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."


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.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

MBDA UK Ltd: Mission Planning and Control Solutions Systems Engineer

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? A pro-act...

MBDA UK Ltd: System Design Capability

Competitive salary & benefits: MBDA UK Ltd: What’s the opportunity? The small...

Recruitment Genius: Production / Manufacturing Operative

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This leading garage door manufacturer are curr...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Software / Solution Sales

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity to join a thri...

Day In a Page

Sepp Blatter resignation: The beginning of Fifa's long road to reform?

Does Blatter's departure mean Fifa will automatically clean up its act?

Don't bet on it, says Tom Peck
Charles Kennedy: The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

The baby of the House who grew into a Lib Dem giant

Charles Kennedy was consistently a man of the centre-left, dedicated to social justice, but was also a champion of liberty and an opponent of the nanny-state, says Baroness Williams
Syria civil war: The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of this endless conflict

The harrowing testament of a five-year-old victim of Syria's endless civil war

Sahar Qanbar lost her mother and brother as civilians and government soldiers fought side by side after being surrounded by brutal Islamist fighters. Robert Fisk visited her
The future of songwriting: How streaming is changing everything we know about making music

The future of songwriting

How streaming is changing everything we know about making music
William Shemin and Henry Johnson: Jewish and black soldiers receive World War I Medal of Honor amid claims of discrimination

Recognition at long last

Jewish and black soldiers who fought in WWI finally receive medals after claims of discrimination
Beating obesity: The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters

Beating obesity

The new pacemaker which helps over-eaters
9 best women's festival waterproofs

Ready for rain: 9 best women's festival waterproofs

These are the macs to keep your denim dry and your hair frizz-free(ish)
Cycling World Hour Record: Nervous Sir Bradley Wiggins ready for pain as he prepares to go distance

Wiggins worried

Nervous Sir Bradley ready for pain as he prepares to attempt cycling's World Hour Record
Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Liverpool close in on Milner signing

Reds baulk at Christian Benteke £32.5m release clause
On your feet! Spending at least two hours a day standing reduces the risk of heart attacks, cancer and diabetes, according to new research

On your feet!

Spending half the day standing 'reduces risk of heart attacks and cancer'
With scores of surgeries closing, what hope is there for the David Cameron's promise of 5,000 more GPs and a 24/7 NHS?

The big NHS question

Why are there so few new GPs when so many want to study medicine?
Big knickers are back: Thongs ain't what they used to be

Thongs ain't what they used to be

Big knickers are back
Thurston Moore interview

Thurston Moore interview

On living in London, Sonic Youth and musical memoirs
In full bloom

In full bloom

Floral print womenswear
From leading man to Elephant Man, Bradley Cooper is terrific

From leading man to Elephant Man

Bradley Cooper is terrific