Report Says MH370 Was Deliberately ‘Manipulated’ Off Course and Flown Into Indian Ocean

FILE – In this March 3, 2018, file photo, a girl writes a condolence message during the Day of Remembrance for MH370 event in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. An independent investigation report released Monday, July 30, 2018, more than four years after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 disappeared highlighted shortcomings in the government response that exacerbated the mystery.(AP Photo/Vincent Thian, File)

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, missing since 2014, was probably steered off course deliberately and flown to the southern Indian Ocean, according to the Malaysian government’s safety report into the disaster.

MH370 vanished on March 8, 2014, en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board. Investigators have never been able to explain why the jet abandoned its route shortly into the flight, traversed Malaysia and then cruised south over the Indian Ocean.

It’s difficult to attribute the change in course to any system failure, according to the report released Monday. “It is more likely that such maneuvers are due to the systems being manipulated,” the report said.

Experts mapped the Boeing 777’s course only after picking through hourly data hookups with a satellite. Extensive sonar searches of remote waters off Australia’s west coast failed to locate the wreckage.

Monday’s 449-page report offered little to solve modern aviation’s biggest mystery — and stopped short of apportioning specific blame. There’s nothing to suggest the plane was evading radar, or evidence of behavioral changes in the crew, it said. Significant parts of the aircraft’s power system, including the autopilot function, were probably working throughout the flight, the report said.

“We are unable to determine with any certainty the reasons that the aircraft diverted from its filed planned route,” Kok Soo Chon, chief inspector of the MH370 investigation team, told reporters in Putrajaya, outside Kuala Lumpur. “The possibility of intervention by a third party cannot be excluded.”

Without the help of cockpit data recorders, search teams could only guess what happened in the flight’s final moments. Analysis by the Australian government suggested MH370 ran out of fuel before plummeting — at as much as 25,000 feet a minute — into the water. Other investigators speculated that a person was at the controls until the very end, gliding the plane into the ocean beyond the furthest limit of any search area.

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SOURCE: Bloomberg, Angus Whitley and Pooi Koon Chong