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Missing Malaysian Boeing made flight with expired beacon battery — report

March 08, 2015, 13:07 UTC+3 SINGAPORE
The battery of underwater locator beacon had expired more than a year before Malaysian Boeing vanished in March 2014, reads a preliminary report into the missing plane
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SINGAPORE, 8 March. /TASS/. The battery of underwater locator beacon had expired more than a year before Malaysian Boeing vanished in March 2014, reads a preliminary report into the missing plane.

Investigators have interrogated 120 people, studied profiles of the crew, technical data related to the plane and cargo, and so forth, the document reads. However, the investigation has not revealed any major changes in the pilots’ behaviour.

Besides, the Boeing Concern’s experts finished the plane maintenance in 2012. The last signal from the Boeing-777-200 plane that has been in operation for more than 12 years with flight hours exceeding 20,000, came in about two hours after take-off in the South China Sea area, some 220 km east from the resort town of Kota Kinabalu. The ground services recorded no signals of distress, emergency, of possible attempts by unknown persons to break into the cockpit or other contingencies. Initially, the search was conducted in the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, the operation involved 26 states. However, in late March last year, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak said, referring to data of the UK satellite communications company Inmarsat that the plane’s "flight ended the southern part of the Indian Ocean." In this connection, the search was moved to another area, Australia was took charge of the international coordination search centre, which also included representatives of Malaysia and China. To date, an area of about 24,000 square kilometres has been searched, which makes about a quarter of the supposed plane’s fall area.

Unfortunately for the families of the missing, it now becomes obvious that the search may be stopped sooner or later regardless of the result. Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has not excluded such a possibility. "We remain hopeful that we will solve this baffling mystery and bring the peace of knowing to the family and friends of all aboard MH370," he said.

"This is not the first major aircraft to go missing and, tragically, it may not be the last. In this day and age it seems inexplicable that the technology and systems were not in place to provide us with the exact position of this plane at all times," Abbott said. He also said he could not promise that the search operation would be continued indefinitely with the same intensity as now.

The current stage of the search operation, involving four ships, is to be completed in May this year. Currently, experts of the three countries are trying to figure out what to do next, if the search yields no result in the coming months.

Officials try not to speak on the subject of the accident causes, stressing that it is impossible to say what has happened until the airliner’s fragments and flight recorders are found. Investigators also do not exclude that a fire, a technical failure or a terrorist attack may be the causes.

However, some media have made various assumptions. For example, the Malaysian newspaper New Straits Times writes that the main cause of the incident is the human factor. Deliberate actions of pilots are the most plausible explanation of what happened, the newspaper said. However, according to the publication, the investigators have no sufficient evidence that plane commander 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid could be responsible for the passenger plane disappearance. The main thing is that a possible motive for such actions cannot be established, the article says. Sources in the investigation team argue that psychological testing of the missing plane’s 12 crewmembers, especially pilots, have not revealed suicidal tendencies in them.

Meanwhile, in late January, Malaysian authorities officially called the Boeing’s named the disappearance a catastrophe and declared all the people on board perished. Most of the missing plane passengers were citizens of China and Malaysia. Also, there was one Russian and citizens of Australia, India, Indonesia, Italy, Netherlands, New Zealand, the USA, Ukraine and France on board.

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