Aviation experts believe they may have solved the mystery of the disappearance of flight MH370, saying the 239 passengers and crew were the victims of a deliberate, criminal act carried out by the plane’s captain.
However, a panel of experts assembled for the Australian TV programme 60 Minutes says the evidence suggests Captain Zaharie Amad Shah executed a careful series of manoeuvres to evade detection and ensure the plane disappeared in a remote location.
Martin Dolan, former head of the Australia Transport Safety Bureau, who led the two-year search for the missing plane, said: “This was planned, this was deliberate, and it was done over an extended period of time.”
The plane was presumed to have flown on autopilot before running out of fuel and plunging into the southern Indian Ocean. However, the wreckage has never been found and the search was suspended in January last year.
The search for MH370
The panel suggested a more gradual descent could mean the search was concentrated in the wrong area and that the plane could still be found largely intact.
Simon Hardy, a Boeing 777 instructor, said Captain Zaharie avoided detection by flying a careful course along the winding border between Malaysian and Thai air space, crossing in and out of radar cover on either side.
“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,’” he told the programme, which was broadcast on Sunday.
“If you were commissioning me to do this operation and try and make a 777 disappear, I would do exactly the same thing.”
He also pointed out the Malaysian captain had made an unexplained turn to fly over his home town of Penang.
“Somebody was looking out the window, It might be a long, emotional goodbye or a short, emotional goodbye to his home town,” he said.