MH370 would have turned into a ‘flying fireball’ if lithium batteries exploded inside hold, pilot claims

Retired United Airlines captain Ross Aimer, who has 40 years of flying experience, believes this might be why it has never been found.

He believes even a "hard shake" of the batteries could have sparked a horror blaze during the doomed flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The CEO of Aero Consulting Experts told Daily Star Online: "There have been several other fires that were attributed to lithium-ion batteries.

"They are a very unstable type and once it starts running away it's almost impossible to put it out.

"It could be as simple as a hard shake. Sometimes for absolutely for no other reason (they catch fire)."

According to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), there have been 225 air or airport related incidents involving the batteries since 1991.

And in August this year, Ryanair passengers were forced to evacuate a plane in Barcelona after a mobile phone battery caught fire on-board.

Crash investigators have already looked into claims that a huge haul of lithium batteries that were on board flight MH370 when it crashed.

The Malaysian government’s final report into the mysterious 2014 crash which killed 239 people even addressed the theory.

Chief investigator Dr Kok Soo Chon said the 221kg consignment of lithium-ion batteries was so big it could not be X-rayed at Kuala Lumpur airport.

However, the report says it is "highly improbable" that the batteries sparked a fire on the plane that caused it to crash.

One theory had been that the batteries may have reacted to 4.5 tonnes of a tropical fruit that were also on board, producing a short circuit and/or fire.

But the report said: "This was highly improbable on board MH370 with a comparatively short flight duration and under controlled conditions."

At the weekend, we reported how another expert said debris believed to be from the missing flight suggests the doomed plane crashed at “high speed”.

Five new pieces of debris, which washed up on a beach in Madagascar, could offer new clues as to what happened to the plane which was carrying 239 people.

Aviation expert Victor Iannello believes one fragment, which appears to be from the interior floorboard, is consistent with a “high-speed impact".

Iannello, who works for the Independent Group (IG) which is assisting Australian officials search for the missing plane, discussed about the piece of debris on his blog.

He wrote: "The part’s location in the B777 and the nature of the damage is consistent with a high speed impact, and therefore has probative value."

The expert said the discovery could shed light onto what happened to MH370 – including where and how it plummeted into the vast Indian Ocean.

He identified three possibilities including an area previously scanned by sonar which was either missed or misidentified – a scenario he says is “very unlikely.”

Iannello says the plane could have crashed close to a line known as the “seventh arc” which is west of Australia but further north to the area previously scanned.

The third possibility is that it smashed into the ocean at a latitude previously searched but which is much further from the seventh arc area than experts assumed.


Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur and was heading to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Passengers included Chinese calligraphers, a couple on their way home to their young sons after a long-delayed honeymoon and a construction worker who hadn't been home in a year.

But at 12.14am on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines lost contact with MH370 close to Phuket island in the Strait of Malacca.

Before that, Malaysian authorities believe the last words heard from the plane, from either the pilot or co-pilot, was "Good night Malaysian three seven zero".

Satellite "pings" from the aircraft suggest it continued flying for around seven hours when the fuel would have run out.

Experts have calculated the most likely crash site around 1,000 miles west of Perth, Australia.

But a huge search of the seabed failed to find any wreckage – and there are a number of alternative theories as to its fate.

Relatives of the plane crash unveiled the peice of debris this week claiming a "massive breakthrough" in the search for the missing aircraft.

Speaking at a news conference this morning they pleaded for more cash to allow search efforts to continue.

New debris was held up by Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of MH370 Steward Patrick Gomes, as other relatives begged government officials not to stop looking.

Also leading the presentation was Grace Nathan, daughter of the flight passenger Anne Daisy.

The pair clutched what they claimed were plane parts as they demanded a fresh inquiry into the Malaysia Airlines mystery.

Ms Nathan said: "The fact that debris is still washing up now means that the investigation should still be live. It shouldn't be closed."

Transport Minister Anthony Loke, who met the next of kin, said the government would consider resuming a search if provided with credible leads.

He said: "We are open to proposals, but we must have some credible leads before we decide."

Malaysian and international investigators believe the jet veered thousands of miles off course from its scheduled route before eventually plunging into the Indian Ocean.

More than 30 bits of aircraft debris have been collected from various places around the world but only three wing fragments have been confirmed to be from MH370.

In July, investigators released a 495-page report, saying the plane's controls were likely deliberately manipulated to take it off course but they were not able to determine who was responsible.


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