Vietnam has reportedly spent more than US$8 million in to search for the Malaysian missing plane in a search considered the most expensive for a missing aircraft.
The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) has rejected accusations that Vietnamese air traffic controllers failed to follow protocol in tracking the missing Malaysian flight MH370.
The CAAV will contact the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) to clarify this information, Tuoi Tre (Youth) newspaper quoted Lai Xuan Thanh, its director, as saying.
On May 2, the Malay Mail Online quoted DCA as saying that Vietnamese air traffic controllers breached protocol by enquiring about the missing Flight MH370 a whole 17 minutes after the plane vanished from radar on March 8, while heading to Beijing with 239 passengers.
DCA director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said that at 1:19 a.m. on March 8, Kuala Lumpur air traffic control had ordered the Beijing-bound MH370 to change frequency to their Ho Chi Minh City counterparts, but HCMC only enquired about the jet at 1.38 a.m., after the flight failed to make contact.
He said international protocol dictates that controllers should wait a maximum of five minutes for planes to make contact.
He further claimed that once the MH370 had passed the Igari navigational waypoint in the East Sea, the plane was officially the responsibility of the Vietnamese air traffic controllers.
CAAV director Thanh rejected these accusations, which he said he only learned of through the media.
At the time that Malaysia’s flight management handed over the relevant data, both the Vietnamese and Malaysian sides were unable to identify if the plane had passed the Igari waypoint.
Maybe by the time the Malaysian side relayed the flight's alleged position, the plane’s signal had disappeared. If so, Thanh argued, Malaysia cannot blame the CAAV for being slow to take action.
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