Last updated: 02:18 PM ET, Sun March 08 2015

Report: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Data Recorder Beacon Battery Expired

Airlines & Airports | Michael Isenbek | March 08, 2015

Report: Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Data Recorder Beacon Battery Expired

Photo courtesy of the Malaysia Airlines Facebook page

One year on from the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the first comprehensive report on the incident revealed that the battery powering the locator beacon for the flight data recorder had expired more than a year before the plane vanished, according to the Associated Press via ABC News.

Maintenance records indicate December 2012 as the expiration date of the battery, but due to a computer error, the lapse went unnoticed. "There is some extra margin in the design to account for battery life variability and ensure that the unit will meet the minimum requirement," the report said.

"However, once beyond the expiry date, [the battery's] effectiveness decreases so it may operate, for a reduced time period until it finally discharges," the report added. While it is possible the battery will operate past the expiration date, "it is not guaranteed that it will work or that it would meet the 30-day minimum requirement."

Apart from the battery anomaly, the most noticeable finding in the 584-page report is the complete normalcy of the flight and crew up to the disappearance. Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had “no significant changes in his lifestyle, interpersonal conflict or family stresses," the report said. Having gone over the crews' lives in minute detail, investigators found "no behavioral signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse."

The report came just as Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott vowed, as the head of the country leading the search for the missing airliner, to continue. "It can't go on forever, but as long as there are reasonable leads, the search will go on," he said. "We've got 60,000 square kilometers that is the subject of this search. If that's unsuccessful, there's another 60,000 square kilometers that we intend to search and, as I said, we are reasonably confident of finding the plane."

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