A new report investigating the fate from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 suggests the plane was under the control of a pilot when it crashed into the ocean.
In an article published in The Australian, 60 Minutes reporter Ross Coulthart lays out the new evidence, first broadcast on the Channel Nine current affairs program last night.
He says Peter Foley, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau’s program director of the operational search for MH370, has admitted that the markings on the wreckage are consistent with what you would expect from a plane descending into land.
“There is a possibility … somebody (was) in control at the end and we are actively looking for evidence to support that,” Foley said.
It’s a huge development in what has become one of the greatest mysteries in the history of aviation. Until now investigators have believed that the plane was uncontrolled at the end of its journey.
The theory is also supported by Larry Vance, one of the world’s most experienced air crash investigators and former chief investigator for the Canadian Transportation Safety Board.
The damage seen on wreckage from the plane could only be caused by prolonged contact with water surface at high speed, Vance believes, indicating there is no other explanation than a scenario involving the plane crashing into the sea under the pilot’s control.
Vance says flight path changes and specific damage sustained on the plane’s flaperon, which was recovered from the French territory of Reunion Island a year ago, suggests that “no other theory that fits.”
“You cannot get the flaperon to extend any other way than if somebody extended it,” he said. “Somebody was flying the aeroplane at the end of its flight.”
Vance also says the lack small floating debris suggests the plane hit the sea at a much slower, smoother motion that would you would expect from an out of control aircraft.
The new “rogue pilot” theory raises further doubts over whether MH370 is within the search area and how much the Malaysian government actually knows.
In a confidential Malaysian report, obtained by 60 Minutes, the jet’s captain, Zahari Ahmed Shah, had plotted a route into the southern Indian Ocean on his home flight simulator, but later deleted this evidence off his computer. Despite the Malaysian government denying existence of the report Foley conceded it was real.
Last month New York magazine reported a similar discovery, saying Shah had “conducted a simulated flight deep into the remote southern Indian Ocean less than a month before the plane vanished under uncannily similar circumstances”.
The flaperon in question has still not been examined by Malaysian authorities as it remains in possession of the French government.
It is reported that French judicial investigators did not trust Malaysia to fairly investigate the evidence.
The Australian has more.
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