In the four years since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared, no one’s found any wreckage. But experts on “60 Minutes” are offering a new explanation for why the flight disappeared: murder.
A group comprised of three aviation specialists, the former head of the Australia Transport Safety Bureau, and an oceanographer talked to the Australian news program about the Malaysia Airlines flight that disappeared with its 237 passengers on the path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. And some of them came to the conclusion that the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, wanted himself — and everyone else on board — to die.
"He was killing himself,” Larry Vance, an aircraft investigator from Canada, told “60 Minutes.” “He was killing everyone else onboard. And he did it deliberately."
But what's the pilot's motive? Why didn’t the passengers try to stop him? And why did the plane tilt left twice?
The experts answered some of those questions more definitively than others, but suffice it to say: It’s still unclear what happened to the flight that disappeared on March 8, 2014. Even the assertion that the plane’s disappearance was an act of mass murder is conjecture. The Australia Transportation Bureau poured hundreds of millions of dollars and more than 30 months into the investigation of the flight’s disappearance, which officially ended in January 2017. And the bureau wasn’t ready to offer any reason for why the flight disappeared.
The circumstances, however, have left the tragedy open to a lot of speculation.
Nobody received a mayday signal from the aircraft, and the passengers made no attempt to contact loved ones or call for help because, experts told “60 Minutes,” the passengers were all unconscious. Zaharie could have messed with the cabin pressure of the plane to knock everyone out.
“He was killing everyone else onboard. And he did it deliberately."
Then, the plane took a brief detour to Penang, where its wing dipped left.
“Captain Zaharie dipped his wing to see Penang, his hometown,” Simon Hardy, a Boeing 777 pilot and instructor, said on “60 Minutes.”
“I spent a long time thinking about what this could be, what technical reason is there for this, and, after two months, three months thinking about this, I finally got the answer: Someone was looking out the window.”
Hardy goes on to speculate that the pilot was giving an emotional goodbye to his hometown.
Theories about if and why Zaharie purposely crashed the plane aren’t new. He and his co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, have been singled out as main suspects since the flight first disappeared in early March 2014.
The theories span from Zaharie being suicidal (potentially related to his wife) to protesting the jailing of a Malaysia opposition leader.
And if Zaharie didn’t want to die, plenty of other possibilities exist:
- A group called the Chinese Martyrs’ Brigade dubiously claimed responsibility for the plane’s disappearance.
- Two men were aboard the plane with fake passports (although officials are skeptical they had anything to do with the flight's disappearance).
Cover image: The shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion is seen on low-level cloud while the aircraft searches for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean, near the coast of Western Australia in this March 31, 2014, file photo. (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)