Malaysia’s transport minister has defended the route selection that took MH17 over eastern Ukraine, but is uncertain about the status of the aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders.
Speaking to media in Kuala Lumpur, the country’s transport minister Liow Tiong Lai said two senior representatives will be dispatched to the Ukraine to help in the investigations.
He also said that 62 personnel from Malaysia’s government, military, and MAS have been dispatched to Kiev to help in the investigation and recovery efforts. They will subsequently be dispatched to the crash site via a “safe corridor” promised by the Ukrainian government.
Liow noted that officials in the US and Ukraine have expressed the view that the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft was shot down.
“If confirmed, this would contravene international law, and be a serious crime,” he said. “We call for those responsible to swiftly brought to justice.”
Liow was unable to confirm the status of the aircraft’s cockpit voice and flight data recorders. He said that the status of these has yet to be established. This remark followed a question from a journalist citing unsourced media reports that Russian separatists had recovered the recorders and sent them to Moscow.
Liow also called for the integrity of aircraft’s crash site to be maintained, and said that under international law Ukraine will lead investigations.
Journalists also pressed Liow on MAS’s decision to operate in the airspace over the Ukraine. He stressed that the airlines of “15 of 16” Asia Pacific countries have been operating in the same airspace where the aircraft crashed. He added that ICAO had declared the airspace un-restricted.
Following the loss of MH17 with the loss of 298 lives, he said ICAO has closed the route.
Liow said that MH17’s aircraft communications addressing and reporting system and aircraft transponder were working and transmitting as normal.