Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was “deliberately manipulated” off course, investigators say in a “final report” on the doomed aircraft, but dive teams have failed to locate the wreckage, and the plane’s disappearance will likely remain a “mystery.”
The Malaysian government issued a 400-page report Monday detailing the final moments of Flight 370, which has now been missing for more than four years. The plane dropped off radar on March 8, 2014, while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 passengers and crew aboard, and likely crash-landed somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
Investigators now say that they believe someone “deliberately manipulated” the plane’s navigational systems to take the aircraft on a zig-zag course over Malaysia before sending the plane on a seven hour trip over the Indian Ocean that ended with the plane running out of fuel and crashing into the Indian Ocean at speeds of up to 25,000 feet per minute.
The route could not have resulted from a systems or mechanical failure, investigators said, but while the most likely culprit is the plane’s pilot, they cannot rule out “interference by a third party,” or a hijacker, or someone holding the pilots and first officer hostage. The pilot showed no signs of stress, and had “nothing in his background, family and medical history to suggest he was harboring problems.”
“The change in flight path likely resulted from manual inputs,” according to the report. Both navigation and communications systems showed signs of “being manually turned off or power interrupted to them.”
“We are unable to determine with any certainty the reasons that the aircraft diverted from its filed planned route,” the team’s lead investigator told reporters at a press conference Monday. “The possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded.”
The report laid some blame on Malaysia’s air traffic controllers, whom the report claims were slow to action and may not have been actively monitoring radar displays, according to Bloomberg.
Families of the MH 370 missing told reporters that they felt “deflated” and “outraged” by the report, which offers them no answers as to the whereabouts of their loved ones. Although teams of searchers have scoured the Indian and Atlantic Ocean, they’ve never found the plane’s wreckage, and no bodies have been discovered.
A few pieces of wreckage, associated with MH 370 — the only items ever recovered from the doomed plane — washed ashore in Tanzania in 2016.