Malaysia Airlines rejected crucial data

Malaysia Airlines rejected crucial data

Critical days were lost in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 because Malaysian authorities initially rejected evidence from a British satellite company that the plane was in the southern Indian Ocean.

British sources told _The West Australian _that within 24 hours of the disappearance on March 8, Inmarsat advised the relevant Malaysian authorities of their findings but were rebuffed.

"They didn't want to know," the source said.

Inmarsat then approached Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch with its data and it immediately recognised the significance.

Inmarsat was asked to provide a satellite data link to the Malaysia Airlines fleet and continued to get a signal every hour from MH370 until 8.19am, WA time.

Those signals were picked up from its satellite 38,000km above the Indian Ocean and relayed via a ground station in Perth.

The Malaysian authorities were forced to take the findings seriously when the AAIB teamed with Inmarsat to re-present the MH370 data five days after the Boeing 777 disappeared.

It also took days before Malaysian military radar tracking data was made available.

It showed MH370 changed course and flew across Malaysia towards the Andaman Sea but the search continued in the South China Sea, east of the country.

On March 16, the search was moved to the southern Indian Ocean with the first aerial searches conducted from Perth on March 18 - 10 days after MH370 was lost.

Oceanographers agree that any chance of spotting a major debris field was lost.

After 10 days much of the debris that would have floated would have become waterlogged and sunk or been broken up in the heavy seas. The seas and prevailing currents would have spread the debris field far and wide.

There has been a lot of debate about the Inmarsat satellite data that was the basis of the Indian Ocean search.

However, respected air crash investigation units the US National Transportation Safety Board, the AAIB, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau and the French BEA, as well as Boeing and engine manufacturer Rolls-Royce, agree the data is valid.

Emirates president Tim Clark has claimed there is an international cover-up of the crash, which claimed 239 lives.

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