An MH370 hunter claims that the plane's disappearance has to do with the Malaysian military panicking about the pilot's potential suicide plan.
The doomed Boeing 777 disappeared above the South China Sea while en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March 2014, after making a leftward detour and flying toward the Indian Ocean. Massive search operations for its remains in the Indian Ocean produced no results.
Noel O'Gara, an Irish writer who has spent years struggling with the MH370 mystery, alleges that the plane was hijacked by two Iranians, who were travelling on forged passports among the group of largely Chinese passengers. Malaysian authorities have stated that the two were asylum-seekers, while the Interpol said they had no links to terror groups.
Then-Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak revealed that, according to military radars, the plane ascended to 45,000 feet (13,700 metres), which is well above cruising altitude. The private investigator says it is "evidence of a violent struggle for control of the plane by hijackers."
"I would say the hijackers were in constant contact with control as the crisis unfolded and there was no turning back for them. Most likely it was a suicide mission for them," O'Gara says.
Najib Razak was made aware of the incident, O'Gara goes on, and was forced to scramble a military fighter jet to down MH370. He alleges that the Malaysian military knew that the plane had been hijacked and that they were scared by the Boeing veering off course in what could be an attempt to fly back to Kuala Lumpur and target the famous Petronas Towers.
"A big question is why did Razak within just a few hours of the downing decide to play dumb and tell the first press conference that the plane was missing. Why did he not reveal the truth and tell what happened? It's possible that the hijackers were on a suicide mission which would mean there was no reasoning with them or no demands made. On the other hand, it's also possible they made demands which were rejected by Najib."
"I would say he met up with [then-Minsiter of Transport] Hishammuddin and together they knew they only had a few hours to decide how to break the news and to tell the world how they forced a triple 7 into the sea with loss of all those Chinese lives and say exactly what happened or sweep it all under the carpet as a mystery and say nobody knows what happened to it."
The initial search for the Boeing was conducted in the South China Sea, where it lost contact with air traffic control. A week after its vanishing, Prime Minister Razak announced that it had turned and flew to the west, and the search was extended onto the southwestern part of the Indian Ocean.O'Gara believes the delay helped authorities cover up the downing of the plane.
O'Gara believes that the plane likely crashed into the Andaman Sea near the city of Banda Aceh in northwestern Indonesia, based on claims of several ground witnesses of a plane going down.
Almost five years since the Boeing's vanishing, theories are still running wild about what happened to it — but most people believe the ill-fated aircraft crashed into the ocean. In 2015, a fragment of the plane wing was discovered east of Madagascar on Reunion Island and confirmed as coming from the missing aircraft. Malaysia, China, and Australia conducted a nearly three-year, $144-million surface and underwater search in the southern part of the Indian Ocean, which was called off in January 2017 after yielding no results.
Last May, US tech firm Ocean Infinity also ended its operations. The company searched over 112,000 square kilometres of ocean floor, also to no avail.
In July 2018, Malaysian investigators issued a lengthy report saying the Boeing was likely deliberately steered off course under manual control, but they failed to identify the culprits, if there were any.
A new development came later in November 2018, after several pieces of debris were found washed ashore in Madagascar.