13 August, 2018

MH370 was flown and crashed by a stowaway............new theory suggests

According to an international aviation 'expert,' the latest theory into the disappearance of Malaysian Flight MH370 is that it was flown by a stowaway who then crashed the plane.  

Philip Baum editor of Aviation Security International claims that someone evaded all airport security checks, managed to find a secret hiding place on the Boeing 777 and then somehow took over control of the aircraft and crashed it.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 went missing in March 2014 while en route to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board. Its disappearance has sparked the biggest marine search for a civil airliner in history and so far officials have drawn a blank in finding it or what happened to it. Indeed the Malaysian investigation team of some 19 or so people failed to find a conclusion The team found no evidence of malfunctions, no malicious or suspicious behaviour from the flight crew, there was no evidence of someone other than the pilots flew the plane, but at the end of their investigation they concluded: “The team is unable to determine the real cause for the disappearance of MH370.”

Of course, with such an indeterminate conclusion their report has been criticised by some in the aviation world, including by Philip Baum, who is also the MD of a company that delivers security-oriented training courses and puts on niche security conferences, says “No officials seem to want to even contemplate the possibility of a stowaway being on board.”

Baum thinks that one or more people might have evaded security while the aircraft was on the ground in Kuala Lumpur, then secreted themselves away in an underfloor electronics and engineering bay which is just behind the flight deck. According to the specifications from Boeing, this avionics bay has a “hinged, self-closing access panel” and it is also able to be accessed from a door in the bottom of the aircraft's fuselage.  “I think a stowaway is a strong possibility, especially as no officials seem to want to even contemplate the possibility,” he told The Independent in the UK.  

There are a number of cases of people stowing away on commercial flights, although most of those try and hide themselves in the wheel wells of aircraft. This often proves to be a fatal ride for the vast majority of people who attempt it. Some are crushed by the wheels as they retract, others succumb to the cold temperatures in the unheated and unpressurised wheel bays. Other stowaways who have survived the coldness, may have fallen unconscious due to a lack of oxygen as the aircraft travels at altitudes of above twenty-five thousand feet. If they don't die from not being able to breathe, there is a good chance they'll still be unconscious as the plane is approaching its destination airport and the pilot lowers the gear for landing, the stowaway then fall to their deaths. 

In February this year, two teenage boys died after falling from a wheel bay of a LATAM aircraft that had been heading to New York from Guayaquil, however the boys, who were cousins, fell just after takeoff, with them was a suitcase of clothes and $20.  Also in February this year an African man was found dead at Nairobi airport after stowing away on a Kenya Airways from Kinshasa. 

Other cases of stowaways, again using wheel wells include November 2016 a person tried to make it to Johannesburg from Lagos on an Arik Air A330, they succeeded in making it, but not alive.  A dead body was found in a wheel bay of a Flynas aircraft at Jeddah in September 2016 having come from Nigeria. In June 2016 at Brussels dead man was found in the wheel area of an A330 after the plane had arrived from Dakar.  A deceased male was founded during a refuelling stop at Harare Airport on an MD11 cargo aircraft from Munich, also in 2016, another dead male was found in the wheel bay of an Air France Boeing 777 in Paris after a flight from Sao Paulo. A dead body was found upon arrival at Amsterdam's Schipol Airport in September 2015 following a flight from Nairobi on an Emirates cargo 777. 

Not every attempt to stowaway results in death, some surivive against all odds. There was a remarkable case in London of a twenty-four-year-old man who survived a flight in the wheel bay of a British Airways Boeing 747 on a flight from Johannesburg in June 2015. His travelling companion in the wheel bay wasn't so successful,  he fell from the aircraft on its approach to Heathrow. The dead body was discovered on the roof of notonthehighstreet.com's headquarters on Kew Road, Richmond. A man from the Dominican Republic survived the flight in the undercarriage of an Airbus A321 to Miami, he survived, but the risky journey was in vain, he was later deported back home. A 16-year-old boy also survived a ride in the undercarriage, this time of a Hawaiian Airlines 767 from San Jose to Kahului and despite reaching altitudes of thirty-five thousand feet and above, the teenage climbed down from the undercarriage and walked, a little unsteadily away from the aircraft. 

While it is possible a stowaway could have the expert knowledge to know about the engineering and electronics and avionics bay on a Boeing 777, they would also need to know how to access it and how to stay hidden in the bay for quite some time and of course, know how to fly the 777. It is, one of a number of the various theories bobbing about by various aviation commentators or analysts. Although, it raises more questions than it actually answers, for example, why was there no radio contact from the pilots when this stowaway emerged from the bay or took control of the aircraft. Why didn't they show up interfering with the aircraft on the CCTV at Kuala Lumpur airport or by ground staff servicing the aircraft?

The mystery of MH370 may never be unravelled, not unless new information comes to light that forces to authorities to resume the search for the wreckage and/or the flight data recorder and cockpit voice recorder. In the present climate, there is little chance of this happening, yet the French are, apparently starting an investigation because the Malaysian report was so inconclusive, so maybe they will find a missing piece of the jigsaw, but I wouldn't hold my breath for that to occur.