Malaysian Airways Flight MH370 had 239 people on board when it left Kuala Lumpur airport at 00h41 on 8 March 2014 bound for Beijing, China. Its planned flight path would have taken it over Vietnam en route and it had sufficient fuel for the 7-hour flight. However, at 01h19, the aircraft made an unscheduled manoeuvre banking left turn over the Gulf of Siam towards Palau Langkawi, Malaysia and terminating radio voice contact with Malaysian air-traffic control with the final cockpit voice communication recorded as “Good Night Malaysian three seven zero”. The aircraft was not seen or heard from again.
An international effort to find the aircraft, or more to the point wreckage, assuming it had crashed into the sea, was fruitless. The search was focused on the anticipated crash site in the area off the western coast of Australia. However, in the middle of 2015, debris was found inexplicably off the coast of south-eastern Africa. The origin of this recovered flotsam could have been almost anywhere in the western half of the Indian Ocean.
Now, four years on from the original disappearance, Alfred Wong of the Friends of Aboriginal Health, in Vancouver, Canada, has suggested that the probable crash site might only be found if investigators turn their perspective to the prevailing geopolitics of the time and the social psychology of the pilots. He points out that even now, the causes of the final flight path are still largely conjectural: electrical or mechanical failures, hijacking by on-board intruders or by external electronic means, and irrational behaviour by the pilots are frequently mentioned, for instance. Conspiracy theories abound.
Wong suggests that it is time to address the problem and investigate the disappearance of Flight MH370 with the assumption that a crime may have been committed rather than an accident having occurred. “The new comprehensive undertaking should include all direct and circumstantial physical, sociological, political and psychological evidence pertaining to motives and opportunities,” he says. “It is generally known that in most crime scene investigation anywhere in the World, unbiased thorough investigation and subsequent vigorous prosecution are often hampered by political interferences,” he adds. It is now time to circumvent the issues that have hampered the investigations.
Wong proposes that independent qualified experts from disinterested nations, such as Cuba, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Bolivia, and Zimbabwe should be recruited at this point to override the suspicion, distrust, and the conspiracy of silence and to provide an explanation for the loss of the aircraft and all of those on board to the world and to the relatives of those who died on Flight MH370.
Wong, A. (2018) ‘Geopolitics in the search for the disappeared Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370‘, Int. J. Forensic Engineering, Vol. 4, No. 1, pp.47-74.