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False trail, wasted effort in hunt for MH370 highlights air traffic flaws

Published on May 2, 2014 1:45 PM
 
A photo taken on April 7, 2014 and released on April 11 by Australian Defence shows Able Seaman Maritime Logistics. Fresh questions have been raised over air traffic coordination after a preliminary report on the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared almost two months ago revealed 90 minutes of wasted effort while controllers looked in the wrong country. -- FILE PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (Reuters) - Fresh questions have been raised over air traffic coordination after a preliminary report on the Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared almost two months ago revealed 90 minutes of wasted effort while controllers looked in the wrong country.

While flight MH370's disappearance has led to calls for real-time tracking, it has also refocused attention on the gap between what controllers sometimes think and see, which complicated early efforts to find Air France 447 in 2009.

Some 25 minutes after the Malaysian jet was first reported missing over the Gulf of Thailand on March 8, the airline told controllers that it had flown onto Cambodian airspace. It later added it had been able to exchange signals, the report said.

Half an hour later, the airline reassured controllers that the Boeing 777 was in a "normal condition" based on a signal placing it even further east, on the other side of Vietnam.

 
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