Media release - MH370
Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah probably used the flight of MH370 to commit mass murder/suicide, according to a new book out by two New Zealand authors.
The captain of MH370 may have even glided the out-of-fuel 777 to its final end in the southern Indian Ocean and sunk it intact, say Geoff Taylor and Ewan Wilson, authors of Goodnight Malaysian 370 – the truth behind the loss of Flight 370.
The authors suggest Zaharie, who prided himself on his technical expertise and methodical nature, may have got satisfaction out of making the 777 virtually impossible to find in what they described as “the ultimate post-mortem triumph”.
The book, released on Amazon Kindle on August 4 was written after extensive research in Malaysia and interviews with family members and friends.
Wilson, a pilot and former chief executive of two airlines said the book analyses every possible scenario of what could have happened to the ill-fated airliner which left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing at 12.41am on March 8.
“We were able to completely rule out any possibility of catastrophic structural failure, rapid depressurisation, electrical failure, fire or being shot down as possible causes for MH370’s loss,” said Mr Wilson.
“They simply couldn’t have happened,” said Wilson who also has transport air investigation qualifications.
Their analysis also showed that a slow accidental depressurisation killing the passengers with hypoxia was extremely unlikely, as was the possibility of the aircraft being hijacked by a passenger.
“They can’t be ruled out completely as options but we don’t believe that is what occurred.”
“Though a process of elimination we were left with the uncomfortable and very tragic likelihood that Zaharie because of some personality disorder, depression or emotional breakdown killed himself and everyone on the aircraft deliberately.”
The pair believe Zaharie probably shut his co-pilot Fariq Hamid out of the cockpit, then shut off all communication and turn the aircraft around. He depressurised the aircraft, and once the cabin crew and passengers’ oxygen had run out they died from hypoxia.
Wilson says Zaharie made eight different course changes before finally probably allowing MH370 to fly on auto-pilot for the last few hours of its journey into the southern Indian Ocean.
Zaharie at this point either ran out of oxygen and died the same way as the passengers and crew or re-pressurised the plane, guiding it to its final resting place.
The book exposes the fact that pilot suicide has killed hundreds of people in recent decades, and gives the example of five previous high profile murder/suicides in commercial aircraft. The authors call for tighter scrutiny of pilot stress levels and more openness about mental health issue in the cockpit.
They are also critical of some Muslim countries’ reluctance to acknowledge pilots’ role in murder/suicide.
“Muslims don’t commit suicide seems to be the common refrain,” says Taylor, deputy editor of the Waikato Times newspaper.
“Well they do and surely the travelling public deserve better than that.”
Taylor and Wilson are highly critical of Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic controllers for a four-hour delay between MH370 failing to check in with Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control at 1.21am and the time when a search and rescue operation was mounted at 5.30am.
“The response was so cumbersome and ham-fisted it was almost as if authorities had decided to go to bed and worry about MH370 in the morning,” said Taylor.
He says the Malaysian military’s failure to act on primary radar sightings of MH370 on March 8 and scramble fighters who would have at the very least given searchers the ability to track the aircraft, was a colossal mistake.
“What made the mistake worse – criminally worse – was the military’s refusal to act decisively on its findings for days afterwards.”
The book also analyses what occurred with the recent tragedy in Ukraine in which MH17 was shot down by a missile - an event they say will also have huge ramifications for the world’s aviation industry.