MH370 Preliminary Report Short on Details

 - May 5, 2014, 1:05 PM

Malaysia’s transport ministry released a five-page preliminary report on May 1 into the disappearance of MH370, the Boeing 777 that has not been seen since it departed Kuala Lumpur March 8 for Beijing. The aircraft carried 227 passengers and a crew of 12. The new report adds little, if any, new information about the disappearance.

In one section on air traffic control, the report said the handoff between ATC facilities–Kuala Lumpur Center and Ho Chi Minh Center–was completed without incident. The radar tag for MH370 disappeared shortly after the aircraft reached the igari coordination fix. The Malaysian controller apparently did not notice the change and became aware of the missing aircraft only when the Vietnamese Center controller called to say MH370 had never checked in on that frequency. Malaysian ATC began querying other nearby facilities without success. It took another four hours before the Rescue Coordination Center was activated and the search began in the South China Sea.

The report then mentions that military radar saw a target that it thought might be MH370 headed west toward the Malaysian peninsula, although its identification was never verified. The report says this prompted officials to move the search area farther west.

Not included in the report are details to correlate and explain events, such as when the Malaysian government learned of the military radar data and why searchers spent many days searching in the wrong area of the South China Sea. The report ends with the brief note that search-and-rescue efforts are ongoing.