MALAYSIA AIRLINES flight 370’s co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid tried to make a distress call when disaster struck on the doomed jet, according to claims made in a confidential investigation.
MH370 departed from Kuala Lumpur Airport on March 8, 2014, destined for Beijing, China, with 239 people on board. The Boeing 777 last communicated with air traffic control at 1:19am while travelling over the South China Sea, before disappearing altogether. However, a secret investigation may have discovered an emergency signal made moments before the jet vanished.
Malaysian police detailed how a telecommunication tower at Bandar Baru Farlim Penang in Malaysia detected a mobile number registered to Mr Hamid minutes before the plane dropped off the radar.
Former easyJet chief pilot Mike Keane said this supported the theory that Captain Zaharie Shah forcefully took control of the aircraft before plunging it into the sea.
He believes Mr Shah told Mr Hamid to go to the cabin before he locked the cockpit and depressurised the plane.
He theorises that Mr Hamid then used his phone in a desperate attempt to contact authorities.
He would have grabbed an oxygen bottle before taking his phone off flight mode
He said in March: “The first officer would have been skilled in responding to depressurisation due to regular training.
“If Fariq had his mobile phone with him, he would have grabbed an oxygen bottle before taking his phone off flight mode or switching it on.”
However, telecommunications expert Matthew Sorell claims the phone may have actually been left on for the whole flight and performed a “new location area update” when approaching Penang.
He claimed: “This means the phone was on, and responded automatically when it detected the cell signal over Penang.”
Authorities in Malaysia had previously dismissed reports of the phone detection, which were first made in April 2014.
JUST IN: NYC subway station evacuated after three ‘suspicious packages’
However, the confidential police report was leaked online and backed up the view the authorities knew the phone had been detected.
Despite this, air crash investigator Christine Negroni has an alternative view.
She claimed during her book “The Crash Detectives” that Mr Shah may not have been in the cockpit when disaster struck.
Ms Negroni believes the plane suffered a sudden depressurisation while the experienced captain was taking a bathroom break.
She wrote last year: “I find it logical to assume that Zaharie visited the business-class bathroom near the flight deck that is also used by the flight crew.
“In this and all the airline’s 777’s bathrooms, a drop-down mask is there to provide oxygen in the case of depressurisation.
MH370 bombshell: Why investigator thinks captain ’not confident’ [ANALYSIS]
MH370 shock theory: Plane was controlled by ‘machines not people!’ [VIDEO]
MH370 shock theory: Plane ‘stalled in mid-air as crew panicked’ [CLAIM]
“Imagine what it would have been like for Zaharie to see the yellow plastic cup bob down after depressurisation.
“He would have been momentarily rattled, but with his experience, he would have realised immediately what had happened and what needed to be done.”
Ms Negroni theorises that Mr Shah tried to make it back to the cockpit, but struggled to catch his breath.
She adds: “The distance between the bathroom and the cockpit is just a few steps, but like Fariq, Zaharie was a smoker and probably more susceptible to the effects of oxygen deprivation.
“If he got out of the bathroom, if he got down the narrow corridor, if he got to the door of the cockpit without losing consciousness, another challenge would have awaited him.
“The cockpit door unlocks automatically when cabin altitude is lost. Would Zaharie have remembered that?
“Or did he, by force of habit, stop outside the door and enter the code?
“Did he lose precious seconds struggling to remember a passcode he did not need?”
However, this idea is just one theory among hundreds of others proposed over the last five years.
Some state the plane was hijacked, either by terrorists on board or through remote cyber hacking.
While more outrageous ideas have claimed the plane was a “flying bomb” due to the cargo of five tonnes of mangosteens and 221kg of lithium-ion batteries.
Over the years there have been all sorts of claims over possible sightings, from Maldive islanders to oil rig workers in Vietnam.
However, we are still no closer to knowing the truth.