Fri | Sep 21, 2018

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief quits over missing Flight 370

Published:Tuesday | July 31, 2018 | 4:34 PM
In this April 11, 2016, photo, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia, shows a statement to the media during a press conference in Putrajaya, Malaysia. (AP Photo)

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s civil aviation chief said Tuesday he has resigned to take responsibility after an independent investigative report highlighted shortcomings in the air traffic control centre during Malaysia Airlines Flight 370′s disappearance four years ago.

The report released Monday raised the possibility that the jet may have been hijacked even though there was no conclusive evidence of why it went off course and flew for over seven hours after severing communications.

Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said the report didn’t blame the civil aviation department for the plane’s loss but found that the Kuala Lumpur air traffic control centre failed to comply with operating procedures.

“Therefore, it is with regret and after much thought and contemplation that I have decided to resign as chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia,” he said in his statement, adding he has presented his resignation and will step down in two weeks.

The jet carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished March 8, 2014, and is presumed to have crashed in the far southern Indian Ocean.

The investigative report, prepared by a 19-member international team, said the cause of the disappearance cannot be determined until the wreckage and the plane’s black boxes are found.

However, the report said the investigation showed lapses by air traffic control, including a failure to swiftly initiate an emergency response and monitor radar continuously, relying too much on information from Malaysia Airlines and not getting in touch with the military for help.

New Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke said Tuesday the government has formed a committee to investigate and take action on any misconduct based on the report’s findings.

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