Search leader dismisses 'glide landing' theory in Flight MH370 crash

Australia’s top aircraft crash investigator has dismissed the "conscious pilot" theory in the fate of missing Malaysian Airline Flight MH370 in the southern Indian Ocean.

The theory that the Boeing 777-200's change of course and eventual crash was the deliberate act of chief pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah was given new impetus last weekend after a US magazine published details of an FBI investigation.

It was based on a search of files on Capt Zaharie's home simulator, which had a planned route that was similar to that of MH370.

The aircraft disappeared in mysterious circumstances on March 8, 2014, after communications were cut during what was supposed to be a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The article further claims Capt Zaharie glided the B777 in a controlled water landing and that the international search team was looking in the wrong place.

But in his first interview since taking over as chief commissioner of the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB), Greg Hood has told aviation website that MH370 could have been descending at up to 20,000ft (6700m) a minute in the moments just before it smashed into the sea with 239 passengers and crew.

Mr Hood says the automated satellite communication with the B777 in its final minutes showed that its descent increased dramatically from about 5400ft (1200m) a minute to up to 20,000ft (6700m) a minute.

The big increase suggests that no one was in control of the aircraft, he says.

FBI report 'old news'
Mr Hood says the FBI report is old news. “We have known about the FBI report for two years and it was widely reported in the media at the time. It is nothing new,” he says.

He adds that the FBI report only “potentially shows planning and possibly intent, but it does not tell us where the aircraft is.”

Mr Hood is still confident of finding MH370 in the coming months. editor-in-chief Geoffrey Thomas says the ATSB’s new revelations “shed a great deal more light on the final tragic moments of MH370.”

“It is important the ATSB, on behalf of the multinational search team, dispel the destructive speculation about what may or may not have happened on MH370,” Mr Thomas says.

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