MH370 pilot Captain Zaharie Amad Shah deliberately crashed the aircraft into the ocean in a murder-suicide, according to an Australian TV documentary.
As CBS News reports, an international group of aviation experts, speaking to 60 Minutes Australia, reviewed the evidence and concluded that it was no accident that brought down the aircraft. Rather, it was a deliberate act carried out by a captain who knew exactly what he was doing, says Canadian Air crash investigator Larry Vance.
“He was killing himself; unfortunately, he was killing everybody else on board, and he did it deliberately.”
So how did the experts reach this conclusion?
Deliberately Evading Radar
Reviewing the aircraft’s flight plan and comparing it against military radar, Boeing 777 pilot and instructor Simon Hardy determined that Shah flew the plane along the border of Thailand and Malaysia, deliberately flying in and out of each country’s airspace. That allowed the aircraft to stay off of military radar — and it was a success, says Hardy, since no military aircraft were sent up to dispatch the craft.
“If you were commissioning me to do this operation and try and make a 777 disappear, I would do exactly the same thing.”
Shah was aided, unwittingly, in his suicide mission by his co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, according to The Evening Standard. The inexperienced first officer had never flown a 777 without a training officer beside him, so he may have been unaware of what Shah was doing.
— Nine News Australia (@9NewsAUS) May 12, 2018
A Goodbye Gesture?
Hardy also made another conclusion: as the aircraft was flying over Penang, Malaysia — Shah’s home town — one of the aircraft’s wings dipped. Hardy suggests Shah was looking out the window at his home town one last time.
“It might be a long, emotional goodbye — or a short, emotional goodbye.”
Why So Little Debris Was Found
The fate of MH370 remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history, in no small part because the wreckage was never found, but for a handful of pieces of debris that have washed up here and there.
Hardy thinks investigators have been looking in the wrong place: specifically, Hardy thinks Shah ran the aircraft out of fuel and piloted it far out into the ocean, at least 115 miles further away than previously thought. He believes Shah wanted to “hide” the aircraft as far from civilization as possible.
Shah’s Family Responds
In a statement to CBS, Shah’s family rejected the show’s conclusions.
“Pointing a finger toward him does not make them expert investigators – they have to find the plane.”