March 2016 – MH-370, Two Years after

MH-370_04Two years on from the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 there is only very little progress in the search for the missing aircraft. So far only one piece of debris found last year on Reunion east of Madagascar has been confirmed as belonging to the plane. Last week another piece of debris had been found off the coast of Mozambique, which authorities are examining. MH370, a Boeing 777, vanished on March 8, 2014, on an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The unprecedented Australian-led hunt for wreckage of the flight is expected to finish its high-tech scanning of a designated swathe of seafloor in the remote Indian Ocean by July. Australian, Malaysian and Chinese authorities plan to end the search — projected to cost up to $130 million — at that point if no compelling new leads emerge.

MH-370_01Still is absolutely unknown what happened on board the plane after it left its flight path towards Beijing and why it turned south heading for the open ocean. Some experts fear that this was another case of “suicide by pilot”, sometimes described as murder-suicide.
For outsiders it sounds strange – maybe even impossible. In fact since 1982 a number of pilots of commercial airliners committed suicide by crashing their plane. Many more suicides by pilots happened with smaller planes (general aviation). Some of them in Australia.

 

The most important declared or suspected pilot suicides are:

February 9, 1982 – the captain of Japan Airlines Flight 350 was trying to crash the plane (McDonald-Douglas DC-8) into Tokyo’s Haneda-Airport. Co-Pilot and Fligfht Engineer were trying to regain control but couldn’t prevent the accident. 24 Fatalities
August 21, 1994 – one of the pilots of Royal Air Maroc Flight 630 intentionally crashed the plane (ATR-42) on the way from Agadir (Morocco) to Casablanca into a vast region of the Atlas Mountains. All 44 passengers and crew were killed. Among the passengers was a Prince of Kuwait and his wife.
December 19, 1997 – the captain of Silk Air Flight 185 sent his co-pilot back into the passenger cabin, locked the door and crashed the plane (Boeing-737) by forcing it into a nosedive. During the dive large parts were separating from the plane. The fuselage finally ended in the Musi River/Sumatra. 104 Fatalities.
October 11, 1999 – a Botswana airline pilot committed suicide by crashing a plane into the ground and a group of aircraft at the airport of Gaborone, the capital of Botswana. He was the only casualty. His actions effectively crippled operations for Air Botswana.
October 31, 1999 – after the captain left the cockpit, the co-pilot of EgyptAir Flight 990 crashed the plane (Boeing 767) into the Atlantic Ocean south of Nantucket. The flight came from Los Angeles, had a stopover in New York and was on the way to Cairo. 217 Fatalities.
November 29, 2013 – after the captain locked the co-pilot out of cockpit he intentionally crashed the plane (Embraer 190) into Bwabwata National Park in Namibia. The flight Mozambique Airlines 470 was on the way from Maputo (Mozambique) to Luanda (Angola). 33 Fatalities.
March 24, 2015 – the co-pilot locked the captain out of cockpit and then deliberately crashed the plane (Airbus A-320) into a mountain of the French Alps. The flight Germanwings 9525 was on the way from Barcelona (Spain) to Düsseldorf (Germany). 150 Fatalities.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERASo far the fate of MH-370 is one of the greatest mysteries in civil aviation. Pilot suicide is only one of many possibilities. Only after evaluation of the two “Black Boxes”, the Flight Data Recorder and the Cockpit Voice Recorder the reason for the crash will become clear. However these two devices are still somewhere on the bottom of the Indian Ocean.