'No proof plane was crashed on purpose'

Police carrying debris recovered from Reunion Island in July last year. It was later identified as a part of the wings of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. There have been unofficial reports that the part shows evidence of a controlled ditching.
Police carrying debris recovered from Reunion Island in July last year. It was later identified as a part of the wings of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane. There have been unofficial reports that the part shows evidence of a controlled ditching.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Route to Indian Ocean was one of many found on MH370 pilot's flight simulator: Minister

PUTRAJAYA • The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 jetliner had plotted a route to the Indian Ocean on his personal flight simulator, a senior official has said, but the route was among thousands of other routes found on the machine.

Malaysia's Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said having the Indian Ocean flight path simulation did not mean that the MH370 pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, had deliberately flown the plane into the sea in the area, as speculated by some people.

"Until today, this theory is still under investigation. There is still no evidence to confirm that Capt Zaharie deliberately flew the plane into the Indian Ocean.

"Yes, he had simulated the flight path, but it is one of thousands of simulations to many parts of the world," Datuk Seri Liow told a news conference in Putrajaya on Thursday. "We cannot, just based on this, confirm he did it."

The Boeing 777, with 239 people aboard, disappeared in March 2014 while on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The two-year, A$180 million (S$185 million) underwater search for MH370 is drawing to a close after some 110,000 sq km has been scoured.

Speculation has waxed and waned from the early days of the search over what happened to the plane, including theories involving the two pilots.

Mr Liow said the Australian Transport Safety Bureau's (ATSB) stance is that the crash was an "uncontrolled ditching".

"The ATSB has already come up with a theory that it was an uncontrolled ditching. And this is based on views and opinions of experts," he said.

"The ATSB is the leader of the team of international experts that came up with the 120,000 sq km search area. Their theory should negate the controlled ditching theory that has been widely reported recently."

He urged people not to speculate as it could hamper investigations.

"It is not wise to speculate or come up with unfounded theories that do not help the investigation. If you have evidence, please hand it over to the investigation team," he said.

Recently, media reports suggested that Capt Zaharie had piloted the Boeing 777 in its final moments, which contradicts the official stance that the jet was not under the control of anyone when it crashed into the ocean.

These media reports had pointed out that the flaperon, a section of the plane's wings which was found on Reunion Island last year, bore details that, they said, indicated a controlled ditching.

The flaperon, however, is still being withheld by French authorities ever since its discovery on the French island in the Indian Ocean.

"The French authorities exercised their right to hold on to the flaperon, as they need it as court evidence.

"They are still investigating the flaperon pending some documentary information from the authorities, including Boeing," Minister Liow said.

THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 06, 2016, with the headline ''No proof plane was crashed on purpose''. Print Edition | Subscribe