21:16 GMT23 June 2021
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    An international group of aviation experts has concluded that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 (MH370), which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014, was deliberately crashed by the plane’s pilot into the Indian Ocean in a murder-suicide.

    After scouring some 8,200 square kilometers of the search region in the southern Indian Ocean since the plane's mysterious disappearance, no concrete clues about the ill-fated plane's whereabouts have yet been found by the Texas-based Ocean Infinity company, which contracted with the Malaysian government to search for the wreckage on a "no find, no fee" basis in January. 

    So far, the only evidence of the Boeing 777 airliner is debris collected from Indian Ocean islands and on the east coast of Africa, with at least three pieces confirmed as parts from the missing plane.

    However, that hasn't stopped an array of speculation about the causes of the plane's disappearance or what was going through the pilots' heads on that fateful day. On a Sunday episode of "60 Minutes Australia," a panel of aviation experts accused the pilot, 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah, of purposefully killing the 239 people as well as himself.

    "[Shah] was killing himself; unfortunately, he was killing everybody else on board, but he did it deliberately," senior investigator with the Transportation Safety Board of Canada, Larry Vance, said on the Sunday night program.

    In addition, Vance believes Shah put on an oxygen mask before depressurizing the plane so that the passengers and crew members would pass out.

    "There is no reason to believe that the pilot did not depressurize the cabin to incapacitate the passengers," Vance said.

    Boeing 777 pilot and instructor Simon Hardy, who reconstructed the flight plan, claims that Shah flew along the borders of Malaysia and Thailand to avoid being detected by military radar. 

    "As the aircraft went across Thailand and Malaysia, it runs down the border, which is wiggling underneath, meaning it's going in and out of those two countries, which is where their jurisdictions are," Harvey said on the news program.

    "So both of the controllers aren't bothered about this mysterious aircraft. Cause it's, ‘Oh, it's gone. It's not in our space anymore.' If you were commissioning me to do this operation and try and make a 777 disappear, I would do exactly the same thing. As far as I'm concerned, it's very accurate flying and I think it did the job, because we know, as a fact, the military did not come and intercept the aircraft," he added.

    According to Hardy, the plane went off course and "dipped the wing" over the Malaysian state of Penang, taking a sharp turn because the pilot wanted to get one last look of his hometown.

    "I spent a long time thinking about what this could be, what technical reason is there for this?" he said.

    "And after two months, three months of thinking about it, I finally got the answer — somebody was looking out the window." 

    "It might [have been] a long, emotional goodbye or a short, emotional goodbye to his hometown."

    Martin Dolan, who led the search effort for the plane in Australia, told "60 Minutes" he believed the crash was a murder plot.

    "This was planned, this was deliberate, and it was done over an extended period of time," Dolan said.

    In 2016, Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull similarly speculated that it was "very likely that the captain planned this shocking event."

    Ocean Infinity started a new search for MH370 January 22. The company allotted 90 search days to look for the plane, which have been scattered over several months due to bad weather. The search is expected to end mid-June.


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