The doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was taken on an emotional ‘last farewell’ fly-past of the pilot’s home island of Penang before being deliberately landed on the water and sinking intact thousands of miles away, according to a British pilot who claims to have identified its final resting place.
The unusual overflying of Penang is ‘perhaps the only clue to the perpetrator’ he says.
The theory of Simon Hardy, a senior Boeing 777 captain with a major commercial airline, has gained support from one of Britain’s top flight safety specialists, David Learmount of the respected Flight International magazine and flightglobal website.
Missing: MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport at 12.41am on March 8 2014 for an approximate six-hour flight to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew
The unusual overflying of Penang, pictured, where the captain of the lost Boeing is from, is ‘perhaps the only clue to the perpetrator’
Captain Hardy spent six months analysing the flight data of the stricken aircraft, which disappeared almost a year ago with 239 people on board, in a bid to solve the mystery.
He has concluded that the search in the vast Indian ocean being conducted by the Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) is about 100 nautical miles away from the where the aircraft actually is.
He also believes the riddle of the aircraft’s odd dog-leg flight path immediately after take-off from Kuala Lumpar is down to the aircraft performing a final ‘fly-past’ of Malaysia’s Penang island to allow someone to have ‘a last emotional look.’
Captain Hardy notes from his research that the captain of the lost Boeing 777-200, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, came from Penang, while First officer Fariq Abdul Hamid was from Selangor.
Details are reported in the Sunday Times.
Captain Hardy says that after taking off from Kuala Lumpur at 16.41 GMT on March 7 last year, flight MH370 lost contact with air traffic control at a point over the China Sea where four flight information regions intersect.
The last verbal contact had been at 19.19 and the captain’s was the last voice heard.
Captain Hardy said the flight did something ‘quite remarkable’ by flying in and out of the airspace of Malaysia and Thailand eight times noting: ’I’ve never seen anything like that but it is a good way to cause confusion between the controllers.’
The captain of the lost Boeing 777-200, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, left, came from Penang,
while First officer Fariq Abdul Hamid was from Selangor, right
After flying along the border the passenger jet performed a sharp u-turn towards Penang, one of three turns made in quick succession.
'It took me months to work out what this was.
'The clue was Ayers Rock,’ he said referring to the giant natural feature and landmark in the heart of Australia.
'I have done the same manoeuvre there, to look down and get a great view. Somebody was taking a last emotional look at Penang.’
He explained: ’I thought of this at 5am, went downstairs and researched where the air crew were from.’
Noting that pilot Shah was from Penang while co-pilot Hamid was from Selangor, he said: ‘Someone did a nice long turn and looked down on Penang. It’s perhaps the only clue to the perpetrator.’
Military radar gave the last fix of the flight at 18.22 GMT heading South towards the navigation waypoint Anoko.
It then flew straight for thousands of miles before, it is believed, ending up at the bottom of the sea off the coast of Australia.
Australian investigators believe the plane crashed. But Captain Hardy believes it was deliberately landed on the water and then sank intact close to a trench in the sea – explaining why no wreckage has ever been found.
Australian investigators said they had been in touch with Captain Hardy and described his theory as ‘credible.’
Flight magazine’s Mr Learmount said: ‘Since Capt Simon Hardy revealed in Flightglobal/Flight International his calculations about where Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is likely to have come to rest, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau – leading the MH370 search team – has spoken at length to him.
‘Despite worldwide interest in his work, nobody – yet – has suggested his calculations are anything but logical and mathematically sound.’