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Missing Malaysian Plane MH370 Report Released One Year After Disappearance, Airline Acknowledges Expired Beacon Battery

( [email protected] ) Mar 09, 2015 03:35 PM EDT
It has been a year since Malaysian Flight 370 vanished from radar over the South China Sea, but a new report published Sunday revealed that an expired battery is to blame for a malfunctioning locator beacon on the Boeing 777.
A woman whose son was on board the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 protests with a banner which reads ''Mother's heart is broken, where are you my son'' near the Malaysian Embassy in Beijing on Sunday. Photo: AP

It has been a year since Malaysian Flight 370 vanished from radar over the South China Sea, but a new report published Sunday revealed that an expired battery is to blame for a malfunctioning locator beacon on the Boeing 777.

The report said that the battery had expired in December of 2012 with no record of it ever having been replaced by maintenance crews. Typically, the battery is meant to power the beacons on the cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder for 30 days, but the "maintenance scheduling oversight" has led to one of the biggest airline recovery mysteries in aviation history.

The Boeing 777-200ER jet and its 239 passengers have yet to be found a year after the crash, but a new analysis technique has determined that the plane strayed off course for several hours before going down in a remote part of the Indian Ocean west of Australia. Currently, an Australian-led search team is combing an 60,000-square-kilometer area where the jet is believed to have crashed.

The flight originally left from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysian in route to Beijing, China on March 8, 2014, but left air traffic radar only a few hours after take-off. Due to the remote location in which the jet left radar, and the far distance from any landing areas, it has been determined that Flight 370 is most likely lost at sea, but remains have yet to be discovered.

But former Malaysian prime minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad says that this most recent report is "ridiculous." 

"I still cannot accept any report because I am not sure, in this age of communication, we don't know where the plane is," he told reporters. "It is very strange that a 230-tonne aircraft could vanish and not be found."

The 584-page report described everything from the crew members' personal lives, their medical and financial records, and training to the aircraft's maintenance records, weather, and communications systems, but discovered nothing out of the ordinary, aside from the allegedly expired battery.

But current Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak says that the country remains committed to the search, even as Australia has officially taken over the effort.

"The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent, and so too is the search - by far the most complex and technically challenging in aviation history," Najib said in a statement.

"Together with our international partners, we have followed the little evidence that exists. Malaysia remains committed to the search, and hopeful that MH370 will be found," he continued.

Meanwhile, memorials and vigils are continuing this week to mark the one-year anniversary of the disappearance.

"I can't sleep at night, each night I'm only getting about two hours, but I'm certain that my daughter is still alive and I'm going to get her back," one woman told Reuters before being escorted away by Beijing police who, some believe, are worried about the appearance of social instability from the mysterious event.

China's foreign minister has already stated that the search would not stop just as Australia's deputy prime minister has said that the search cannot go on forever. China, Australia, and Malaysian officials are currently discussing whether or not to call off the search soon.