Digital ARt for the ATSB story
Digital ARt for the ATSB story

MH370 search boss: Crash was ‘deliberate act’

The man who headed the Australian Transport Safety Bureau at the time it was tasked with finding MH370 now concedes additional information suggests it was possible someone was behind the controls of the aircraft in its final moments.

Martin Dolan says new evidence suggests someone was at the controls of MH370 when it crashed. File picture
Martin Dolan says new evidence suggests someone was at the controls of MH370 when it crashed. File picture

Martin Dolan who recently retired as ATSB chief commissioner said his team looked at all possibilities including a controlled glide or ditching but based on debris found, his group's final report declared it "very unlikely".

The accepted scenario was the aircraft ran out of fuel and crashed from such a great height obliterating on impact.

But since then further analysis makes a final out-of-control dive questionable.

"I think the evidence is less, less clear now given we have managed to eliminate most of the area associated with that scenario," Mr Dolan told a Sky News documentary team. "That means there's an increasing likelihood that there was someone at the controls at the end of flight."

When asked if Prime Minister Tony Abbott, the Australian Federal Police or anyone in Malaysia told him their clear belief it was mass murder-suicide, Mr Dolan said no, no-one had ever passed on any information with any level of certainty.

Mr Abbott yesterday revealed he was told from the outset by the highest levels of government it was murder suicide by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

On if he had his time again where would he do something differently, Mr Dolan said: "There's nothing fundamentally different that we would do. We just now have some additional information which has been brought to bear and still leads to the conclusion that the most likely location is in or around the area that we have been searching."

Mr Dolan told News Corp Australia what was also clear to him was the loss of MH370 was no way an accident or any other wild theory and was not likely to happen again.

"If the most likely scenario is in fact the scenario that this was a result of a planned and deliberate action, it's such an unlikely event it is of a very low probability of happening again," he said.

"I don't think in the world of aviation safety and security there are any absolute guarantees but I certainly think it would be a very low probability of occurrence."

On whether he could now point the finger of blame on Zaharie, Mr Dolan said not necessarily.

"I wouldn't go so far to point the finger and one particular person, what the evidence does show, as far as I'm concerned, is that this was the result of planned and deliberate action by someone familiar in detail with operations of a (Boeing) 777 aircraft," he said.

He added he would always regret not being able to give families of the passengers and crew any conclusive answers.

 

Peter Foley says there was nothing straightforward about the search for MH370. Picture: Kym Smith
Peter Foley says there was nothing straightforward about the search for MH370. Picture: Kym Smith

 

The man who led ATSB's search Peter Foley said he has not seen any new evidence or analysis since the search ended in 2017 which pointed to a definitive MH370 resting place and he stands by the conclusions of his report.

"There was nothing straightforward about the search and while humans tend to gravitate towards simple explanations, the reality of that flight, what happened on board that aircraft and tracking where it flew for the final six hours of the flight is far more complicated," he told News Corp adding if anyone had any strong conviction "find the wherewithal" and go look for themselves.

"MH370 will never be found unless we get off our backsides and go look for it."

 


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