KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 20 — A former Australian pilot has claimed to know the “exact” location of missing flight MH370’s wreckage in a new Sky News Australia documentary, MH370: The Untold Story, the first part of which was aired last night.
Byron 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.
Bailey, so confident about his estimation that he told Sky News he would “bet his house on it”, claimed the “exact” location of the wreckage is at the coordinate: 39’10 S, 88’18E.
The calculation was based on the assumption that Captain Zaharie Shah had tried to “ditch” the plane “and leave as little wreckage as possible that would sink”.
“All the evidence points to the fact it was ditched,” he said.
“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 Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) search was based on the assumption the plane ended as a ghost flight, or a death dive, meaning the pilot was also dead when the aircraft ran out of fuel at 40,000 feet.
The final end-of-flight scenario is crucial to establishing the possible location of the MH370 wreckage.
But Bailey argued there could not have been a death dive and believes Zaharie had glided the plane as far as possible and landed it on the water outside the search zone.
“If I’m wrong then it probably means the aircraft has been taken by aliens or is sitting in a hangar somewhere in Kazakhstan,” he said.
“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.”
Several other Australian officials interviewed in the documentary tended to agree with Bailey’s view.
Martin Dolan, a former ATSB chief, 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,” Dolan said in the documentary.
“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,” he added.
“That means there’s an increasing likelihood there was someone at the controls at the end of the flight.”
Former Australian transport minister and deputy prime minister Warren Truss suggested there may be some areas the search party had missed, but said they still found nothing despite having increased the search area several times.
“We were obviously guided in the choice of that place by experts around the world,” he said.
In the same two-part documentary, former Australian prime minister Tony Abbot alleged that the Malaysian government believed from the outset the disappearance of the aircraft was likely a mass murder-suicide plot.
Abbott was the prime minister during the MH370 tragedy. Six Australians were among the passengers of the doomed flight.
Abbott’s Malaysian counterpart at that time was Datuk Seri Najib Razak, with Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai as his transport minister. Both were from Barisan Nasional that was shockingly defeated by Pakatan Harapan in the 2018 general election amid accusations of graft and abuse of power.
Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared on March 8, 2014 with all 239 people on board.
Underwater searches for the plane in the Indian Ocean, covering 120,000 square kilometres and costing about A$200 million, was subsequently suspended indefinitely in January 2017 until Malaysia accepted a “no-cure, no-fee” offer from US exploration firm Ocean Infinity in 2018.