French investigators have expressed interest in reopening the investigation into the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, which veered off course and disappeared in flight in 2014. France says that it is allowed to carry out its own independent inquiry because four people on the plane were French citizens.
Investigators will start by re-examining pings that led previous investigators to believe that MH370, a Boeing 777, crashed somewhere in the Indian Ocean. The SR-GTA, the research arm of the Gendarmerie of Air Transport, wants to verify the accuracy and authenticity of the satellite pings in addition to all of the original technical data provided by Inmarsat, a British Satellite Communications company. Inmarsat was the first to use communications from the plane and the aircraft’s satellite data to determine a possible crash site.
An article published in Le Parisien said that French investigators want to pursue their inquiries “from scratch”.
“Today, it is the research section of the Gendarmerie Air Transport (SR-GTA) that continues the investigation at the request of justice,” wrote Le Parisien. “And at an angle that will allow to put everything flat, according to our information.”
“I can confirm that, via the UK authorities, we have been approached by the French investigation team,” said a spokesperson for Inmarsat. “We will be supporting their enquiry and are on standby to answer any questions that the French investigation team may have. It is important to stress that the accuracy and analysis of the data conducted by the international investigation team is not being questioned as part of the French investigation.”
“The first turn made by the aircraft is voluntary, while it is off the coast of Malaysia and Vietnam, between two air traffic controls,” Le Parisien reported. “It flew over the Indian Ocean and passed over Penang Island International Airport, from which MH370 never rose again.”
At the time of writing, the French Government has not officially confirmed that an investigation has been re-opened.
This announcement comes soon after the Malaysian government released its final report on the disappearance of MH370, which determined that the plane’s change of course and crash was caused by manual interference rather than technical input. Whether or not this was the work of the pilots is still up in the air, but the Malaysian report cleared the pilots of wrongdoing in the accident.
The Malaysian government’s report was condemned by experts and family members of those on the plane, many of whom said that the report failed to offer any new information on MH370’s disappearance. Some said that the government is attempting to cover up certain aspects of the accident.
“Someone is hiding something,” said then-Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad. This has never been confirmed.
The Malaysian Civil Aviation Chief announced his resignation last week over “lapses” in the investigation into MH370.
Voice370, a group advocating for relatives of passengers on MH370, has echoed the concerns of French investigators regarding publicized satellite data.
“Boeing, for example, that has been silent for the last 4.5 years wasted no time in absolving themselves of blame despite the fact that [the Malaysian] report specifically mentions that a lack of evidence precluded the investigation from definitely eliminating any possibility,” Voice370 said. “Furthermore, the French authority mentions repeatedly in their report that their investigations on the flaperon [that washed up on the French island of Reunion in 2015] has been hampered by an absence of data from Boeing.
“The report highlights that the military’s primary radar data played a significant role in tracing the aircraft’s flight path. Voice370 calls upon the Government of Malaysia to share all available data with independent experts for a thorough peer review and analysis We believe that after 4.5 years since MH370 disappeared, there is no reason to continue to withhold data when its probative value far outweighs any prejudicial effect.”
“Even though Voice 370 acknowledges the work of the MH370 Annexe 13 Safety Investigation team, the MH370 family members are frustrated that the Report was poorly framed that it became open to opportunistic interpretations,” said Voice370.
At the time of writing, there are no plans for another search for the missing plane despite Malaysia’s “no find, no fee” policy.
Le Parisien has raised its own thoughts on the fate of MH370. One theory is that the aircraft suffered a major power failure while in a turn. That failure would have caused a depressurization that sent all passengers and crew into a coma. In this situation, pilots would have been unable to control the plane, which would have flown on autopilot until it ran out of fuel.
“The first officer, alone in the cockpit, put on his emergency oxygen mask but failed to get 100 percent oxygen under pressure which would be required to restore his intellectual acuity,” said Christine Negroni, who wrote a book called The Crash Detectives. “Instead, with the insidious feeling of well-being that characterizes hypoxia — or oxygen starvation — the pilot turned the plane back toward Kuala Lumpur. He knew there was a problem but didn’t have the brain processing power to act appropriately. This explains why he turned in one direction then another before passing out as the plane headed into the world’s most remote sea.”
Another theory info the flight’s disappearance is that two unidentified men, which can be seen on airport CCTV cameras, bypassed airport security and slipped unnoticed onto the plane despite not being on the passenger list. The men might have removed the pilots’ oxygen tanks before takeoff and taken control of the aircraft.
Ken St. Aubin, a self-described electrical systems specialist, said that either of the men, one of which wore an airport ground crew uniform, could have walked onto the ramp posed as a maintenance worker and boarded the plane via the Electrical/Equipment bay under the fuselage.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared on March 8, 2014 with 239 people on board. It was flying between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. After leaving Malaysian airspace, the Boeing 777 made a drastic change of course and flew for several hours before disappearing from radar. Current data shows that the plane disappeared over the Indian Ocean.
Save for some parts that have washed up on a number of beaches, no MH370 wreckage has been found despite multiple several efforts to locate the plane. Only three parts have been confirmed to be part of the plane even though over two dozen are allegedly part of the plane.
Featured image by SPOTTERNATION via YouTube