Malaysia’s third interim report into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 on 8 March 2014 highlights the lack of leads confronting investigators.
The four-page report is the first since search operations for the missing Boeing 777-200ER aircraft ceased in in January this year. It was published in accordance with ICAO’s Annex 13 guidelines.
It states that following the cessation of the search, a final report will be issued “in the months ahead.”
It contains most of the same information as the second interim report issued on 8 March 2015. It also repeats the 2015 statement that the international team investigating the accident is “finalising” its analysis, conclusions and safety recommendations.
“With the aircraft wreckage and flight recorders still not found, there is a significant lack of vital evidence available to the team to determine with any certainty the reasons that the aircraft diverted from its filed flight plan route,” it says.
“However, despite the limitations in available evidence, the investigation has identified several key issues with the civil aviation system that can be improved to enhance safety into the future.”
The third report summarises findings, including analysis of floating debris that washed up on the eastern coastline of Africa.
Examination of the right outboard flap and right flaperon, both recovered from beaches, suggests that the flaps were most likely to have been retracted when the aircraft crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
Interior debris suggests the aircraft broke up, but investigators are unsure whether this took place in the air or when the aircraft hit the sea.
An exhaustive undersea search started in early 2014 failed to locate the main wreckage of the aircraft, which crashed with 227 passengers and 12 crew.
MH370 was operating a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when contact was lost over the Gulf of Thailand. The aircraft made a mysterious “turn back”, and after a circuitous route found its way to its Indian Ocean resting place. The aircraft’s approximate location was determined by a serious of satellite “handshakes” with the aircraft during its flight.