Ean Higgins’ new book, The Hunt for MH370, documents a series of theoretical events that could have combined to a catastrophe.A STARTLING new theory suggests a fire in MH370’s cockpit incinerated the pilot, leaving passengers in a 12-minute death plunge aboard the out-of-control plane.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, and was heading to Beijing with 239 people on board when it disappeared without a trace.
The terrible accident would have happened 40 minutes into the flight, after it reached cruising altitude, according to journalist Ean Higgins’ new book, The Hunt for MH370.
The author said the theory was put to him by amateur aviation sleuth, Mick Gilbert, though there is no evidence to suggest it actually occurred.
In the theoretical scenario, he says the pilot-side windshield heater could have caught fire, burning out some circuits including that of the secondary radar transponder and the ACARS communications system.
Trained for just such emergencies, the pilots could then don their oxygen masks, and cut power to the short-circuiting heater.
OXYGEN GAS TUBE RUPTURES
In the process, though they were not to know it, the pilots could turn off the satellite data unit that makes the electronic handshakes with satellites.
Higgins goes on to claim that as first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid could then concentrate on controlling the aircraft, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah fought the fire with an extinguisher, both pilots waiting until the immediate crisis was in hand before making a radio distress call.
Pilots are trained that radio communication is the third priority in such an in-flight emergency, after flying the aircraft and setting a heading to the nearest suitable airport.
The drill is “aviate, navigate, communicate”, and the craft could then be turned back towards Malaysia and set on an autopilot course for Kota Bharu before ground control even knew anything was amiss.
AVIATE, NAVIGATE, COMMUNICATE
Higgins goes on to theorise that somewhere along the line the tube for one of the pilots’ oxygen masks were pulled out of its socket.
The pilot’s oxygen bottle would then fill the cockpit with flammable gas, which could then explode.
Zaharie, since he was not in his seat, would be able to make it out of the cockpit alive, but badly burnt. Fariq, still strapped inside, perished in the inferno.
Higgins then writes that the theoretical fire could weaken the bottom of the windshield and dislodge it, leading to rapid decompression.
This could trigger the oxygen masks to drop, after which passengers would have 12 minutes of air.
IT BECAME A GHOST PLANE
In this wild scenario Zaharie got to one of the portable oxygen bottles and masks available to the crew before hypoxia set in.
With the help of a flight attendant, he would get back into the cockpit to find all communication equipment destroyed.
Then, as he flew over Penang, he would decide to turn northwest, away from built-up areas.
With the flight attendant’s portable oxygen running, and the passengers already either dead or comatose as their air ran out, Zaharie had a terrible decision to make.
He could try for a crash landing, potentially saving himself and the flight attendant, but this would mean endangering hundreds on the ground.
Instead, he pointed the aircraft at the Southern Indian Ocean.
Higgins’ theory may sound far fetched, but it does deal with the question of why the satellite data unit was turned off then came back on.
The pilot will have reactivated it when he got back into the cockpit.
Sleuth Gilbert points to another incident as proof that this new theory has credibility – EgyptAir Flight 667.
On the EgyptAir flight, the crew were waiting for a late passenger when a suspected electrical fault created a small fire.
MH370 – WHAT ARE THE FACTS?
- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur and was heading to Beijing with 239 people on board.
- At 12.14am on March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines lost contact with MH370 close to Phuket island in the Strait of Malacca.
- Before that, Malaysian authorities believe the last words heard from the plane, from either the pilot or co-pilot, was “Good night Malaysian three seven zero”.
- Satellite “pings” from the aircraft suggest it continued flying for around seven hours when the fuel would have run out.
- Experts have calculated the most likely crash site would be around 1,000 miles west of Perth, Australia.
- But a huge search of the seabed failed to find any wreckage – and there are a number of alternative theories as to its fate.
- A 1,500 page investigative report into the disappearance of MH370 came back with no conclusive explanation for the disappearance.
- Lead investigator Kok Soo Chon said the plane was turned back from its course under manual control.
- Unlawful interference, or hijacking, of the plane was not ruled out.
By Gerard du Cann / The post ” WAITING TO DIE MH370 passengers ‘experienced 12-minute death plunge after cockpit fire incinerated pilot leaving them trapped in out-of-control plane’, new book claims ” appeared first on TheSun.co.uk