Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing on March 8, 2014, en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board. The official investigation concluded that the plane most likely ended up at the bottom of the southern Indian Ocean, west of Perth, Australia. Mr Abbott, Australian Prime Minister at the time, worked closely with the Malaysian authorities to launch two extensive search missions in the area identified as the likely final resting place of MH370.
However, the investigation has since been closed with no wreckage found and no conclusive proof of what happened to the plane and the 239 people.
Speaking to a Sky News documentary, Mr Abbott appeared to open the door to renewed efforts.
This is because the search areas were identified by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) on the basis that the plane was not being manned in the final stages of its flight, but was instead flying on autopilot until it ran out of fuel.
However, according to the Australian politician, the Malaysian authorities were convinced that the incident was actually a murder-suicide on behalf of the pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
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Former Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak appeared to confirm this yesterday when he said that Malaysia never outright said this because they had no conclusive proof.
Mr Abbott said: “My understanding, my very clear understanding from the very top levels of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on they thought it was murder-suicide by the pilot.
“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.”
He added: “If it is a fact that the furthest reaches were not explored because of assumptions of a pilot who was no longer at the controls, I would say let’s ditch that assumption.
“Let’s assume that it was murder-suicide by the pilot and if there is any part of the ocean that could have been reached on that basis, let’s get out there and explore it.”
In the same documentary, former Emirates pilot Captain Byron Bailey, claimed that the search should have actually been 20 nautical miles south of where they looked.
Captain Bailey, who has over 50 years experience in the cockpit, said he is so sure this is where it is that he would bet his house on it – and even gave exact coordinates.
He told Sky News that the pilot may have glided the aircraft as far as possible and then landed it on the water outside the search zone.
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He said: “All the evidence points to the fact it was ditched.
“I’m sure the captain was trying to ditch the aircraft in as far south, remote location as possible, and leave as little wreckage as possible that would sink.”
The only debris that has been found that definitely belonged to MH370 has been on an island in the Indian Ocean and on the west coast of Africa.
Mr Bailey added: “If I’m wrong then it probably means the aircraft has been taken by aliens or sitting in a hanger somewhere in Kazakhstan.
“I’m so sure. I’d bet my house on it. As far as I’m concerned it’s game over, we know where it is, we’ve always known where it is.”
The comment about Kazakhstan here is a reference to an alternative theory advocated by several experts including Jeff Wise that the plane actually flew north not south.
If the plane is tracked in this direction, it would end up in Kazakhstan in central Asia, instead of in the southern Indian Ocean.
According to Mr Wise, the Russian government may have planned this in order to distract the world from their occupation of Crimea.
Other theories include a technical disaster, the plane being shot down, the plane being kidnapped, and the plane crashing into the Cambodian jungle.
However, without the black boxes, which contain information about the condition of the plane, as well as audio recordings from inside the cockpit at the time of the crash, no one theory can be confirmed.
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