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The south Indian Ocean, the keeper of inconvenient truths?[/caption]
After dragging its heels over compensation to MH370 victims and the recovery and identification of passenger belongings the Malaysian Government is suddenly rushing to the finish line in the physical search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight.
It makes for grubby optics. Whether or not there is anything sinister behind Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai's saying there are but two week's to go
in the southern Indian Ocean seafloor search is difficult to say.
Mr Liow has been at times quite erratic in his public pronouncements about MH370, even rushing to say soon after the flaperon recovery at La Réunion island in 2015 that suitcases and window frames were also being found. Which proved totally untrue, although more recently some objects thought to be from passengers on MH370 have been found in various locations, and treated with disdain until recently by Kuala Lumpur authorities.
There is an obvious disconnection between the advice the MH370 search partners received in December for a final additional seafloor search
, and the apparent but not necessarily real haste of Australia and Malaysia to abandon physical searching just when success beckons (or maybe 'threatens'.) The Australian minister responsible for aviation, Darren Chester, was also very fast to head off any suggestion of a new search zone.
It is possible that Mr Liow is less skilled at media messaging than one might reasonably expect in senior cabinet ministers.
The very last thing that either government would be likely to wish to do is to create the impression that they are keen to call it a 'wrap' and quit the physical search before something potentially very inconvenient gets found, like the flight data recorder from the Boeing 777-200ER that had 239 people onboard when it disappeared as a transponder identified flight while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.
This FDR should have registered data from dozens of flight critical functions on board MH370 for its entire seven hours 39 minutes in the air, and perhaps prior to that. Unlike the cockpit voice recorder, which if functioning on a continuous loop, would have overwritten the sounds heard on the flight deck immediately before, during and after whatever it was that diverted the jet, and made it go 'dark' to ATC controllers.
This second 'black box' the CVR should instead have picked up any sounds generated by the breakup of MH370 mid flight as it ran out of fuel and dived at high speed into the ocean. It should have recorded automated audible warnings from those final moments, and if indeed there was anyone alive in the cockpit, anything they said, or just the sound of their respiration.
But No. Let's just slam the books shut now, before the risk of discovering something pertinent to the disaster. Time (in the minds of governments in Kuala Lumpur and Canberra) for everyone to sit up, shut up and move on!