The next of kin of the passengers and crew of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 have formed Voice370, short for MH370 Victims Families and Crew Association.
In an open letter signed by family members from China, Malaysia, the United States, New Zealand and India, it urged the Malaysian Government to release the raw Inmarsat data so that “it can be subject to broader analysis by relevant experts”.
“The Inmarsat satellite data is the only lead we have and is key in identifying MH370’s flight path after the plane vanished from civilian radar screens on March 8,” the Star newspaper of Malaysia reported.
“In view of the lack of emergency locator transmitter activation and zero debris, we feel it is necessary that the data be subject to independent third-party review,” said Voice370, which claims to represents 800 family members so far.
The letter, addressed to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Chinese President Xi Jinping, also requested the Joint Agency Coordination Centre to release the pings recorded by the towed pinger locator, the paper said.
The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 plane, carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals — had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
Malaysia has been criticized for its handling of the tragedy, particularly by the relatives of the Chinese passengers on board the plane, besides being accused of hiding information. The plane had lost contact with air traffic controllers over the South China Sea.
Malaysia believes the flight was deliberately diverted by someone on board and that satellite data indicates it crashed in the Indian Ocean, west of the Australian city of Perth.
A multinational search has so far not succeeded in tracking the aircraft or its black boxes despite deploying hi-tech gadgets. Investigators, including the FBI, are looking into a range of aspects, including hijack, sabotage, personal and psychological problems, that may have caused the incident.
Yesterday, Australia said its defence vessel Ocean Shield had left for a second mission in the Indian Ocean to continue the hunt for the plane. The ship will deploy underwater vehicle Bluefin-21, which will search the seabed where pings from suspected black boxes were detected in April.