‘Nothing unusual happened’

By Farrah Naz Karim - 3 August 2014 @ 8:04 AM

THE preliminary analysis of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17’s cockpit voice recorder (CVR) revealed “nothing out of the ordinary”.

A source close to the international investigation told the New Sunday Times that the CVR downloaded by the United Kingdom’s Air Accidents Investigation Branch had picked up the communications between the Malaysia Airlines’ pilot and an unspecified personnel with an air traffic controller (ATC).

“So far, from what the team has heard, there was nothing unusual. The last voice heard was not the pilot’s. No, there was no indication that the pilots saw or sensed anything off,” the source said without elaborating further to protect the investigations.

This may mean that whatever happened was very sudden.

The CVR records all communications on the flight deck, including transmissions with air traffic controllers, discussions between the flight crew, cabin announcements and conversations with any other crew entering the cabin.

In this case, it could provide investigators with some insight into the flight crew’s mindset and emotional state if they had to deal with an emergency in the final moments.

However, it remains unclear if the Dutch-led investigation team had secured the recordings from the Ukrainian air traffic controllers to match the conversations between the ATC staff and the MH17 flight crew.

Asked about the Ukrainian government’s revelation on Monday that the aircraft was brought down by “a massive explosive decompression”, the source said the statement was “unconfirmed”.

The source told the NST that the “initial factual findings” of the probes into the shootdown of MH17 were expected to be released next week.

It is learnt that investigations also centred heavily on the findings provided by the group of three Malaysian investigators, who were among the first to reach the crash site and conduct probes.

The NST was told that instead of the 200 reported earlier, the experts dissecting the flight data recorder (FDR) were looking at 1,500 parameters of the black box.

The FDR records essential flight data parametres at least 10 times per second and defines the aircraft’s flight path and motion.

The data also include primary information, such as position, altitude, airspeed and heading. This allows investigators to reconstruct the aircraft’s flight path.

Also recorded in the FDR are the aircraft’s aerodynamics and engine parameters, including information from the air data computer and sensors.

The Dutch Safety Board (DSB), which is leading the international investigation into the downing of the aircraft, had said the findings would likely provide a picture of how the investigation would proceed.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had said the aircraft’s flight data recorder and the CVR were among the “hard evidence” the investigation team needed to find out what happened.

DSB spokesman Sara Vernooij was quoted as saying the board would likely say “what it can rule out” and “what it is going to focus on”.

It is understood that the team of investigators at the crash site in eastern Ukraine would carry out verification of information that had been gathered from other sources.

This is to allow them to search
for possible new information and collect material for the investigation, such as pieces of the wreckage.

The Dutch police had earlier this week received 150 photos
and video clips on their server
set up to piece together the mystery.

The photos were uploaded by eyewitnesses from what has been described as “the world’s biggest crime scene”.

One of the two black boxes recovered from the crash site of MH17. Initial factual findings of the investigations into the downing of the aircraft are expected to be released next week. AFP pic