Inmarsat 'working' to make raw MH370 data public

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Story highlights

  • Inmarsat and Malaysian officials are working for the release of data logs
  • Raw data release "is consistent with our stand for greater transparency," official says
  • Criticism over lack of information about why search focused on southern Indian Ocean
  • Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanished March 8 with 239 aboard

The raw satellite data used to shape the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 could soon be made public, according to a senior Malaysian official.

Publication of the raw data could allow for independent analysis. Until now, the Malaysian government, which is in charge of the investigation, and Inmarsat have declined to release it.

But on Tuesday, Inmarsat -- the company whose satellites communicated with the missing plane in its last hours -- and Malaysian officials said they are working on making more information public.

"In line with our commitment towards greater transparency, all parties are working for the release of the data communication logs and the technical description of the analysis for public consumption," Inmarsat and the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation said in a joint statement.

Earlier, the Malaysian government asked Inmarsat to release the data "for public consumption," Malaysia's Acting Minister of Transportation Hishammuddin Hussein said Monday.

"This is consistent with our stand for greater transparency and prioritizing the interests of the family members of those on board MH370," Hishammuddin said. 

Relatives of people who were on the Boeing 777, scientists studying its disappearance and media covering the search have become increasingly critical about the lack of public information about why the search has focused on the southern Indian Ocean.

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The plane disappeared while traveling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 with 239 people aboard.

"The demand for raw data means we need help from Inmarsat to pass on to families in a presentable way," a senior Malaysian official told CNN. "We are trying to be as transparent as possible. We have no issues releasing the data."

Did Inmarsat data point Flight 370 searchers in wrong direction?

Although Malaysian officials told CNN last week that their government did not have the raw data, Inmarsat officials said the company provided all of it to Malaysian officials "at an early stage in the search."

The data were gathered through a series of "handshakes" between the plane and Inmarsat satellites as the aircraft flew off-course for hours.

"We've shared the information that we had, and it's for the investigation to decide what and when it puts out," Inmarsat Senior Vice President Chris McLaughlin said last week.

The data were used, in combination with calculations from other entities including Boeing, to produce a series of maps that concluded the plane was somewhere along a huge arc that ended in the southern Indian Ocean.

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