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Malaysia releases report on missing plane

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Preliminary report shows initial reactions to disappearance

Malaysia has released a preliminary report describing initial reactions to the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, the news agency Reuters says.

It shows the confusion that followed, with as many as four hours passing between the first signs of the disappearance and the decision to launch a search operation. Poor communication and a false lead from the airline itself led to the confusion, the report says.

The document, dated April 9, has also contributed to a debate about airline safety, urging the UN body International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) to create a global system for tracking commercial aircraft in every corner of the world. An ICAO meeting later this month will address the issue.

The aircraft vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The search mounted to find the wreckage is already set to be the most expensive in aviation history. A Malaysian police investigation has focused on the pilots.

But the new report leaves many key questions unanswered. It confirms that military radar tracked a plane as it turned west and that the operator took no further action because the aircraft was considered “friendly”.

As Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein and Prime Minister Najib Razak were told about the possible turn back, military ships and an aircraft were sent to look for the plane in the Malacca Straits.

Kuala Lumpur was initially told there was a problem when air traffic controllers in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, who were due to take over monitoring the flight, said they had not heard from its pilots. Malaysia Airlines wrongly told controllers the plane was over Cambodia and later that it had passed over Vietnam

Reuters

[pictured: US sailors assisting in search to find Flight 370]

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