MH370: plane’s underwater locator beacon battery expired one year before disappearance.

MH370: Plane’s Underwater Locator Beacon Battery Expired One Year Before Disappearance

MH370: Plane’s Underwater Locator Beacon Battery Expired One Year Before Disappearance

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March 8 2015 11:29 AM

MH370: Plane’s Underwater Locator Beacon Battery Expired One Year Before Disappearance

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Catherine Gang whose husband is a missing passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 holds a sign as she and other relatives protest outside the Malaysia Embassy on March 8, 2015 in Beijing, China.

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

The locator beacon battery on the data recording box of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 had expired more than one year before the plane seemingly vanished into thin air on March 8, 2014. On the one-year anniversary of that fateful day, the 584-page interim report on the disappearance is notable for how little it found that was out of the ordinary, and could help explain what has been described as the biggest aviation mystery in history. The only truly new and notable aspect of the report is the discovery that the battery on the locator beacon had expired on December 2012, but no one noticed due to a “computer data error,” notes the Associated Press. But the news is not really seen as Earth-shattering, because even though it may have made the search more difficult, the battery in the cockpit voice recorder’s locator beacon was operational.

The report also included extensive profiles of the plane’s captain and crew amid speculation that the plane may have been deliberately diverted. But the report found nothing unusual. “There were no behavioral signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse of the Captain, First Officer and the Cabin Crew,” according to the report. There were also no unusual weather patterns at the time of the disappearance.

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Demonstrators hold a banner that reads, “Where is flight MH370” during a silent march towards the Elysée Palace in Paris with a petition signed by 18,000 people, on the first anniversary of the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, on March 8, 2015.

Photo by Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images

Family members were quick to express their anger at the report, saying it offers no new information that could help explain what happened. Some family members of MH370 passengers believe the government is hiding information, reports the BBC. “It's just taking a lot of people’s emotion on a big merry-go-round. It’s a bit cruel,” Raymund Gagarin, whose cousin Anne Daisy was a passenger, said. Against all hope, some continue to believe in the theory that the plane was diverted and its passengers taken off the plane. Authorities, however, continue to insist the most likely scenario is that it crashed into the southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said the country remains committed to finding the missing plane. "The disappearance of MH370 is without precedent, and so too is the search—by far the most complex and technically challenging in aviation history," Najib said in a statement quoted by Reuters. Earlier, Malaysia’s transport minister had said that if nothing is found by May, investigators will have to “go back to the drawing board,” reports the Independent. In Australia, meanwhile, the government vowed to continue the search even if nothing is found in the current search area. “We owe it to the families of the dead, we owe it to the traveling public, to do whatever we reasonably can to resolve this mystery,” Prime Minister Tony Abbot said, according to the Sydney Morning Herald.

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Liu Kun holds his mobile phone with a photo of his brother Liu Qiang, a passenger on Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, on March 7, 2015 in Beijing.

Photo by Kevin Frayer/Getty Images

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.