In an explosive television interview on Wednesday, Feb. 19, a former Australian prime minister revealed that “top levels” of the Malaysian government believed the pilot of the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 that disappeared six years ago, committed an act of mass murder-suicide.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who was in office when the Boeing 777 with 239 people aboard vanished on its flight from Koala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014, presumed crashed in the southern Indian Ocean.
During the interview with Sky News, Abbott said the Malaysian government believed pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah deliberately took the jet down.
“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,” Abbott said in the interview. His comments came during the first part of a Sky News Australian documentary: “MH370: The Untold Story” that is airing Wednesday and Thursday.
“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, mass-murder-suicide by the pilot,” Abbott said in the interview that aired Wednesday.
In a safety report into the disaster by an international team in July 2018, it was disclosed the jet was likely steered off course deliberately by someone and flown for several hours after radio communications were disconnected.
Veteran pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, was one of the most senior captains at Malaysia Airlines. He was the pilot in command of the flight, and Fariq Hamid, the first officer, was flying the airplane. It was to be Hamid’s last training flight, as he would soon be fully certified.
On that fated night, up in the cockpit, while Fariq flew the airplane, Zaharie was in control of the radios.
The jet neared the Vietnamese air-traffic jurisdiction, and after the Kuala Lumpur Control Center radioed, “Malaysian three-seven-zero, contact Ho Chi Minh one-two-zero-decimal-nine. Good night.” Zaharie answered, “Good night. Malaysian three-seven-zero.” They were the last words heard from Flight 370, according to the report from The Atlantic.
Abbott said a new investigation is warranted. “Let’s assume that it was murder-suicide by the pilot and if there is any part of that ocean that could have been reached on that basis that has not yet been explored, let’s get out and explore it,” he said.
The Malaysian government said, earlier in the month there were no plans to instigate a new search for the plane, as no new evidence had come to hand.
“However, the ministry will review any new evidence that it officially receives,” the Malaysian Ministry of Transportation said in a brief statement to Reuters.