After years of conspiracy theories surrounding aviation’s greatest mystery, here are a few small revelations about the doomed MH370 that came to light today.
• The passenger jet’s emergency locator transmitters (ELT) all malfunctioned.
ELTs are meant to transmit distress signals that helps locate the plane, but all four of MH370’s ELTs failed.
Their batteries were within their expiry dates, but for some unknown reason, no signal was sent out.
The report found that there had been reported difficulties with ELT signals if an aircraft entered the water.
In the water, the ELT does not activate, or the transmission is ineffective due to being submerged.
• Mangosteens and batteries.
MH370 cargo included 4,566 kg of mangosteens and 221 kg of lithium-ion batteries.
It had been widely speculated that this could have sparked a fire that led to the crash.
The report today rejects this theory – but the analysis is based only by looking at previous battery and mangosteen shipments, The Guardian reports.
The battery shipment did not go through x-ray screening on the day of the flight because “there were no available x-ray machines large enough”.
Larger machines were installed a few months after MH370 disappeared.
This could raise questions about whether a battery malfunction, or improper packing, could have led to the crash.
• Broken protocols
Air traffic control in Malaysia and Vietnam breached several protocols that caused the plane to go missing for 20 minutes before anyone was alerted.
Ho Chi Minh also made a mistake by not notifying Chinese authorities earlier when the plane did not make contact.
The air traffic controllers didn’t initiate various emergency phases available to them, delaying search and rescue operation.
Officials did not rule out the possibility there was unlawful interference by third party.
The report stated the aircraft had turned back “under manual control”.
Only three confirmed fragments of MH370 have been found, all of them on western Indian Ocean shores, including a two-metre wing part known as a flaperon.
• The four-year search for MH370 ended in May after the US-based technology firm Ocean Infinity failed to locate the plane while canvassing 125,000sq/km of the Indian Ocean.
• Conspiracy theories
Rather than providing answers, the 1,500-page report, endorsed by Australia, China, France, Indonesia, Singapore, the United Kingdom and the United States meticulously disproved many of the theories that have abounded about what happened to MH370.
It waved away concerns around the in-flight home simulator of MH370’s pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
Zaharie’s home flight simulator was seized in 2014, and investigators discovered it had seven custom coordinates which plotted a course from Malaysia to the Indian Ocean where MH370 is believed to have crashed.
But the report today says this not proof that the crash was deliberate.
Malaysian authorities could not confirm whether the seven waypoints were all from the same file, or from multiple files.
Police also did not find any data that showed the aircraft was “performing climb, attitude or heading manoeuvres”.
They concluded that there were “no unusual activities other than game-related flight simulations”.
This echoes the Australian Transport Safety Bureau that in 2016 also found the data inconclusive, and warned against inferring too much from the flight simulator.