Air crash investigators have discovered evidence of a mysterious power cut during the early stage of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight, the British daily newspaper the Telegraph reported Sunday.
Australian Transport Safety Bureau, revealed in a report that the missing Boeing 777's satellite data unit had unexpectedly tried to log on to a satellite, less than 90 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
“A log-on request in the middle of a flight is not common,” the report said.
“An analysis was performed which determined that the characteristics and timing of the logon requests were best matched as resulting from power interruption,” it added.
This request, known as a 'handshake', was likely to have been caused by a power failure on board, the 55-page report said.
According to the report, the plane had tried a further six times to log-on to satellites. The final attempt at a handshake is believed to have been caused by the plane crashing into the Indian Ocean.
Explaining the possible reason behind the power cut, Peter Marosszeky, an aviation expert from the University of New South Wales said that the interruption of electrical power on board of the Beijing-bound plane could have been the result of a hijacking attempt.
“If there was a crew wanting to do something that was rather sinister or there were hijackers on board, they would remove power by opening up the bus-tie breakers and opening up the battery control switch. That way the aircraft virtually loses all power to just about all systems except the engines,” Marosszeky said.
“The engines have their own little computer and they have their own power source by a generator on the gearbox,” he said.
“You can reset the power in some way, this way the aircraft would go dead as far as any satellite contact or any information being transmitted by transponders. They can reinstate it and re-initialise the flight management computers ... it has to be a very clever pilot or person that really knows that aeroplane to be able to achieve that,” Marosszeky added.
The report, which was released last Thursday, also suggests that the passengers and crew died from suffocation as the plane coasted into the ocean on autopilot.
The conclusion was made by the investigators after the comparison of similar previous flight disasters.
On Friday, the Australian government announced a new search zone that will begin in August.
So far, searchers have found no trace of the plane or its passengers, making the case probably the biggest mystery in aviation history.
The Malaysia Airlines plane went missing on March 8, sparking an international search for the wreckage.