Friday, August 1, 2014

Air India flight was 90 seconds away when missile struck Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17

Air India flight was 90 seconds away when missile struck Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17


Air India flight was 90 seconds away when missile struck Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17
A pro-Russian rebel checking the debris of the downed Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 in eastern 
Ukraine before international inspectors visited the site. (Reuters photo)
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MUMBAI: The ministry of civil aviation's claim that there was no Air India flight near the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 when it was shot down over Ukraine on Thursday appears misleading.

An Air India Dreamliner flight going from Delhi to Birmingham was in fact less than 25km away from the Malaysian aircraft, a distance covered by a Dreamliner or Boeing 777 in about 90 seconds, when the latter was hit. Because of this closeness, the Dnipropetrovsk (local Ukrainian) air traffic controller asked the AI pilots to try and establish contact with pilots of the Malaysian aircraft who had stopped responding to its calls.

Minutes before the crash caused by a missile strike, the AI pilots had also heard the controller give the Malaysian aircraft MH17 what is called "a direct routing". This permits an aircraft to fly straight, instead of tracking the regular route which is generally a zig-zag track that goes from one ground-based navigation aid or way point to another. "Direct routing saves fuel and time and is preferred by pilots. In this case, it proved fatal," said an airline source.

"The AI Dreamliner was less than 25km away from the Malaysian aircraft when the latter was hit by a missile. When the pilots learnt the cause of the crash later, they were stunned. It's like the person standing next to you has been hit by a sniper bullet," said the source.

An Air India Boeing 787 Dreamliner. (TOI file photo)

As instructed by the controller, the AI pilots tried to contact the Boeing 777 after its transponder display went off the radar. The message they sent was: "Malaysian 17, this is Air India 113. How do you read?" There was, of course, no response.

Soon after the tragedy, the media picked up data from flightradar24, a live flight tracker website which showed the AI aircraft in the vicinity. But the next day, on Friday, the civil aviation ministry issued a statement that "there was no Air India flight near the ill-fated Malaysian plane at the time of the incident".



The Ukrainian airspace is divided into five flight information regions: Kiev, Lviv, Dnipropetrovsk, Odessa and Simferopol. MH17 was in the Dnipropetrovsk airspace flying an east-bound track on 33,000feet and the AI Delhi-Birmingham flight was on a west-bound route and had entered Ukraine after crossing Russia when the AI pilots heard the Dnipropetrovsk controller give the Malaysian aircraft a direct routing.

Barely minutes later, the AI pilots heard the controller trying to establish contact with the Malaysian aircraft. When no response came from the Malaysian crew, the controller asked the AI pilots to try. It is standard practice for air traffic controllers to ask pilots of aircraft in the vicinity to get in touch with pilots who have stopped responding.

A part of the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH17 that crashed after being hit by a missile in eastern Ukraine. (Reuters photo)

In order to communicate, pilots and controllers tune in to one particular radio frequency, and all the conversation that takes place on that wavelength can be heard by all the aircraft who are tuned in to this frequency. So the pilots can hear each other as well as the instructions given by the controller to all the aircraft in a particular flight information region.

Other than this particular radio frequency on which pilots can communicate with controllers and other pilots, there is another radio set in the cockpit which is always tuned to 121.5MHz, known as the emergency frequency.

The pilots would try to contact the non-responding crew on this frequency too, but more importantly, it is on this frequency that they would get to hear the signature distress beep tone emitted by an emergency locator transmitter of an aircraft soon after it has crashed.

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Beryl Kunder (Mumbai, Maharashtra, Ind)
3 Followers
5 days ago
Bronze: 102
The Indian govt & Air-India need to acknowledge this.
keviquin (Canada)
6 days ago
Bronze: 58
The Kyiv government is a master of 'provocation - both at detecting and giving it. It is no stranger to doing recorded damage to itself to make a better story. There are quite a few instances of this. - Reports of newly moiblized soldiers 'starving in poor conditions' in eastern 'training camps' led to a 'crowd-funding' that raised millions to buy equipment for the army. - a Midnight attack that drestroyed a militia unit early in the campaign was further 'shaped' by repeated strafing of the site by government helicopters before government troops and media moved in to attend to casualties and record the rebel's destruction and 'murders'. Government troops were taking shelter behind vehicles in a field 200 m away while the strafing runs went in. - Rebels were accused of sneaking rocket batteries behind besieging government forces to fire artillery missiles over their heads into the town of Slkavyansk,, damaging residential areas and killing civilians. This could have been 'in the works' for some time. It would have the effect of changing world support for the Kiev government if rebels could be blamed. They were and it did. BRICS gave the plan the green light because America is 'after' Putin and a regime change in Russia. Ukraine is the latest convenient excuse.
keviquin (Canada)
6 days ago
Bronze: 58
'Direct routing proved fatal." The radar positioning map that tracked MH17 on day of the crash that tracked indicated it was flying some 150 to 200 Km south of what was described, on the map, as the "most economical route". If saving fuel costs was a consideration, this aircraft would have passed through Ukrainian airspace north of Kiev. Other maps depicting the course of that particular flight, on other days, indicated a more southerly transit of Ukraine with 6 of the 7 flights depicted crossing the Sea of Azov. There was another positional map published yesterday that showed a noticeable 'jink' in the aircraft's course just before it crossed into the Dniepropetrovsk ATC zone. This lined the AC with a transit over Donetsk - possibly the same track taken by Government strike aircraft coming in to attack rebel positions. The Black boxes should conform ATC directions and reasoning..
Chris Harrison (Savannah, Georgia)
9 days ago
Bronze: 57
Think logically, If the US has previously released the crash site satellite image taken from a Geo Sat, and they say they know exactly where the missile launch came from, and they say they could previously see 3 tanks from space - considering that the satellite is one that looks for flashes of activity, why are they now refusing to release the Satellite image that shows the exact spot from where the missile was fired? They have the proof they say.....yet they would rather rely on social media. This is a red flag. That info could be then correlated with the radar data Russia has released and the Ukrainians who lied about the fighter jet could then release the air traffic control radar data and tower recordings with the plane.....then we would know exactly what happened and who shot down the plane. Apparently the US would prefer not to be forthcoming. The victims families deserve better than this. Why is the US making them suffer further.
Chris Harrison (Savannah, Georgia)
9 days ago
Bronze: 57
One more thing of great importance....Russia said they were monitoring the radar tracking vehicles for the BuK's and that they had all been active for the week prior to the disaster. The day after they went inactive and were moved. They have satellite photos showing where they were and when they were moved with time and date correlation. They focus on one vehicle in particular that had the BuK missiles in the launch position and ask where did Kiev move it to and why was it up int he launch position the day of the downing. They would like Kiev to account for the vehicle and it's missile stockpiles.
brad harrison (Savannah, Georgia) 9 days ago
The American side of the investigation reeks of a coverup. The Russians have been forthcoming with their radar data and have shown there was a Ukrainian fighter jet in the sky rising to height to meet the plane. The Russians also showed that the Ukrainians had 3 BuK missile systems active in the area the plane went down. The US and Kiev refuses to release their radar data, air tower control recordings and satellite imagery. Why is it that the US can find three tanks when they need them but they can't produce verifiable proof of who fired the rockets? And why would the worlds major superpower rely on social media for evidence of one of the most important atrocities of our time? Russia is asking why did Kiev lie and say they had no planes in the sky. They are also asking why Kiev and the US said they had no BuK missile systems when they had 3. Why were those systems needed as the rebels have no planes?
ayesha chaurasia (delhi)
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9 days ago
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Pia Bose ()
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I wonder whether the pilots or the passengers of all the other planes in the vicinity of MH17 saw anything regarding the shooting down of this plane
Pia Bose ()
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Lucky escape for the Air India flight with God's blessings. MH17 did not have any divine luck on their side
Pia Bose ()
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I wonder whether the Air India pilots saw anything regarding the shooting down of MH17 in the night sky.
laxmirangam Iyengar (Unknown)
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10 days ago
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Why should aviation ministry do so when all the proofs are open. It is lucky for AI113 passengers -- escaped scot free... SOme times it shivers to think might be Ai was targetted.
Vibhutesh Kumar Singh (Unknown)
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10 days ago
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The world is becoming really very scary, now a days!
Sunil (Pune)
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10 days ago
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God bless them.. RIP to Malaysian passengers
Senthil (USA)
10 days ago
Silver: 343
Air India always goes slow. Pls. don't complain about it hereafter
harisingh (delhi)
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10 days ago
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indian passengers are enough lucky,god have saved them.
Jagdish ()
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10 days ago
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How can such a report be denied when there are ways to establish the facts?
harisingh (delhi) replies to Jagdish
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10 days ago
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it is the govt tactics to give different reports.
adwait_k ()
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10 days ago
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Chilling. The AI Dreamliner was less than 25 KM away - meaning - contrary to what we were told by the civil aviation ministry - they were flying through Donetsk and Luhansk airspace.
Taurus (california) replies to adwait_k
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This report is erroneous. Today's Wall Street Journal mentioned several air lines that followed pretty close to the same route, as taken by Malaysian airlines. No mention of AirIndia was made. Looks like AInis seeking cheap publicity.
Mrs. Praveen (delhi)
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Saved...........Loyal Indians.
Taurus (california) replies to Mrs. Praveen
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Nothing of the sort ! Air India was nowhere close to this zone. Not according to Wall Street Journal
Ek Number (dd)
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11 days ago
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shalini ()
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Yajur Mahendru (Faridabad)
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RIP the passengers who died......Indians were good to be lucky
R.P.Sinha (Deoghar)
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Minutes before being shot,MH17 was given direct routing in Dnipropetrovsk airspace.Did MH17 ask for it?If not what was the reason.Controller may have the answer. If usual flight path was taken tragedy could not have ocurred
reghuvarma (trivandrum)
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11 days ago
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Pure luck. The Air India should explain why they suppressed the truth. Is it saving fuel that is more important than lives of the crew and passengers? Air India is fast becoming an 'irresponsible organization'. They can't even be trusted as they are betraying the public by suppressing truth. Govt. shall move to seek the explanation of the concerned and take strict action. Safety shall be of paramount importance and not saving fuel.
VaMsI kAsHyAp (Unknown)
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Air traffic controller was the main reason for this drastic incident if he didn't given direct route the MH17 may go on its usual route either it is zig zag or what it may be safe route..... saved fuel lost lives
Name (Location) replies to VaMsI kAsHyAp
9 days ago
Bronze: 57
An air traffic controller from Kiev sent out a tweet right after it happened and said there was a fighter jet by the plane. The Ukrainians denied this. Russian radar has shown it to be true. there was fighter jet yet Kiev covered it up. They also covered up the fact there was the Air India flight there as well. They said there were no other planes. Why did they lie? Where are the control tower data recordings and radar readouts? Why has the Ukrainian FSB confiscated them and refuses to give them to investigators? And why has the air traffic controller who tweeted suddenly disappeared with Kiev saying he never worked there? This whole ordeal sounds like a false flag attack meant to blame the rebels. If one looks at motive, ability and benefit......then the real perpetrators are most likely in Kiev and they have conducted false flag attacks before...the Odessa massacre was one such attack.
srikant ()
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anonymous (India)
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11 days ago
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our plane saved was modi effect...modi bhaqts... :P
Manoj Kaushik (Unknown)
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Whatever happened with MH 113 is not good for any country or airline...Not sure if this kind of tragedy can be averted or not...
Sudhir ()
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Lucky......................
D Ghosh (Unknown)
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susilsailrsp ()
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RAJENDRA ACHARYA (Bhopal)
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11 days ago
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AI Passengers are lucky. Is it not possible to connect to the nearest aircraft (Just on the lines of bluetooth connection we get here) in the event of loss of contact with the ATC ?
Subir Deb (Unknown)
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11 days ago
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A narrow save, but why the idiot official always loves to give false, misleading information?
anivarch kashyap (Unknown)
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11 days ago
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90sec away great escape for Air India.But India must oppose this butchering .
Debasish Afixi (Bhubaneshwar, Orissa, In)
11 days ago
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Rajarshi Roy (Unknown)
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Thank God it was close shave for Air India; else the Indian Govt had to open their mouth criticizing their most trusted friend over the years, Russia. Now Mr Modi can prefer to remain in mute mode over criticizing Russia on this issue.
Indian ()
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11 days ago
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Thanks Russia for not hitting Indian Airlines plane . You are indeed true friend.
Indian ()
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11 days ago
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Still, it is stupid of Air India to fly PM's plane so near to the rebel Ukraine. It is nonsense to claim that its flight path was safe.
Someone (Location) replies to Indian
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11 days ago
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This is like saying dont fly over naxal infested areas. You never know what weapons they might be having !! Plus it wasn't the PM's plane.
G Krishnamurthy (New Delhi) replies to Indian
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Where does the news item say that the PMs flight was involved?
Ram Mohan (Hyderabad)
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Binit Kumar Ambastha (Unknown)
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Something fishy with this Malaysian plain accident.
true indian (Unknown)
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harisingh (delhi ) 11 days ago
it seems that god had saved indian flight no-113
Anonymous Varma (Unknown)
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11 days ago
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I do not understand why did Ukrainian airspace give a direct routing to MH17? Don't the Ukraine know that there were 12 aircrafts which were shot down? Why still they allowed the flying of MH17 and other flights? Since the region was volatile and had ongoing war, why was the flight given direct routing?There are other questions also. This looks like a planned shot down. Now, the investigation should be fairly done and concluded to prove who is guilty?
rohith (mumbai) 11 days ago
deepali kemwal ()
53 Followers
11 days ago
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An Air India Dreamliner flight going from Delhi to Birmingham was in fact less than 25km away from the Malaysian aircraft, a distance covered by a Dreamliner or Boeing 777 in about 90 seconds, when the latter was hit. Because of this closeness, the Dnipropetrovsk (local Ukrainian) air traffic controller asked the AI pilots to try and establish contact with pilots of the Malaysian aircraft who had stopped responding to its calls. Minutes before the crash caused by a missile strike, the AI pilots had also heard the controller give the Malaysian aircraft MH17 what is called "a direct routing". This permits an aircraft to fly straight, instead of tracking the regular route which is generally a zig-zag track that goes from one ground-based navigation aid or way point to another. "Direct routing saves fuel and time and is preferred by pilots. In this case, it proved fatal," said an airline source. "The AI Dreamliner was less than 25km away from the Malaysian aircraft when the latter was hit by a missile. When the pilots learnt the cause of the crash later, they were stunned. It's like the person standing next to you has been hit by a sniper bullet," said the source.
Jitendra Yadav (Nerul - Navi Mumbai) replies to deepali kemwal
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Still learning to copy and paste, use shortcuts like ctrl c and ctrl v got? Now next lesson latter!!!
baral_a (Location) replies to deepali kemwal
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Why you are copy pasting the article again?
Sankar Km (Santa Clara, CA, USA.)
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Phew, what an escape for AI. Wish that the same Providence had kept out the other aircraft from the area. All said and done, the missile attack was a foolish and a very fatalistic one at its highest degree and without a warning. Unfortunate that we have to live alongside with such perverts and lunatics.
Charles Doss (Unknown)
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Vinay Joshi (Unknown)
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Good Luck, and thank to god for saving more lives. 90 sec time distance is very small, in this case single sec is important.
Suresh Agarwal (Unknown)
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natasha (PUNE)
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Japa (NL)
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The end of the cold war has made many nations naive about their possibilities. It is questionable if they will ever return to reality.

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