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Malaysian government releases report from search for missing plane, but there are few answers

Copies of the MH370 safety investigations report are seen Monday during a media briefing in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. The report has answered few questions, but it has responded to many of the conspiracy theories surrounding the plane's disappearance. (Mohd Rasfan/AFP/Getty Images)

A 1,500 page report from the Malaysian government on missing Malaysia flight MH370 has answered few questions, but it has responded to many of the conspiracy theories surrounding the plane's disappearance. The report also raised the possibility that a third party interfered and deliberately caused the crash from on the plane itself.

What happened to flight MH370?

On March 8, 2014, flight MH370 was transporting 239 people from the Malaysian capital of Kuala Lumpur to Beijing,  when it disappeared. It was never heard from again. Very few pieces from the plane have been found, and they have provided little to no help to investigators as to where the actual crash took place.

What did the report say?

The disappearance created a flurry of international media coverage and endless conspiracy theories that blamed the crash on everything from terrorism to a completely implausible black hole.

This report addressed many of those theories, revealing that:

The plane was not flown off course remotely. While Boeing has developed technology to fly planes remotely, the required equipment had not been installed on any commercial planes making such a feat impossible.

The cargo did not ignite and bring the plane down. At the time of the crash, the plane had been carrying 221 kg of lithium-ion batteries. These batteries have been known to ignite, leading to them being banned in checked luggage on commercial flights in the United States. The report said that investigators had determined that such a fire did not take place.

The way the plane changed course before the crash cannot be blamed on a system malfunction. The change in direction could only have been caused by someone deliberately changing the plane's direction.

It is unlikely that the pilot and copilot crashed the plane deliberately. Dr Kok Soo Chon, the lead investigator, said at a news conference that:

“We have examined the pilot and the first officer and we are quite satisfied with their background, with their training, with their mental health. We are not of the opinion that it could have been an event committed by the pilot,” Dr. Kok said.

“I’m not ruling out anything, but there were two psychiatrists in my team and they were responsible for examining the audio recordings of the pilot and they concluded there was no anxiety and no stress in the recording, it was just normal, and they also recorded the footage from CCTV … they didn’t find any significant behavioural changes.”

The crash may have been caused by someone else on the plane. Based on the previous two points, investigators concluded that some evidence “points irresistibly to unlawful interference, such as the communications ceasing and the manual turn back.” However, they also noted that no terrorist group has taken responsibility for the crash.

What else?

This report has done little to give closure to families who lost loved ones in the disaster. Grace Subathirai Nathan, whose mother was on the plane, said that “[a]ll in all the report did not reveal anything new or earth-shattering. No conclusions were drawn, no blame was assigned.”

Jennifer Chong, who lost her husband in the crash remarked “[t]o me, it is a helpless day as doors are shut,”

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