Battery of locator beacon on flight MH370 had run out a year before disappearance

The locator beacon on the plane was not operating
The locator beacon on the plane was not operating

The battery of an underwater locator beacon had run out more than a year before Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared, a report has said.

The report into the progress of the investigation surrounding the vanished plane indicates that those looking for the aircraft would have had less chance of finding it.

It is exactly one year since the plane, which was travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, went missing with 239 people on board.

A huge search operation taking place in the Indian Ocean has so far proved fruitless.

Relatives of passengers and crew today marked the anniversary of the greatest mystery in the history of aviation.

The Malaysian prime minister said he still is hopeful the plane will be found.

Najib Razak said: "The lack of answers and definitive proof - such as aircraft wreckage - has made this more difficult to bear.

"Together with our international partners, we have followed the little evidence that exists. Malaysia remains committed to the search, and hopeful that MH370 will be found."

While the country's government has already formally declared the disappearance of the plane as an accident, and said all those on board are presumed dead, relatives of those on the flight have said they are frustrated by the lack of answers.

Ministers from Australia, China and Malaysia are expected to meet next month to decide on the next course of action for the wide-ranging search.

There has been speculation as to the behaviour of the the flight's captain, father-of-three Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53. Today's report said Capt Shah showed no unusual signs of stress before the plane departed, an interim report on the investigation said.

The report went on: "The captain's ability to handle stress at work and home was good. There was no known history of apathy, anxiety, or irritability.

"There were no significant changes in his lifestyle, interpersonal conflict or family stresses."

It also said there were "no behavioural signs of social isolation, change in habits or interest, self-neglect, drug or alcohol abuse" by Capt Shah, his co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, or the cabin crew.

Financial checks also showed nothing abnormal about their gross monthly income and spending pattern. The report said the captain held several bank accounts and two national trust funds. He had two houses and three vehicles, but there was no record of him having a life insurance policy.

Mr Hamid, had two saving accounts and a national trust fund account. He owned two cars and "spent money on the upkeep" of his cars.

"He does not have much savings in his bank account. He has a life insurance policy," it said.