What happened to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Latest theories

What happened to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? Latest theories

Just 39 minutes into its journey on March 8, 2014, from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the plane lost contact with Malaysia Airlines and crashed at an unknown location killing all 239 people on board.

What happened to the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

Passengers included Chinese calligraphers, a couple on their way home to their young sons after a long-delayed honeymoon and a construction worker who hadn’t been home in a year.

But at 1.21am, the plane lost contact with the Kuala Lumpur Area Control Centre while over the South China Sea heading towards Beijing.

Before that, Malaysian authorities believe the last words heard from the plane, from either the pilot or co-pilot, was “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.

Experts have calculated the most likely crash site around 1,000 miles west of Perth, Australia, but a huge search of the seabed failed to find any wreckage.

  • March 8 2014, 1.21am: Thirty-nine minutes after take-off, over the South China Sea, the position symbol of flight 370 vanishes from the radar at the Kuala Lumpur Area Control Centre. Data from a Malaysian military radar shows the plane “almost immediately” turn southwest and back towards the Malay peninsula.
  • 2.22am: Having crossed back over the peninsula and turned north towards the Bay of Bengal, the plane has its last contact with the military radar.
  • Shortly after: Satellite data shows the plan make what investigators said was its “final major turn” and head south, into the Indian Ocean.
  • 2.39am: A ground-to-aircraft phone call, made through the plane’s satellite link, goes unanswered.
  • 5.30am: A seach-and-rescue effort is launched.
  • 7.24am: Malaysia Airlines released a statement announcing that Flight 370 is missing.
  • Over the following weeks: A major search effort scours 1,700,000 square miles over a period of 52 days.
  • April 28: The surface search is called off having failed to find any debris from the plane. Another phase is launched that will use sonar to scan the ocean floor.
  • Late July: Debris that investigators say is “certain” to have come from the plane is found washed up on the island of Réunion.
  • January 2017: Almost three years after the crash, the underwater search for the plane is officially suspended. The search covered more than 46,000 square miles of the Indian Ocean floor but failed to locate the wreckage.

What are the theories about what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

Vladimir Putin

Some feared Russian president Vladimir Putin was involved in the hijacking of MH370.

US Science writer Jeff Wise claimed Putin “spoofed” the plane’s navigation data so it could fly unnoticed into Baikonur Cosmodrome so he could “hurt the West”.

French ex-airline director Marc Dugain accused the US military of shooting down the plane because they feared it had been hijacked.
A book called Flight MH370 – The Mystery also suggested that it had been shot down accidentally by US-Thai joint jet fighters during a military exercise and that the incident was covered up.

Suicide

Malaysia police chief Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar suggested the disappearance could have been the result of a suicide.

He claimed someone on board could have taken out a large life insurance package before getting on the plane, so they could treat their family or pay back the money they owed.

In hiding?

Historian and writer Norman Davies suggested MH370 could have been remotely hacked and flown to a secret location as a result of sensitive material being carried aboard the jet.

Cracks in the plane

Malaysia Airlines found a 15-inch crack in the fuselage of one of its planes, days before MH370 disappeared.

The Federal Aviation Administration insists it issued a final warning two days before the disappearance.

But the Daily Mirror claimed the missing jet “did not have the same antenna as the rest of the Boeing 777s” so it did not receive the warning.

Ghost plane

Aviation expert Christine Negroni has speculated that the plane’s cabin suffered a sudden depressurisation.

She said if Captain Shah had been on a break at the time, co-pilot Abdul Hamid would have been the only person left alive for hours before the plane crashed.

Speaking to the Star, she said: “The sudden lack of oxygen would have killed all passengers and crew within 15 minutes.

“However, Hamid was insulated from its worst effects in the cockpit.”

She said a degree of oxygen deprivation for Hamid would explain why the plane made a series of such dramatic turns before disappearing.

Pilot planned the incident

Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull unexpectedly said it was “very likely that the captain planned this shocking event”.

He claimed the pilot wanted to “create the world’s greatest mystery”.

Another theory claimed that he hijacked his own plane in protest of the jailing of then-Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, and as a way to destabilise the corrupt government of Najib Razak.

Another seemingly far-fetched idea said the pilot had deliberately crashed the plane to cover his track as he had parachuted out of the plane so he could spend the rest of his life with his girlfriend who was waiting in a boat in the sea.

North Korea took the plane

In the wake of the incident, South Korea noted that North Korea nearly took out a Chinese plane which had 220 passengers on board, on March 5, 2014.

Some fear Pyongyang shot the plane down, but others believe it was hijacked and diverted into the communist nation.

Victims mobile phones ringing

One theory claims that many relatives were able to hear a ringing tone for up to four days after the crash so the doomed jet could not have smashed into the Indian Ocean.

Nineteen families have claimed the devices of their loved ones rang for up to four days after the jet went missing.

However, wireless analysts claim that phone firms sometimes use a phantom ringing sound when the device is not active, the Daily Star reports.

Snowden revelations

One theory links the disappearance of the plane to Edward Snowden’s revelations about the extent of US surveillance in 2013, The Week reports.

It involves the fact that on board the plane were 20 employees of a company called Freescale Semiconductor, which the Snowden documents suggested could have helped the National Security Agency to develop technologies used in surveillance.

Discussing the theory, Reddit user DarkSpectre wrote: “This bunch of US chip guys working for a global leader in embedded processing solutions (embedded smart phone tech and defence contracting) all together… on a plane… and disappeared. Coincidence?”

Crashed in the Cambodian jungle

In September 2018, British video producer Ian Wilson claimed to have found the missing aircraft using Google Maps.

Despite millions being spent on the search to located the wreckage, the Brit sleuth believes he has found the jet in a mountainous area of the Cambodian jungle.

In response, the Chinese government used observation company Space View to focus in on the high-altitude area on the outskirts of Phnom Penh.

However, the firm claim there was no sign of any plane, least of all the Malaysian Airlines aircraft which has been missing since March 2014.

An MH370 sleuth has claimed that locals in Cambodia told him they saw a plane believed to be the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight crashing in the jungle.

CIA claims by ex-Malaysian PM

Ex-Malaysian prime minister Mahathir Mohamad has speculated without evidence that the CIA was involved in the incident.

“Airplanes don’t just disappear,” he wrote in a blogpost.

“Certainly not these days with all the powerful communication systems, radio and satellite tracking and filmless cameras which operate almost indefinitely and possess huge storage capacities.

“For some reason, the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA.”

The plane was heading for Kazakhstan

If the jet was flying north then possible crash locations could stretch as fast as the border between Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Thailand.

The Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak originally asked the Kazakhstan leader Nursultan Nazarbayev to set up a search operation in the country but this quickly got sidelined as the rescue efforts focused on the Indian Ocean.

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