Flight MH370: Airline tightens pilot security

By Jonathan Pearlman in Kuala Lumpur

Malaysia Airlines planes parked at the terminal in Kuala Lumpur Intenational Airport (KLIA) in Sepang. Photo / AFP
Malaysia Airlines planes parked at the terminal in Kuala Lumpur Intenational Airport (KLIA) in Sepang. Photo / AFP

Malaysia Airlines is introducing new security measures - including an extra crew member inside the cockpit when one of the plane's two pilots takes a lavatory break - following the disappearance of Flight MH370.

Watch: Objects seen in jet search were fishing equipment

As the multinational search for the Boeing 777 in the Indian Ocean failed to produce evidence of debris, the airline confirmed that it had introduced stricter measures for pilots in the week after its plane went missing on March 8.

The rules, which follow the tightening of security at Malaysian airports, reportedly require crew members to enter the cockpit whenever a pilot is alone and to stand guard at the cockpit door when it is opened during service of food.

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The news came as the Malaysian government revealed that the final words from the cockpit of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane were "good night, Malaysian three seven zero" and not "all right, goodnight" as previously claimed.

The government also revealed that it had not confirmed whether the words were spoken by the pilot or co-pilot. Earlier, officials said the final words were said by Fariq Abdul Hamid, the co-pilot.

Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting transport minister, said there was not "anything sinister" in the cockpit transcript and encouraged crash investigators to release the official copy. An official source told The Daily Telegraph that investigators had detected nothing strange about the final wording or tone of voice but continue to believe the disabling of the plane's communications and its strange route were deliberate.


Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion's captain, Wing Comdr. Rob Shearer watches out of the window of his aircraft while searching for the missing jet. Photo / AP

The search for MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean continued yesterday but failed to find any confirmed wreckage. Three orange objects were retrieved and found to be fishing equipment.

An Australian naval ship carrying a United States black box locator set off for the search area from Perth and will arrive on Thursday, just days before MH370's black box's pinger runs out of battery life. The batteries could last up to six weeks, but authorities said the time will be effectively useless unless the search area was significantly narrowed.

However, Tony Abbott, Australia's prime minister, pledged that the search would continue to try to find answers and he was "not putting a time limit on it".

Watch: Families still seek answers

"We owe it to the families, we owe it to everyone who travels by air, we owe it to the governments of the countries who had citizens on that aircraft," he said.

Relatives of the more than 150 Chinese citizens on board MH370 have been told by a state-run newspaper that they must accept their loved ones are dead and begin preparing for their funerals.

Nearly 30 family members flew from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur on Sunday to confront that country's government over its handling of the crisis. At a press conference, they chanted and unfurled banners including one that read: "Hand us the murderer. Tell us the truth. Give us our relatives back."

However, in a lengthy editorial the English-language China Daily yesterday warned against directing "irrational words and behaviour" at the Malaysian government.

Such actions could harm China's "national interests, making all Chinese people pay for the tragedy", it said, adding: "No matter how distressed we are and how many details that are not clear, it is certain that flight MH370 crashed in the Indian Ocean and no one on board survived."

- Daily Telegraph UK

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