The ship Ocean Shield is pictured at Her Majesty's
Australian Ship Base Stirling, south of Perth. The vessel
carries the Bluefin-21 submersible underwater drone being
used in the search for the missing airliner. REUTERS/Morag
Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 could only have
lost its transponder and other communications through human
interference and its captain was best placed to do that.
Communications could have been lost through a fire but the
plane would not then have continued flying another seven
hours, former pilots have told the ABC's Four Corners
As a Chinese navy survey ship prepares to start mapping the
seabed off Western Australia where the crash site is believed
to lie, the ABC has looked at how the search has failed so
Asuad Khan, brother-in-law of MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad
Shah, rejected suggestions the captain was unfit to fly
because of personal problems.
Mr Khan also rejected speculation Captain Zaharie's wife
moved out just before the flight, saying it was normal for
her to take the children and stay elsewhere while her husband
He did not know if his brother-in-law had a girlfriend - as
some reports have indicated amid the struggle to find a
motive or a cause for the plane's disappearance.
"Why not? We can marry four. We are Muslim," Mr Kahn said.
Officials believe the Boeing 777 veered far off course during
a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8 and crashed
in the southern Indian Ocean.
The final communication occurred at 1.19am.
In the next 90 seconds, the aircraft's transponder, which
indicates identify, altitude, speed and destination, either
failed or was turned off.
A separate system, transmitting technical data about the
aircraft's engines and other systems, also stopped working.
"It just points to one thing: human interference," said Nik
Huzlan, former Malaysia Airlines chief pilot.
Then the aircraft with 239 people aboard changed course,
flying west across the Malaysian peninsular before heading
south over the Indian Ocean, where it's believed to have
finally run out of fuel.
It was observed on Malaysia's military radar. Even though
contacted by Malaysia's civil aviation authority about a
missing airliner, the military opted not to send one of its
aircraft to investigate.
"If you're not going to shoot it down, what's the point of
sending it up," Malaysian defence minister Datuk Hishamuddin
Hussein told the ABC.
"Well, the Americans would," he added.
The Chinese ship Zhu Kezhen should reach the search area off
WA on Wednesday.