Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved

Flight MH370 mystery may never be solved 'because of crucial lost 18 minutes'

The Malaysian Airlines jet, which was carrying 239 passengers from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, disappeared from radar just seconds after entered into Vietnamese airspace.

The mystery of doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may never be solved as it lost contact with air traffic controllers during a crucial 18 minute window, according to reports.

Crucially, this was missed by ground crew in Malaysia who had a busy schedule at the time the jet vanished.

When the team in Kuala Lumpur finally noticed the Boeing 777's disappearance, they presumed it had been taken over by air traffic controllers in Ho Chi Minh, the Atlantic reports.

The Vietnamese team had noticed the jet on their monitors and then saw it vanish - but crucially - it is believed they failed to report the issue to their Malaysian counterparts.

A full 18 minutes passed before ground crew in Kuala Lumpur became aware one of their jets had vanished.

The Malaysian Aviation Safety Network (ASN) is certain that the aircraft was captured mid-flight.

Evidence is mounting that the crash, which has become of the greatest aviation mysteries of all time, was a murder-suicide.

New flight data suggests "some abnormal turns [were] made by the 777 [that] can only be done manually."

French investigators claim captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a troubled, lonely man who deliberately killed all passengers and crew on board the flight.

But it will take around "a year" to go through all of the information received from Boeing, sources said in July.

A source, who is 'close to the investigation' said: "Some abnormal turns made by the 777 can only be done manually. So someone was at the helm.

"But nothing is credited that anyone else could have entered the cockpit."

The informant told Le Parisien the new development amid France's judicial inquiry into the crash. It is the only country to conduct one as of yet.

Data analysis indicates the Boeing 777-200ER flew over the Indian Ocean until it ran out of fuel and violently slammed into the water with 239 people on board.

It is suspected the plane's passenger cabin was deliberately depressurised by Shah to kill everyone on board hours before the crash.

Before doing so, he could have put on an oxygen mask in the cockpit so he could continue to fly the aircraft for hours.

At around the same time the cabin was depressurised the electrical system was deliberately turned off, making the plane impossible to track by satellite.

An FBI inspection of Shah's Microsoft flight simulator at home showed he had tested a flight roughly matching the path of MH370, ending in the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel.

His voice was heard in the final radio communication less than two minutes before the plane began to divert from its flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8, 2014.

One of his lifelong friends told the Atlantic that he had reluctantly come to the conclusion that Shah deliberately crashed the plane, given the evidence amassed by independent investigators.

The friend, who wasn't named, said: “It’s hard to reconcile with the man I knew. But it’s the necessary conclusion.”

The friend said Shah likely tricked his inexperienced 27-year-old co-pilot, Fariq Hamid, who was on his final training flight, into leaving the cockpit and locked him out.

He said: “Zaharie was an examiner. All he had to say was ‘Go check something in the cabin', and the guy would have been gone.”

Shah's friend doesn't know why the pilot would do such a thing, but thought it might be down to the captain's emotional state.

He added: “Zaharie’s marriage was bad. In the past he slept with some of the flight attendants. And so what? We all do. You’re flying all over the world with these beautiful girls in the back. But his wife knew.”

People who spoke to the Atlantic described Shah, the father of adult children, as lonely and sad.

By David Coleman