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Interest flares on claims MH370 ‘deliberately crashed’

May 16, 2018 Headline News No Comments Email Email

Doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has never been found – but nobody likes an insoluble mystery and now leading air safety experts have concluded that the plane’s captain crashed it deliberately in an act of suicide and murder.

Media outlets around the world are commenting on a recent Australian 60 Minutes program which said the pilot of MH370 deliberately dodged radar for hours to ensure the plane was never found.

The program brought together five of the world’s leading aviation experts, namely:

  • Martin Dolan, Chief Commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau when MH370 vanished.
  • Larry Vance, former Senior Investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada.
  • Captain Simon Hardy, B777 specialist pilot and instructor.
  • Captain John Cox, aviation safety expert, pilot, instructor and test pilot.
  • Charitha Pattiaratchi, Professor of Coastal Oceanography at the University of Western Australia.

The Malaysia Airlines B777 that vanished three years ago while operating flight MH370. Photographed in 2011

Dolan, who spent two years heading the search, said: “This was planned, this was deliberate, and it was done over an extended period of time.”

The problem is, nobody can come up with a motive. The backgrounds of the pilot and co-pilot have been exhaustively examined, and no motive has been found. Investigators still don’t know who was at the plane’s controls – or where the plane is now.

The panel’s conclusion was that Captain Zaharie Amad Shah planned and executed a murder-suicide mission that resulted in a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on 8 March 2014 with 239 people aboard disappearing without trace. But plenty of questions remain, as they do in any investigation that has no bodies and no motive.

Chinese anger at Malaysia’s handling of the search for flight MH370 has had a damaging impact on the bilateral relationship

Captain Simon Hardy, a British pilot who has flown B777s extensively in Asia, said the mission was “planned meticulously to make the aircraft disappear”. The pilot flew along the Thai-Malaysian border, Hardy said, which was calculated to reduce the risk of either side taking action.

Meanwhile, a sea search for the plane is still underway. Malaysia had a “no find, no fee” deal in place with Texas-based Ocean Infinity to find MH370. Ocean Infinity was reported to have “90 search days” from 22 January 2018 to find the missing plane and win a reward of up to USD 70 million. That period of time expired on 22 April 2018.

Earlier this month, Ocean Infinity chief executive Oliver Plunkett said the company remained “absolutely determined” to find the plane.

Malaysia’s civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, has said the search will end one month from now, in mid-June.

Written by Peter Needham

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