KUALA LUMPUR, March 13 — A Malaysia Airlines spokesman today contested reports that Rolls Royce received bursts of engine information from missing flight MH370, insisting that the data link was severed the same moment the plane dropped off civilian radar.
Sky News correspondent Mark Stone posted the snippet on Twitter today, which will likely further confuse rescue efforts that have been repeatedly bombarded with inaccurate information.
“#MalaysiaAirlines executive tells @skynews that Rolls Royces engines stopped transmitting their routine ‘health updates’ when contact lost,” Stone posted on Twitter today.
An earlier report by the Wall Street Journal that Rolls Royce received two bursts of Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) feedback allegedly from the Beijing-bound plane with 239 on board had raised the possibility that the plane could be anywhere in a 4,400-mile radius.
It is unclear if Rolls Royce is capable of receiving such transmissions independently of MAS.
Yesterday, the Bloomberg news service cited a source as saying that MAS opted out of a Boeing service to collect real-time performance data from jets like the 777-200ER used by MH370 for use in planning maintenance.
The source said MAS now collated such data itself.
MAS previously issued a statement to say the ACARS datalink was lost simultaneously with the transponder signal from MH370 somewhere in Vietnamese airspace.
The revelation about the purported engine data from Boeing and Rolls Royce raises the possibility that MH370 flew as far as 2,200 miles before it would have run out of fuel; this would put the search area into the millions of square kilometres or virtually impossible to humanly scour.
It also added to speculation that hijacking or terrorism was behind the disappearance of the plane that has now been missing for six days.
MH370 disappeared without sending any distress calls at 1.30am, less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.
Military radar recorded a plane that could have been the MAS flight turning back to the Straits of Malacca before losing the data plot at 2.15am when the plane was at 29,500 feet.