DOOMED passenger plane MH370 that vanished with 239 onboard was downed intentionally in the South Indian Ocean in a spot that has never been searched, an expert has claimed.
The former French Air Force air traffic controller, Gilles Diharce, spoke exclusively to The Sun Online about evidence that he says proves the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines Flight was no accident.
Since the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared from radar screens on March 8, 2014, conflicting theories have surfaced and the aircraft's final resting place has never been established.
The flight, with pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah at the helm, vanished from flight radar – sparking the world’s biggest aviation mystery.
The official script for the Boeing-777's disappearance suggests the plane executed a dramatic U-turn less than an hour into its planned flight before plummeting into the Indian Ocean.
Several other theories have suggested the plane was hijacked while others have claimed the aircraft was down by the US Air Force or that the plane was in 'cruising mode' when it crashed.
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However, Gilles believes that the pilot was attempting a ‘soft ditching’, a controlled emergency landing, during the flight's final descent into the ocean.
This goes against official reports that point to a high-speed 'death spiral' crash in a spot known as the Seventh Arc.
Gilles' theory claims that in his final moments, the pilot could have turned on the plane's backup power system to regain control of the aircraft when both engines failed due to fuel exhaustion.
It would explain why the plane's communication system suddenly turned on and tried to connect to the satellite system, Inmarsat.
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He says the pilot then landed the plane in a controlled glide.
But that did not go as planned and the choppy waters caused the aircraft to split into two or three parts.
Gilles believes the glide was a deliberate attempt to sink the wreckage with as little debris as possible.
He said: “Why would a person want to fly the aircraft into the middle of the Indian Ocean?
“It’s possible the person who controlled the aircraft didn’t want anyone to find the plane in the future. To disappear without a trace."
He also believes that this gliding theory means the plane could have crashed in an unsearched area of the South Indian Ocean.
Some seven hours after the MH370 went missing and close to fuel exhaustion, the pilot carried out the deliberate act of downing the plane with everyone onboard, Gilles claims.
During its sudden dive, MH370’s SATCOM communications system is restarted and requests to join the Inmarsat network – suggesting someone was still in control during the jet's final moments.
Gilles revealed: “It sent a message to the satellite to reconnect to the network so the power is interrupted in these eight minutes."
Gilles believes the pilot could have switched the plane onto a backup system called the APU to be able to land it in gliding mode.
He added: “In order to ditch the plane, you have to have better control of the aircraft. If you don't have an engine, it's very difficult to fly the aircraft and it is very heavy to fly.
“If you had the APU on, you regain normal electrical power of all the flight controls and you regain full control with the fly-by-wire controls.
“It would explain the power interruptions of the SATCOM system and why it tried to reconnect.”
He believes the plane glided into the ocean instead of the ‘death spiral’ suggested in official reports after the right engine ‘flamed out’ due to lack of fuel.
With only the left engine still functioning the pilot would have had to use the plane's rudder to keep it straight to stop it from spinning in a high-speed crash.
Gilles believes that the lack of debris from the crash also points to a ditching attempt and that MH370 could have broken into two or three parts.
Talking about the plane's final descent, he said: “It’s not easy to understand how the plane was flown at this point, it’s a hypothesis. What we can consider is that the search was unsuccessful.
“The officials made some assumptions in order to define the search area. On the seventh Arc, we know the aircraft sent messages to the satellite to regain contact.”
“They considered that it was a high-speed crash at the end. I’m not totally sure of that.
“The first debris found was the flaperon…the back of the flaperon is called the trailing edge. This part was not present on the flaperon.
“It could suggest the flaperon was still moving upward when it hit the water.
"We don't have this debris if you have a high-speed crash.
The flaperon helps to control the plane's speed and position and is used during landings.
Gilles believes that the damage to the Flaperon which was the first piece of debris to be found on Reunion Island in 2015 suggests the glided rather than the aircraft spiralling out of the sky.
But Gilles has never been able to analyse the debris up close only through images shared with the public.
When asked about a possible motive for the ditching, Gilles says that is still unclear but says the pilot did not have a medical check for four years before the disappearance – something pilots are required to do annually before flying.
The daughter of MH370’s pilot also suggested her father was in emotional turmoil over the impending breakup of his marriage and was distracted and withdrawn in the months leading to the crash.
Gilles goes on to explain that passenger planes are equipped with several backup systems should anything onboard fail – meaning it would be impossible not to make contact in an emergency.
A serving member of the French Air Force for 17 years, Gilles told The Sun Online: “It’s impossible to consider that this plane had a technical failure.
“When you study the first part of the disappearance, it’s very difficult to explain that it was a technical fault with the aircraft but someone on the plane who didn’t want to call on the radio."
MH370’s SATCOM communication system was turned off until it made its final descent into the South Indian Ocean.
Gilles said: “It’s certainly surprising. At this time the SATCOM was powered up again so the question is why was the SATCOM not powered before?
“Is there someone in the cockpit who disconnected this electric power input?
“When the SATCOM has a new connection the plane should be able to send messages again that show the position of the plane every 30 minutes. That was not the case."
The attempted ditching of the plane leads the French investigator to map out a different search area for the doomed aircraft.
It’s thought the wreck could be on the seabed in an area known as the Seventh Arc which has been previously searched on two occasions.
However, Gilles has identified an area just next to the original search zone that was covered by underwater sea company Ocean Infinity and the Australian government between 2104 and 2018.
He submitted his findings to the French BEA, the Bureau of Enquiry and Analysis for Civil Aviation Safety, and to the Australian and Malaysian authorities.
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Ocean Infinity has proposed a final search in 2023 and Gilles hopes his new search area will be considered.
He said: “We hope that the initial infinity will investigate this, this area, maybe further south.”
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