Wednesday 7 December 2016

Missing MH370 plane was flown into water 'deliberately', crash expert says

Chiara Palazzo

Published 01/08/2016 | 07:55

MH370 disappeared two years ago. Photo: PA
MH370 disappeared two years ago. Photo: PA

A leading crash investigator says he is confident that MH370 was flown into water "deliberately".

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A section of wing from the missing aircraft shows evidence it was extended when the plane hit the water, proving that someone was in control of the aircraft, air crash expert Larry Vance says.

Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Stephanie Went keeps watch for any sign of debris aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Able Seaman Boatswains Mate Stephanie Went keeps watch for any sign of debris aboard the Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Crewmen on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion Rescue Flight 795 search for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in southern Indian Ocean, 1,500 kilometers (932 miles) northwest of Perth, Australia
A crew member aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft prepares to launch a smoke canister to mark the position of an object spotted in the southern Indian Ocean during the search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
A crewman on a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion Rescue Flight 795 searches for debris from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, in southern Indian Ocean
The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
A worker lowers from the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield the U.S. Navy Supervisor of Salvage and Diving (SUPSALV) towed pinger locator into the ocean during operational testing in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba crashes through a wave as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370, in this picture released by the Australian Defence Force April 4, 2014. Malaysia's prime minister visited the Australian search base for missing Flight MH370 on Thursday as a nuclear-powered submarine joined the near-four week hunt that has so far failed to find any sign of the missing airliner and the 239 people on board. REUTERS/Australian Defence Force/Handout (MID-SEA - Tags: MILITARY TRANSPORT DISASTER) MARITIME) ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. NO SALES. NO ARCHIVES. FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS
Australian Navy ships the HMAS Success (top) and the HMAS Toowoomba rendezvous to conduct a Replenishment at Sea evolution as they continue the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Australian Navy ships the HMAS Success (L) and the HMAS Toowoomba rendezvous to conduct a Replenishment at Sea evolution as they continue the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Tiger75, an S-70B-2 Seahawk, launches from the Australian Navy ship HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
Leading Seaman Aircrewman Joel Young looks out from Tiger75, an S-70B-2 Seahawk helicopter, after it launched from the Australian Navy ship the HMAS Toowoomba as it continues the search in the southern Indian Ocean for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
The Bluefin 21, the Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV), is hoisted back on board the Australian Defence Vessel Ocean Shield after a successful buoyancy test in the southern Indian Ocean as part of the continuing search for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370
The Australian navy ship Ocean Shield lies docked at naval base HMAS Stirling while being fitted with a towed pinger locator to aid in her roll in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth, Australia.
A Towed Pinger Locator (TPL), used to detect black box recorders, sits on the wharf at naval base HMAS Stirling in Perth, Australia, ready to be fitted to the Australian warship Ocean Shield to aid in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
Chinese relatives of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 leave after a meeting at the Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya
Chinese relatives of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 leave after a news conference at The Holiday Villa in Subang Jaya
A ground crewman guides a RAAF AP-3C Orion along the tarmac as it returns from the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Perth, Australia. Australia's Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Sunday he was hopeful clues will emerge soon to help find Flight 370 even though searchers again failed to find jet debris, as relatives of Chinese passengers on the plane protested in Malaysia to demand the government apologize over its handling of the search. AP
Australian prime minister Tony Abbott greets leaders of international forces being used to locate Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean (AP)
Australian Defense ship Ocean Shield is docked at naval base HMAS Stirling while being fitted with an autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) and towed pinger locator to aid in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370
Malaysian PM Najib Razak, centre, and Australia's PM Tony Abbott greet RAAF crew involved in the search for MH370 in Perth, Australia (AP)
A Korean Air Force P3 Orion returns from the search operation for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 (AP)

"There is no other alternate theory that fits," Mr Vance, who helmed the investigation into the downing of Swissair Flight 111 in 1998, told Channel Nine's 60 minutes programme on Sunday.

Flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 passengers and crew en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

The sole of a shoe found by Blaine Gibson on Riake beach in Madagascar, which may or may not belong to passengers of the MH370 Malaysia Airlines flight
The sole of a shoe found by Blaine Gibson on Riake beach in Madagascar, which may or may not belong to passengers of the MH370 Malaysia Airlines flight

The current search operation, led by Australia, has been based on the theory that the jet was not under human control when it crashed after it veered off course and headed south over the Indian Ocean.

Mr Vance, however, believes that a small section of the wing, called flaperon, found in Madagascar last summer, shows "definitive evidence" that it was extended at the time of impact. Only a person can activate the extending.

"Somebody was flying the airplane at the end of its flight," Mr Vance told 60 Minutes' Ross Coulthart.

The expert added that the failure to find floating debris and lifejackets would fit the theory of a slow, controlled landing.

"Somebody was flying the airplane into the water.

"There is no other alternate theory that you can follow.

"Of all the potentials that might have happened, there is no other theory that fits," he said.

Australian transport safety bureau crash investigator Pete Foley agreed the crash could have been the work of a rogue pilot. He said analysis from French authorities showed it was possible the plane was in a "deployed state."

The flaperon is in the hands of the French, and Malaysian investigators have been unable to take possession of it, a year after its discovery.

"I think it’s been a frustration for the investigation," Mr Foley said.

He conceded that if the plane was piloted until the end, it could have landed outside the current search area: "There is a possibility there was someone in control at the end and we’re actively looking for evidence to support that."

Mr Vance said flights which crash into the ocean while out-of-control in effect explode on impact, creating millions of pieces of debris.

In MH370's case, only a handful of wing segments have been found so far, despite more than two years of ocean currents which should have pushed more debris to land.

"I think the fuselage is intact for the most part, and is on the bottom of the Indian Ocean," Mr Vance said.

The the discovery of the flaperon, which showed damage consistent with the force of water, should have prompted experts to conclude the crash was caused by a rogue pilot, the expert believes.

“Everybody should then have concluded in my opinion that this was a human engineered event, there’s no other explanation,” Mr Vance said.

Meanwhile a large wing part believed to be from the missing plane was brought to Canberra for analysis after it was found by locals on Pemba Island off the coast of Tanzania in June.

Telegraph.co.uk

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