The home flight simulator owned by Captain Zaharie Shah the pilot of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was used to plot a course to the southern Indian Ocean where the aircraft is believed to have gone missing. Since the crash there have been competing theories over whether one, both or no pilot was in control of the aircraft when it disappeared or whether it was hijacked. Adding to the mystery, investigators believe someone may have deliberately switched off the plane’s transponder before diverting it thousands of kilometres.
Malaysian Airlines MH370, with 239 aboard, disappeared in March 2014 while on a flight from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. It has long been believed that the plane crashed into the ocean in the remote region plotted on the simulator.
Suspected pilot suicides
- 1976 – Russia – A pilot stole an Antonov 2 biplane and flew it into the block of flats in Novosibirsk where his divorced wife lived. Two deaths.
- 1979 – Colombia – A recently fired mechanic stole a military HS-748 transport plane, taking off and crashing into a residential area of Bogota. Four deaths.
- 1994 – Russia – An air force engineer stole an Antonov 26 transport plane from the Kubinka base, near Moscow. The pilot circled the town of Kubinka until the plane ran out of fuel. One death.
- 1994 – Morocco – A Royal Air Maroc ATR-42 crashed in the Atlas Mountains shortly after takeoff. It was suggested the captain had disconnected the autopilot and directed it at the ground, but the Moroccan Pilots’ Union challenged this. 44 deaths.
- 1997 – Indonesia – A Silk Air Boeing 737 crashed en route to Singapore. It was suggested the captain may have committed suicide by switching off both flight recorders and intentionally putting the plane into a dive. 104 deaths.
- 1999 – Botswana – A captain stated over the radio that he was going to crash an ATR-42 plane. It hit two other aircraft parked at Gaborone Airport. One death.
- 1999 – US – An Egypt Air Boeing 767 entered a rapid descent half an hour after takeoff from New York’s JFK Airport, moments after the captain had left the flight deck. It was suggested the accident had been deliberately caused by the relief first officer, but there was no conclusive evidence. 217 deaths.
- 2013 – Namibia – An LAM Mozambique Airlines Embraer ERJ-190 entered a rapid descent en route from Mozambique to Angola. Preliminary investigation results indicate the accident was intentional. 33 deaths.
- 2015 – France – Co-pilot of a Germanwings Airbus A320 Andreas Lubitz believed to have deliberately crashed the plane in the French Alps en route to Dusseldorf, killing 150 people.
Source: Aviation Safety Network
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