MH370 secretly landed in Kazakhstan, says American author

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KUALA LUMPUR (Feb 25): Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, lost for nearly a year, might have secretly landed in Kazakhstan, says an American science writer.

Jeff Wise, who is also CNN’s aviation analyst, said there may have been “deliberate tampering” in the search data to make the Boeing 777 appear to have gone in another direction.

Wise earlier wrote an article for the New York Magazine suggesting that its navigational data had been meddled with, to leave trails of inaccurate information which convinced officials that the plane flew south.

He also said the plane was possibly hijacked by perpetrators, who could have accessed the flight controls and flew the plane to Baikonur Cosmodrome, which is leased from Kazakhstan by Russia.

Wise said his theory was established upon satellite transmissions and “pings” that the plane fed off seven hours after it was missing. Those transmissions were recorded by British company Inmarsat, whose raw data was then released by Malaysian officials in late May 2014.

In the article, however, Wise said he wasn’t sure of why Russian President Vladimir Putin wanted the Malaysian passenger plane.

“There’s no way to know. That’s the thing about MH370 theory-making: It’s hard to come up with a plausible motive for an act that has no apparent beneficiaries,” he said.

He added that there were three Russians on board of MH370, one of whom was a first-class passenger seated near equipment, where he could alter the navigation data and take over the flight.

“He ran a lumber company in Irkutsk, and his hobby was technical diving under the ice of Lake Baikal,” Wise said, indicating that that particular passenger could have possessed the necessary skill sets to execute the sophisticated hijack.

MH370 disappeared from radar on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. The Boeing 777 carrying 239 people last made contact with air traffic control less than an hour after take-off, at a point over the South China Sea.

The flight was declared officially missing on January 29, and all passengers and crew members are presumed dead. No trace of the plane has been found despite the largest search operation in aviation history.