A committee under the Transport Ministry will investigate the air traffic control supervisor who fell asleep during the disappearance of flight MH370, says Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai. – FMT pic

A special committee under the Transport Ministry will investigate the supervising controller who fell asleep while on duty at the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre when flight MH370 disappeared from radar on March 8 last year, The Star reported today.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai said the matter was serious and the ministry had decided on a separate committee to probe into the finding in the interim safety investigation report on the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight, which is still missing after a year despite a massive undersea search.

“This is very serious. We will investigate and take stern action on any wrongdoings,” The Star quoted him as saying after an event at Tunku Abdul Rahman University College in Kuala Lumpur today.

The interim report revealed a transcript of a telephone conversation between Kuala Lumpur’s air traffic control centre and the MAS operations room where it appeared that the control centre supervisor on duty went to sleep after flight MH370 vanished from radar.

By that time, air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh had already confirmed that it no longer had radar coverage of MH370 after Vietnamese civil aviation had tried to contact the plane for some 20 minutes.

The MAS operations room had asked the Kuala Lumpur control centre whether it had successfully handed over responsibility for the Beijing-bound flight to Vietnamese air traffic control, but the controller said he had just taken over duties and would have to wake up his supervisor in order to find out.

The interim report was released last Sunday, one year after the plane’s disappearance, as mandated by international laws on civil aviation on aircraft accident investigations.

The Star also reported that a working group between China, Australia and Malaysia on the incident would be held here this month, ahead of a ministerial meeting in April. The meetings will review the search efforts and plan the next course of action.

The 60,000 sq km undersea search in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have ended is expected to end in May.

Liow has said previously that the search authorities would have to “go back to the drawing board” to decide what to do next if the plane is still not found.

Read more The Malaysian Insider

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