KUALA LUMPUR, March 31 — The phrase “Alright, good night” attributed to co-pliot Fariq Ab Hamid, as the last words from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, was one he never said.
Instead, a report by China-owned news outlet CCTV revealed that the actual words used were “Good night, Malaysian 370”.
The revelation is another in a series of apparent contradictions emanating from investigators looking into the case of MH370, who have drawn repeated criticisms for the questionable accuracy of the information provided.
“The last words are particularly significant because it lessens the probability that either the pilot or co-pilot were involved in the ‘deliberate act’ of steering the plane in the westerly direction (away from its planned route,” CCTV reporter James Chau said in the video report.
Chau, who said he has documented proof and independent corroboration of the actual phrase used, noted that it was a standard greeting used in aviation compared to the more ominous “Alright, good night”.
The CCTV anchor added that the new information was indicative of Malaysia’s commitment to comb through existing evidence once more in light of the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER that went missing on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Chau also said the documents he obtained dovetailed with Malaysian authorities’ disavowal of previously released transcripts purportedly on the final communications from the aircraft.
“Facts” surrounding the final known moments of the MH370 have been disputed as quickly as they have surfaced, adding to the confusion in the “unprecedented” aviation mystery.
A previous declaration by authorities that the plane’s Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was disabled prior to the final radio contact between the co-pilot and ground controllers led to added suspicion falling on the aviator.
But MAS group chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya subsequently clarified that it was not known if the aircraft performance monitoring system was deactivated before or after the radio transmission, only that it was disabled before it could reconnect at the scheduled time.
On March 15, Malaysia announced that MH370 was deliberately taken off course on the day it disappeared, and that investigations were now focused on the 12 crew members and 227 passengers on board.
While the two pilots have borne the brunt of public suspicion, investigators have not uncovered any evidence to suggest foul play on the part of either man or anyone else on board.
The search effort is now concentrated in a section of the Indian Ocean west of Perth in Western Australia where satellite images have spotted pieces of debris possibly from MH370, although recovery could still take years even if it is established that the plane went down at that location.