Precisely a year ago, on March 8th, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight 370 mysteriously disappeared over the Straits of Malacca. There's still no trace of the Boeing 777-200 or its 239 passengers and crew, but an exhaustive 584-page report released today reveals that the battery powering one black box's locator beacon expired over a year before the incident.
The old battery means that crews searching the southern Indian Ocean likely wouldn't have picked up a signal from the black box even if they were floating right over it. In the weeks after the disappearance, crews searched hastily to try and find a black box before the batteries ran out of power. They're required to last at least 30 days after a crash.
Dead battery lowered chances of finding MH370
According to the report, an error in maintenance records kept the battery from being replaced. Nevertheless, the flight data recorder would have continued logging data during the flight even if its locator beacon battery was dead. The battery for the other black box, the cockpit voice recorder, was up to date and search crews would have noticed its locator pings had they been in its vicinity.
The report, which was mandated by the International Civil Aviation Organization and carried out by a 19-member team from around the world, also probed deep into the lives of the captain and crew. No abnormalities were found. In addition, other than the locator battery, there was nothing unusual about the aircraft. For now, the mystery continues and the search in the southern Indian Ocean goes on. Close to half of the priority search zone has been swept by search crews.