MH370 report finds battery of beacon expired 1 year before disappearance

World Today

Relatives of passengers on board the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that went missing on March 8, 2014, wearing T-shirts carrying a message for the missing flight as they leave Yonghegong Lama Temple after a gathering of family members of the missing passengers, in Beijing Sunday, March 8, 2015. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)

The first comprehensive report into the mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 revealed on Sunday that the battery of an underwater locator beacon had expired more than a year before the plane vanished on March 8, 2014.

Apart from that anomaly, the detailed report devoted page after page to the description of the complete normality of the flight, shedding little light on aviation’s biggest mystery.

Announcing the presentation of the interim report, the head of the investigation team did not specify the preliminary findings, which were made available on a government website instead.

But Kok Soo Chon, head of the investigation team, stressed the findings were of “an interim nature and new information that may become available may alter this information before the publication of the final report”.

The significance of the expired battery on the beacon of the flight data recorder was not immediately apparent, except indicating that searchers would have had less chance of locating the aircraft in the Indian Ocean, where it is believed to have crashed, even if they were in its vicinity.

However, the report said the battery on the locator beacon of the cockpit voice recorder was working despite the fact that it was theoretically out of date.

So, even though the battery on the beacon had expired, the instrument itself was functioning properly and would have in theory captured all the flight information.

The two instruments are critical in any crash because they record cockpit conversation and flight data, leading up to the end of the flight.

The 584-page report by an independent investigation group went into minute details of the crew’s lives – their medical and financial records, their training before detailing the aircraft’s service record – as well as maintenance schedule, weather, communications systems and other aspects that showed nothing unusual except for the one previously undisclosed fact of the battery’s expiry date.

Story by the Associated Press.