MH370 report raises no red flags on crew, aircraft

AFP , Sunday 8 Mar 2015

Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines (Photo: AP)

An investigation into missing flight MH370 has found no red flags relating to the crew or mechanical issues, according to an interim report released Sunday that shed no new light on the cause of the disappearance.

An international team of investigators probed the captain and co-pilot's personal, psychological, and financial profiles, and also looked into the backgrounds of the 10 cabin crew.

Their lengthy report, released on the first anniversary of the disappearance, mentioned no findings that cast suspicion on them.

"There were no behavioural signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse of the Captain, First Officer and the Cabin Crew," it said.

The report said that civilian radar had tracked the plane for a short time after it diverted on March 8 of last year, apparently contradicting earlier Malaysian statements that only its military radar had monitored the plane.

But analysts said the report mostly restated what was already known.

"There is nothing much to go on with the new report," said Gerry Soejataman, a Jakarta-based aviation consultant. "This is because there is little to analyse."

The investigative team was set up in the weeks after the plane's disappearance under International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) requirements and was required to submit its findings within one year of the disappearance.

The report also ticked through a number of the plane's mechanical systems and noted in each case that according to available data and maintenance records, nothing alarming was seen.

It remains unknown what caused the Boeing 777 to veer from its Kuala Lumpur-Beijing route with 239 passengers and crew aboard.

Suspicion had fallen on the cockpit crew of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid. Other theories have included a mechanical problem or hijack.

The report was focused on air-safety issues related to MH370 and the investigators did not probe the 227 passengers or the possibility of a hijack.

The report stressed that the investigation was ongoing and that "new information that may become available may alter this information."

"The investigation team expects that further factual information will be available from the wreckage and flight recorders if the aircraft is found," it said.

A year-long, Australian-led search effort in the southern Indian Ocean where the plane is believed to have crashed has yielded nothing as yet.

Next of kin have been sharply critical of Malaysia's initial handling of the crisis and remain deeply unhappy with the lack of answers one year on.

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