Timeline/Response/MAS/0300 MAS Code Red

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Event Summary

03:00 MYT Saturday, 8 March 2014

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Just before 3am, 30 minutes after being contacted by the Operations Centre, the Crisis Director for Malaysia Airlines, Fuad Sharuji declared a code red emergency.

Within an hour, members of the airline’s Emergency Operations Centre (EOC) had assembled at Kuala Lumpur airport, followed soon after by an emergency response working group, ‘go teams’, and a special assistance team.

Event Details

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 did not contact Ho Chi Minh Air Traffic Control at, or soon after, passing waypoint IGARI which is a transfer of control point between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace. Ho Chi Minh ATC contacted Kuala Lumpur ATC at 1:39 MYT; the KL ATC contacted Malaysia Airlines ODC and MAS ODC sent an ACARS message to MH370 at 02:03:23 MYT which requested the crew to contact the HCM ACC immediately. That message failed. At about 2:30 MYT MAS ODC contacted Fuad Sharuji, Vice President Operations and Crisis Director, who declared a Code Red level of emergency at about 3am. This led to Malaysia Airlines staff notified by SMS and the establishment of the Emergency Operations Centre (EOC).

The following sources provide various details:-

Code Red Alert

On 14th March 2014, at around 3:45am to 4:00am MAS Operation Control Centre (OCC) issues a code red alert to request Air Traffic Control (ATC) Vietnam and ATC HKG to verify the location of their missing MH370 and later at 4:26am an SMS blast was sent to all Emergency Operation Center (EOC) members in order to call in all the related personnel to standby at the airport.


This color-coded alert was started in 2001 followed by the terror attack on Sept 11 2001. Generally, “Code Red” is usually followed by terrible news or very bad situations and is used to inform that there is a true emergency on the plane or with it and should be taken very seriously.

Source: Journal of Media and Information Warfare, Vol. 14(2), 105-121, December 2021
Crisis Communication Strategies During the Code Red Phase of Aviation Industry and Media Framing Discrepancies: Case of Malaysia Airlines Twin Tragedy

Malaysia Airlines publish details after jet lost contact

(chinadaily.com.cn) Updated: 2014-03-14 19:28

Malaysia Airlines on Friday published detailed records of the missing flight's emergency response covering the seven-hour period after its disappearance from the radar on Saturday. The statement was released at a press conference in Beijing.

00:25 MH370 ready to depart

00:41 MH370 takes off

01:07 Operation Control Center (OCC) receives Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) message from MH 370 reporting it flying at correct altitude

01:30-02:30 Malaysia Air Traffic Control (ATC) recognizes it has lost contact with MH 370. Malaysia ATC makes several attempts to reestablish contact

02:30 Malaysia ATC calls MAS OCC to inform that Malaysia ATC lost contact with MH 370. Last known location at Ft 35,000 about 5 minutes after Way Point IGARI (WPIGARI).

02:35-03:00 MAS OCC calls MH 370 via satellite communication (SATCOM). No response received from the aircraft.

Uplinked Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) message fails to go through.

03:15-03:40 MAS OCC contacts five other MH flights. No flights manage to get in touch with MH 370.

03:45-04:00 MAS OCC issues code red alert. Requests ATC Subang to call ATC Vietnam & ATC HKG to verify location of MH 370. Both reply that the plane did not enter their airspace.

04:26 SMS alert blasts for all members of Emergency Operation Center (EOC) - code red alert.

04:30-05:00 Checks with SZBATC “crash alarm” activated for Control Tower at KLIA between 0430-0500 (Malaysia Local Time) No positive reply.

05:00-05:35 Code red alert declared. All EOC members informed. HKG and BJS stations Managers alerted.

05:35-06:00 HKG Station & HKG ATC reconfirm that MH 370 did not enter their airspace. BJS Station informed about the escalating situation.

06:05-06:15 BJS Station activates Station Coordination Center in Beijing after declaring MH 370 missing.

06:30 MH 370 due to land in Beijing

06:45 Checked with SZB Rescue Command Center RCC/DCA Malaysia to determine if air and sea rescue mission has been launched. No firm reply received from RCC.

07:00-07:20 Hongkong and China confirm MH 370 not sighted on radar

First MAS media statement sent out - we have lost contract with MH 370

08:15 RCC in Subang informed that SAR has been activated. No further details on the delayed assets being provided.

Source: China Daily Malaysia Airlines publish details after jet lost contact, 14 March 2014