Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation released on March 8 a 584-page interim report listing factual information it gathered from its own investigation of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. The report was released in compliance with the International Civil Aviation Organization standards.
Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah
The report said there were no indications suggesting Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, as well as his first officer and cabin crew, were behaving unusually before the disappearance of MH370. Earlier media reports claim Ahmad Shah had financial problems that could have led him to commit suicide, taking the plane and its passengers with him.
Based on the department’s review of the crew members’ backgrounds, examination of closed-circuit TV footage, and interviews with close friends and families, the crew were of sound mind and were in stable emotional states.
“There were no behavioral signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse of the captain, first officer and the cabin crew. The captain’s ability to handle stress at work and home was good. There was no known history of apathy, anxiety, or irritability. There were no significant changes in his lifestyle, interpersonal conflict or family stress,” the report said.
Earlier media reports suspected lithium batteries inside the plane have caused explosion and fire on board. The interim report from the department has not confirmed or rejected this speculation, only stating that the lithium batteries had passed inspection by Malaysia Airlines’ cargo officers, and packed according to standards of the ICAO. The batteries in question were not deemed as dangerous goods. Malaysia Airlines carried 99 shipments of lithium batteries to Beijing from January to May 2014, the report said.
Expired Battery of the Underwater Locator Beacon
The report also stated that the battery of the underwater beacon had expired but was only discovered when MH370 already disappeared. Although the battery type used for the beacon had the capacity to work despite going past its expiry date, “it is not guaranteed that it will work or that it would meet the 30-day minimum requirement.”
The department highlighted that the information included in the report is composed of facts rather than analysis, and is only interim or can be altered in nature.
“The factual information provided herein is of an interim nature. Readers are advised that new information may become available that may alter this interim factual information prior to the publication of the Final Report. This factual information contains facts which have been determined up to the time of issue,” the department said in a statement.
“This information is published to inform the aviation industry and the public of the general circumstances of the accident of MH370 and subject to alteration or correction if additional evidence becomes available,” the statement added.