Experts finally agree: MH370 crash was deliberate act by suicidal pilot
14 May 2018
Aviation experts believe they have unravelled the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. During Sunday's episode of Australian current affairs program 60 Minutes, four leading aviation experts have agreed the disappearance of the flight was the deliberate act of someone on board.
The panel of experts claimed the plane's pilot Captain Zaharie Amad Shah deliberately crashed the jet in the Indian Ocean as part of a "murder-suicide" plan.
This was after reporter Tara Brown boasted the program’s expert panel would provide a “final reckoning” for the cause of the disaster.
According to Larry Vance, a former senior investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Zaharie executed a careful series of manoeuvres across Thailand and Malaysia to evade detection.
The pilot “was killing himself” and took the plane to the most remote spot he could in the southern Indian Ocean so it would “disappear”, the experts said. The panel also included renowned aviation safety expert Captain John Cox and Martin Dolan, who was chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau when Flight MH370 vanished on 8 March 2014.
Veteran Boeing 777 pilot Simon Hardy was also on the panel, which also heard from leading oceanographer Charitha Pattiaratchi. The verdict of the panel was unanimous.
“This was planned, this was deliberate, and it was done over an extended period of time,” Dolan said.
“This was a criminal act,” Vance agreed. He said the public should “take comfort” in this finding, as it ruled out a catastrophic malfunction that could be repeated in other Boeing 777s.
Simon Hardy was of the firm opinion that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was the culprit. He based this on evidence the plane dipped its wing over Penang, the captain’s home town, possibly as a farewell.
“And after two months, three months of thinking about it, I finally got the answer – somebody was looking out the window,” Hardy said. “It might [be] a long, emotional goodbye or a short, emotional goodbye to his hometown.”
The captain’s flight simulator, found in his home, had also plotted a one-way trip to the depths of the Indian Ocean, similar to MH370’s presumed flight path. And the plane appeared to very deliberately dodge military radar along the Malaysian and Thai border.
“As the aircraft went across Thailand and Malaysia, it runs down the border, which is wiggling underneath, meaning it’s going in and out of those two countries, which is where their jurisdictions are,” Hardy said.
“If you were commissioning me to do this operation and try and make a 777 disappear, I would do exactly the same thing.”
Others on the panel were warier of accusing the pilot personally. But they all agreed it was highly improbable the plane veered off course by accident.
“One in a trillion,” one expert said.
The only real disagreement between the panellists was over whether the plane dove into the ocean at high-speed or was guided into a relatively soft landing on the waves.
Dolan and the experts' claims came just days after John Dawson, a lawyer who represented nine families from MH370 and MH17, told News Corp Australia, “In MH370, you have the pilot flying between Malaysia and Beijing who turns back the aircraft. The evidence is so heavily weighted to involvement by one of the aircrew taking this aircraft down ... that aircraft has probably depressurized, the people died of asphyxiation, it was premeditated murder."
Explaining the reason for Zaharie's alleged attempt to avoid detection by flying a course along the border between Malaysian and Thai air space, Simon Hardy said this was done "so both of the controllers aren’t bothered about this mysterious aircraft. Cause it’s, ‘Oh, it's gone. It’s not in our space any more’.”
Flight MH370 went missing in 2014 with 239 people on board while on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A multimillion-dollar search failed to yield concrete clues as to the plane's whereabouts. Currently, a US company named Ocean Infinity is searching for the jetliner, under a "no cure, no fee" structure.
Since the plane went missing, several conspiracy theories emerged about the fate of the doomed jet. Most recently, an Australian mechanical engineer and crash investigator claimed MH370 was found with "bullet holes". This claim was made based on Google Earth images purporting to shows the missing jetliner in the water 10 miles south of Mauritius, an island nation in the Indian Ocean where the plane debris had earlier washed up.
However, authorities rejected the claims saying no such finding was made.
The latest comments from the experts are not the first time doubts were raised about the plane's pilot's involvement in the tragedy. In 2016, reports surfaced alleging the pilot of the missing Boeing 777-200 took the plane on a premeditated suicidal flight, giving rise to the "death dive" theory.
An investigation was launched after New York Magazine reported Zaharie performed a simulated flight on his extensive home-built flight simulator that mirrored MH370's known flight path and ended with a crash in the Indian Ocean.
But authorities investigating the disappearance of Flight MH370 did not confirm the theory.
Some reports claimed a possible electrical issue resulted in a fire on board the plane. Due to this the crew allegedly passed out from smoke inhalation, and the plane continued on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and crashed.