Andre Milne has previously spoken of his conviction that the missing jetliner came to rest in the Bay of Bengal while en route to deliberately engage with some sort of “provocative action” with the US military base on the island of Diego Garcia.
Three years after the Beijing-bound flight went missing an hour into its departure from Kuala Lumpur in 2014, Milne believes he has uncovered evidence of an unaccounted passenger aboard the doomed jet.
Official reports state there were 239 souls on MH370, consisting of 12 crew members and 227 passengers. But Milne, of military technology developer Unicorn Aerospace, cites a cargo manifest report from the day, which claims 228 passengers were on board.
He told the Express: “The 228 is number of seats sold as of 2 hours before flight.
“The 228 does not include the 2 children who sit with their parents.
“It has been ‘claimed’ that four people did not board the plane. That would make the final number of seats used down at 224.
“Add the two children and you get 226 passengers. Now add the 12 crew. That means that there should only be 238 missing people and not 239 as is the official record.
“So now we have an ‘extra’ person on board MH370.”
Milne’s theory is that the additional passenger could have been a hijacker who: “Likely acted in conjunction with larger external operational support and control of the cockpit of MH370.”
The newspaper cites a spokesman for the MH370 safety investigation team which claims to be aware of the discrepancy and confirms the actual number of passengers on board was 227.
He said: “The actual figures can differ from that transmitted on the load sheet due to last minute changes.”
Nevertheless, Milne insists to Huffington Post UK that he has “irrefutable” evidence of the extra passenger, down to the seat number and the name used on a “fake” passport.
He added that the authorities are: “More than welcome to be in denial about whatever they want about MH370. They have been proven dead wrong when they denied my claim that their $200 million search would end in total failure.
“The only way now to confirm exactly how many people boarded MH370 is to cross reference every CCTV system that had full coverage of all the doors against how many bodies are physically on board when MH370 is found.”
Milne’s Diego Garcia theory appears to tally with eyewitness accounts from Maldives islanders who claim they saw a low flying jet on the day the aircraft disappeared.
In a letter posted online, Milne writes: “There is no doubt in my mind that MH370 did a soft ditch landing and then slowly sank while drift-gliding to an unknown site whereby using the most basic standards of probability is still likely fully intact precisely where Russian satellite technology identified a corroborative aerospace structure physically present at the depth of 1,000 metres in the Bay of Bengal, two days after MH370 vanished with all passengers and crew.”
Milne’s letter continues: “Please also note that beyond the measurable possibility that MH370 appears to have been used in part by person(s) unknown as a provocative action upon the United States at Diego Garcia, the hard facts that have caused the disappearance of MH370 are an unknown variable.
“The basis of the concern that MH370 was used as a provocative action towards the USA is that whom ever was in control of the flight wanted MH370 to be observed flying south towards Base Diego Garcia by the inhabitants of the Maldive Atolls during daylight hours as reported by witnesses.”
He added: “Any suggestion that MH370 ever landed at Base Diego Garcia is utterly delusional when considering the Russians would not have hesitated one second to settle the score from the Cuban Missile Crisis by showing the world the evidence that would have been generated by the three Russian spy satellites directly over Diego Garcia in geostationary position.”
Milne’s theory the aircraft was engaging in a hostile manner with the base on Diego Garcia is backed by former Proteus Airlines boss Marc Dugain, who has even suggested the plane was shot down by the United States after being remotely hacked – and he cites some of the islanders’ accounts in his findings.
Dugain claims that fearing a 9/11-style terror attack, the USA took action from the British-controlled Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia after learning hackers had taken control of the Boeing 777.
He reports speaking to residents of the Maldives who saw “red and blue stripes with a white background” on a plane heading towards Diego Garcia on the day of MH370’s disappearance.
In an interview with Paris Match magazine, Dugain also claimed to have seen pictures of an empty Boeing fire extinguisher washed up on a beach on the nearby Baarah island.
The former airline boss suggests that Boeing planes are particularly vulnerable to hijacking, and could have been set on fire remotely.
“In 2006, Boeing patented a remote control system using a computer placed inside or outside the aircraft,” Dugain told Paris Match.
He told France Inter: “It’s [Diego Garcia] an extremely powerful military base. It’s surprising that the Americans have lost all trace of this aircraft.”
The couple were travelling from Cochin, India to Phuket on board a 40-foot sloop when Tee saw: “… the outline of a plane. It looked longer than planes usually do. There was what appeared to be black smoke streaming from behind it.”
In June 2014, Dr Alec Duncan of Perth Curtin University Centre for Marine Science and Technology revealed a signal had been detected by sound recorders usually used to monitor whales near Rottnest Island, off the coast of Western Australia.
It was picked up just after 1.30am on the day the aircraft vanished.
Though he cautioned the noise could also have been caused by a natural event, such as an earth tremor, he explained data retrieved from one of the IMOS acoustic recorders “showed a clear acoustic signal at a time that was reasonably consistent with other information relating to the disappearance of MH370.
“The crash of a large aircraft in the ocean would be a high energy event and expected to generate intense underwater sounds.”
While the signal was recorded off the coast of western Australia, the original location of the noise is believed to be around 3,000 miles north-west of the country – placing the point of origin just off the southern tip of India.
Speaking to the New York Times, Dr Duncan added: “It’s not even really a thump sort of sound – it’s more of a dull oomph.”