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New Clue in Flight 370? Former Investigator Unveils Startling Theory

HomeTop NewsNew Clue in Flight 370? Former Investigator Unveils Startling Theory

March 8, 2024 – It has been an entire decade since Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 mysteriously vanished on a routine trip from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people aboard. Despite one of the most extensive and expensive aviation search efforts in history, the aircraft’s wreckage has never been found, leaving behind countless unanswered questions and trauma for victims’ loved ones.

However, a new theory from a former top air crash investigator may shed light on what happened that fateful night of March 8, 2014 – and where the missing Boeing 777 may have ultimately ended up crashing into the ocean. If correct, it could redirect search teams to a very different region than the one crews have fruitlessly scoured for years.

The Surprising New Theory The provocative new idea comes from Dr. Alan Diehl, who spent over 30 years as an investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the U.S. government agency responsible for probing every civil aviation accident. Diehl is an aviation psychologist who has extensively studied pilots’ behaviors and decisions in order to reconstruct probable causes of crashes.

In his recent book “Best Laid Plans,” Diehl lays out a plausible fictional scenario for what he believes likely happened based on the limited facts that are publicly known about MH370’s tragic final hours. His theory suggests the missing jet did not crash in the remote southern Indian Ocean off Australia as most previous assumptions held. Rather, Diehl thinks the plane went down in the Andaman Sea northwest of Malaysia – nearly 3,500 miles away from the primary search area.

Crucially, Diehl’s hypothesis is that the pilot intentionally flew MH370 off course, not in a suicidal move to crash and kill everyone as some past theories proposed, but possibly to make a political protest of some kind. However, a crisis then likely unfolded on board which caused the aircraft to go down much earlier than the pilot planned.

The Pilot’s Potential Plot

According to Diehl’s story line, the pilot – 53-year-old Zaharie Ahmad Shah – aimed to seize the Boeing 777 and fly it under the radar across Malaysia to the American military base on the island of Diego Garcia. Shah may have intended to broadcast a political “manifesto” condemning Malaysia’s government from the plane while en route. Diehl believes the pilot then hoped to safely land at the base and release the passengers unharmed once his message was delivered.

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While certainly an audacious and disturbing plan if true, Diehl makes the case that Shah had the motive, skills and knowledge as an experienced pilot to potentially pull off such a brazen act protesting against Malaysia’s leadership at the time. “The plane is electronically dark, and he probably turned off the lights too,” Diehl theorizes of how Shah could have flown across the country undetected by radar operators except as a faint “blip.”

The book reconstructs how Shah may have abruptly changed the flight path during the red-eye journey by entering coded commands to angle the jet west across the Malacca Strait toward the island base governed by U.S. authorities in the middle of the Indian Ocean. Transponders that broadcasted the plane’s location and identification were also likely cut off at this point, Diehl asserts.

Despite the daring plot laid out in the aviation expert’s narrative, it took an unplanned tragic turn while en route. The author believes some sort of fire or other catastrophic failure erupted on board – quite possibly caused unintentionally by the first officer himself taking actions to try regaining control of the aircraft.

The Potentially Disastrous Chain of Events

As Diehl envisions it, the first officer may have been locked out of the cockpit by Shah to prevent interference with his scheme. However, Diehl says the co-pilot – 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid – could have reentered from a rear electronics bay after realizing the plane’s unauthorized course change.

Once inside the cramped equipment area that contains electrical wiring guts of the aircraft, Hamid may have jostled something and inadvertently sparked a fire or short circuit in the pitch black conditions, the book theorizes. At their high cruising altitude of 35,000 feet, any breach of the hull from an on-board blaze could have caused rapid decompression.

The 777 would have then depressurized and possibly broken apart in a cataclysmic implosion from the air pressure deficiency known to cause aluminum airframes to quite literally implode and vaporous clouds. All souls aboard perished in the tragedy that Diehl believes unfolded somewhere over the Andaman Sea west of Malaysia based on his analysis of MH370’s strange turns detected by military radar.

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“And the rest, as they say, is history,” Diehl somberly states of the grim fate speculated for those on the ill-fated flight.

If this interpretation of events is accurate, the circumstantial evidence left behind would differ from prevailing theories the aircraft ran out of fuel over the Indian Ocean hundreds of miles off the Australian coast. Rather than the localized area southwest of Perth being the likeliest final resting place, Diehl thinks search teams should be redirected much farther northwest to waters east of the Indian subcontinent instead.

A More Plausible Theory?

Of course there’s no definitive proof of exactly what transpired nearly 10 years ago, and even respected aviation experts have offered up contradictory takes based on the scant facts and debris fields identified so far. However, Diehl asserts his version of events better explains some of the more puzzling aspects surrounding MH370’s bizarre course changes and electrical system shutdowns.

“The prevailing theories don’t fit the information in the public domain,” he told Fox News in an interview this week. For instance, Diehl says Shah showed no signs of being suicidal or wanting his life to end based on background reviewed about him in the official reports. That undercuts the popular assumption of a depressed pilot engaging in a self-destructive crash into the sea.

Likewise, if the Malaysian captain wanted to discretely disappear and kill all those aboard, Diehl feels he could have flown a far more direct route westward toward the remote Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean rather than erratically zigzagging and attempting more complex maneuvers over land. “That tells me he didn’t want to disappear,” Diehl reasons.

Addressing another past hypothesis, Diehl argues Shah likely would not have needed to make that dramatic northwest turn if his goal was a 9/11-style suicide attack purposefully flying into Beijing’s Forbidden City. That turn is one of the key navigational choices prompting Diehl’s theory the plane was headed in the direction of Diego Garcia instead.

Finding The Plane is Key

Of course without the voice and data recorders – the proverbial “black boxes” – it may never be conclusively known precisely what actually caused MH370’s demise or the decision-making processes on board, Diehl acknowledges. “The wreckage is the Rosetta Stone that will make this clear,” he asserts. “That’s the single biggest piece of evidence, and until they start looking again,” the mystery may never be resolved.

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Still, the search for MH370 continues on a more limited scale under Malaysia’s stewardship. The country’s government announced this week it is negotiating with a private underwater surveying company called Ocean Infinity about launching a new search effort. The tech outfit was previously hired and scoured over 86,000 square miles of sea floor near Australia from 2018 to 2019 before operations were suspended due to a lack of funds and viable new leads.

Ocean Infinity now believes it can narrow down a smaller, more concentrated region to focus on based on revised analysis of satellite tracking data and archaeological evidence of MH370 debris from various locations in the Indian Ocean, according to statements from company officials. If Diehl’s new hypothesis of the airplane crashing in the Andaman Sea checks out, it could shift that search zone considerably.

A Fresh Set of Eyes Whether or not Diehl’s creative reconstruction in “Best Laid Plans” proves accurate about MH370’s flight path and final resting place, the former investigator hopes his book accomplishes two key objectives. “One, I want the Malaysian government to sign the contract” and restart the search with renewed momentum, he told Fox News bluntly.

Additionally, Diehl aims to persuade authorities to consider looking closer to Malaysia in the eastern areas of the so-called “Seventh Arc” rather than the southwestern Indian Ocean which has been the primary target thus far. The seventh arc calculation represents the theoretical boundary the Boeing 777 could have reached before running out of fuel based on its final satellite communication positions.

Even though nearly a decade has elapsed, Diehl remains convinced that recovering the wreckage and recorders – if at all possible after so much time and an expansive ocean search area – represents the best chance for families to gain real closure and the aviation world to learn from this unprecedented disaster. Without those crucial pieces of evidence, he fears MH370 will remain one of the great unsolved mysteries indefinitely plaguing the industry.

“Finding the wreckage is the Rosetta Stone to getting definitive answers,” Diehl told Fox. With his new book introducing a fresh perspective from an experienced investigative expert, perhaps those lingering questions could take a step closer to finally being answered.

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Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee
Mezhar Alee is a prolific author who provides commentary and analysis on business, finance, politics, sports, and current events on his website Opportuneist. With over a decade of experience in journalism and blogging, Mezhar aims to deliver well-researched insights and thought-provoking perspectives on important local and global issues in society.

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