Accusations of a cover-up and lack of transparency have dogged the two-year search for MH370.
And while most theories are plainly bonkers, notably that the aircraft ended up at a Russian/Kazakh/Pakistani base, yesterday there was a startling admission from the Joint Agency Coordination Centre.
Set up by the Australian government to lead the search for the Malaysia Airlines 777, the JACC has all but confirmed media reports that captain Zaharie Shah had plotted on his home flight simulator a course to the desolate Southern Indian Ocean – the focal point for search efforts.
“The simulator information shows only the possibility of planning. It does not reveal what happened on the night of the aircraft’s disappearance, nor where the aircraft is located,” says the JACC.
Nonetheless, the information does strongly suggest that MH370 was crashed deliberately, so it’s astonishing and troubling that governments sat on it for so long.
A murder-suicide bid by flight crew was always the likeliest scenario, though the JACC maintains that “no pilot intervening in the latter stages of the flight” is the best interpretation of what happened in MH370’s final moments.
This is an explicit rebuttal of the theory that the aircraft only hit the sea after a controlled glide that took it out of the 120,000sq-km search area defined by the governments of Australia, China and Malaysia.
“[The] last satellite communication with the aircraft showed it was most likely in a high rate of descent in the area of what is known as the 7th arc,“ says the JACC.
However, the JACC now also advises that if the aircraft is not found in the remaining 10,000sq-km of search area, the search will be suspended, not ended as it previously indicated.
“Should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft, consideration will be given in determining next steps,” it says.