Australia/ATSB

MH370 DECODED
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Australian Transport Safety Bureau and Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

Background

On Saturday, 8 March 2014 Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 00:42 am (MYT) and was expected to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 am (MYT). The Boeing 777-200ER was carrying 12 crew and 227 passengers. Communication with the aircraft was lost when it was in the vicinity of waypoint IGARI over the South China Sea. Instead of proceeding toward Vietnam en-route to China the aircraft made a turn-back west across the Malay Peninsula; changed direction again and flew north west towards the Andaman Sea; and then turned south. Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

As the State of Registry for the aircraft 9M-MRO, and the State of the Operator, Malaysia was responsible for the Investigation in accordance with ICAO Annex 13. The Department of Transport (Malaysia) instituted an independent international Investigation Team known as The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370. The Australian Transport Safety Bureau appointed an accredited representative to the Investigation, along with a number of advisors to the accredited representative.

Search

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau was involved in the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, which was coordinated by the Australian Maritime Safety Authority. The surface search for MH370 ended on 28 April 2014. The Malaysian Government accepted the Government of Australia’s offer to lead the search and recovery operation in the southern Indian Ocean in support of the Malaysian accident investigation.

Investigation

The ATSB opened an External Aviation Investigation AE-2014-054 and the search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean is documented in the report The Operational Search for MH370

Summary

In brief, Malaysia is responsible for the Investigation. Australia has an Accredited Representative from the ATSB in The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370. Flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean and an international surface search was coordinated from Australia by AMSA supported by the Department of Defence (Australia), the ATSB and other agencies with the Joint Agency Coordination Centre providing a single point of contact and liaison. The ATSB led the under-water search for the aircraft. The search was funded by a Tripartite arrangement between the Governments of Malaysia, the People's Republic of China, and Australia.

The ATSB expresses our deepest sympathies to the families of the passengers and crew on board MH370. We share your profound and prolonged grief, and deeply regret that we have not been able to locate the aircraft, nor those 239 souls on board that remain missing.

The Operational Search for MH370, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 3 October 2017


The ATSB and The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370

On Tuesday, 15 April 2014, 39 days after flight MH370 went missing on Saturday, 8 March 2014, the Malaysian Minister of Defence and Acting Minister for Transport, Hishamuddin Hussein, announced that Cabinet has agreed to set up an International Investigation Team to specifically look into the MH370 incident. The Team, officially named the The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370, was instituted by the Minister of Transport on Friday, 25 April 2014. ( Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018 2.7.1)

The Team included an Accredited Representative from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).


Accredited Representative

An Accredited Representative is 'a person designated by a State, on the basis of his or her qualifications, for the purpose of participating in an investigation conducted by another State. Where the State has established an accident investigation authority, the designated accredited representative would normally be from that authority.' (ICAO Annex 13).


Resources and links to related articles
  1. Australian Transport Safety Bureau website
    https://www.atsb.gov.au/

  2. Assistance to Malaysian Ministry of Transport in support of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on 7 March 2014 UTC
    Investigation number: AE-2014-054 https://www.atsb.gov.au/publications/investigation_reports/2014/aair/ae-2014-054/

    The Final Report, The Operational Search for MH370 can be downloaded from this webpage.

    The webpage for the Investigation also indexes all of the supporting documents and reports, including search areas, drift reports, flight path analysis etc.


  3. The ATSB was supported by other agencies, including the following:-

In attempting to locate MH370, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau was assisted by many organisations, as acknowledged below:-

The work of many organisations and individuals from Australia and around the world was coordinated by the ATSB. Of particular note was the contribution of members of the search strategy working group (SSWG) including; Inmarsat, Thales, Boeing, the Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) of the United Kingdom, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) of the United States, the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) and the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia. Other significant contributors were the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) and Geoscience Australia.

Source: The Operational Search for MH370, Australian Transport Safety Bureau, 3 October 2017

The cooperation between these organisations; the level of scientific and technological expertise; international collaboration; consensus, and effort applied to locate the missing aircraft is unprecedented. Failure to locate the wreckage does not prove that it is not there. All of those involved in the search for MH370, on the surface or under water, have absolutely done the best they could to find the aircraft in a vast area of a remote and unforgiving ocean, guided by innovative analyses of fragments of satellite communication data.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau released a Final Report The Operational Search for MH370 on Tuesday, 3 October 2017 and the status of the External Investigation AE-2014-054 is now 'Completed'.