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Malaysia government report on Flight 370: Could cargo have downed the plane?

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The Malaysia government issued a five-page investigation report Thursday that seems to raise even more questions about the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, including the inclusion of the cargo manifest that lists a load of lithium-ion batteries that, if certain conditions were met, could have brought the plane down.

The Daily Beast reported May 1 that the load of batteries, damaged and/or deteriorating, could have emitted toxic fumes that in some way affected the flight of the Boeing 777. In fact, all the load, 440 pounds of batteries, had to do was overheat. Among the toxic fumes generated by an overheated lithium-ion battery is arsenic.

Outlined in a red box on the cargo manifest was: “The package must be handled with care and that a flammability hazard exists if the package is damaged. Special procedures must be followed in the event the package is damaged, to include inspection and repacking if necessary.”

According to MedScape.com, exposure to arsine gas manifests as hemolytic anemia (symptoms include fatigue, shortness of breath, and heart failure) and intense chills. Chronic exposure to arsenic can lead to altered mental status, delirium, and becoming comatose. Incapacitation of the Boeing 777's 239 passengers and crew could help explain why the plane altered course and flew on for eight hours (the last time a satellite pinged a location of the jet, which was over the south Indian Ocean). The "Ghost Plane" or "Zombie Plane" theory of how the plane went missing covers such a scenario. The lithium-ion batteries could provide the causative factor.

The 440 pounds of lithium-ion batteries was six-and-a-half times more than the regular batteries used aboard bigger Boeing 787 planes.

The Malaysia government lists nothing amiss with the load or with its handling.

The report is the Malaysia government's first on missing Flight MH370 and is being criticized for its lack of detail. It is dated April 9, a month and a day after the Malaysia Airlines jet went missing.

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