Malaysia Airlines Flight 370: Gov't Releases Raw Satellite Data Linked To Plane's Path

By  | 

The Malaysian government on Tuesday released 45 pages of raw satellite data it used to determine the flight path of the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner, information long sought by some relatives of the 239 people on board the plane.

The information was released Tuesday to family members of those who were on board flight 370, and then to the media.

A post on the families' Facebook page says, "Hope this is the original raw data and can be used to potentially "think out of the box" to get an alternative positive outcome."

More than three months after the plane went missing en route to Beijing, no trace of it has been found, leading to continued speculation over its fate.

An international investigation team led by Malaysia has concluded that it flew south after it was last spotted on Malaysian military radar about 90 minutes after takeoff, and ended up in the southern Indian Ocean off Australia. This is based on complex calculations derived in part from hourly transmissions between the plane and a communications satellite.

Some family members who have been critical of the government's handling of the incident say they want independent experts to review the data. Several experts in physics, satellite technology and mathematics have said that, based on the information released so far, they have been unable to verify the investigation team's conclusions.

One expert contacted by CBS News says there "is very little new" in the latest disclosure. Michael Exner, founder of the American Mobile Satellite Corporation, is an engineer who's developed satellite and meteorology technologies since the early 1970s.

The plane disappeared from commercial radar soon after taking off on March 8 over waters between Malaysia and Vietnam. A search effort was initially focused there but gradually shifted to the west.

Authorities say they believe the plane was deliberately diverted from its flight path, but without finding the plane or its flight data recorders, have been unable to say with any certainty what happened on board.

The government made several statements about the plane that were later proven to be false or contradictory, fueling a perception that it was incompetent or - in some quarters - covering up what happened. The government insists it is being transparent in what has been an unprecedented incident.