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Malaysia jet passengers likely suffocated: Suffocation named cause of death?

The missing aircraft, 9M-MRO, pictured in 2011.
The missing aircraft, 9M-MRO, pictured in 2011.Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 / Wikipedia

Malaysia jet passengers likely suffocated, says a report conducted by Australian officials. The Australian Transport Safety Board (ATSB) issued their conclusions based on studies done of previous plane disasters, but of course, since Flight MH370 remains missing, investigators can only postulate that the 239 passengers died prior to the jet’s presumed crash into the Indian Ocean.

Reports Reuters news agency today, via MSN News: “The passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 most likely died from suffocation and coasted lifelessly into the ocean on autopilot, a new report released by Australian officials on Thursday said.”

The 55-page report says the lack of communications and steady flight path would seem to indicate that the crew was unconscious or possibly deceased while still in flight.

“Given these observations, the final stages of the unresponsive crew/hypoxia event type appeared to best fit the available evidence for the final period of MH370's flight when it was heading in a generally southerly direction,” the ATSB report said.

Earlier this week, it was announced that the pilot of Flight MH370 had a flight simulator in his home. Investigators, back in March, also determined that a number of files relating to the simulator’s use had been deleted.

Those files have now been recovered, and investigators have said that the pilot, 53-year-old Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, practiced a number of runs deep into the southern Indian Ocean, and even trained for landing the simulated Boeing on short runways. The information has led some officials to name the pilot as the chief suspect.

For more on that, see:

MH370 Pilot Simulator: Files from flight simulator put pilot as prime suspect.

It was also recently announced that the initial grid that international search teams had been combing over for the past three months is being called off, with the new focus being hundreds of miles to the south.

Missing plane: Setback for missing Flight 370 as search shifts hundreds of miles