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Announcing the release of a widely anticipated safety investigation report, investigators acknowledged a lack of any clear evidence on the plane's ultimate fate, but added it would be presumptuous to suggest this was the end of the matter, given the wreckage had not yet been located.

The plane with 239 people on board vanished March 8, 2014.

The report also highlighted that the two cargo items of interest, the lithium ion batteries and mangosteens, carried on MH370 were in fact packed and loaded according to standard operating procedures.

Speaking at a press conference near the capital Kuala Lumpur, lead investigator Kok Soo Chon said MH370 turned back towards Malaysia under manual control, but it could not be determined whether the plane was being flown by the pilot or if there had been any unlawful interference.

No sign of it was found in a 120,000-square kilometre (46,000-square mile) Indian Ocean search zone and the Australian-led hunt, the largest in aviation history, was suspended in January past year.

"The answer can only be conclusive if the wreckage is found", he said when asked if they would ever find out what happened on the plane.

Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad earlier this year, revived one of the theories behind the disappearance, suggesting it was taken over by remote control to foil a hijack. They were qualified, well-rested and showed no signs of anxiety or stress, he said. However, he said the possibility could not be ruled out as the plane was turned around manually.

A 440-page final report by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) a year ago showed that Zaharie had flown a route on his home flight simulator six weeks earlier that was "initially similar" to the one actually taken by MH370.

Families said the new report pointed to mistakes by the Malaysian air traffic control centre.

The investigators did issue a criticism of air traffic controllers in Malaysia and Vietnam for not sounding the alarm immediately, meaning search and rescue operations were delayed.

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Ms Weeks, who moved from Perth to Queensland after the tragedy, said the search had to go on as the crash may have been due to a problem with the Boeing 777 model.

After years of fruitless searching in the world's most enduring aviation mystery, the report offered nothing concrete to grieving relatives of passengers - most of whom were Chinese - and crew hoping for some sort of closure.

The only confirmed traces of the Boeing 777 aircraft have been three wing fragments washed up on Indian Ocean coasts.

The report said that the distress phase should have been declared by the Malaysian ARCC by 2:27am.

He said however he hoped the government would try to find new clues and consider resuming the search.

The report concluded that several turns that took the plane off its path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing and southwards on its long journey to the southern Indian Ocean were likely made manually, not by the autopilot.

The search resumed in October 2015 but the investigation was constantly hampered by bad weather.

The "rogue pilot" theory still arises in public discussions despite Malaysian authorities saying there was no evidence linking Zaharie or his co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, to any wrongdoing.

Some say this could be down to a deliberate hijacking in which someone damaged the oxygen supply or some kind of accident that harmed the plane's mechanics and affect the plane's oxygen levels.


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