May 14, 2018 02:15 PM

What happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370?

That question has gone unanswered since the passenger plane carrying 239 people en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur disappeared on March 8, 2014. Four years later, with the aircraft still missing, a group of aviation experts is proposing a new theory: the pilot crashed the airplane purposefully in a possible mass murder-suicide.

60 Minutes Australia launched an investigation into the mystery, sharing its findings on Sunday night. Experts claimed the passengers and crew were the victims of a tragic act carried out by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah rather than an accident.

“He was killing himself,” said Canadian Air crash investigator Larry Vance. “Unfortunately, he was killing everybody else on board, and he did it deliberately.”

Shah’s family disputed the panel’s conclusion, telling CBS News in a statement that “pointing a finger toward him does not make them expert investigators — they have to find the plane.”

Malaysia Airlines did not immediately respond to the outlet’s requests for comment, CBS News reported.

Simon Hardy, a Boeing 777 pilot and instructor, reconstructed the flight plan based on military radar leading up to the ill-fated plane likely going down into the Indian Ocean west of Australia. He said that he discovered Shah avoided detection by skirting along the border of Malaysia and Thailand.

Zaharie Ahmad Shah

“Both of the controllers aren’t bothered about this mysterious aircraft because it’s, ‘Oh, it’s gone. It’s not in our space anymore.’ It’s deliberate. If you were commissioning me to do this operation and try and make a 777 disappear, I would do exactly the same thing,” Hardy admitted. “As far as I’m concerned, it’s very accurate flying because it did the job and we know, as a fact, that the military did not come and intercept the aircraft.”

Hardy also suggested that the plane dipped its wing over Shah’s hometown of Penang in Malaysia.

“Somebody was looking out the window,” he said. “It might be a long, emotional goodbye — or a short, emotional goodbye.”

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Vance added that he believed the plane was “not scattered all over the bottom of the ocean.”

“The right wing may be off, the engines are separate, but you basically have four pieces of the [airplane] down there,” he said.

The Australian-led search for remains from the crash was called off in January 2017. The $200 million search, which was the largest in aircraft history, included Australian, Chinese and Malaysian authorities.

Ocean Infinity started a new search on Jan. 22, which is expected to end in mid-June.

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