Malaysia Airlines say the expired battery in the beacon is insignificant
Lawyers say it could be key in any legal action against the airline
Plane from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished with 239 people on board
Wide search since incident on March 8, 2014 has so far proved fruitless
Report looks at complete normality of flight which became huge mystery
Sarah Carty for Daily Mail Australia
Mark Duell for MailOnline
03:45 EST, 9 March 2015
03:46 EST, 9 March 2015
Malaysia Airlines has revealed that an expired battery in the beacon of the ‘black box’ flight data recorder on missing Flight MH370 would have made no difference in the search for the plane.
Lawyers acting for some of the families of those on board said earlier that the fact the battery had not been replaced could be key in any legal action against the airline.
MH370 vanished shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur, bound for Beijing, early on March 8 last year, becoming one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
Malaysia Airlines has revealed that an expired battery in the beacon of the ‘black box’ flight data recorder on missing Flight MH370 would have made no difference in the search for the plane
A 584-page interim report into the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER, released on Sunday, said the beacon battery for the flight data recorder had expired in December 2012 and was not replaced.
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The beacon is designed to send a signal if a crash occurs in water.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement on Monday that a similar beacon was also installed with the solid state cockpit voice recorder and its battery life was still good.
Emotional: A Chinese relative of a missing passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 weeps outside the main gate of the Lama Temple in Beijing today
Sadness: A relative of MH370 passengers holds a sign reading ‘Dad I miss U!’ outside the Lama Temple today
‘The SSCVR battery would have been transmitting for 30 days upon activation when immersed in water,’ MAS said in the statement.
U.S. law firm Kreindler Kreindler LP, which is representing around 20 families, had said the expired battery was ‘potentially very significant’ in determining compensation if it had hurt the search for the missing plane.
The oversight was blamed on a failure to properly update a computer system in the engineering department of Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation said in Sunday’s report.
The plane, which was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing with 239 people on board on March 8, 2014 – and a huge search in the Indian Ocean has so far proved fruitless.
Family: There were 239 people on board the flight when it disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing
Relatives of MH370 victims: (Clockwise from top left) Li Jiuying holds a picture of her brother Li Guohai; Jacquita Gonzales holds a portrait of her husband, in-flight supervisor Patrick Gomes; Liu Kun displays a photo of his brother Liu Qiang; and Chinese woman Dai Shuqin, who lost five members of her family
Apart from the anomaly of the beacon, the report devoted many of its pages to describe the complete normality of the flight – shedding little light on one of aviation’s biggest mysteries.
The significance of the expired battery was not immediately apparent, except indicating that searchers would have had lesser chance of locating the plane, even if they were in its vicinity.
The report said: ‘The sole objective of the investigation is the prevention of future accidents or incidents, and not for the purpose to apportion blame or liability.’
Whilst the battery had expired on the beacon of the Flight Data Recorder, the report said that the battery on the locator beacon of the cockpit voice recorder was working.
Standing together: Relatives of MH370 passengers attend an event today marking the one-year anniversary of its disappearance in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Calling for their return: The brother of a missing passenger writes a message during the Kuala Lumpur event
Memories: Two Chinese people hold a picture of their son, an MH370 passenger, during the event in Malaysia
Remembered: Jie Yie, four, holds a picture of her grandmother Lee Sew Chu and her aunt Ng May Li who were aboard MH370, in Kuala Lumpur today
Ordeal: A Chinese relative of a missing passenger on MH370 cries as she sits on the curb outside the Malaysia Embassy in Beijing
The two instruments are critical in any crash because they record cockpit conversation and flight data, leading up to the end of the flight.
Relatives of passengers and crew today marked the anniversary of the day the plane went missing, under a heavy police presence.
Chinese relatives had planned to commemorate the disappearance of the Boeing 777 at a number of sites in Beijing, including the Malaysian embassy, the airport and the Lama Temple, a popular Tibetan Buddhist place of worship and tourist site.
Dozens of uniformed security sealed the street around the diplomatic mission, while relatives said they had opted to avoid the airport as police were out in force.
The big question: Artist Sudarsan Pattnaik creates a sand sculpture of MH370 on Puri beach in Odisha, India
Writing: A family member of MH370 pens a message on a balloon during a memorial event in Kuala Lumpur
Tears: Wang Guohui (right), mother of MH370 passenger Li Zhi, cries next to another passenger’s relative
Sign: Catherine Gang, whose husband Li Zhi was on the plane, holds a banner outside Lama Temple today
About 30 visited the Lama Temple, with around 10 entering the site in groups of two or three to pay their personal respects, as if attempting to keep a low profile.
CAPTAIN HAD ‘NO KNOWN HISTORY OF ANXIETY OR FAMILY STRESSES’
Flight Captain: Zaharie Ahmad Shah
The physical and mental well-being of Flight Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was examined by the report, which said he had no known history of apathy, anxiety or irritability.
‘There were no significant changes in his lifestyle, interpersonal conflict or family stresses,’ it said.
It also said there were ‘no behavioural signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse’ by the captain, his first officer and the cabin crew.
Financial checks also showed nothing abnormal about their gross monthly income and spending pattern. It said the captain held several bank accounts and two national trust funds.
He had two houses and three vehicles, but there was no record of him having a life insurance policy.
Co-pilot: First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid
The co-pilot, First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, had two saving accounts and a national trust fund account.
He owned two cars and ‘spent money on the upkeep’ of these vehicles. ‘He does not have much savings in his bank account. He has a life insurance policy,’ it said.
The remainder waited outside the temple in a group, wearing T-shirts saying ‘Pray for MH370′, and waving placards to photographers reading ‘Keep searching for MH370′.
Meanwhile, Voice 370 – a support group for the relatives – hosted a ‘Day of Remembrance’ at a shopping centre in Kuala Lumpur with songs, poems and prayers.
Grace Subathirai Nathan, whose mother Anne Daisy was on the plane, said: ‘It is important to highlight to the public that we still don’t have any answers and that we must pursue the search.’
The Malaysian prime minister said he still is hopeful the plane will be found.
Najib Razak said: ‘The lack of answers and definitive proof – such as aircraft wreckage – has made this more difficult to bear.
‘Together with our international partners, we have followed the little evidence that exists. Malaysia remains committed to the search, and hopeful that MH370 will be found.’
While the country’s government has already formally declared the disappearance of the plane as an accident, and said all those on board are presumed dead, relatives of those on the flight have said they are frustrated by the lack of answers.
Ministers from Australia, China and Malaysia are expected to meet next month to decide on the next course of action for the wide-ranging search.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said his government would provide ‘all needed service to every next of kin’ and help uphold their ‘legitimate and lawful rights and interests’.
Most of the plane’s passengers were Chinese.
‘A year has passed, the plane has not been located, but the search effort will continue,’ Mr Wang told a news conference in Beijing. ‘Today must be a difficult day for the next of kin. Our hearts are with you.’
The report by an independent investigation group went into minute details of the crew’s lives, including their medical and financial records and their training.
It also examined the aircraft’s service record, as well as the maintenance schedule, weather, communications systems and other aspects.
No way though: A journalist (right) is blocked by Chinese police outside Lama Temple after prayers in Beijing
A relative of a Chinese passenger from MH370 shows a poster saying ‘Bring the MH370 passengers home’
Moving away: Chinese police block journalists with cameras filming relatives of MH370 passengers in Beijing
Talking: A relative of a Chinese passenger from MH370 speaks to the foreign media outside the Lama Temple
These showed nothing unusual except for the one previously undisclosed fact of the battery’s expiry date.
It said that according to maintenance records, the battery on the beacon attached to the Flight Data Recorder expired in December 2012.
‘There is some extra margin in the design to account for battery life variabilty and ensure that the unit will meet the minimum requirement,’ it said.
‘However, once beyond the expiry date, the (battery’s) effectiveness decreases so it may operate, for a reduced time period until it finally discharges,’ the report said.
While it is possible the battery will operate past the expiry date, ‘it is not guaranteed that it will work or that it would meet the 30-day minimum requirement,’ said the report.
TIMELINE OF THE MH370 INVESTIGATION: SEARCHES, DEBRIS AND THEORIES
It is one year since Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 went missing. Here is a timeline of the main events over the last 12 months.
March 8 – The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 takes off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am local time bound for Beijing, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew. The plane is last seen on military radar at 2.14am, heading west over the Strait of Malacca. Half an hour later the airline reveals to the public that it has lost contact with the plane. The plane was due to land at around 6.30am.
March 10 – Vietnamese aircraft search for a plane door spotted in their waters but find nothing. A day later the hunt is widened to cover a 115-nautical mile radius involving 34 aircraft and 40 ships from several countries.
March 13 – Malaysian authorities expand their search for the missing jet into the Andaman Sea and beyond after acknowledging it could have flown for several more hours after its last contact with the ground.
March 15 – Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak says the missing airliner was deliberately diverted and continued flying for more than six hours after losing contact with the ground.
March 8 to April 24 – The search area covers the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the southern Indian Ocean.
April 24 – The search and rescue phase becomes a search and recovery phase, with it moving a few days later to an underwater phase using an autonomous underwater vehicle and a bathymetry survey covering an area around 430 miles (692km) long and 50 miles (80km) wide.
June 2014 - Australian authorities issue a preliminary report in which they theorise that MH370’s crew became incapacitated, possibly due to oxygen starvation, with the plane continuing on autopilot.
August 28 – Australia’s deputy prime minister, Warren Truss, says the aircraft ‘might have turned south a little earlier than we have previously expected’.
September 19 – After a four-month lull, it is announced that the underwater search, involving depths of up to 3.7 miles (6km), would resume at the end of September.
October 2014 – The new underwater search involves ships dragging sonar devices called towfish through the water about 330ft (100m) above the seabed to hunt for wreckage. The towfish are equipped with jet fuel sensors and can transmit data to those on board the vessels.
January - Senior Boeing 777 captain Simon Hardy suggests the missing aircraft’s final resting place is in the Indian Ocean just outside the far south-western edge of the core search area.
January 28 - Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) officially declares the incident ‘an accident’. The DCA says it had concluded the aircraft exhausted its fuel ‘over a defined area of the southern Indian Ocean’. The DCA adds that efforts to find the plane will continue.
March 7 – Malaysia’s transport minister, Liow Tiong Lai, says data will be re-examined and a new plan formulated if the plane is not found by the end of May.
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Article source: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2986044/Malaysia-Airlines-says-dead-battery-locator-beacon-no-difference-search-missing-MH370.html
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