Flight MH370: Unsolved Mystery a year later

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) – Emotional families marked the first anniversary of the disappearance of flight MH370 Sunday as a new report said the battery on its black box locator beacon had expired, but shed no new light on the cause of the disaster.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said his nation remained committed to the search for the Malaysia Airlines jet, believed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, and was hopeful it would be found.

Next of kin, many of whom have criticised Malaysia’s handling of the disaster, held ceremonies in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing to remember the missing and urge authorities to keep the arduous and expensive search going.

”The only answer I want is where is the plane, then only will we know,” said Jacquita Gonzales, wife of the flight’s cabin crew supervisor, Patrick Gomes.

”The whole world has heard what he (Najib) has said, so they can’t go back on their word.”

A report by an international investigative team released Sunday raised no red flags relating to the crew or the aircraft’s condition to indicate any cause for the disappearance.

But it said the 30-day battery powering the underwater locator beacon on the flight data recorder had expired.

Although the battery on the plane’s cockpit voice recorder was up to date, this could have contributed to the failure to find the plane, said Gerry Soejatman, a Jakarta-based aviation consultant.

”My major worry is that (search vessels) may have gone over the aircraft but not heard the pings because of this,” said Soejatman, who added that the report otherwise largely restated what is already known about MH370.