Advertisement

MH370 report: Plane steered off course by pilots or 'third party'

The report provides few definitive answers to one of the most baffling aviation mysteries in recent memory.

By
Doug G. Ware
Search crew members aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success watch as a helicopter participates in a search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in the Indian Ocean in March 2014. Monday, Malaysian authorities issued a new report on the plane's disappearance. File Photo by David Connolly/Australian Defense Force/UPI
Search crew members aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Success watch as a helicopter participates in a search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which disappeared in the Indian Ocean in March 2014. Monday, Malaysian authorities issued a new report on the plane's disappearance. File Photo by David Connolly/Australian Defense Force/UPI | License Photo

July 30 (UPI) -- In what could be its final word on the matter, the government of Malaysia said Monday it's been unable to reach a definitive conclusion about what happened to a jetliner full of people that vanished four years ago.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, or MH370, disappeared March 8, 2014, en route from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur with 239 people aboard. Investigators believe it crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean, but they've never come up with an explanation or found the plane's wreckage.

Advertisement

"The team is unable to determine the real cause for [Flight 370's] disappearance," the report states.

In its report Monday, the Malaysian government said one thing is for sure -- the Boeing 777 did not deviate from its flight path by accident.

RELATED After 4 years, search for MH370 ends with no answers

Investigators said it would've been virtually impossible for any system failure to push Flight 370 so far off course. They concluded the plane was almost certainly flown manually to wherever it hit the water.

"The analysis of the relevant aircraft systems ... does not suggest a mechanical problem with the aircraft," the report notes.

The report determined the plane was not on autopilot when it veered off course, meaning someone on the flight deck made it happen.

RELATED MH370 investigators reject theory plane was deliberately crashed

"The turn back could not be attributed to an anomalous system," Kok Soo Chon, the investigator in charge of the MH370 safety investigation, said at a news conference Monday. "It has been established that the air turn back was done under manual control, not autopilot."

All 239 people aboard the flight are presumed dead.

Although the report didn't come to many definitive conclusions, it did rule out several possibilities, including a theory that one or more of the pilots intentionally crashed the jetliner in an act of suicide.

RELATED Australia rejects theory that MH370 wreckage found on Google Earth

Other factors ruled out were the mental states of the pilots, mechanical trouble or someone operating the flight systems by remote control.

Authorities, though, said it is possible there was "unlawful interference" by some unknown third party.

Several searches have been mounted for the missing plane over the last four years, but three small chunks of the left wing and tail section found in 2016 are the only pieces of wreckage authorities believe came from MH370.

Authorities previously said Monday's would be the final report on the matter, though officials have since indicated that there could be future updates. Kok said the Malaysian government will reopen the full investigation if the airliner is eventually found.

The Australian government also conducted searches and a full investigation, but its efforts have also turned up few answers.

The report stressed the need for an answer so that similar events can be averted in the future.

"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 said.

"The disappearance of MH370 and the search effort are unprecedented in commercial aviation history."

Latest Headlines