(NST) KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia Airlines (MAS) had contacted all next-of-kin in Malaysia and around the world to notify them on the impending announcement of the Declaration of Accident for flight MH730 on Jan 29.
In a statement, MAS said that prior to the scheduled announcement by the Department of Civil Aviation, all next-of-kin were notified via telephone calls and in certain instances by text messages, when the calls were unanswered.
This comes after reports on the manner of communication for the MH370 accident declaration, which is believed to have caused discontentment among family members of the passengers and crew onboard.
“These calls were done personally by its Family Support Centre, caregivers or representatives from the airline’s regional offices.
“The next-of-kin in China were notified via text messages by MAS Family Communications and Support Centre in Beijing,” the statement said.
MAS said they are working with the government and related agencies to organise engagement sessions with family members to discuss various matters related to the declaration.
The statement added that the airline remains committed to provide for the well-being of family members of those onboard MH370.
ANNOUNCEMENT ON MH370
DEPARTMENT OF CIVIL AVIATION MALAYSIA
- My name is Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Director General of the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia and I am here today in my capacity as the Chairman of the MH370 High Level Technical Task Force (HLTTF).
- As you are aware, the HLTTF was formed to coordinate technical matters relating to MH370.
- On 8 March 2014 at 0122 Malaysia Local Time (1722 UTC 7 March 2014), a Malaysian Airlines aircraft, a Boeing 777-2H6ER, registration 9M-MRO and call-sign MH370, lost contact with Air Traffic Control after waypoint IGARI during a transition of airspace between Malaysia and Vietnam whilst en-route to Beijing.
- There were 227 passengers, 2 flight crew and 10 cabin crew on board.
- The Search and Rescue mission involved 160 assets inclusive of 65 aircraft and 95 vessels as well as experts from 25 countries. This unprecedented exercise involved aircraft and vessels from the following countries:
- Australia (4 Aircraft, 2 vessels)
- Cambodia (4 Aircraft)
- China (13 Aircraft, 19 vessels)
- India (4 vessels)
- Indonesia (11 vessels)- Japan (4 Aircraft)
- New Zealand (1 Aircraft)
- Singapore (3 Aircraft, 2 vessels)
- South Korea (2 Aircraft)
- Thailand (1 Aircraft, 1 vessels)
- United Arab Emirates (2 Aircraft)
- United States of America (5 Aircraft, 4 vessels)
- Vietnam (2 Aircraft, 2 vessels)
- Other countries unable to send physical assets also provided invaluable support in other ways. Many individuals also stepped up to provide assistance in whatever way they could.
- Malaysia is greatly indebted to all the countries and individuals for all the assistance and support received. We offer our heartfelt gratitude for the generosity of response in a dark hour in the history of the aviation industry.
- The search and rescue phase was carried out from March 8, 2014 to April 28, 2014 where the search area covered the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the southern Indian Ocean.
- Following the announcement by the Australian Government on April 28, 2014, the search and rescue phase transitioned to a search and recovery phase.
- On April 28, 2014, the search coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) moved to an underwater phase led by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB). Malaysia and China sent their respective experts and assets to assist JACC and ATSB in this phase.
- This phase of the search included the use of the Autonomous Underwater Vehicle (AUV) and bathymetry survey capabilities. The Bathymetry Survey has completed covering an area of around 208,000 square kilometres.
- The bathymetric survey provided us with critical information on the topography of the sea floor. This information is now assisting in the current ongoing phase which is the underwater search.
- The underwater search is still ongoing at this time and the exercise is currently being performed by four vessels, namely the Go Phoenix, Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator and Fugro Supporter. To date, the search has covered over 18,600 square kilometres (as of Jan 28, 2015).
- The Governments of Malaysia, China and Australia have spared no expense and resources in the search for MH370. This has been done with the paramount aim to find the aircraft and to seek answers. It has been done in hope of bringing some solace to the families of the passengers and crew on board MH370, which we respectfully refer to as the “next-of-kin”. We have endeavoured and pursued every credible lead and reviewed all available data. Despite all these efforts over the last 327 days (as of Jan 28, 2015), the search unfortunately has yet to yield the location of the missing aircraft.
- Chapter 1 of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (commonly referred to as the “Chicago Convention”) and entitled “Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation” states that the definition of the term “accident” includes “the aircraft is missing”. It also states that “an aircraft is
considered to be missing when the official search has been terminated and the wreckage has not been located”. Annex 12 to the Chicago Convention entitled “International Standards and Recommended Practices” for search and rescue, further states that the term “search” refers to an operation to locate persons in distress.
- According to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO), Annex 12 (para 5.5.1) states that search and rescue operations shall continue, when practicable, until all survivors are delivered to a place of safety or until all reasonable hope of rescuing survivors has passed. Further, a note
supporting para 5.5.2 states that “Contracting States may require input from other appropriate State authorities in the decision-making process leading to termination of SAR (search and rescue) operations”.
- It was in compliance with these ICAO Standards in Annexes 12 and 13 that on 28 April 2014, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) advised that the search was transitioning from a search and rescue operation to a search and recovery phase.
- Available data suggests that after the transponder ceased transmitting, there was no normal radio or aircraft system (ACARS) communications transmitted or received from the aircraft. Hence, we relied on the only available data, which was the Satellite Communication (SATCOM)/Inmarsat data as well as Aircraft Performance Data.
- An analysis of the radar data and subsequent satellite communication (SATCOM) system signaling messages placed the aircraft in the Australian search and rescue zone on an arc in the southern Indian Ocean. This arc was considered to be the location close to where the aircraft’s fuel would have been exhausted.
- Based on the analysis of all available evidence and the supporting factual information that I have mentioned, this data supports the conclusion that MH370 ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean.
- Based on the same data, we have concluded that the aircraft exhausted its fuel over a defined area of the southern Indian Ocean, and that the aircraft is located on the sea floor close to that defined area. This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites. It is also an area with adverse sea conditions with known depths of more than 6,000 metres.
- After 327 days (as of Jan 28, 2015) and based on all available data as well as circumstances mentioned earlier, survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely.
- It is therefore, with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow that, on behalf of the Government of Malaysia, we officially declare Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 an accident in accordance with the Standards of Annexes 12 and 13 to the Chicago Convention and that all 239 of the passengers and crew onboard MH370 are presumed to have lost their lives.
NEXT OF KIN
- The Government of Malaysia acknowledges that this declaration of the MH370 accident will be very difficult for the families and loved ones of the 227 passengers and 12 crew on board to consider, much less accept. Thirteen nations have also lost sons and daughters to this tragedy. It is nonetheless important that families try to resume normal lives, or as normal a life as may be possible after this sudden loss. Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process.
- The Government of Malaysia also assures the families of the passengers and crew that the search for MH370 remains a priority. The Government of Malaysia, is committed to continue all reasonable efforts to bring closure to this unfortunate tragedy, with the continuing cooperation and assistance of the Governments of China and Australia.
- The Government of Malaysia assures that Malaysia Airlines will undertake their responsibilities in relation to the legitimate rights and interests of the next-of-kin as provided under the relevant international instruments and relevant domestic laws, with due consideration to international practice.
This includes the fulfilment of the compensation process, whether it is pursued through consultation or through litigation. We further understand that Malaysia Airlines is ready to proceed immediately with the compensation process, with due regard for the readiness of the next-of-kin to take this step.
- In keeping with our commitments to keep the next-of-kin apprised of the latest developments and pertinent verified information, a special section has been established on the MH370 official website, http://www.mh370.gov.my, solely for the next-of-kin. It includes information on the search and investigation efforts, the compensation process, responses to NOK’s inquiries as well as other forms of assistance that are available to the nextof-kin.
It is hoped that this dedicated portal will provide a continuing support system for the next-of-kin.
- The “Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370”, comprising accredited representatives from seven countries is currently conducting its safety investigation. Similarly, the criminal investigation led by the Royal Malaysia Police is also ongoing.
29.Both investigations are limited by the lack of physical evidence at this time, particularly the flight recorders. Therefore at this juncture there is no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the accident. An interim statement detailing the progress of the safety investigation is expected to be released on or around the one year anniversary of the accident.
- We once again express our deepest sympathy to all those who have been affected by this terrible accident. It has been a frustrating time for all who have tried their best in the search for MH370. We have never wavered in our commitment to continue our efforts to find MH370 and bring closure for everyone, most of all for the families of the passengers and crew of MH370.
31.This declaration is by no means the end. We will forge ahead with the cooperation and assistance of the Governments of China and Australia.
MH370, its passengers and its crew will always be remembered and honoured.
Dato’ Azharuddin Abdul Rahman
Directo-General Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia
Thursday, January 29, 08:00 PM GMT +0800 Media Statement
MEDIA STATEMENT by Malaysia Airlines
Released at 8.05p.m./29 January 2015
Malaysia Airlines and the world are in mourning after the declaration of the accident to flight MH370 today. It has been more than 10 agonising months since the ill-fated flight went missing.
Following the announcement today, Malaysia Airlines’ representatives will be contacting the appointed next-of-kin to proceed with the compensation process. The airline remains steadfast to ensure that fair and reasonable compensation is paid to the families of all MH370 passengers in accordance with the applicable laws.
Malaysia Airlines will deploy further resources at its Family Support Centre (FSC) which had been set up in Kuala Lumpur. In order to facilitate and expedite the compensation process, besides proactively providing updates to family members around the world, the airline has installed additional phone lines. The FSC will be the main point of contact for NOK in Malaysia and other parts of the world, along with our various regional offices, apart from China.
Operations at the Family Communications and Support Centre (FCSC) in Beijing continue. For the convenience of family members, the Centre will be supported by additional Mandarin-speaking personnel.
Malaysia Airlines’ personnel from the Human Resources department remain the main point of contact for the NOK of the airline’s cabin and technical crew lost in the tragedy.
As has been the case since the beginning of the crisis, Malaysia Airlines continues to provide assistance to the families of the passengers and crew. We understand this is an especially distressing time for all of them.
The management and staff of Malaysia Airlines wish to thank the public for their outpouring of support throughout this challenging time. Our thoughts and prayers remain with the families of the 239 passengers and crew on board flight MH370.
A press conference that was to be carried “live” over some radio and TV stations on the latest updates of the MH370 tragedy has been cancelled.
The press conference was scheduled to take place at 3.30pm at the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) headquarters in Putrajaya but it was cancelled at about 4:10pm.
It was reported that DCA did not provide any reason of the cancellation at the time it was cancelled.
Utusan Online earlier reported that Datuk Azharuddin will be reading the press statement but will not be answering any question.
By: Tan Sri Md Nor Md Yusof, Chairman of Malaysia Airlines
As you will be aware, last night the Prime Minister of Malaysia, Najjib Razak, announced new evidence regarding the disappearance of MH370 on 8th March.
Based on this evidence, the Prime Minister’s message was that we must accept the painful reality that the aircraft is now lost and that none of the passengers or crew on board survived.
This is a sad and tragic day for all of us at Malaysia Airlines. While not entirely unexpected after an intensive multi-national search across a 2.24 million square mile area, this news is clearly devastating for the families of those on board. They have waited for over two weeks for even the smallest hope of positive news about their loved ones.
This has been an unprecedented event requiring an unprecedented response. The investigation still underway may yet prove to be even longer and more complex than it has been since March 8th. But we will continue to support the families – as we have done throughout. And to support the authorities as the search for definitive answers continues. I will now ask our Group Chief Executive¸ Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, to provide you will with fuller details of our support for the families.
By: Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, Group Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Airlines
I stand before you today not only as the Group Chief Executive Officer of Malaysia Airlines, but also as a parent, as a brother, as a son. My heart breaks to think of the unimaginable pain suffered by all the families. There are no words which can ease that pain. Everyone in the Malaysia Airlines family is praying for the 239 souls on MH370 and for their loved ones on this dark day. We extend our prayers and sincere condolences.
We all feel enormous sorrow and pain. Sorrow that all those who boarded Flight MH370 on Saturday 8th March, will not see their families again. And that those families will now have to live on without those they love. It must be remembered too that 13 of our own colleagues and fellow Malaysians were also on board.
And let me be very clear on the events of yesterday evening. Our sole and onlymotivation last night was to ensure that in the incredibly short amount of time available to us, the families heard the tragic news before the world did. Wherever humanly possible, we did so in person with the families or by telephone, using SMSonly as an additional means of ensuring fully that the nearly 1,000 family members heard the news from us and not from the media.
Ever since the disappearance of Flight MH370 Malaysia Airlines’ focus has been to comfort and support the families of those involved and support the multi-national search effort. We will continue to do this, while we also continue to support the work of the investigating authorities in the Southern Indian Ocean.
Like everyone else, we are waiting for news from those authorities. We know that while there have been an increasing number of apparent leads, definitive identification of any piece of debris is still missing. It is impossible to predict how long this will take. But after 17 days, the announcement made last night and shared with the families is the reality which we must now accept. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery areas if they so wish. Until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation. And may I express my thanks to the Government and all of those involved in this truly global search effort.
In the meantime, Malaysia Airlines’ overwhelming focus will be the same as it has been from the outset – to provide the families with a comprehensive support programme. Through a network of over 700 dedicated caregivers, the loved ones of those on board have been provided with two dedicated caregivers for each family, providing care, support and counsel. We are now supporting over 900 people under this programme and in the last 72 hours, we have trained an additional 40 caregivers to ensure the families have access to round-the-clock support.
In addition, hotel accommodation for up to five family members per passenger, transportation, meals and others expenses have been provided since 8th March and that will continue.
Malaysia Airlines has already provided initial financial assistance of USD 5,000 per passenger to the next of kin. We recognize that financial support is not the onlyconsideration. But the prolonged search is naturally placing financial strain on the relatives. We are therefore preparing to offer additional payments as the search continues.
This unprecedented event in aviation history has made the past 18 days the greatest challenge to face our entire team at Malaysia Airlines. I have been humbled by the hard work, dedication, heartfelt messages of concern and offers of support from our remarkable team. We do not know why, and we do not know how this terrible tragedy happened. But as the Malaysia Airlines family, we are all praying for the passengers and crew of Flight MH370.
Tuesday, March 25, 12:30 AM MYT +0800 Malaysia Airlines MH370 Flight Incident – Media Statement 24
It is with deep sadness that Malaysia Airlines earlier this evening had to confirm to the families of those on board Flight MH370 that it must now be assumed the flight had been lost. As the Prime Minister said, respect for the families is essential at this difficult time. And it is in that spirit that we informed the majority of the families in advance of the Prime Minister’s statement in person and by telephone. SMSs were used only as an additional means of communicating with the families. Those families have been at the heart of every action the company has taken since the flight disappeared on 8th March and they will continue to be so. When Malaysia Airlines receives approval from the investigating authorities, arrangements will be made to bring the families to the recovery area and until that time, we will continue to support the ongoing investigation.