Aviation

MH370 investigation suspects pilot was in control until the end

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

The latest step in an ongoing French investigation into the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has revealed suspicions the pilot was in control of the plane until it crashed.

On 8 March 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished over the Indian Ocean during its flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, carrying 239 people on board. Among them were six Australians.

In the five years since its disappearance, there have been as many theories as calls for answers, with the dominant theory being that of a suicide by the aircraft’s captain and a mysterious cover-up.

French news agency Le Parisien has reported that new information suggests that Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who was the pilot of the Boeing 777 plane, was in control of the jet until it disappeared. This comes after French investigators were given access to Boeing flight data at the manufacturer’s headquarters.

“Some abnormal turns made by the 777 can only be done manually,” Le Parisien quoted an anonymous investigator as saying.

Malaysian investigators have previously stated that apart from Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, none of the other 10 crew on board MH370 had any flight training.

France remains the only country still involved in investigations into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, following the Gendarmerie of Air Transport’s reopening of investigations last year after a Malaysian report came to no final conclusions of what may have happened.

Malaysia Airlines has previously said that it is more than willing to continue the search for the missing aircraft if it receives credible leads.

This came after Malaysia, China and Australia called off a two-year, $200 million search in the southern Indian Ocean in January 2017 after finding no trace of the aircraft.

Malaysia Airlines has been contacted for comment by Travel Weekly.

In a detailed report in The Atlantic last month, former pilot and national correspondent for the magazine William Langewiesche revisited the MH370 suicide theory.

Langewiesche interviewed friends of Shah, who confirmed the 53-year-old pilot was depressed and lonely, spending his free time pacing empty rooms in his house and engaging in unrequited flirting with young women on Facebook.

The reporter spoke with a lifelong friend of Shah, who believed the theory “a conclusion he had come to reluctantly”.

“Zaharie’s marriage was bad. In the past he slept with some of the flight attendants. And so what? We all do. You’re flying all over the world with these beautiful girls in the back. But his wife knew,” Shah’s friend, who asked not to be named, told Langewiesche.

“It doesn’t make sense. It’s hard to reconcile with the man I knew. But it’s the necessary conclusion.”

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