The captain of flight MH370 carefully planned a murder-suicide mission and deliberately crashed the plane, a group of experts – including the man who led the search for the wreckage – has concluded.
Speaking to the TV programme 60 Minutes Australia, the experts said the plane was flown to a remote area before it crashed, thousands of miles from its intended destination.
“This was planned, this was deliberate, and it was done over an extended period of time,” Martin Dolan, who leads the seabed wreckage investigation, said.
Also on the panel, specially convened for the programme but not an official group, was Captain Simon Harvey, a British 777 pilot. He said the mission was “planned meticulously to make the aircraft disappear”, and the route taken along the Thai-Malaysian frontier was to avoid authorities on either side taking action.
He added: “If you were commissioning me to make a 777 disappear, I would do exactly the same thing.”
The Beijing-bound flight with 239 people on board, captained by pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, went missing an hour into its departure from Kuala Lumpur on 8 March 2014.
More than 20 items of debris suspected or confirmed to be from the plane have washed ashore on coastlines throughout the Indian Ocean since, but no definitive answer for its disappearance has been found.
The theory proposed by the experts interviewed echoes that already put forward by others. Crash expert Larry Vance met with investigative journalist Mark Williams-Thomas to discuss the fate of the missing airliner on This Morning last year.
Vance is certain only one theory can account for what happened to the Boeing 777 – that it was brought down intentionally by a pilot.
He said: “This is a mass murder. There’s no other explanation for it. I believe that one of the pilots in the cockpit took the aircraft and landed it deliberately in the ocean so that it would remain basically in one piece and sink to the bottom, and never be seen again.”
The first piece of wreckage found was a manually-operated part from the plane wing, with Williams-Thomas remarking: “What’s crucial about this piece of wreckage is that it was found in the extended position which could only have been done by the pilot to land the plane.”
In January last year the deep-sea search for the missing airliner officially ended, leaving its final resting place one of the world’s greatest aviation mysteries.
“Despite every effort using the best science available ... the search has not been able to locate the aircraft,” Malaysian, Australian and Chinese authorities said in a statement.
“The decision to suspend the underwater search has not been taken lightly nor without sadness.”
Since then a private company has resumed the search.