Malaysia yesterday said it would publicly release satellite data used to narrow down the search for a missing jetliner to the southern Indian Ocean.
The Malaysian Civil Aviation Department and British satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat in a joint statement said they would do this “in line with our commitment to greater transparency.”
Some family members of the 239 people on the plane have demanded that raw satellite data be made public for independent analysis.
The government says calculations using Inmarsat data showed Malaysia Airlines flight 370 veered off course and ended in the Indian Ocean after it went missing on March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
No wreckage has been found and an underwater hunt led by Australia continues.
Authorities believe the plane was flown deliberately off course, but are still investigating the cause of the disappearance.
“In moving forward, it is imperative for us to provide helpful information to the next of kin and general public, which will include the data communication logs as well as relevant explanation to enable the reader to understand the data provided,” the statement said.
It said the data was just one of many elements in the investigation, but did not say when or how the data would be released.
Malaysia has been criticized for its handling of the crisis, especially by relatives of Chinese passengers who make up the majority on board the plane.
Earlier this month, family members urged Malaysia, China and Australia to review Inmarsat data for its accuracy.
In a letter to the countries’ leaders which is also posted on Facebook, the relatives said the data did not “support a definitive conclusion that no other flight path was possible.”
“We feel that it is necessary that the data be subject to independent third-party review. It is our hope that with out-of-box thinking, the whole world can help to look for the plane,” the letter said.
The search has moved into a new phase, with a Chinese navy survey ship to start mapping the seabed off the west Australian coast this week.
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