After years of failed investigations, the mystery around the disappearance of flight MH370 is finally drawing to a close.
After years of failed investigations, the mystery around the disappearance of flight MH370 is finally drawing to a close.

MH370 riddle may be laid to rest

THE MH370 mystery is finally about to be laid to rest.

Later this morning, the Malaysian government is releasing what it says will be its final report on the fate of the plane.

Years of investigations have yielded no concrete conclusion as to what downed the plane in March 2014.

With the release of this final report, a number of questions remain unanswered.

 

FINAL REPORT ON MH370

On July 30, the Malaysian government will release a long-awaited report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, according to the Minister of Transport.

In May this year, the country called off a privately-funded underwater search for the aircraft, which became one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries when it vanished with 239 aboard en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014.

The investigation team would brief families of those aboard on the report at the transport ministry on July 30, said the minister, Anthony Loke.

"Every word recorded by the investigation team will be tabled in this report," he told reporters, adding that a news conference would follow the closed-door briefing.

"It will be tabled fully, without any editing, additions, or redactions."

The two lines meet at the seventh arc, the spot where investigators believe MH370 likely entered the southern Indian Ocean off Western Australia. Picture: Google earth, annotated by ATSB
The two lines meet at the seventh arc, the spot where investigators believe MH370 likely entered the southern Indian Ocean off Western Australia. Picture: Google earth, annotated by ATSB

The report will be put online, with hard copies distributed to families and accredited media, among others, Mr Loke said.

Voice 370, a group representing the relatives, has previously urged the Malaysian government for a review of the flight, including "any possible falsification or elimination of records related to MH370 and its maintenance".

The only confirmed traces of the Boeing 777 aircraft have been three wing fragments washed up on Indian Ocean coasts.

The search Malaysia called off on May 29, by US-based firm Ocean Infinity, covered 112,000 square kilometres in the southern Indian Ocean within three months, ending with no significant new findings.

MH370 flight Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah has been a suspect in the plane’s disappearance.
MH370 flight Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah has been a suspect in the plane’s disappearance.

It was the second major search after Australia, China and Malaysia ended a fruitless $200 million search across an area of 120,000 square kilometres last year.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad has said Malaysia would consider resuming the search if new clues came to light.

 

HOW A PLANE VANISHED INTO THIN AIR

For more than four years the world has grappled with questions over how the Boeing 777 airliner vanished into thin air en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The plane left Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am local time on March 8, 2014. 239 people were on board, including six Australians.

Around two hours after takeoff, the plane deviated from its planned route to Beijing, veering southwest.

It sent out an automated satellite communication seven and a half hours after takeoff.

Then it disappeared altogether.

For more than four years the world has grappled with questions over how the Boeing 777 airliner vanished into thin air en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
For more than four years the world has grappled with questions over how the Boeing 777 airliner vanished into thin air en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

An international search followed shortly after, with a total of 26 countries searching the waters off Vietnam for any trace of the missing plane.

On May 5, Malaysia, Australia and China announced their agreement to hold an underwater search, which was led by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau - but there were no answers.

More than a year after the investigation launched, a fragment of the plane's wing was found washed up on Reunion Island, thousands of kilometres from Kuala Lumpur.

But despite on-again-off-again searches spanning from the plane's disappearance up to May this year, it remains a mystery.

 

THEORIES BEHIND THE PLANE'S DISAPPEARANCE

Experts over the years have offered a number of theories as to what happened to the plane, ranging from a mechanical defect to an intentional murder-suicide by the captain.

 

Oxygen deficiency: The Malaysian government and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau took the theory that passengers and flight crew - including Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah - fell unconscious due to an oxygen deficiency. One version of this theory suggests the oxygen supply was deliberately hacked.

Pilot's murder-suicide: InMay this year, a team of aviation specialists on 60 Minutes came to the conclusion that Capt Zaharie downed the aircraft in an act of murder-suicide, having plotted a flight plan to nowhere on his home simulator.

Suggested reasons for doing this range from rumours that his marriage was in trouble, to a political protest against then-Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, as a way to destabilise the corrupt government of Najib Razak.

In May this year, a team of aviation experts slammed the murder-suicide theory as "absurd".

Remote takeover: Earlier this year, Malaysia's former Prime Minister Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad suggested a remote takeover took place to counter a hijacking attempt.

"The capacity to do that is there," he said in March.

"The technology is there. You know how good people are now with operating planes without pilots. Even fighter planes are to be without pilots.

"Some technology we can read in the press but many of military significance is not published."

Chinese terror group: A shadowy group called the Chinese Martyrs' Brigade claimed responsibility for the disappearance of MH370 just days after the plane vanished - but officials were sceptical and said the claim could be a hoax.

The previously unheard of group sent an email to journalists across China that read: "You kill one of our clan, we will kill 100 of you as pay back."

But the message provided no details of what brought the flight down.

Suspicious passengers: In another theory, suspicions fell upon a pair of Iranian nationals who boarded the flight with fake passports.

But authorities concluded it was unlikely that either man had terrorist links or had anything to do with the plane's disappearance.

 

WILL THIS REPORT PROVIDE ANSWERS?

Many questions remain over the disappearance of MH370.

Was it all just a tragic accident? Were there sinister motives? Was the plane hijacked by somebody? Or was it the captain's doing?

Families of the passengers who disappeared no doubt hope this report will provide some much-needed answers.

But whether we ever find out what really happened to MH370 remains a mystery.


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