Depressed pilot of MH370 ‘was in control until the end’

Pilot of MH370 was in control until the end, say investigators who claim doomed flight made ‘abnormal’ turns that could only be performed manually before crashing into Indian Ocean

  • French investigators have been given access to a large amount of Boeing data 
  • It is expected to take around ‘a year’ to get through all the data and documents  
  • But initial findings show Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah ‘in control until the end’
  • France is the only country still conducting a judicial inquiry into the tragic crash
  • There were 239 people on board when the plane vanished on March 8, 2014

The pilot of flight MH370 which disappeared in 2014 was ‘in control until the very end’ it has been alleged, as evidence mounts the crash was a murder-suicide. 

French investigators have been given access to a ‘considerable amount’ of Boeing flight data sent during the Malaysian Airlines flight prior to the crash. 

This includes numerous documents and satellite data from British-based satellite telecommunications company Immarsat.

It is expected to take around ‘a year’ to go through all of the information received from Boeing, but preliminary investigations suggest ‘someone was behind the control stick when the plane broke up in the Indian Ocean’. 

Investigators based this view on data which showed that ‘some abnormal turns made by the 777 can only be done manually.’ 

It adds to the conclusion that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a troubled, lonely man who deliberately killed all passengers and crew on board the flight. 

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah (pictured) was the pilot-in-command when the plane carrying 239 other passengers and crew vanished in March 2014

A Boeing 777 flaperon cut down to match the one from flight MH370 found on Reunion island off the coast of Africa in 2015, is lowered into water to discover its drift characteristics by Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation researchers in Tasmania

Catherine Gang, whose husband Li Zhi was on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, holds a banner as she walks outside Yonghegong Lama Temple after a gathering of family members of the missing passengers in Beijing, on March 8, 2015

The disappearance of MH370, which went massively off course while heading to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, is one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.    

There were 239 people on board when it vanished on March 8, 2014 and it is considered one of the deadliest incidents involving a Boeing 777. 

France is the only country still conducting a judicial inquiry into the crash and is looking into the deaths of three French passengers on board the plane – a woman and her two children. 

Le Parisian spoke to the French investigators, who revealed they had been granted access to the Boeing data in May and were now busy working their way through it. 

The investigators were told to sign a confidentiality agreement prior to the release of the data, meaning it cannot be cited in court. 

Le Parisian cited a source ‘close to the investigation’, who believes a murder-suicide is the most plausible explanation for the crash. 

The source said: ‘Some abnormal turns made by the 777 can only be done manually. So someone was at the helm. 

‘It is too early to state categorically. But nothing is credited that anyone else could have entered the cockpit.’

The Malaysian Airlines Boeing 777 (stock image) is thought to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean, and a safety report in July last year, revealed the plane was likely steered off course deliberately, before being flown for several hours

The lifelong friend says Shah (pictured) likely tricked his co-pilot Fariq Hamid, who was on his final training flight, into leaving the cockpit

Other suggestions for what happened to the missing plane include Russians stealing it and flying it to Kazakhstan, or the aircraft suffering a catastrophic systems failure and crash-landing on the ocean. 

Ghyslain Wattrelos, a Frenchman who lost his wife and two teenage children on the flight, praised the investigators saying he was ‘delighted’ with the work that had been carried out. 

He told Le Parisian: ‘I hope that by analyzing all the data collected at Boeing , they will discover a problem that will be obvious to them. 

‘For now, they provide incredible work that allows to evacuate some tracks, but is not conclusive.’ 

Mr Wattrelos has previously suggested that the satcom on the plane may have been hacked, meaning data could have been manipulated or deleted and the plane could have crashed far away from where recovery efforts searched. 

The news comes just a month after William Langewiesche, writing in The Atlantic, claimed the pilot – Captain Shah – was behind the disappearance of the plane. 

He alleged Shah incapacitated or killed his co-pilot, took control of the plane, depressurized the cabin to kill everyone on board and then steered the Boeing 777 out to sea where he either waited for it to run out of fuel, or deliberately nose-dived it into the ocean. 

One radar expert also believes that Shah climbed the plane to 40,000ft as part of this scheme in order to accelerate the depressurizing effect.  

What is known for certain about MH370 – obtained from radar data – is that the aircraft was flying normally along its intended flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing around 1am on March 9, 2014.

Malaysian Minister of Transport, Anthony Loke (centre) looks at the wing flap found on Pemba Island, Tanzania, which has been identified a missing part of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370

Grace Subathirai Nathan, daughter of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 passenger Anne Daisy, shows a piece of debris believed to be from flight MH370 during a press conference in Putrajaya on November 30, 2018

A graphic showing the flight path of the plane, and where it is thought to have disappeared

At 1.01am Shah radioed to say that the plane had levelled off at 35,000ft, then repeated the transmission at 1.08am as he left Malaysian airspace.

At 1.19am the controller at Kuala Lumpur Center radioed to say goodnight as the plane neared the start of Vietnamese air-traffic jurisdiction.

Shah radioed back: ‘Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero.’ He was never heard from again. 

Shortly afterwards, at 1.21am, the flight dropped off secondary radar systems used by air traffic control. 

Primary radar systems later revealed that, moments after the plane vanished from secondary systems, it made a sharp turn away from its intended flight path.

Experts say this turn would have to be made by hand, because it was too tight to have been executed by autopilot. 

What happened from this point relies on guesswork, but Langewiesche believes the most likely scenario is that Shah either killed or incapacitated his co-pilot then seized control of the aircraft as part of an elaborate suicide bid.

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah (pictured with meat and a cleaver) was the pilot-in-command when the plane carrying 238 other passengers and crew vanished in March 2014

In order to subdue the other passengers, Langewiesche and those he spoke to believe Shah depressurized the cabin, which would have killed everyone on board. 

In July, the Malaysian government released its final report on MH370 mystery.

Lead investigator Kok Soo Chon said that the probe had confirmed the plane had turned back under manual control and that ‘we cannot exclude the possibility that there was unlawful interference by a third party.’ 

He said: ‘We can conclude that MH370 had turned back and the turn back was not because of anomalies in the mechanical system. The turn back was made not under autopilot but under manual control.’  

The report reiterated Malaysia’s assertion that the plane was deliberately diverted and flown for more than seven hours after severing communications. 

The largest hole in the theory is explaining why Zaharie would choose to kill hundreds of people along with himself in such an elaborate scheme – something analysts and friends admit they have no certain answer to.

But those who knew him point to his chaotic personal life and fragile emotional state as a possible explanation.

A friend said: ‘Zaharie’s marriage was bad. In the past he slept with some of the flight attendants. And so what? We all do. You’re flying all over the world with these beautiful girls in the back. But his wife knew.’

The man added he thought Zaharie’s emotional state may have been a factor in the incident.

As well as a turbulent personal life, Shah was very active on social media, often leaving messages on the profiles on twin models, and making a number of political statements critical of the government.


Zaharie Ahmad Shah (pictured) was the pilot of the doomed flight


Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah planned mass murder because of personal problems, locking his co-pilot out of the cockpit, closing down all communications, depressurising the main cabin and then disabling the aircraft so that it continued flying on auto-pilot until it ran out of fuel.

That was the popular theory in the weeks after the plane’s disappearance. 

His personal problems, rumours in Kuala Lumpur said, included a split with his wife Fizah Khan, and his fury that a relative, opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, had been given a five-year jail sentence for sodomy shortly before he boarded the plane for the flight to Beijing.

But the pilot’s wife angrily denied any personal problems and other family members and his friends said he was a devoted family man and loved his job.

This theory was also the conclusion of the first independent study into the disaster by the New Zealand-based air accident investigator, Ewan Wilson.

Wilson, the founder of Kiwi Airlines and a commercial pilot himself, arrived at the shocking conclusion after considering ‘every conceivable alternative scenario’.

However, he has not been able to provide any conclusive evidence to support his theory.

The claims are made in the book ‘Goodnight Malaysian 370’, which Wilson co-wrote with the New Zealand broadsheet journalist, Geoff Taylor.

It’s also been rumoured that Zaharie used a flight simulator at his home to plot a path to a remote island.

However, officials in Kuala Lumpur declared that Malaysian police and the FBI’s technical experts had found nothing to suggest he was planning to hijack the flight after closely examining his flight simulator. 

And there are also theories that the tragic disappearance may have been a heroic act of sacrifice by the pilot.

Australian aviation enthusiast Michael Gilbert believes the doomed plane caught fire mid-flight, forcing the pilot to plot a course away from heavily populated areas. 


Co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, again for personal problems, was suspected by rumour-spreaders to have overpowered the pilot and disabled the aircraft, flying it to its doom with crew and passengers unable to get through the locked cockpit door.

Theorists have put forward the suggestion that he was having relationship problems and this was his dramatic way of taking his own life.

But he was engaged to be married to Captain Nadira Ramli, 26, a fellow pilot from another airline, and loved his job. There are no known reasons for him to have taken any fatal action.

There have been a series of outlandish theories about the disappearance of the plane

Others have suggested that because he was known to have occasionally invited young women into the cockpit during a flight, he had done so this time and something had gone wrong.

Young Jonti Roos said in March that she spent an entire flight in 2011 in the cockpit being entertained by Hamid, who was smoking.

Interest in the co-pilot was renewed when it was revealed he was the last person to communicate from the cockpit after the communication system was cut off. 


An expert has claimed the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was hijacked on the orders of Vladimir Putin and secretly landed in Kazakhstan.

Jeff Wise, a U.S. science writer who spearheaded CNN’s coverage of the Boeing 777-200E, has based his outlandish theory on pings that the plane gave off for seven hours after it went missing, that were recorded by British telecommunications company Inmarsat.

Wise believes that hijackers ‘spoofed’ the plane’s navigation data to make it seem like it went in another direction, but flew it to the Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is leased from Kazakhstan by Russia.

However, Wise admits in New York Magazine that he does not know why Vladimir Putin would want to steal a plane full of people and that his idea is somewhat ‘crazy’.

Wise also noted there were three Russian men onboard the flight, two of them Ukrainian passport holders.

Aviation disaster experts analysed satellite data and discovered – like the data recorded by Inmarsat – that the plane flew on for hours after losing contact.

Careful examination of the evidence has revealed that MH370 made three turns after the last radio call, first a turn to the left, then two more, taking the plane west, then south towards Antarctica.


This extraordinary claim came from 41-year-old British yachtsman Katherine Tee, from Liverpool, whose initial account of seeing what she thought was a burning plane in the night sky made headlines around the world.

On arrival in Thailand’s Phuket after sailing across the Indian Ocean from Cochin, southern India with her husband, she said: ‘I could see the outline of the plane – it looked longer than planes usually do.There was what appeared to be black smoke streaming from behind.’

Ms Tee’s general description of the time and place was vague and she lost all credibility when she later stated on her blog that she believed MH370 was a kamikaze plane that was aimed at a flotilla of Chinese ships and it was shot down before it could smash into the vessels.

Without solid proof of the satellite data, she wrote on her blog, Saucy Sailoress, the plane she saw was flying at low altitude towards the military convoy she and her husband had seen on recent nights. She added that internet research showed a Chinese flotilla was in the area at the time.

While the debris proved the plane went down in the Indian Ocean, the location of the main underwater wreckage — and its crucial black box data recorders — remains stubbornly elusive. 


On a flight from Jeddah to Kuala Lumpur that crossed over the Andaman Sea on March 8, Malaysian woman Raja Dalelah, 53, saw what she believed was a plane sitting on the water’s surface.

She didn’t know about the search that had been started for MH370. She alerted a stewardess who told her to go back to sleep.

‘I was shocked to see what looked like the tail and wing of an aircraft on the water,’ she said.

It was only when she told her friends on landing in Kuala Lumpur what she had seen that she learned of the missing jet. She had seen the object at about 2.30pm Malaysian time.

She said she had been able to identify several ships and islands before noticing the silver object that she said was a plane.

But her story was laughed off by pilots who said it would have been impossible to have seen part of an aircraft in the water from 35,000ft or seven miles.

Ms Raja filed an official report with police the same day and has kept to her story.

‘I know what I saw,’ she said.


A catastrophic event such as a fire disabling much of the equipment resulted in the pilots turning the plane back towards the Malaysian peninsula in the hope of landing at the nearest airport.

Satellite data, believable or not, suggests the aircraft did make a turn and theorists say there would be no reason for the pilots to change course unless confronted with an emergency.

A fire in a similar Boeing 777 jet parked at Cairo airport in 2011 was found to have been caused by a problem with the first officer’s oxygen mask supply tubing.

Stewarts Law, which has litigated in a series of recent air disasters, believes the plane crashed after a fire – similar to the blaze on the Cairo airport runway – broke out in the cockpit.

After an investigation into the Cairo blaze, Egypt’s Aircraft Accident Investigation Central Directorate (EAAICD) released their final report which revealed that the fire originated near the first officer’s oxygen mask supply tubing.

The cause of the fire could not be conclusively determined, but investigators pinpointed a problem with the cockpit hose used to provide oxygen for the crew in the event of decompression.

Following the 2011 fire, US aircraft owners were instructed to replace the system – it was estimated to cost $2,596 (£1,573) per aircraft. It was not known whether Malaysia Airlines had carried out the change.

If either pilot wanted to crash the plane, why turn it around? So the turn-around suggests they were trying to land as soon as possible because of an emergency.


The Boeing 777 was shot down by the Americans who feared the aircraft had been hijacked and was about to be used to attack the U.S. military base on Diego Garcia atoll in the Indian Ocean. So conspiracy theorists claim.

And former French airline director Marc Dugain said he had been warned by British intelligence that he was taking risks by investigating this angle.

There is no way of checking whether Dugain received such a warning or why he believes the Americans shot down the plane.

But adding to the theory that the aircraft was flown to Diego Garcia, either by the pilot Zaharie or a hijacker, was the claim that on the pilot’s home flight simulator was a ‘practice’ flight to the island.

Professor Glees said: ‘The Americans would have no interest in doing anything of the kind and not telling the world.

‘In theory, they might wish to shoot down a plane they thought was attacking them but they wouldn’t just fire missiles, they’d investigate it first with fighters and would quickly realise that even if it had to be shot down, the world would need to know.’

Mr Rosenschein said: ‘The U.S. would not have been able to hide this fact and in any event, if it were true, they would have admitted their action as it would have prevented a successful terrorist action on this occasion and acted as a deterrent for future terrorist attacks.’ 


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