MH370 is considered the biggest aviation mystery of all time not least because an in-flight mishap was considered almost impossible, in a terrifying paradox with eerie parallels to the sinking of the Titanic.
The Mystery of MH370
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. To this day, the official investigation has not been able to say definitively what happened to it. The main theory is that the plane took a U-turn, flew back to Malaysia and up the Malacca Strait, before turning south over the southern Indian Ocean and finally crashing into the sea, west of Australia.
However, despite significant search efforts in this area, no wreckage has ever been discovered. Without the wreckage, investigators cannot access the information inside the black boxes and find out what really happened.
Indeed, there are dozens of other theories as to what could have happened to the Boeing 777-200ER. However, what makes it so confusing is that these commercial airlines had an almost perfect record of flight safety before MH370.
According to the 2019 book ‘The Taking of MH370’, there had never been an in-flight mishap on one of these jets since their introduction in the Nineties. Aviation expert and author Jeff Wise wrote: “There was a whiff of strangeness. Commercial airliners don’t just disappear.
Boeing 777 and Titanic
The 777 in particular is an advanced and extremely robust aeroplane. Introduced by Boeing in the Nineties, it was the company’s first fly-by-wire aeroplane, controlled entirely by a powerful computer system.
The aircraft had proven remarkably safe. No 777 had ever suffered an inflight mishap before. What could have gone wrong? Mr Wise’s sentiments have eerie parallels to what was said before the RMS Titanic sank in the Atlantic Ocean on April 15, 1912.
Before the disaster on the voyage between Southampton and New York, the passenger line had been dubbed “unsinkable”. The situation with Boeing 777s before 2014 was similar, as the only planes that had come to grief up to that point were either landing or grounded at the time.
For example, a British Airways 777 in 2008 suffered an engine failure on landing and crashed onto the runway at Heathrow Airport and 50 people were injured, no one died.
Then, in 2011 an EgyptAir 77 caught fire while parked at a gate at Cairo Airport and all passengers were able to disembark.
In 2013, Asiana Flight 214 crashed while landing in San Francisco and three people were killed, but investigators attributed the crash to pilot error. Only the incident involving the grounded EgyptAir aircraft can be attributed to a failure with the plane itself.
When it came to MH370, it initially seemed like maybe the 777s had run out of luck, but upon closer inspection all the evidence points towards this being a deliberate action by one or more hijackers.
The plane’s U-turn after leaving Malaysian-controlled airspace, it’s fast and zig-zagging path, the fact that the transponder was turned off and then on again all suggests that someone managed to take over the plane’s controls.
The Investigation Continues
Suspicion naturally fell on the crew first, and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was investigated. There were suggestions that Mr Shah may have been struggling with mental health issues and marital problems.
What’s more, the investigation found a flight simulator in his basement that had coordinates plugged in similar to those of the suspected path of MH370.
However, these were just seven of thousands of waypoints programmed in, and it was argued that Mr Shah did not display the signs of someone about to commit a serious workplace suicide.
Nevertheless, one aviation expert has mentioned last month that Mr Shah may have revealed the location of the plane in special “coded messages” in leaked pictures.
Aviation engineer Ismail Hammad believes the pilot may have been behind the attack and he left clues in a picture taken before the tragedy.
He said: “If the pilot of the plane, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, is the one who planned and carried out the hiding of the aircraft from radars and human eyes, as rumoured, I think he leaked to us a special coded message symbolising the place of hiding in the first pictures that were leaked to the world of him in his home.”
The picture in question featured the pilot and three other people believed to be his wife and children. Mr Hammad claims MH370 ended up on an island in the South China Sea and that his picture supports his theory.
He said: The drawing on the sofa is symbolising an archipelago. As if he wants to say that, whoever wants to find me and the plane, they should look for me on an island of some archipelago and not in the ocean.
When she's not at her desk absorbing all the latest news and producing fresh content for her audience Carmina loves to spend time at coffe shops and dancing at local music festivals.