Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Malaysian Radar Was Wrong, Plane Flew Steadily Until Out Of Fuel

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 did not climb to 45,000 feet then dive steeply to 23,000 feet or even lower after it made an unscheduled turnaround in the middle of its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, investigators now say. The new conclusions fly in the face of earlier readings that came from Malaysia’s own radar facilities, indicating the drastic shifts in altitude by the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

Instead, investigators now believe that Flight MH370 was never seriously damaged in flight and flew a steady course after the U-turn — finally running out of fuel and ditching somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean.

“The primary radar data pertaining to altitude is regarded as unreliable,” former Australian military chief Angus Houston, who is in charge of the ongoing search for the mysteriously vanished plane, told The New York Times.

Houston would not offer any speculation on why the plane might have embarked on what now appears to be a tightly controlled mission to nowhere.

But the new examination of Malaysian radar data that led to these new conclusions has also resulted in the primary area where the investigators believe the plane could be found, which is a region hundreds of miles southwest of the zone where search efforts for the Malaysia Airlines plane have been focused so far.

Earlier speculations from experts who were part of the Flight MH370 investigation have ranged from a contained fire inside the cabin that caused the passengers and crew to pass out and die while the Boeing 777 continued on automatic pilot, to a possible suicide by the pilot or co-pilot, who might have commandeered the plane.

On Sunday, Malaysian police sources said that the Malaysia Airlines pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah was the chief suspect in the plane’s disappearance and presumable destruction.

But officials in Malaysia have now scoffed at the accusations against Shah as “speculation.”

“Don’t listen to speculation, basically it’s not fair to the pilot’s family,” said Malaysia’s acting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein. “It’s about family and he has children and this time, if you’re wrong, how are you going to repair the damage?”

Malaysian police condemned the report, which first appeared in London’s Sunday Times, as “irresponsible” and “baseless.”

Nonetheless, nearly four months later, the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 remains as baffling a mystery now as it did on March 8 when the plane lost communication with ground controllers, made a U-turn over the Gulf of Thailand, and vanished for good when it crossed Sumatra, an island in Indonesia.

Sometime this week, Australian officials are expected to announce that the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which was suspended in late May, will start up again in August.