Investigators who have spent the last few years working on solving one of aviation's biggest mysteries still have no answer how Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared more than four years ago.
A new report by the Malaysian government only makes the mystery more darker, as it provided no conclusive communications, navigation or surveillance-based evidence about the plane's disappearance. It also found that without any evidence otherwise, the plane was under manual control as it deviated from its planned route to fly over the southern Indian Ocean. It's final conclusion stated: "The team is unable to determine the real cause for the disappearance of MH370."
Along with the Malaysian government, the report on the MH370 case was prepared with the consultation of Australian, US, China, Indonesia, and UK representatives. While investigators titled the report “final,” lead investigator Kok Soo Chon told reporters during a press conference that there is still a need for closure and a real conclusion. “This is not the final report," Chon said. "The wreckage has not been found, no victims have been found. We’re calling it a report, there must be some kind of conclusion."
While without much tangible evidence such as more wreckage or flight data recorder data, the report identified issues with the airline's flight-tracking system and the emergency locator technology (ELT). Pieces of debris believed to have come from MH370 have washed up around the Indian Ocean, but there is no indication whether the plane did crash intact or broke up inflight.
The report also identified that the air traffic controllers did not follow standard operating procedures. It stated that there was no notification from air traffic controllers in Kuala Lumpur to their counterparts in Ho Chi Minh about monitoring the aircraft. Fault was also found in the ATC in Ho Chi Minh who should have alerted their counterparts in Malaysia in 5 minutes regarding the missing plane. The alert did come, but 12 minutes later.
Malaysian authorities also addressed a few conspiracy theories surrounding the mystery, including being remotely controlled. While Boeing patented the technology in November 2006 for such activity, the Boeing 777 used on the flight was delivered in 2002 before the patent was obtained. However, theories of hijacking by a third-party was not ruled out. "We cannot rule out unlawful interference by a third party," such as someone holding the pilots hostage, he said. But he added that no group has said it hijacked the plane and no ransom demands have been made, compounding the mystery. Kok said it was up to police to investigate.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 departed Kuala Lumpur on the early morning hours of March 8, 2014. The flight was operated by a Boeing 777 with 239 people onhoard, and was scheduled to arrive in Beijing, China a few hours later. Since air traffic controllers in Malaysia lost contact with the flight, the search for the missing flight has turned into one of the largest and expensive search missions in aviation history.
The findings from the Malaysian government does not give any resolution or closure, especially for the friends and family of loved ones who were on the missing flight. Despite not being implicated for any fault, Chairman of Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia Azharuddin Abdul Rahman resigned from his position after the report was released with a statement about his own disappointment with the results of the investigation.
"Over the past four years, I have tried my level best to assist in the search for MH370 and I am ever resolute in finding answers we all seek towards this unfortunate tragedy as we owe it to the families and loved ones," said Azharuddin in the statement. "I am saddened to have to leave under these circumstances."
Until the wreckage or evidence is found, it will still remain one of aviation's biggest mysteries and leaves it open for conspiracy theorists - which shouldn't be discounted - to continue to speculate as to what exactly happened in the early morning of March 8, 2014.