Independent Investigators Say Data Logs in Malaysia's 'Final Report' Have Been Modified


Independent investigators working closely with the Australian Transport Safety Bureau have determined that data logs used in the 'final report' issued in July by the Malaysian International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for missing flight MH370 are incomplete and have been modified.

Victor Iannello, head of the Independent Group, along with members Don Thompson and Richard Godfrey, said that they “have found some anomalies in the message logs that were included in factual information released by Malaysia on March 8, 2014, and the Safety Investigation Report released by Malaysia on July 30."

These logs document communications held between the MAS Operations Dispatch Centre (MAS ODC) and service providers that route messages over Satcom and VHF paths as part of the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS); the ACARS then prints a message in the plane's cockpit.

“The anomalies suggest the traffic logs appearing in the reports are not complete and what appears in the reports has been modified,” said Iannello.

According to the Independent Group, an urgent message from MAS ODC was submitted at 18:03 UTC (1:03 p.m. CST), then retransmitted multiple times.  However, the last message sent to the aircraft has the wrong time, which suggests that either the explanatory text in the final report is wrong or the traffic logs do not contain all the message traffic.

But, Iannello said, the facts surrounding the ACARS traffic log “are more suspicious, with the filter parameters used to generate the remaining pages (after page one) of the report changed so that VHF messages, if any occurred, were excluded”.

“The change in filter parameters and the repeated messages are clear evidence that the traffic log in the SIR is actually two reports that were pieced together and presented as a single the ACARS traffic log in the SIR, the last line of the text message that was sent by MAS ODC at 18.03.23 appears to have been edited," said Ianello.

“It is disappointing that more than four years after MH370’s disappearance, we are still asking Malaysia to release withheld data,” he continued.

“The military radar data is another example of a dataset that has never been released in full, despite its significance in providing information about how the aircraft was flown after the diversion from the flight plan."

“It is important that Malaysia provide a complete, unmodified log of all ACARS communications on Satcom, VHF and HF paths," he added. "This is significant in light of questions surrounding the delayed response of Malaysian authorities after MH370 went missing."

The Independent Group's findings come less than a month after France's Gendarmerie of Air Transport (GTA) declared they will reopen their investigation into the missing aircraft.

And in May of 2018, a panel of international experts brought on to television news program 60 Minutes Australia, shared their findings that they say show Captain Shah deliberately downed MH370--citing the plane's flight path and the damage profile of recovered wreckage as evidence of their claim. 

Tobias Wayland