Malaysian authorities believed that the disappearance of MH370 was a murder-suicide plot, a politician has sensationally claimed.
Tony Abbott, the former Prime Minister of Australia, has revealed the "highest levels" of Malaysia's government told him "very early on" that the plane was deliberately downed by the pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
Speaking in a new documentary airing this week, Abbott, 62, who was PM when the aircraft went missing over the South China Sea in 2014, said it was made "crystal clear" to him by authorities that this was what had happened.
"My very clear understanding, from the very top levels of the Malaysian government, is that from very, very early on they thought it was a murder-suicide by the pilot," Abbott said on the Sky News documentary MH370: The Untold Story.
"I'm not going to say who said what to whom. But let me reiterate – I want to be absolutely crystal clear – it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder-suicide by the pilot.
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"A mass murder-suicide by the pilot."
Malaysia Airlines flight 370 disappeared on March 8, 2014, with 227 passengers and 12 crew on board.
It vanished 40 minutes into its flight from the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in China.
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Pilot Zaharie Shah, 53, was one of the airline's most senior captains.
His last words to air traffic control were "good night, Malaysian three-seven-zero," just before the plane disappeared from the radar at 1.21am.
As it left Malaysian airspace it crossed into Vietnam airspace before suddenly turning back around and heading back over Malaysia.
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Satellite data showed the plane veering off course and making unscheduled turns over the Strait of Malacca as it headed towards the Southern Indian Ocean.
The biggest and most expensive search mission was launched, costing hundreds of millions of pounds.
In 2017, the official Australian Transport Safety Bureau report and the 2018 Malaysian Ministry of Transport report failed to reach a conclusion as to what happened to the plane.
The Malaysian government's report said there was no evidence Zaharie Shah – who it described as a "competent" pilot – had hijacked his own aircraft.
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But former PM Abbott insisted that the country's officials had never mentioned any alternative theories, such as a terrorist hijacking or a catastrophic fire, to him.
"I've read all these stories that the Malaysians allegedly didn't want the murder-suicide theory pursued because they were embarrassed about one of their pilots doing this," he said.
"I have no reason to accept this."
Earlier this month, investigators claimed they had found new possible search locations for MH370.
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