Communications:KL ARCC DETRESFA Message

MH370 DECODED
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This Reference Item has been collated from one or more sources identified and acknowledged in the content.

KL ARCC: DETRESFA Message for MH370

1. Background

The Kuala Lumpur Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre (KL ARCC) was activated at 0530 MYT on Saturday, 8 March 2014 and the DETRESFA Message was transmitted at 2232 UTC (0632 MYT).

The Distress Phase requires immediate action and follows the initial Uncertainty and subsequent Alert phases, as explained in the article Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre.


2. DETRESFA Message as an Image


Figure 2.2P - DETRESFA Message sent over AFTN

Figure 2.2P - DETRESFA Message sent over AFTN

Source: DCA Malaysia


3. Transcript of the DETRESFA Message

The following is a text version of the DETRESFA Message transcribed from the image in Figure 2.2P

KLA637 072232
SS WMKKZQZX WMKKZRZX
072232 WMFCZQZX
(ALR-DESTRESFA/WMFCZQZX/MISSING
-FPL-MAS370-IS
-B772/H-SDFGHIJ3J5M1RWXY/LB1D1
-WMKK1635
-N0470F290 DCT PIBOS R208 IKUKO/M081F330 R208 IGARI M765
 BITOD/N0480F330 L637 TSN/N0480F350 W1 BMT W12 PCA G221
 BUNTA/N0480F370 A1 IKELA/N0480F370 P901 IDOSI/N0480F390 DCT CH
 DCT BEKOL/K0900S1160 A461 YIN/K0890S1130 A461 VYK
-ZBAA0534 ZBTJ ZBSJ
-PBN/A1B1C1D1L1O1S2 DOF/140307 REG/9MMRO EET/WSJC0032 VVTS0042
 ZJSA0210 VHHK0233 ZGZU0304 ZHWH0356 ZPE0450 SEL/QRCS
 RMK/ACASII EQUIPPED
-E/0710 P/TBN R/UVE S/M J/LF D/8 290 GREY A/WHITE WITH RED AND
 BLUE STRIPE C/TBN)

Comments and Notes


The DETRESFA Message contains the Flight Plan, which is explained in the article MH370 Filed Flight Plan

Note: For ease of reading on this website, codes and abbreviations are explained via a Tooltip. Mouse over any faint underlined text to reveal the meaning.


4. Information available to KL ARCC prior to sending the DETRESFA Message

The data in the DETRESFA Message is similar to the information presented by Malaysia to the ICAO in a report titled MH370 SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS AND LESSON LEARNT[1] from which an extract is provided below:-

AIRCRAFT IN DISTRESS MAS 370 / B772 / 9MMRO / Black Box (37.5Khz)
HEX ID Fix CDA439E7AA35CD1
Portable CDA439E7AA35DD1
NATURE OF EMERGENCY Aircraft Missing
PILOT’S INTENTION Not Reported
LAST REPORTED POSITION Estimate for position IGARI given to HCM ATCC 1722 UTC
Transfer of Communication to HCM 1719 UTC
Actual time of crossing position IGARI 1720 UTC
Target Coasting (5 NM East of IGARI) 1721 UTC (LKP)[2]
Target dropped from KL ATCC radar 1722 UTC
AIRCRAFT FLIGHT PLAN DCT PIBOS R208 IKUKO R208 IGARI M765 BITOD

L637 TSN W1 BMT W12 PCA G221 BUNTA A1
IKELA P901 IDOSI DCT CH DCT BEKOL A461 YIN

A461 VYK
POINT OF DEP / ATD WMKK / 1641 UTC
DESTINATION / ETA ZBAA / 2215 UTC
ALTERNATE AERODROME ZBTJ / ZBSJ
OPERATOR / OWNER MALAYSIA AIRLINES
POB / QBD 239 / 0710 HRS
COLOUR WHITE WITH RED AND BLUE STRIPE
REMARKS No radio notification of flight problem from the crew

No radio communication from crew after 1719

No ELT transmissions received

Source: MH370 SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS AND LESSON LEARNT[1]

Comments and Notes


Although the data in the report MH370 SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS AND LESSON LEARNT is similar to the content of the DETRESFA Message there are some differences and both documents contain errors.

Consequently, although the Table is provided here, the data in the Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018 should be regarded as more authoritative.


5. Notes from the Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018

The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370 noted several errors and omissions in the DETRESFA Message, as shown below:-

r) Distress Message

  • i) The distress message (DETRESFA) is intended to convey pertinent information to the recipients that there is a situation wherein there is a reasonable certainty that an aircraft and its occupants are threatened by grave and imminent danger and require immediate assistance.
  • ii) The DETRESFA message with a date-time-group (DTG) 072232 UTC was transmitted at 2232 UTC [0632 MYT].
  • iii)The contents of the DETRESFA message, as shown in Figure 2.2P below was not composed in accordance with the standard specified in ICAO DOC 4444, Air Traffic Management (PANS-ATM) Chapter 11, Air Traffic Services Messages, Appendix 3 (Figure 2.2Q below). The errors are, as below:
    1. (1) Appendix 3, page A3-9 (Figure 2.2P below) Field type 7 - Aircraft identification and SSR mode and code FPL–MAS370–IS should be “MAS370/A2157
    2. (2) Appendix 3, page A3-14 (Figure 2.2P below) Field type 13 - Departure aerodrome and time WMKK1635 should be “WMKK1642
    3. (3) Appendix 3, page A3-29 & A3-30 (Figure 2.2P below) Omission of Field Type 20 - Alerting search and rescue information. This field consists of the following sequence of elements separated by spaces. Any information not available should be shown as “NIL” or “NOT KNOWN” and not simply omitted.
    4. (4) Spelling of DETRESFA should read DETRESFA (Figure 2.2P below)

Source: Safety Investigation Report MH370/01/2018 2.2.8 ATS Operational Issues after Last Radio Communication with MH370 and subsequent ATS Activities/Actions


6. References
  1. 1.0 1.1 ICAO APSAR/TF/3−WP06 MH370 SEARCH AND RESCUE OPERATIONS AND LESSON LEARNT, (Presented by Malaysia)
    Agenda Item 4: Asia/Pacific and inter-regional SAR planning, coordination and cooperation, Third Meeting of the Asia/Pacific Regional Search and Rescue Task Force (APSAR/TF/3), Maldives, 25 – 29 January 2015
  2. Last Known Position