State of Occurrence

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MH370: State of Occurrence

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is believed to have ended in the south Indian Ocean on Saturday, 8 March 2014. Malaysia has the responsibility as the State of Occurrence, as explained below.


The term State of Occurrence is defined by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in the Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation which is generally referred to simply as Annex 13.

The word State is used to refer to a nation which is a signatory to the Convention on International Civil Aviation.

The responsibilities of the State of Occurrence are defined in Annex 13 and expanded in the ICAO publication Doc 9756 Manual of Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation.


State of Occurrence
The State in the territory of which an accident or incident occurs.

Source: Safety Investigation Report VII. Glossary of Terms
(Originally sourced from ICAO Annex 13 Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation).


Application to Flight MH370

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing on Saturday, 8 March 2014 while en-route between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing, but the aircraft diverted from the original Flight Plan and evidence suggests that the flight ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

Although the aircraft has not been found, the location is believed to be on, or near, an arc calculated from an analysis of satellite communications data. This location is remote. As the closest country, Australia is responsible for Search and Rescue operations in that region of the southern Indian Ocean but the wreckage of the Boeing 777 registered 9M-MRO is not within Australian territorial waters.

However, The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370 has determined that Malaysia has the responsibility as the State of Occurrence, as indicated below:-

In light of the disappearance of MH370 on 08 March 2014 [MYT], Malaysia as the State of Registry, State of Operator and State of Occurrence was obliged to conduct an investigation into the incident.

Source: Safety Investigation Report 2.7.1 Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia