Some Experts Believe MH370's Pilot Was on a Suicide-Murder Mission

One piece of evidence finds Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah deviated slightly over Penang, his childhood home.

by Julian Morgans
15 May 2018, 8:52am

The doomed plane, as seen in 2011. Image via Wiki Commons

On the 8th of March, 2014, Malaysian Airlines flight 370 left Kuala Lumpur, headed for Beijing. Less than an hour after takeoff it deviated from its flight path, flying in a southwesterly direction until it eventually plunged 239 people into a remote swath of the Indian Ocean.

Now, just over four years later, the consensus from a number of experts brought together by current affairs show 60 Minutes is that the disaster was no accident. As air crash investigator Larry Vance summarises: "the disappearance of MH370 was a man-made event".

While they disagreed on certain points, all five experts on Sunday night's 60 Minutes episode thought the most likely scenario was that Malaysian Airlines pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, flew the plane deliberately off course and ditched it into the ocean.

First, they point to the way the plane's communications systems were manually cut before the plane quietly traversed Thai and Malaysian airspace, heading south. There was no communication with any air traffic controllers in the hours after, and no emergency distress calls.

A particularly affecting insight came from senior pilot and instructor, Simon Hardy, who noted that MH370 had made an odd detour over the Malaysian region of Penang, which happens to be the pilot’s home state. In the same way pilots will dip their wing over famous landmarks to give passengers a better look, Simon believes that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah wanted to wish his childhood home one final goodbye.

For air crash investigator Larry Vance, the most damning piece of evidence washed up on the Indian Ocean island of Réunion in 2015. This was the infamous "flaperon", which is a movable part of the wing controlling the plane's roll and bank. Surprisingly for Larry, the flaperon was found almost completely intact, indicating that the plane had hit the water slowly and in a controlled landing.

In an article published in Tuesday’s the Australian, Larry explained that in previous crash investigations, planes that crash into water are usually reduced to tiny fragments. "When Swissair 111 hit the ocean at high speed off Nova Scotia, it exploded due to the hydrodynamic pressure of impacting with the water and came apart into some two million pieces," Larry wrote. "In the case of MH370, essentially, the ­entire right-wing flaperon was ­recovered… there should have remained little doubt that a pilot was controlling MH370 at the end of its flight."

As Larry Vance suggested on 60 Minutes, in his article and his upcoming book, all this suggests that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah deliberately depressurised the plane, knocking all passengers and staff unconscious, and then piloted the plane on a suicide mission to a predetermined remote location where he knew there was little chance the plane would be found.

This is despite the fact that intense scrutiny of Captain Shah’s home life and medical records have failed to show any evidence of mental illness. There was, however, a flight simulator found at his home, with a deleted file that included a practice run over the Indian Ocean.

{The simplicity of the disappearance of MH370 comes down to this: either it was a criminal act or it was not," writes Larry Vance. "The evidence confirms it was a criminal act, committed by one ­individual who, as a pilot in the aeroplane, had a simple means to carry it out."

This article originally appeared on VICE AU.

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