Flight MH370 Cargo included Lithium-Ion Batteries

March 20, 2014 by Jeff Shepard

The missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was carrying lithium-ion batteries which can be highly flammable. As reported by numerous sources, the confirmation by MAS chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya during one of the daily briefings on the status of the search for the missing aircraft came four days after he denied the aircraft was carrying any hazardous goods. "We carried some lithium-ion small batteries, they are not big batteries and they are basically approved under the ICAO (The International Civil Aviation Organization) under dangerous goods.

"It (lithium-ion battery) is not dangerous goods per se but in terms (of) they are (being) declared as dangerous goods under ICAO," he told a daily briefing on the search of MH370 at Sama-Sama Hotel, KL International Airport. According to a report published by, Jauhari insisted the lithium-ion battery cargo was checked “several times” to ensure it was packed in accordance with ICAO guidelines.

“It is possible that a lithium-type battery or batteries, for reasons which cannot be established, went into an energetic failure characterized by thermal runaway and auto ignited, starting a chain reaction which spread to the available combustible material,” an ICAO report said commenting on an earlier incident involving Li-ion batteries.

Following such concerns, the ICAO last year imposed a new rule requiring any shipment containing more than two lithium-ion batteries to comply with a detailed hazardous goods requirement. The possibility of fire as a result of lithium-ion batteries that led to the loss of Flight MH370 was first raised by CNN on Mach 14, but little attention was paid to it as authorities declined to reveal the content of the plane’s cargo, the report concluded.