Missing Malaysia Flight MH370: Transcript of last hour shows plane was flying at 35,000 feet, as searches end for the day
The first message delivered by the cockpit at 1.07am
Details have emerged of the final hour of communication from missing flight MH370, as international teams concluded the second day of their search for plane debris across a remote area of the the Indian Ocean.
The transcript includes the crucial moments before flight MH370 disappeared with 239 people aboard.
The first was a message delivered by the cockpit at 1.07am, saying that the plane was flying at a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, according to The Telegraph, who said this was unnecessary because it repeated a call already delivered six minutes earlier.
But Steve Landells, a former British Airways pilot who flew Boeing 777s, told the newspaper that although the second message was not required, it was not suspicious.
"It could be as simple as the pilot forgetting or not being sure that he had told air traffic controllers he had reached the altitude,” he said.
"He might be reconfirming he was at 350 [35,000 feet]. It is not unusual. I wouldn’t read anything into it."
Hamid, the 27-year-old co-pilot, gave regular updates of the plane’s location, ascent and altitude from his sign-in at 12.36, when the plane was on the ground.
While he was at times informal in his address, nothing in his speech gave any sign that the plane would go missing, the newspaper reported.
The document emerged after the Australian led mission concluded for the day, and found nothing of significance.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) had said the focus of the search was still on finding passengers alive.
John Young, AMSA Emergency Response Division general manager, told Sky News earlier today: “We want to find these objects because they are the best lead to where we might find people to be rescued. We are still focused on that task.”
Australia's acting Prime Minister Warren Truss warned the debris may have slipped to the bottom of the ocean.
"So something that was floating on the sea that long ago may no longer be floating - it may have slipped to the bottom," he said. "It's also certain that any debris or other material would have moved a significant distance over that time, potentially hundreds of kilometres."
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The search began on Thursday in the midst of difficult weather conditions after analysis of satellite images identified two large objects floating in the ocean there that may have come from the plane.
The indistinct objects – one about 24m (71ft) long, the other 5m – were photographed in the southern Indian Ocean, about 2,500km (1,553 miles) south-west of Perth on 16 March.
Mr Young said weather conditions had improved somewhat since Thursday but there was still some low cloud cover over the search area 2,300 km (1,400 miles) from Western Australia.
Given that radar did not pick up anything on Thursday, searchers were using their eyes instead of equipment to try and spot the objects, forcing the planes to fly very low over the water.
As the search area is a four-hour round-trip flight, planes are left with only enough fuel to search for about two hours.
The aircrafts are planning to head back to the search zone on Saturday, but the area will change slightly depending on water movements overnight, Mr Young added.
Meanwhile, in Kuala Lumpur where the plane took off for Beijing, Malaysia's defense minister thanked the more than two dozen countries involved in the search that stretches from Kazakhstan in Central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean, and said the focus remains on finding the airplane.
Two Chinese aircraft are expected to join Saturday's search, while two Japanese aircraft will arrive on Sunday, Truss said, while a small flotilla of ships coming to Australia from China is still several days away.
Experts say it is impossible to predict if satellite images of the two objects were debris from the plane, but officials have called this the best lead so far in the search that began almost a fortnight ago after the plane vanished over the Gulf of Thailand on an overnight flight to Beijing.
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