Malaysia isytihar MH370 satu kemalangan...
Malaysia hari ini mengisytiharkan kehilangan pesawat Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370, 10 bulan lalu ialah satu kemalangan, mengorbankan semua 239 penumpang dan anak kapal.
Ketua Pengarah Jabatan Penerbangan Awam Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman berkata, kerajaan menyedari kenyataan ini sangat sukar untuk dipertimbangkan keluarga dan orang tersayang mereka yang terlibat, apatah lagi untuk menerimanya.
"Bagaimanapun, penting bagi ahli keluarga cuba meneruskan kehidupan seperti biasa, atau senormal mungkin, selepas mengalami kehilangan secara tiba-tiba ini. Tanpa sebarang niat menghapuskan perasaan ahli keluarga, diharapkan pengisytiharan ini akan membolehkan keluarga mendapatkan bantuan yang mereka perlukan, khususnya melalui proses pampasan," katanya.
Kenyataan itu, yang boleh didapati di laman web Jabatan Penerbangan Awam, dibaca Azharuddin dalam satu siaran secara langsung di stesen televisyen petang ini.
Pesawat MAS jenis Boeing 777 itu hilang dalam perjalanan dari Kuala Lumpur ke Beijing pada 8 Mac, 2014.
Sementara itu,waris penumpang pesawat Malaysia Airlines MH370 mempersoalkan tindakan kerajaan yang hanya menghubungi mereka di saat akhir untuk memaklumkan berkenaan sidang media kes tersebut hari ini.
Salah seorang daripadanya, Lim Wee Hoon berkata, beliau dihubungi oleh MAS pada kira-kira jam 2.40 petang ini dan diminta untuk mengikuti siaran langsung sidang media di televisyen.
"Mereka fikir saya boleh ada TV di hadapan saya sepanjang masa,” katanya kepada pemberita yang hadir ke sidang media tersebut.
Walaupun ia merupakan acara untuk petugas media, sekurang-kurangnya tujuh orang waris penumpang hadir ke kawasan acara tersebut dan mengambil tempat duduk di kalangan petugas media.
Mereka mendakwa mendengar desas desus mengenai sidang media tersebut sejak Selasa malam lalu.
Siaran tersebut dijadualkan berlangsung pada jam 3.30 petang dan kemudiannya dibatalkan pada saat akhir petang ini disebabkan kehadiran waris tersebut. - tmi/mk
MH370 passengers and crew presumed dead...
The Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) has declared that all 239 passengers and crew on board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are presumed to have "lost their lives".
DCA director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman made the announcement via a live telecast on RTM 1 this evening.
"It is therefore with the heaviest heart and deepest sorrow on behalf of the Malaysian government, we officially declare MH370 an accident," he said.
However, he added that the search operation for the plane will continue.
MH370, which was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, went missing last March, and its disappearance has been classified as one of greatest aviation mysteries.
MAS, he said, would undertake its responsibilities regarding the rights and interests of the next-of-kin as provided for by law, and was ready to proceed with the compensation process to the families of those on board the ill-fated flight.
"This includes the fulfilment of the compensation process, whether it is pursued through consultation or through litigation."
Despite the "frustrating" 327 day search, Azharuddin said countries in the joint search team had never wavered in their commitment, adding that Malaysia would continue in its efforts in order to bring closure to the tragedy.
"The government of Malaysia also assures the families of the passengers and crew that the search for MH370 remains a priority.
"This declaration is by no means the end. We will forge ahead with the cooperation and assistance of the governments of China and Australia. MH370, its passengers and its crew will always be remembered and honoured.”
Search operation 'a priority'
“Without in any way intending to diminish the feelings of the families, it is hoped that this declaration will enable the families to obtain the assistance they need, in particular through the compensation process.”
"Malaysia Airlines will undertake its responsibilities and this includes the fulfilment of the compensation process by the next-of-kin (pix, below), whether through consultation or litigation.
“We understand that Malaysia Airlines is ready to proceed immediately with the compensation process with due regard for the readiness of the next-of-kin to take this step,” he said.
With regards to the search for MH370, Azharuddin stressed that the ongoing search and locate operation would continue.
“The Malaysian government assures the families of the passengers and crew that the search for MH370 remains a priority.
“We are committed to continuing all reasonable efforts to bring closure to this unfortunate tragedy, with the cooperation and assistance of the governments of China and Australia.
'Survivability highly unlikely'
With regards to investigations over the plane’s disappearance, Azharuddin said that due to the lack of physical evidence, particularly of the flight recorders, there was no evidence to substantiate any speculations as to the cause of the plane's disappearance.
“An interim statement detailing the progress of the safety investigation is expected to be released on or around the one year anniversary of the accident,” he added.
Azharuddin said Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation (Chicago Convention) said the definition of the term 'accident' includes 'the aircraft is missing'.
“It also states that an aircraft is considered to be missing when the official search has been terminated and the wreckage has not been located,” he said.
On the conclusion that MH370 had ended its flight in the southern Indian Ocean, Azharuddin pointed out that it is a remote location and far from any possible landing sites.
“It is also an area with adverse sea conditions with known depths of more than 6,000 metres.
“After 327 days and based on all available data as well as the circumstances mentioned earlier, survivability in the defined area is highly unlikely,” he said.
Azharuddin also said that a special section had been set-up on the MH370 official website solely for the next-of-kin.
“It includes information on the search and investigation efforts, the compensation process, responses to next-of-kin’s inquiries as well as other forms of assistance that are available to the next-of-kin."
“It is hoped that this dedicated portal will provide a continuing support system for the next-of-kin,” he said.
MH370 disappeared less than an hour after departing from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 last year. Most of with 239 people on board were Chinese nationals.
The initial search and rescue operations covered the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the southern Indian Ocean, involving 65 aircraft and 95 vessels and experts from 25 countries.
On April 28, 2014, the search and rescue phase transitioned to a underwater search and recovery phase led by the Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB).
"The underwater search is still ongoing at this time and the exercise is currently being performed by four vessels, namely the Go Phoenix, Fugro Discovery, Fugro Equator and Fugro Supporter. To date, the search has covered over 18,600 square kilometres," Azharuddin said today.
Meanwhile, family members of those aboard the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 have cried foul for not being informed about a government press conference on the matter until the last minute.
One of them, Lim Wee Hoon, said she was contacted by MAS at about 2.40pm today and was told to tune into the live broadcast of the press conference, which was scheduled for 3.30pm.
"They are expecting me to have a TV in front of me all the time," she chided before reporters attending the press conference.
Although it was a media event, at least seven next-of-kin of the MH370 victims came to the press conference venue and sat among members of the media.
They said they heard talk about the press conference scheduled to be held since Tuesday night.
However, the press conference was ultimately called off, with press officer Jagjit Singh announcing that this was due to "unforeseen circumstances". - mk/tmi