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Depressed pilot of Flight MH370 may have 'crashed plane' in murder-suicide

By Anuj Cariappa

Kuala Lumpur, June 19: A recent report reveals an intriguing fact related to the world's greatest aviation mystery, the missing of the ill-fated Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. The pilot of the doomed flight is said to have been suffering from depression following a split with his wife, and was actively preparing to end his life by crashing the plane, according to a new report that suggests he deliberately suffocated the entire cabin to make sure no one could intervene.

MH370 was on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board, when it vanished and became one of the world's greatest aviation mysteries.

Depressed pilot of Flight MH370 may have crashed plane in murder-suicide

According to the friends of the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, told aviation specialist William Langewiesche that he had become obsessed with two young models he had seen on the internet after his wife left him, and that he "spent a lot of time pacing empty rooms." The 53-year old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah split with his wife shortly before the incident over an affair with a flight attendant.

On 8 March, the MH370 flight suddenly deviated from its planned route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, veering sharply west. According to Business Insider, the sharp change of course would have undoubtedly been noticed by passengers. The pilot could have accounted for that, however, by deliberately depressurizing the cabin, Langewiesche speculates. They claim Shah steered the Boeing 777 off course before either waiting for the jet to run out of fuel or even deliberately nose-diving it into the water so it disintegrated on impact.

An FBI investigation into the pilot's flight simulator revealed in 2016 Shah indeed experimented with a flight profile that roughly matched what is thought to have happened to MH370; that test flight also ended in "fuel exhaustion over the Indian Ocean."

Electrical engineer Mike Exner - a member of the IG - believes Shah also made a steep climb to 40,000ft before the murder-suicide.

Authorities with 'better understanding' of where MH370 is, says Australia

"An intentional depressurisation would have been an obvious way - and probably the only way - to subdue a potentially unruly cabin in an airplane that was going to remain in flight for hours to come," adds Mr Langewiesche.

"In the cabin, the effect would have gone unnoticed but for the sudden appearance of the drop-down oxygen masks and perhaps the cabin crew's use of the few portable units of similar design.

"None of those cabin masks was intended for more than about 15 minutes of use during emergency descents to altitudes below 13,000 feet; they would have been of no value at all cruising at 40,000 feet.

"The cabin occupants would have become incapacitated within a couple of minutes, lost consciousness, and gently died without any choking or gasping for air."

There are few other similar incidents of plane murder- suicide, Germanwings Flight 9525, which crashed into the French Alps in 2015, is believed to be another case of plane suicide. The co-pilot had been known for suicidal tendencies.

Some, however, critics Langewiesche's findings. The Daily Beast's Clive Irving notes that the official international investigation under Malaysian leadership provided a "detailed and measured assessment of Zaharie."

There are currently no searches ongoing for MH370 though the Malaysian government has said it is open to proposals to resume the hunt.

The US firm Ocean Infinity mounted a "no cure, no fee" search for the plane in the southern Indian Ocean in January 2018 that ended in May without any clues.

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