More grief as MH370 probe fails to answer questions

Top News | AGENCIES 31 Jul 2018

An independent investigation report released yesterday more than four years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared highlighted shortcomings in the government response that exacerbated the mystery.

The report reiterated Malaysia's assertion the plane was deliberately diverted and flown for over seven hours after severing communications.

It said the cause of the disappearance still cannot be determined and the "possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded."

The Boeing 777 carrying 239 people - mostly Chinese - from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished on March 8, 2014 and is presumed to have crashed in the far southern Indian Ocean.

Family members of those onboard the plane said they were frustrated as there were many gaps in the investigations and questions left unanswered.

Experts mapped the plane's course only after picking through hourly data hookups with a satellite. Sonar searches of remote waters off Australia's west coast failed to locate the wreckage.

The 449-page report offered little to solve modern aviation's biggest mystery - and stopped short of apportioning specific blame. There is nothing to suggest the plane was evading radar, or evidence of behavioral changes in the crew, it said.

Significant parts of the aircraft's power system, including the autopilot function, were probably working throughout the flight, the report said.

"We are unable to determine with any certainty the reasons that the aircraft diverted from its filed planned route" Kok Soo Chon, head of the MH370 investigation team, said. "The possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded."

The report comes two months after Malaysia called off a privately funded underwater search for the aircraft.

The families said the report pointed to mistakes by the Malaysian air traffic control center. It showed there were only two attempted phone calls made to the aircraft from the ground, four to five hours apart.

"We hope that these mistakes will not be repeated and that measures are put in place to prevent them in the future," said Grace Nathan, a lawyer whose mother, Anne Daisy, was on the plane.

A few pieces of wreckage from MH370 did wash up in Africa but no bodies have ever been recovered. MH370's cargo included 221 kilograms of lithium batteries and 4.6 tonnes of fresh mangosteen fruit. The report ruled out smoke or fire caused by those goods mixing in the plane's hold as a cause of the tragedy.

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