Lieutenant Raina Taggart, using the range finder binoculars to gauge the distance to HMAS Success from the starboard bridge wing of HMAS Toowoomba, prior to conducting a Replenishment at Sea during the search for the missing Malaysia Airways Flight MH370. (AFP Photo)
Malaysia will release the much-anticipated preliminary report on the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370 on Thursday, nearly two months after the plane with 239 people on board went missing.
The preliminary report on Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200's disappearance will be released on Thursday, Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. He said the report will be similar to the one forwarded to the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) by the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA).
"I don't think there's going to be any problem to issue it. But we have decided it as a team, that it's going to be issued tomorrow," he told a press conference here. "The way forward and the consent that I requested in my negotiation with Australia and other stakeholders in the search, I tabled and reported it to the Cabinet this morning, and I got all the necessary mandate," he was quoted as saying by the state-run Bernama news agency. The government commitment to release the report was voiced by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak last week.
Hishammuddin, who is also defence minister, said he would be going to Australia next week to discuss the new phase of search operation for MH370 which now focused on deep sea search, including the financial aspect. He said any announcement pertaining to the cost of search for the new phase would also be made next week, if the stakeholders reached a consensus and agreement on it. "But we don't know what the cost would be until we decide where to search, what assets are going to be used and who are going to supply those assets," he said, adding that three ministerial committees had been working on the matter.
The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370-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.
The mystery of the missing plane continued to baffle aviation and security authorities who have so far not succeeded in tracking the aircraft despite deploying hi-tech radar and other gadgets. 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.