MH370 anniversary: search for answers continues
An interim report on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has revealed that the battery of an underwater locator beacon on the aircraft had expired more than a year before the plane vanished in March 2014.
The report, which was released on Sunday - the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Flight MH370, reviewed the efforts and progress that have been made in the search for the missing plane and the investigation into the incident.
The significance of the expired battery on the beacon of the flight data recorder was not immediately apparent, except indicating that searchers would have had lesser chance of locating the aircraft in the Indian Ocean, where it’s believed to have ended, according to the Associated Press.
The report, consisting of more than 500 pages, was posted on Malaysia’s Transport Ministry website on Sunday.
While it does not provide any clues as to what could have happened on March 8 last year, when the Beijing-bound flight vanished from radar screens, it does exonerate the crew to a certain extent.
It says that there were no behavioral signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, drug or alcohol abuse on the part of the captain, the first officer and cabin crew before the plane departed.
With the release of the report, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Sunday that the country remains committed to the search for MH370.
“Malaysia has brought together a huge international team to find the plane, and we will never forget the dedication of those who have helped,” the prime minister said.
The search for the plane is being conducted jointly by Australia, Malaysia and China in the Indian Ocean, some 1,600 km off Australia’s west coast. Ships equipped with sophisticated sonar systems are scouring a huge underwater area looking for signs of the plane.
The Boeing 777 aircraft carrying 239 people, including 153 from the Chinese mainland and one from Taiwan, disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014. So far no trace has been found despite a massive surface and underwater hunt.
The year has been a severe trial for the relatives of those onboard the plane. Commemorating the anniversary, some Chinese relatives gathered on Sunday at different sites in Beijing, including the Malaysian embassy, the airport and the Lama Temple, a popular Tibetan Buddhist center of worship.