MH370 pilot committed suicide after switching off oxygen supply, expert claims

A Malaysia Airlines employee writing a message expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang in March 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP
A Malaysia Airlines employee writing a message expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang in March 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

LONDON - The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 committed suicide after switching off the oxygen supply of the other passengers, an aviation expert has claimed.

In the latest theory to have emerged on what happened to the ill-fated jetliner, Ewan Wilson, head of Kiwi Airlines, said he believes that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah locked his co-pilot out of the cockpit, depressurised the cabin and shut down all communication links before turning the plane around, British media reported on Sept 15.

Although oxygen masks would have dropped down automatically from above the seats, the passengers' supply was limited to just 20 minutes. Those who were unable to grab a mask would have passed out within the space of a few minutes, Daily Mail reported.

Zaharie, who would have had three hours' worth of oxygen, then performed a controlled ditching in the sea, which would explain why no debris has been found because the plane landed and sank in one piece, Wilson claimed.

Wilson, who is a commercial pilot himself, said he arrived at this conclusion after considering "every conceivable alternative scenario".

The claims were made in the book 'Goodnight Malaysian 370', the culmination of a four-month study into the incident, which Wilson penned along with New Zealand broadsheet journalist Geoff Taylor, UK Mirror reported.

Wilson, who believes Zaharie was mentally ill when he took the controls of MH370, also claimed that there have been five other suicide flights in recent times, according to the Daily Express.

"There is a fundamental desire to ignore the mental health issue in the aviation industry," he said.

So far, no wreckage has been found from the missing Boeing 777, which disappeared mysteriously on March 8 during a routine flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.