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MH370 Malaysia Airlines Captain Didn't Crash on Purpose, Search Inspector Argues

The man in charge of a seabed search party for the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has cast doubt on the theory that the pilot deliberately crashed the plane in a murder-suicide over four years ago, killing himself and the 239 passengers on board.

The Australian Transport Safety Bureau has been investigating the mysterious crash and believed that flight 370 ran out of fuel and crashed into the ocean while flying from Malaysia to China in 2014. According to this theory, every single person, including the captain, was already dead when the aircraft crashed.

But a new book by crash investigator Larry Vance, entitled MH370: Mystery Solved, argues that the pilot had avoided tracking radars and then crashed the plane deliberately, perhaps due to depression over a divorce. According to this theory, the pilot disabled the plane’s communications and then plunged the place into the Indian Ocean. The findings were widely publicized, including on the Australian version of 60 minutes, which brought together a panel of aviation experts to discuss the theory.

“He was killing himself,” Vance argued on the 60 Minutes panel on May 14. “Unfortunately, he was killing everyone else on board. And he did it deliberately.” Vance and others said that the only way an aircraft tracked by radars could vanish would be if the pilot had avoided them on purpose. What’s more, the pilot was too skilled and experienced to have lost control of the plane mysteriously. Proponents of this theory said that the plane had unexpectedly changed course while flying over the pilot’s hometown, leading them to believe that he had dipped the plane’s wing so he could catch one last glimpse of his home before plunging himself and the rest of the plane’s passengers to their death.

Search director Peter Foley, however, said that he disagrees with the conclusion that the crash was deliberate. Instead, he maintains the Safety Bureau’s assessment that the pilot was likely unconscious when the crash took place.

“What they fail to understand is that while you don an oxygen mask and prevent the worst of the hypoxia situation, you are flying an aircraft at 40,000 feet,” Foley argued at a hearing in Australia Tuesday. “You are taking an aircraft from sea level to [Australia's highest mountain] Mount Kosciuszko in 20 minutes, then you are taking it, over the course of a couple of minutes, to the height of Mount Everest plus 1,000 feet. You’ll get decompression sickness too.”

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