Originally described as the “Final Report” the Malaysian Government change the name of the report issued last night to reflect its inconclusive findings and the fact that the airliner has still not been found.
Monday’s 449-page report offered little to solve modern aviation’s biggest mystery — and stopped short of apportioning specific blame. There’s 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.
The report conclude that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, missing since 8th March 2014, was probably steered off course deliberately and flown to the southern Indian Ocean.
But if the action was deliberate then who was responsible. At this point the report has no answer.
The role of the pilot dismissed by the report. The investigators argue that they looked meticulously into the background of the crew and found nothing to raise suspicion. “We have examined the pilot and the first officer and we are quite satisfied with their background, with their training, with their mental health,” Kok Soo Chon, chief inspector of the MH370 investigation team, told reporters in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. “We are not of the opinion that it could have been an event committed by the pilot.”
MH370 was en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. Investigators have never been able to explain why the jet abandoned its route shortly into the flight, completed a u-turn back over Malaysia and then cruised south towards its end in the Indian Ocean.
The report said of the course reversal that “it is more likely that such maneuvers are due to the systems being manipulated.”
Kok added that “we are unable to determine with any certainty the reasons that the aircraft diverted from its filed planned route…the possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded.”
Without the help of cockpit data recorders, search teams could only guess what happened in the flight’s final moments. Analysis by the Australian government suggested MH370 ran out of fuel before plummeting — at as much as 25,000 feet a minute — into the water. Other investigators speculated that a person was at the controls until the very end, gliding the plane into the ocean beyond the furthest limit of any search area.
Monday’s report didn’t support either theory explicitly, but struggled to come up with a mechanical explanation for the aircraft’s deviations.
“The change in flight path likely resulted from manual inputs,” it said. Similarly, the plane’s loss of communications before veering off track was more likely due to systems “being manually turned off or power interrupted to them” than a malfunction, it said.
The report documented shortcomings among Kuala Lumpur air traffic controllers: they were too slow to initiate emergency procedures and there was no evidence to suggest they were continuously monitoring radar displays, it said. The report recommended better training to handle emergencies.
If ATC had noticed and responded to the change of direction of MH370 it is likely that the airplane would have been successfully tracked and followed.
Next of kin of those onboard looked distraught after receiving the report, many sobbing and saying that it offered them “no closure”, and some claimed that information in it was incorrect.
The most depressing line of the #MH370 report is on page 443 – “In conclusion, the Team is unable to determine the real cause for the disappearance of MH370.”
The search must continue until the airliner is found and her secrets revealed.