Inside conspiracy theories of vanished flight
In the early hours of March 8, 2014, pilot Zahri Ahmad Shah piloted Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 just before 12:45 a.m. local time.
All was routine on the Boeing 777 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, as the plane prepared to leave Malaysian airspace and fly across the South China Sea to Vietnam.
“Good night, Malaysian 370,” Shah said to the air traffic controllers as they prepared to relay communications duties to the Vietnamese.
Those were the last words heard on board Flight MH370 with 239 people on board, which mysteriously lost all radar contact after only a minute and a half.
The flight disappeared without a trace and to this day, what actually happened in the air remains one of the greatest mysteries in aviation history.
A new one Netflix The documentary, “MH370: The Plane That Missed,” examines several theories about what happened that night.
Former Malaysia Airlines crisis director Fouad Shrouji said in archived footage that the flight had about seven hours of fuel.
Although all radar communications from MH370 were lost, the plane was still talking electronically to a satellite operated by a British company called Inmarsat.
“Every hour, the Inmarsat system was checking that the aircraft’s satellite terminal was responding … these pings continued for six hours after the last contact,” Inmarsat representative Mark Dickinson said in the documents.
But the Inmarsat data could only confirm that the flight was still in the air because it lacked GPS-tracking capabilities. Nevertheless, it was able to determine how far the ship was from the satellite it was communicating with.
Based on this information, two speculative routes have been drafted, showing how and where the plane turned. In both cases, MH370 did not continue to mainland Vietnam, but instead turned west over Malaysia. From there, it is speculated that the flight either went north to Central Asia – or via Australia to the southern Indian Ocean.
The latter route is the most likely scenario, widely agreed upon by experts. But what actually happened in the air is still in dispute. Was Shah cheated? Or was another state responsible for the unknown fate of the flight? A final commission report on MH370 noted that “the team has been unable to determine the true cause of the disappearance.”
The most complex evidence for this theory is that Shah, a veteran pilot, intended to commit a mass-murder suicide by crashing the plane into the Indian Ocean. He found a flight simulator inside his housewhich hit the headlines in 2016.
It was here that Shah reportedly flew a simulation of the plane’s suspicious, off-charted final course over the ocean just months before MH370 took off.
But the domestic simulator data isn’t the “smoking gun” it seems, says Mike Exner of the Independent Group, a watchdog panel of aviation experts set up to get the truth on the final hours of flight.
“It’s very strange that you would have a simulation end with fuel exhaustion in the southern Indian Ocean,” admits Exner. “I don’t think that taking the simulator data by itself proves much … the simulator data is not the whole puzzle, it’s just one piece in the puzzle that fits.”
Jeff Wise, an aviation journalist whose theories about flight became controversial among experts, claims that The FBI knew about the route in Flight Simulator in 2014.
Wise says the viability of taking out Shah’s plane alone would require an “aggressive and sophisticated” ruse, including locking his co-pilot out of the cockpit, eliminating radar communications and the cabin to prevent interference. includes pressurizing
Meanwhile, a possible motive remains unclear.
The final report on MH370 found that “there is no evidence to suggest any recent behavioral changes. [pilot]”
Wise, a former member of the independent group, has another working theory about the whereabouts of MH370 – but it seems closer to the plot of a James Bond film than anything else.
A few months after the flight was lost, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, another 777 Killed by a surface-to-air missile Ukraine was attacked by Russia at the same time as neighboring Crimea.
Examining the flight logs, Wise found that there were three Russian passengers on board MH370 – all of them seated next to the electric hatch. He theorized that two of the three created a diversion while the other member snuck below deck to remotely control the plane’s flight.
Instead of sending it south, Wise theoretically brought it to the former Soviet republic of Kazakhstan.
But this theory was soon grounded.
“Anyone who gets into the hatch can disable the transponder and disable the communication systems,” Shruji says. “But it’s impossible to fly a plane from the avionics compartment.”
Wise’s colleagues were also quick to reject the idea.
“[The group is] Pretty sure the plane turned south and not north. It was amazing that Jeff decided to go down this path,” Exner says.
Wise’s speculation ended with his removal from the independent group.
Another wild theory is that the US military, which was conducting training exercises in the South China Sea at the time, shot down MH370 at the point where it lost radar contact between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace.
French journalist Florence de Changi has observed that cargo carried by MH370 – and “secured” – included 2.5 tonnes of electronic equipment without being scanned before loading.
“It’s public knowledge that China was very keen to get very sensitive American technology in the area of surveillance, stealth, drone technology,” de Changy says. “It could be at the heart of what happened to MH370.”
The United States had two radar jamming aircraft that were compatible with the Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) system around the night MH370 flew. De Changi theorized that they had been used to make the plane electronically off radar and told the Shah to land.
When she decided to keep the flight on course, she claims that “either through a missile strike or a mid-air collision, MH370 met its fate.”
But, like Wise, de Changi has no evidence for his theory – and it’s not even supported by Inmarsat data estimates. Exner is also critical that she is also using the provocative thesis to promote her 2021 book, “The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case of MH370.”
“I’m reluctant to talk about Florence or Jeff or the lawyers of these conspiracies,” said Exner, who admits that the most logical conclusion doesn’t read like a Tom Clancy novel and lies within the Indian Ocean.
“They’re just so delusional … these are people who don’t really understand the facts and the data.”