MH370, which had been travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board. The Boeing 777 aircraft last communicated with air traffic control at 1.19am when the plane was flying over the South China Sea, before vanishing from civilian radar screens. In 2015, a piece of the plane’s wing, known as a flaperon, was discovered on the French island of Reunion in the Indian Ocean.
The debris, which was boxed-up and flown to France, has left aviation experts like Larry Vance convinced the doomed jet was brought to a controlled stop by captain Zahari Shah.
He told Australia’s 60 Minutes investigation team in 2017: “I think the fuselage is certainly intact somewhere on the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
“When the flaperon was found, everyone should have concluded this was a human engineered event.
“There’s no other explanation.
“The reason we don’t see lots of debris is because it remained in the fuselage and that remains at the bottom of the water.”
The documentary saw Bruce Margolis, a veteran Boeing 777 pilot, run through a flight simulation in which he demonstrated how Mr Shah could have performed something known as controlled ditching.
He said during the simulation: “The physical evidence from the recovered wing part suggests the pilot tried to keep it intact in a controlled ditching.
“The engines are going to hit first and they’ll be ripped off – the noise would [have been] terrible.
“But it’s very easy to control the aircraft, you can virtually have your hands off.”
The simulator then struck the water, before floating along.
Mr Margolis said: “Bang – that’s it – in the water – the engines are ripped off, but there’s a chance the fuselage is intact.
“And if it’s in one piece it could actually keep floating for a while before it starts sinking.”
The idea that Mr Shah was behind a suicidal mission received worldwide attention in 2016, when Australian officials confirmed he had practiced a route where the plane is said to have vanished using an in-flight simulator he had built at home.
A statement read: “The simulator information shows only the possibility of planning.
“It does not reveal what happened on the night of its disappearance nor where the aircraft is located.
“For the purposes of defining the underwater search area, the relevant facts and analysis most closely match a scenario in which there was no pilot intervening in the latter stages of the flight.”