Two members of the group, Don Thompson and Richard Godfrey, “have found some anomalies in the message logs” included in an early report released by Malaysian authorities in 2015 as well as the final report released by Malaysia on July 30, 2018.
Don Thompson is listed as a researcher from Northern Ireland while Richard Godfrey is listed as a German scientist in a previous group statement.
The analyzed message logs detail communications between the Malaysia Airlines dispatch center and service producers that route messages over different flight paths.
“The anomalies suggest the traffic logs appearing in the reports are not complete, and what appears in the reports has been modified,” the Independent Group stated.
The investigators detailed the specific messages they believe were edited or missing and said it has requested data from Malaysian authorities.
“It is disappointing that more than four years after MH370’s disappearance, we are still asking Malaysia to release withheld data. The military radar data is another example of a data set 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,” the group stated.
Malaysia Airlines Responds
Following the release of the statement and findings of the investigation by the Independent Group, Malaysia Airlines released a statement obtained by the Daily Star stating that it was aware of the published results.
“Malaysian Airline System (MAS) wishes to state that MAS has provided full cooperation and assistance to all respective authorities on the investigation for MH370, including the submission of relevant documents necessary for the investigation,” the airline said in a statement.
“MAS will continue to cooperate with the Authorities and if necessary, provide any information to them in line with international requirements and applicable laws.”
However, that statement did not satisfy the Independent Group.
“Conspicuously absent is an explanation for the missing messages and the edited logs,” the group stated in a response to the statement from the airline.
The group’s analysis followed the recent announcement that France reopened an investigation into the missing flight, in early August. Four French citizens were on board the plane.
Recent Timeline on MH370
The flight, carrying hundreds of passengers from multiple countries, vanished in March 2014, triggering a worldwide response that included a number of countries lending assistance to Malaysian authorities to search a huge area to try to locate the plane or its wreckage.
Years of different tactics produced few results. A 19-member international team published a report in July that provided no conclusions, but said the flight was likely steered off course by someone and flown to the Southern Indian Ocean.
Investigators have never been able to explain why the jet abandoned its route to Beijing before going south over the Indian Ocean. The report said that it is difficult to attribute the change in direction to a system failure, and it is “more likely that such maneuvers are due to the systems being manipulated.”
There was insufficient information to determine whether the aircraft broke up in the air or by crashing into the ocean, the report stated.
Family members of those on board the plane weren’t pleased with the report, stating that there were no new findings, and the chief of Malaysia’s civil aviation authority resigned the day after the report was released.
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