According to Chyslain Wattrelos, a Frenchman whose wife and two children were among the 239 people onboard the ill-fated Malaysian Airlines flight, the screening of MH370 passengers has raised a number of questions.
Chyslain Wattrelos, who recently met with the judge in charge of France's Air Transport Gendarmerie probe, says that French investigators have uncovered a Malaysian passenger with aeronautical knowledge sitting under the satellite communications module, hinting that he could have hacked the plane.
Other curious individuals onboard include two Ukrainians and one US national with "atypical profiles," as well as an Iranian, who had allegedly asked on Facebook to pray for him days before the flight.
MH370 Hunt Extends to US
Wattrelos added that investigators hoped to go to the US to meet with the FBI, which analyzed hard drive data from MH370 captain Zaharie Shah's home flight simulator, and with Boeing representatives in a bid to obtain and re-examine raw data. A previous trip was scrapped in September after the FBI opposed "confidentiality clauses" and Boeing's trade secrets.
"We are a little angry and now we want to say stop, it is time that the United States really cooperate on this issue," said Ghyslain Wattrelos. "It is necessary to go there because there are three entities that hold important information for understanding what happened on this flight."
A ‘Third Entity' Keeping Secret Data?
The Air Transport Gendarmerie's investigators have also uncovered a third entity, referred to by Wattrelos as SITA, a Swiss-based company that provided satellite communication services to Malaysian Airlines. The task is now to find out whether SITA's software was capable of hacking Satcom, the antenna that communicates signals from the aircraft to the Inmarsat satellite.
Wattrelos further pointed to what he called the yet-unexplained inconsistencies in the Malaysian report: for instance, Malaysian investigators said that the aircraft climbed to 58,200 feet (nearly 17.7 km) at some point, while the Boeing 777's actual cruising altitude is 43,000 feet (over 13 km).
Additionally, the co-pilot is said to have made a call from his mobile phone just before the plane disappeared from radars, but no similar data is available yet about any of the remaining 239 passengers and crew.
France remains the only country still investigating the Boeing's disappearance, after Malaysian authorities scrapped their four-year, multimillion-dollar search for the plane. In July, they admitted that they didn't know what happened to the plane, while also claiming that it was switched to manual control before disappearing from radars.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished from radar screens on March 8, 2014 on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing during a handover from Malaysian to Vietnamese air traffic controllers. Only a few pieces of debris, thought to be parts of the wreckage, have been discovered at different locations, including the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean, as well as in South Africa and Mozambique.