Malaysian minister on why it took several days to release details of MH370 turn-back

KUALA LUMPUR (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on Friday explained why it took three days to announce that MH370 had made a turn back after taking off from KL International Airport on March 8.

The different agencies involved had taken between March 12 and March 14 to get conclusive results on the data, he said, explaining the sequence of events.

On Mar 15, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak told a press conference that based on satellite data, MH370 made a turn to the north-west direction soon after entering the Vietnamese airspace instead of proceeding on its original path to Beijing.

Mr Hishammuddin said the investigating team received the complete raw data from British satellite communications company, Inmarsat, which included the so-called six handshakes with the missing plane, on Mar 12.

"These types of data are not usually used in this type of investigations. Only because we had such limited data did we have to use the information," he told the daily press briefing.

He added that the Malaysian government immediately discussed with a team of investigators from the United States on how the data could be of use.

The initial results were received at 1.30pm on March 13, but it was agreed by the investigators as well as the US team that further refinements were needed.

"The final results came at 2.30pm on March 14, after which it was presented to the investigating team at a high-level meeting at 9pm the same day," he said.

He added that the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB), who had been processing the data independently, had results that concurred with the US team's results.

"The Prime Minister was briefed at 8am the next day (March 15), after which he announced it at a press conference during lunchtime," he said.