New MH370 report 'unable to determine' what happened to the plane

The flight disappeared in 2014 with 239 people on-board

New MH370 report 'unable to determine' what happened to the plane

A board displaying messages for the missing passengers of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia in 2014 | Image: Bernama Images/ABACA/PA Images

A new report into Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been unable to determine the real cause for its disappearance.

The flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing soon after a routine handover from Malaysian air traffic control to Vietnam air traffic control on March 8th, 2014.

Communications with the aircraft were lost less than 40 minutes after take-off.

The Boeing 777-200ER had 12 crew and 227 passengers on-board.

There were 14 nationalities - including Americans, Canadians, Australians and French - the majority were Chinese.

The latest report into the disaster says MH370 had diverted from its filed flight plan route - but that there is "no evidence to indicate that MH370 was evading radar."

It says only the transponder signal of MH370 disappeared from air traffic controller radar display, while the radar position symbols from other aircraft were still available.

The report says: "The reason for the transponder information disappearing from the aircraft could not be established.

"It could not be established whether the aircraft was flown by anyone other than the pilots.

"The reconstruction flight conducted on the B777 flight simulator had established that a turn back was likely made while the aircraft was under manual control and not the autopilot.

"However, it could not be established that the other two turns over the south of Penang and the north of MEKAR were made under manual control or autopilot."

File photo

But the report also notes that air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur "did not initiate, in a timely manner, the three standard emergency phases in accordance with the standard operating procedures."

The report says there is "no evidence to suggest any recent behavioural changes" for the pilot, first officer and the cabin crew.

"There is no evidence to suggest a pattern of regular over-the-counter medication purchase by the PIC (pilot in command).

"However, the possibility that such medication may have been purchased by cash cannot be excluded."

'Third party intervention'

The last radio transmission from the flight, "Good Night Malaysian Three Seven Zero", was spoken by the pilot.

But the report says he did not readback the assigned frequency, which was "inconsistent with radio-telephony procedures."

It concludes that: "Without the benefit of the examination of the aircraft wreckage and recorded flight data information, the investigation was unable to identify any plausible aircraft or systems failure mode that would lead to the observed systems deactivation, diversion from the filed flight plan route and the subsequent flight path taken by the aircraft."

However, it says the same lack of evidence "precluded the investigation from definitely eliminating that possibility. The possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded either".

French police officers look over a piece of debris from a plane in Saint-Andre, Reunion Island | Image: Lucas Marie / AP/Press Association Images

Wreckage

The main wreckage belonging to MH370 has so far not been found.

However, a number of debris was found washed ashore near and onto the south eastern coast of Africa.

Only the parts washed ashore on La Reunion Island (the right flaperon), Tanzania (part of the right outboard flap) and Mauritius (a section of the left outboard flap) were confirmed to be from MH370.

To date, 27 items of debris were considered significant for examination.

Of these, other than the flaperon, a part of the right outboard flap and a section of the left outboard flap, seven items were also considered almost certain to be from MH370.