No CAAM data on mystery ‘crash’

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 22 Sep 2020

Ongoing mission: Search and rescue personnel trawling the sea off Tanjung Bungah.

GEORGE TOWN: An “airplane” which eyewitnesses claimed crashed into the sea off Tanjung Bungah during the weekend remains shrouded in mystery.

It is understood that the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM) did not receive any data showing there was a plane in the area on Sunday evening.

However, police will continue to investigate the case even if the search and rescue (SAR) mission has been called off as nothing was found so far.

George Town OCPD Asst Comm Soffian Santong said police opened an inquiry paper to investigate the validity of the information on the incident.

He said they had recorded statements from 10 people, and three of them said they saw the “aircraft” plunged into the sea.

“The eyewitnesses gave a similar account, that they saw an object similar to a matchbox plunging into the sea.

Moments later, a balloon came out from the object after the crash,” he said during a press conference at George Town police headquarters yesterday.

According to ACP Soffian, the three eyewitnesses said the object resembled an airplane, but could not confirm whether it was a physical aircraft or its wing span.

He said the three of them, in their 50s, were near the beach when the incident happened.

“The marine police even asked the beach boys, anglers and fishermen who happened to be near the incident but none of them had seen the plane crash,” he said.

Asked whether a drone could

be mistaken for an aircraft, ACP Soffian said police were investigating every possible angle to solve the mystery.

He said the SAR would resume if police received fresh leads and information on the incident.

On Sunday, an SAR operation was carried out after the authorities received a call at 2.30pm.

But nothing was found in the joint operation involving the police, Fire and Rescue Department, Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency and the marine police.

In a statement yesterday, the Civil Aviation Authority Malaysia (CAAM) said all operating flights, including private flights, on Sept 20 were “operating safely and within approved parameters”.

“CAAM wishes to clarify that our systems did not detect any activation of emergency locator transmitters (ELT) around the area reported,” said the statement signed off by its CEO, Capt Chester Voo.

ELT is a device which broadcasts a distinctive signal to enable its location to be transmitted, and the broadcast can be automatically activated by impact or be manually activated.

“CAAM will continue to monitor the situation, and should there be any update, all agencies involved will be informed accordingly,” he said.

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