31 March 2020, Tuesday | 12:30am

Aussie reporter: Have international inquiry into MH370

2020-02-21

KUALA LUMPUR: AN international inquiry will reveal whether Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was downed intentionally by the pilot, as alleged in an Australian news documentary.

Senior Australian journalist Ean Higgins, who backed the claim, said in an interview with Sky News Australia that an international inquiry would affirm the allegation, although the confirmation could be made only when the aircraft was found.

“I think (an international inquiry) is an excellent idea. There is a bit of change over the past few days. We’ve seen (ex-Australian prime minister) Tony Abbott basically call a spade a spade and said a top-level Malaysian officer told him right at the start they thought evidence pointed to (the incident) being a pilot mass murder-suicide.

“Basically, most of the aviation community think that’s the most possible scenario, the other one being a hijack gone wrong.

“We wouldn’t know until we find the aircraft. An international inquiry would help towards that end by reevaluating the evidence, maybe getting public hearings. Calling the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) officers, who are very reluctant to say what they know or reveal documents, it would be an excellent idea.”

Higgins was responding to a question on whether it is a good idea to have an international inquiry into the fate of the missing flight.

His response came after the broadcast of a Sky News Australia documentary titled MH370: The Untold Story.

On Wednesday, DAP adviser Lim Kit Siang said an international commission of inquiry into the MH370 disappearance would be necessary in light of Abbott’s revelations.

Abbott said in the documentary that Malaysia’s top leadership considered from the outset the disappearance of MH370 in 2014 a mass murder-suicide by the pilot.

“My understanding from the top levels of the Malaysian government is that they (initially) thought it was murder-suicide by the pilot.”

He, however, declined to name any individual to back his claim.

In the same interview, Higgins, author of The Hunt for MH370, claimed that the tragedy could have been prevented if the Malaysian authorities acted sooner to locate the plane when it disappeared from the radar.

“I think there is a possibility that the plane could have been intercepted if people had been more on the ball. The air traffic controllers in Malaysia did not act for hours, and by that time the opportunity to possibly intercept the aircraft was lost.

“The military radar operators were basically asleep at the wheel and weren’t actually monitoring the radar. It is unfortunate the Malaysian government did not act more efficiently,” he said.

In the same documentary, former Australian pilot Byron Bailey claimed that he knows the “exact location” of MH370’s wreckage.

Bailey, a veteran aviation officer with over 50 years of experience, said the crash site was likely further south of the search site in the southeastern parts of the Indian Ocean, where an international search party had combed hundreds of miles and found nothing.

He claimed that the “exact” location of the wreckage is at these coordinates: 39’10S, 88’18E.

“If I’m wrong, then it probably means the aircraft has been taken by aliens or is sitting in a hangar in Kazakhstan,” he said.

Martin Dolan, a former ATSB chief, said the wreckage was most likely in or around the area that had been searched.

He said new evidence suggested possible error in the initial theory that the plane dived nose first.

The assumption was based on the discovery of a small piece of debris found during the search, which indicated a high-speed impact with water that was not consistent with a controlled ditching.

“I think the evidence is less clear now, given that we have managed to eliminate most of the area associated with that scenario.

“There’s nothing fundamentally different that we would do. It’s just we 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.

“That means there’s an increasing likelihood there was someone at the controls at the end of the flight,” Dolan said.

Source: New Straits Times

 

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