16 MARCH 2015

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Article from BTNews 16 MARCH 2015

MH370

Perhaps the greatest mystery in the history of aviation still remains unsolved 12 months after MH370 disappeared “somewhere in the ocean”.  Aircraft have vanished before but not carrying 239 passengers and crew.

In truth not a clue has been found, no single piece of wreckage, and a 600-page interim report issued by the Malaysian authorities 12 months on is only conjecture and guesswork.  It does not cast any suspicion on the crew.

What the investigation does focus on highlights deficiencies in the safety aspects of air travel.

The Malaysian air traffic control supervisor was asleep on duty during the crucial hours following the vanishing of the flight on 8 March 2014.  He was in another world between 01:20 local time when communications ceased, and 05:20.

Yet another aspect highlighted in the report is how air traffic controllers in Vietnam's Ho Chi Minh took 20 minutes to start asking why the plane had not yet entered its airspace when international protocols demand this should have happened within two minutes.  Transcripts show they never responded to at least one emergency message due to inability to understand English, a legal requirement.

The report has also found that the battery powering the underwater locator beacon on the aircraft had expired in 2012.

Termed an "oversight" by investigators, the battery expiry could be key in legal action against Malaysia Airlines and in determining compensation. www.malaysiaairlines.com

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OUR READERS' FINEST WORDS (All times and dates are GMT)

All comments are filtered to exclude any excesses but the Editor does not have to agree with what is being said. 100 words maximum


John Davidson, France

There were lithium ion batteries in the cargo hold. If one or several caught fire, and produced smoke in the cabin, the cockpit crews priorities are: fix, then fly, then radio. If they couldn't fix the problem, the oxygen masks last about 20 min, enabling them to fly that long. But maybe fixing took too long, and they never got to the third part, which was to radio. Out of oxygen, they were knocked out, like the passengers, and the plane flew itself.


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