UPDATED: We Still Don't Know What Happened to MH370 & Civil Aviation Head Resigns

The results of a recently released 495 page report are inconclusive. 
Tuesday 31 July 2018
Street art in Shah Alam depicts the disappearance of MH370. Photo: Manan Vatsyayana/AFP

[Update] In a new development, Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abd Rahman has resigned as chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM). His resignation comes only a day after the Safety Investigation Report into the disappearance of MH370 was released.

Coincidence? We think not. We can’t help but be struck by the curious timing of it all.

Though the report does not place blame for the disappearance of the aircraft on the civil aviation body, it did find that “standard operating procedures were not followed” by the Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Centre. Whether or not the outcome would have been changed is one thing but what is clear is that actions such as initiating an emergency response and failing to continuously monitor the radar were not taken.

New Transport Minister Anthony Loke added that Azharuddin “has stepped down to take responsibility” for the lapses made made by air traffic control.

In a statement, Azharuddin ruefully said his resignation was tendered “with regret and much thought and contemplation”.

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The statement released by Datuk Seri Azharuddin Abd Rahman.

Malaysian authorities said Monday they have failed to determine the cause of the 2014 disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight 370, though they did rule out several possibilities.

Announcing the release of a widely anticipated safety investigation report, investigators acknowledged a lack of any clear evidence on the plane’s ultimate fate, but added it would be presumptuous to suggest this was the end of the matter, given the wreckage had not yet been located.

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The 495 page report on the disappearance of MH370. Photo:Mohd Rasfan/AFP

The Malaysian Airlines flight disappeared in 2014 carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, in what has become one of the world’s biggest aviation mysteries.

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Investigator of the Malaysian ICAO Investigation team for MH370 Kok Soo Chon speaks during a media briefing in Putrajaya. Photo: Mohd Rasfan/AFP

Speaking at a press conference near the capital Kuala Lumpur, lead investigator Kok Soo Chon said MH370 turned back towards Malaysia under manual control, but it could not be determined whether the plane was being flown by the pilot or if there had been any unlawful interference.

Chon went on to rule out other factors that had been questioned in the demise of the flight, including the pilot’s mental state, aircraft malfunction, or remote control of operation systems.

Here’s what investigators did find though – a series of underwater trenches that could yet yield more clues.

 

When pressed about what other information the team hoped to be able to find in the future, he said they needed to be able to provide some closure to the incident – that gripped the world’s attention for months in 2014 and about which families are still hoping for news – and therefore published the report with the evidence on hand.

Chon said that authorities would again investigate should the plane be found into the future.

An initial search for the plane, carried out by Malaysia, China, and Australia, was called off in January 2017 after failing to find any trace of the plane within a 710,000-plus square kilometer area of the Indian Ocean. A private company reached an agreement with the Malaysian government to extend the search, but that too was stopped in May.

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A policeman and a gendarme stand next to a piece of debris from an unidentified aircraft found in the coastal area of Saint-Andre de la Reunion, in the east of the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion, on July 29, 2015. Photo: Yannick Pitou/AFP

“The disappearance of MH370 and the search effort are unprecedented in commercial aviation history,” the Malaysian report said Monday.

“Improvements must be undertaken to ensure that this type of event is identified as soon as possible, and mechanisms are in place to track an aircraft that is not following its filed flight plan for any reason.”

It added that the “international aviation community needs to provide assurance to the travelling public that the location of current-generation commercial aircraft is always known” and to do otherwise would be “unacceptable.”

With the technology in place at the time of MH370’s fateful flight however, “the team is unable to determine the real cause for (its) disappearance.”

Source: Carly Walsh, Sol Han/CNN-Wire

Related: The Most Expensive Search for a Missing Plane in History