MH370 search: RMAF rubbishes CNN report, no scrambling of aircraft to track down plane


  • Nation
  • Friday, 11 Apr 2014

A photo taken on April 7, 2014 and released by Australian Defence on April 11 shows a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion from 92 Wing, conducting a low level fly by before dropping stores to HMAS Toowoomba during the search for the missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370. - AFP PHOTO/AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE/ABIS CHRIS BEERENS

A photo taken on April 7, 2014 and released by Australian Defence on April 11 shows a Royal Australian Air Force AP-3C Orion from 92 Wing, conducting a low level fly by before dropping stores to HMAS Toowoomba during the search for the missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370. - AFP PHOTO/AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE/ABIS CHRIS BEERENS

KUALA LUMPUR: The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) rubbished a CNN report, which stated that it had scrambled search aircraft to look for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on March 8. 

In a statement on Friday, RMAF chief Tan Sri Rodzali Daud said: "In my capacity as chief of the Royal Malaysian Air Force, I can confirm that the allegation is totally false". 

Earlier, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied the CNN report, saying that military aircraft were not deployed to track down MH370 on the morning of March 8. 

On Thursday, CNN had reported in its website quoting an unnamed senior Malaysian official as saying that the RMAF aircraft were scrambled about 8am before authorities corroborated data indicating that the plane turned back westward.

"But the air force did not inform the Department of Civil Aviation, or search and rescue operations until three days later, March 11, a source involved in the investigation told CNN," the report was quoted as saying.

Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41am and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later, while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30am on the same day.

A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learned that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors - the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

Following analysis of satellite data, it was concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on March 24, 17 days after the disappearance of the aircraft, that Flight MH370 "ended in the southern Indian Ocean". The search continues there.

Related story:

MH370 search: Government denies scrambling jets to chase down missing plane