Malaysian authorities said Monday they had failed to determine the cause of the 2014 disappearance of the aircraft, but highlighted lapses by air traffic control in complying with operating procedures — without suggesting they were to blame for its loss.
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, the chairman of the Civil Aviation Authority of Malaysia (CAAM), said in a statement that while the report did not fault the Department of Civil Aviation, there was evidence Kuala Lumpur Air Traffic Control Center “did not comply with certain Standard Operating Procedures”.
“Over the past four years, I have tried my level best to assist in the search for MH370 and I am ever resolute in finding answers we all seek towards this unfortunate tragedy as we owe it to the families and loved ones,” he said. “I am saddened to have to leave under these circumstances.”
His resignation will take effect in 14 days.
MH370 disappeared while carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, and remains one of the world’s most mysterious aviation disasters.
Speaking at a press conference Tuesday, lead investigator Kok Soo Chon said the aircraft turned back towards Malaysia under manual control, but it could not be determined whether it was being flown by the pilot or if there had been any unlawful interference.
Chon ruled out other factors, including the pilot’s mental state, aircraft malfunction or remote control of operation systems, as contributors to the aircraft’s disappearance.
An initial search for the plane, carried out by Malaysia, China, and Australia, was called off in January 2017 after failing to find any trace of the plane within a 710,000-plus square kilometer area of the Indian Ocean. A private company reached an agreement with the Malaysian government to extend the search, but that ended in May.