PETALING JAYA: On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared en route to Beijing with 239 people on board.
An official search was then launched, coordinated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.
The search activity was suspended in January last year, and in January this year, the Malaysian Government entered into an agreement with private firm Ocean Infinity to conduct a 90-day underwater search in an area considered the most likely location for the wreckage.
The search is expected to end in early June.
Today, exactly four years after the disappearance of MH370, an independent international air accident investigation team set up by Malaysia has issued a statement to update on the ongoing efforts to locate the Boeing 777 aircraft.
Here is the statement in full:
4TH Interim Statement
Safety Investigation For MH370 (9M-MRO)
1. This 4th Interim Statement1 has been prepared under Chapter 6, paragraph 6 of Annex 13 to the Convention on International Civil Aviation, Aircraft Accident and Incident Investigation (ICAO2 Annex 13), to provide information on the progress of the investigation on the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, registered as 9M-MRO pending the completion of the Safety Report as required under ICAO Annex 13.
2. The Beijing-bound international scheduled passenger flight, with a total of 239 persons (227 passengers and 12 crew) on board, departed KL International Airport (KLIA) at 1642 UTC on 07 March 2014 [0042 MYT on 08 March 2014]. Less than 40 minutes after take-off, communications with the aircraft was lost after passing waypoint3 IGARI.
3. As a Contracting State of ICAO and in accordance with ICAO Annex 13 and under Regulation 126(1) 4 of the Malaysian Civil Aviation Regulations 1996 (MCAR), on 25 April 2014, Malaysia established an independent international Air Accident Investigation Team, known as ‘The Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370’ (the “Team”) to investigate the disappearance of flight MH370. The Team, headed by the Investigator-in Charge, comprises 19 Malaysians and 7 Accredited Representatives of 7 safety investigation authorities5 from 7 countries.
4. On 08 March 2015, the 1st Interim Statement and the Factual Information on the Safety Investigation for MH370 were released 6 to the public on the first anniversary of the disappearance of MH370. Subsequent Interim Statements were released on 08 March 2016 and 08 March 2017.
5. Aircraft debris possibly from MH370 are still being discovered around the southeastern coast of the African continent and the adjacent islands. An updated summary of the debris recovered was published on 30 April 2017 together with the debris examination reports. These are available on the Ministry of Transport (MOT) Malaysia and the Ministry of Communications and Multimedia Malaysia (KKMM) websites (the links to the websites are provided in footnote 6).
6. At the time of writing, as reported in the Interim Statement released in 2017, three items of debris remain as being confirmed from MH370, i.e., the right flaperon, a part of the right outboard flap and a section of the left outboard flap. A few other pieces of debris were determined to be almost certain from MH370 including some cabin interior items. There is continuing activity to retrieve and examine any new debris that is discovered.
7. Official search activities coordinated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau were suspended on 17 January 2017. On 03 October 2017, the ATSB published a report detailing the history of the search and made conclusions and recommendations relating to the search activities. The ATSB search report is separate and distinct from the Safety Report required under ICAO Annex 13.
8. To date, the main wreckage of MH370 has not been found. On 10 January 2018, the Malaysian Government entered into an agreement with Ocean Infinity to conduct a 90-day underwater search in an area that is considered the most likely location for the wreckage.
9. The publication of the detailed investigation report, that is the Safety Report, based on currently available information has been suspended pending the outcome of the latest search effort, since any new evidence uncovered is likely to significantly affect the investigation. In the event that the aircraft is found, the Team will conduct further investigation. If the aircraft is not found and a decision is made to discontinue the search, the Team will resume the completion of the report and release it in the months ahead.