Malaysian Flight MH340: A Crisis Like No Other.


It has now been over a week since Malaysian Airlines Flight MH340 disappeared off satellite communication systems and Indonesian air traffic control radars. Unbelievably there is still no sign of the airliner after the plane apparently turned off all detection equipment to make it completely untraceable to aviation control

Authorities have many clues and leads as to where the plane may or may not be and what caused this tragedy. With so many new leads it is difficult to outline what are the underlying facts and what is hearsay or rumors. The difference between these is paramount as it could hamper or help with the investigation. Malaysian authorities were involved in the initial search and rescue operation but as the investigation enters its second week more than 25 countries are now involved with many of those countries supplying ships and aircraft to help in the extensive search for the plane.

This crisis is un-like any other with some sources suggesting that authorities are holding back crucial information which could help with the investigation.  With so many stakeholders involved, especially associated to an airline, it is increasingly difficult to manage these stakeholders in a uniform and a concise way. This is vital in a crisis such as this where events are unfolding all the time, with new theories and scenarios on what caused the plane to simply vanish.

The need for new information is important not only for the relatives of the people on-board but also for journalists and media crews to feedback information to their various stakeholders. From this point of view it is hard for the authorities to reveal time critical information in a uniform and concise way without this information leading to rumor’s and hearsay being created. In the case Flight MH340 this has occurred on several occasions with authorities reporting that initial the search was only confined to the original flight path of the airline but was quickly widened when new information unfolded from new satellite communication systems suggesting that the plane flew on for a further 7 hrs following the first initial disappearance.

The situation becomes even more complex with cultural and communication barriers occurring from the location of the situation and  the interpretations of events that have unfolded since the plane went missing over a week ago. It crises such as this where it is important that news conferences and media events are communicated in a timely and professional manner. However it is equally important that there is also appropriate management of both media agencies and stakeholders involved with the investigation to be kept up-to date with new developments on the operation.

One thing for sure is that no one can deny that the search and rescue operation is a wide-scale investigation which has already spanned many countries, days and hours. As the search goes into its second week with no trace of the airline are thoughts are with the family and relatives of passengers who were on-board. Ultimately these stakeholders are the most important as they will provide crucial information to what could provide the final conclusions of this investigation.