• Sat. Mar 11th, 2023

Netflix doco The Plane That Disappeared’ reveals shock MH370 theories

In the early hours of March 8, 2014, Zaharie Ahmad Shah piloted Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 into air just before 12.45am local time.

Everything was routine on the Boeing 777 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, as the plane readied to leave Malaysian airspace and fly towards Vietnam across the South China Sea.

“Good night, Malaysian 370,” the pilot told air traffic controllers as they readied to relay communications duties to the Vietnamese.

Those were the final words heard from the 239 people on-board flight MH370, which mysteriously lost all radar contact a mere minute-and-a-half later, the New York Post reports.

The flight had vanished without a trace and to this day, what actually happened in the air remains one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history.

Now a new Netflix docuseries, MH370: The Plane That Disappeared, examines several theories as to what happened that night.

The flight had about seven hours of fuel, Fuad Sharuji, former crisis director for Malaysia Airlines, said in archived footage.

Although MH370 had lost all radar communications, the plane was still electronically speaking to a satellite run by a British company called Inmarsat.

“Every hour, the Inmarsat system was checking that the satellite terminal on the aircraft was responding … these pings continued for up to six hours after last contact,” Inmarsat representative Mark Dickinson said in the docuseries.

But the Inmarsat data could only confirm that the flight was still in the air as it did not possess GPS-tracking capabilities. Still, it was able to determine how far away the aircraft was from the satellite with which it had been communicating.

Based on this information, two speculative routes have been drafted showing how and where the plane diverted off course.

In both scenarios, MH370 did not continue towards mainland Vietnam, but instead veered westbound back over Malaysia.

From there, it is projected that the flight either went north over central Asia or down towards the South Indian Ocean by Australia.

The latter route is the likeliest scenario, widely agreed upon by experts. But what actually happened in the air is still in dispute.

Had Shah gone rogue? Or was another state responsible for the flight’s unknown fate? A final commission report on MH370 noted “the team is unable to determine the real cause for the disappearance.”


The most incriminating piece of evidence to the theory that Shah, a veteran pilot, intended to commit a mass-murder suicide by putting the plane down into the Indian Ocean was found on a flight simulator he had inside his home, which made headlines in 2016.

It was there that Shah had reportedly flown a simulation similar to the aeroplane’s suspected, off-charted final course over the ocean a mere month before MH370 was airborne.

But the home simulator data is not quite the “smoking gun” it seems, said Mike Exner of the independent Group, a watchdog panel of aviation experts established to get the truth on the flight’s final hours.

“It’s very odd you would have a simulation end with fuel exhaustion in the Southern Indian Ocean,” he said. “I don’t think taking the simulator data by itself proves a whole lot … The simulator data is not the whole puzzle; it’s just one piece in the puzzle that fits.”

Jeff Wise, an aviation journalist whose theories on the flight became controversial among experts, claimed that the FBI had known of the route in the flight simulator back in 2014.

Wise said that the practicality of Shah single-handedly taking the plane would require an “aggressive and sophisticated” plot, involving locking his co-pilot out of the cockpit, killing radar communications and depressurising the cabin to prevent interference.

Meanwhile, a potential motive remains unclear.

The final report on MH370 found: “There is no evidence to suggest any recent behavioural changes for the [pilot].”

Russian hijackers

Wise has another working theory on the whereabouts of MH370 – but it sounds closer to the plot of a James Bond movie than anything else.

A few months after the flight was lost, Malaysian Airlines Flight 17, another 777, was shot down by a surface-to-air missile over Ukraine at the same time Russia was invading nearby Crimea.

Checking flight logs, Wise observed that there were three Russian passengers on board MH370 – and all of them were seated near an electrical hatch. He theorised that two of the three could have created a diversion while the other member snuck below deck to remotely control the plane’s flight.

Instead of it being sent south, Wise theorises it was brought to the former Soviet Republic of Kazakhstan.

But that theory was quickly grounded.

“Anyone who gets into the hatch can disable the transponder and disable the communications systems,” Mr Sharuji says. “But it is impossible to fly the aircraft from the avionics compartment.”

Wise’s colleagues were also quick to debunk the idea.

“[The group is] absolutely certain that the plane turned south and not north. It was surprising that Jeff decided to take off on this route,” Mr Exner said.

Wise’s conjectures ended with his removal from the group.

American interception

Another wild theory is that the US military, which was doing training exercises at the time in the South China Sea, had downed MH370 at the point where it had first lost radar contact in between Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace.

French journalist Florence de Changy has observed that the cargo delivered “under escort” and subsequently carried by MH370 included 2.5 tonnes of electronic devices – which weren’t scanned prior to loading.

“It’s public knowledge that China was very eager to acquire highly sensitive US technology in the field of surveillance, stealth, drone technology,” de Changy said. “This could be at the heart of what happened to MH370.”

America had two radar jamming planes suited with an Airborne Warning & Control System (AWAC) in the vicinity the night MH370 took off. De Changy theorised they could have been used to knock the plane electronically off radar and instructed Shah to land.

When he decided to keep the flight on course, she claimed that “either through a missile strike or a midair collision, MH370 met its fate”.

But, like Wise, de Changy has no proof for her theory – and it’s not backed by the Inmarsat data projections, either. Mr Exner is also critical that has used the thesis to promote her 2021 book, The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case Of MH370.

“I’m just reluctant to talk about Florence or Jeff or these conspiracy advocates,” Mr Exner, who said he believes the most logical conclusion does not read like a Tom Clancy novel and lies within the Indian Ocean.

“They’re just such a distraction … These are people that don’t really understand the facts and the data.”

This story originally appeared on the New York Post and is republished here with permission

Read related topics:Netflix

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.