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    An unidentified woman wearing a mask depicting the flight of the missing Malaysia Airline, MH370, poses in front of the wall of hope at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, Monday, March 17, 2014

    MH370: How a Cargo of Fruit and Batteries Could Have Downed the Doomed Plane

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    Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished in March 2014 after making a leftward detour and flying toward the Indian Ocean; truth-seekers still place the potential crash site in various locations, including the Cambodian jungle and the bottom of the Indian Ocean.

    An MH370 hunter came up with a wild theory suggesting that the fateful flight MH370 could have smashed into the ocean due to its huge combustible haul of lithium-ion batteries and fruit.

    The flight disappeared on 8 March 2014 with 239 passengers and crew while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The plane was carrying 5 tonnes of mangosteens (tropical fruits about the size of a tangerine) and 221kg of lithium-ion batteries.

    Electrolytes in such batteries are highly flammable at high temperatures. According to Clive Irving, an aviation journalist and the author of Wide-Body: The Triumph of the 747, a battery shake probably started a blaze on the Boeing, which eventually brought it down.

    He claimed that the blaze could have disabled the plane's fire suppression system. "The cargo hold has a special liner intended to contain a fire until it is extinguished," he said.

    "A battery fire might well have been intense enough to breach the liner and, in doing so, allow the airflow to weaken the concentration (and therefore the effectiveness) of the Halon gas used as a fire suppressant."

    In October 2015, the US Federal Aviation Administration backed a ban on shipping rechargeable lithium batteries on passenger airlines, citing "immediate and urgent" risks.

    According to an FAA hazardous materials official, there was evidence that the batteries could lead to "explosions and fires capable of destroying a plane". 

    Months earlier, Boeing warned airlines against carrying bulk shipments of the batteries over fears of "unacceptable fire hazards".

    READ MORE: Researchers Say Investigators Ignored Major Factor in Search for MH370's Debris

    However, a report by Malaysian authorities in the summer of 2018 ruled out fire as the cause of the tragedy. Investigators said that a battery fire was "highly improbable" due to the comparatively short flight duration, and that fruit and batteries were properly packaged and couldn't have mixed up into a deadly cocktail.

    They concluded that the Boeing was turned around over the South China Sea manually rather than by autopilot but failed to identify who had interfered with the plane's controls.

    Two major search operations in the part of the Indian Ocean where the plane supposedly crashed have yielded no results. The world is still wondering what happened to the jet while numerous theories remain ranging from technical issues to a pilot-suicide flight.

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    Tags:
    crash, accident, fire, lithium ion battery, MH370, Malaysia Airlines, Malaysia
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