said the airline had yet to discuss financial settlement with them.
"Other than issuing my husband's pay cheque and a one-off interim payment in the beginning, MAS has yet to approach any of us with regard to a long-term solution," she said.
Intan Maizura, 34, also a MAS stewardess who is due to give birth to her second child soon, hopes that MAS will make a quick decision on the settlement.
"I have a four-year-old daughter as well as my unborn child to take care of in the meantime," she said, adding that 56 days after the incident, MAS had not kept them abreast of things.
Nufam president Ismail Nasaruddin said MAS should stop "marginalising" its workers by ignoring the welfare and well-being of their families.
"The current MAS cabin crew members want some assurance of their safety and welfare," he said.

Friday, 02 May 2014 07:09

NOTHING NEW IN SELF-FORGIVING REPORT: 17 mins passed before they realized MH370 missing, 9 hrs before Ministers informed

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NOTHING NEW IN SELF-FORGIVING REPORT: 17 mins passed before they realized MH370 missing, 9 hrs before Ministers informed
KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia- Air traffic controllers did not realize that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was missing until 17 minutes after it disappeared from civilian radar, according to a preliminary report on the plane’s disappearance released Thursday by Malaysia’s government.
The government also released other information from the investigation into the flight, including audio recordings of conversations between the cockpit and air traffic control, the plane’s cargo manifest and its seating plan.
It provided a map showing the Boeing 777’s deduced flight path and a document detailing actions taken by authorities during the hours of confusion that followed the jet’s disappearance near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace. Many of the details have previously been disclosed.
The report noted that there is no requirement for real-time tracking of commercial aircraft, and said the uncertainty about Flight 370’s last position made it much more difficult to locate the plane. It recommended that international aviation authorities examine the safety benefits of introducing a tracking standard.
The plane went off Malaysian radar at 1:21 a.m. on March 8, and Vietnamese air traffic controllers began contacting Kuala Lumpur at 1:38 a.m. after they failed to establish verbal contact with the pilots and the plane didn’t show up on their radar, according to the five-page report, which was dated April 9 and sent last month to the International Civil Aviation Organization.
The documents showed that Malaysian authorities did not launch an official search and rescue operation until four hours later, at 5:30 a.m., after efforts to locate the plane failed.
They indicated that Malaysia Airlines at one point thought the plane may have entered Cambodian airspace. The airline said in the report that “MH370 was able to exchange signals with the flight and flying in Cambodian airspace,” but that Cambodian authorities said they had no information or contact with Flight 370. It was unclear which flight it was referring to that supposedly exchanged signals with MH370.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak last week appointed a team of experts to review all the information the government has regarding the missing plane, and decide which information should be made public.
“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.
Hishammuddin said authorities reviewed data from Malaysian military radar hours after the plane vanished from civilian radar, and only discovered then that it had tracked the jet making a turn-back in a westerly direction across Peninsular Malaysia.
He said he was informed about the military discovery two hours later and relayed this to Najib, who immediately ordered a search in the Strait of Malacca. He defended the military’s inaction in pursuing the plane for identification.
“The aircraft was categorized as friendly by the radar operator and therefore no further action was taken at the time,” Hishammuddin said.
The cargo manifest includes a receipt for a package containing lithium ion batteries, noting that the package “must be handled with care.” Some questions had been raised in March about the batteries, but Malaysia Airlines said then that they were in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization and the International Air Transport Association requirements and classified as “non-dangerous goods.”
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines on Thursday told relatives of passengers who were aboard Flight 370 to move out of hotels and return home to wait for news on the search for the plane.
Since the jet disappeared, the airline has been putting the relatives up in hotels, where they’ve been briefed on the search. But the airline said in a statement that it would close its family assistance centers around the world by May 7, and that the families should receive search updates from “the comfort of their own homes.”
The airline said it would establish family support centers in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, and would keep in close touch with the relatives through phone calls and meetings.
Malaysia Airlines also said it would pay advance compensation to the relatives.
The plane vanished during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and most of the 227 passengers were Chinese.
No wreckage from the plane has been found, and an aerial search for surface debris ended Monday after six weeks of fruitless hunting. An unmanned sub is continuing to search underwater in an area of the southern Indian Ocean where sounds consistent with a plane’s black box were detected in early April. Additional equipment is expected to be brought in within the next few weeks to scour an expanded underwater area.
The head of the search effort has predicted that the search could drag on for as long as a year.

New Straits Times.....

MH370 Tragedy: MAS to pay compensation soonest possible: Jauhari

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KUALA LUMPUR: Following is the statement by Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Airlines on Flight MH370.

MH370 Incident
55 days since Malaysia Airlines’ flight MH370’s disappearance on 8 March 2014, a multi-nation search is still ongoing for the missing aircraft, its passengers and crew.
This enormous search mission was carried out with the support from more than 20 states, firstly in the South China Sea, in the Malacca Straits, and on land along the Northern Corridor, and since mid-March when specialised assets were deployed in the air, on the sea and underwater in the southern Indian Ocean, where top experts concluded the aircraft’s last known position was.
Despite such an intensified search operations, probably the largest one in human history, we have to face the hard reality that there is still no trace of the aircraft, and the fate of the missing passengers and crew remains unknown till this day.
Malaysia Airlines is acutely conscious of, and deeply sympathetic to the continuing unimaginable anguish, distress and hardship suffered by those with loved ones on board the flight.
We share the same very feelings and have been doing whatever we can to ease the pain of the families and to provide comfort for them.
The Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) in Australia has announced early this week that the search operation in the southern Indian Ocean will be moving to a new phase in the coming weeks, and it is certainly not ending.
In this new phase, the Malaysian Government, working together with Australia and Chinese governments, other international partners and specialised companies, plans to intensify the undersea search by deploying more technologically advanced assets in the search zone.
The Malaysian Government recently announced its decision to establish an international investigation team led by Malaysia. The members will include accredited representatives from the US, UK, Australia, China, France and Singapore. Also included are representatives from relevant international organisations and the civil aviation industry.
This investigation is an independent process in accordance with ICAO standards and recommended practices. Malaysia Airlines commits itself to fully support this independent investigation and provide full information and assistance as required.
From past experience, we understand the continuing search and investigation would be a prolonged process. While Malaysia Airlines is committed to continuing its support to the families during the whole process, we are adjusting the mode of services and support. Instead of staying in hotels, the families of MH370 are advised to receive information updates on the progress of the search and investigation and other support by Malaysia Airlines within the comfort of their own homes, with the support and care of their families and friends.
In line with this adjustment, Malaysia Airlines will be closing all of its Family Assistance Centres around the world by 7 May 2014.
Malaysia Airlines will keep in close touch with the families on news updates through telephone calls, messages, the Internet, and face-to-face meetings. With the support of the Malaysian Government, the airline’s Family Support Centres will be established in Kuala Lumpur and in Beijing. The detailed plan of follow-up support and services will be informed in person to the families.
Malaysia Airlines will make advanced compensation payments soonest possible to the nominated next-of-kin who are entitled to claim compensation, in order to meet their immediate economic needs.
Such advanced payments will not affect the rights of the next-of-kin to claim compensation according to the law at a later stage, and will be calculated as part of the final compensation.
Immediately after the next-of-kin have returned home, our representatives will be in touch with them at the earliest opportunity to initiate the advanced compensation payment process.
At this very difficult time, we wish to once again thank everyone for their understanding and support, especially from the families of the passengers and crew on board.
Malaysia Airlines’ thoughts and prayers remain with the families of all those onboard MH370.

Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines Ahmad Jauhari Yahya. Pix by Fariz Iswadi Ismail.