MH370's underwater locator beacon expired in 2012: Report

Kuala Lumpur, Mar 8: The battery of the locator beacon of the flight data recorder of the doomed Malaysian plane MH370 had expired over a year before it mysteriously disappeared over the Indian Ocean, an interim report said today but did not indicate any unusual behaviour by the crew.

The report, published on the first anniversary of the crash, contained factual information about the missing plane rather than analysis. It offered relatives of the 239 people, including five Indians, on board no apparent answers about why the aircraft dropped off radar.

MH 370

Investigators have found no indications of unusual behaviour among the pilots and cabin crew of the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines plane that dropped off radar just an hour after taking off from here on March 8.

"There were no behavioral signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse of the captain, first officer and the cabin crew," said the 584-page interim report.

It said MH370's captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, didn't have any personal or financial problems that would cast suspicion on him. According to maintenance records, "The SSFDR ULB battery expired in December 2012. There is no evidence to suggest that the SSFDR ULB battery had been replaced before the expiry date."

"It is not guaranteed that it will work or that it would meet the 30-day minimum requirement."

The expired battery may suggest searchers had less chance of locating the aircraft, although the battery on the locator beacon of the cockpit voice recorder was working.

The battery on the plane's black box, the cockpit voice recorder, was replaced as scheduled and remained within its expiry date, the report said.

The report released today just focused the ordinary nature of the flight. Investigators have so far failed to trace the debris of the plane and explain why it veered wildly off its scheduled route.

Search teams are looking for the plane in a 60,000 sq km zone in the southern Indian Ocean. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak today vowed not to give up on the search for the wreckage of the aircraft.

"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," Najib said in a statement, marking the one-year anniversary of the disappearance of Boeing 777.

Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said the search would move to a different area if the current operation was unsuccessful, as long as there were reasonable leads.


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