And so some are back to one of the original theories about what might have happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 -- pilot suicide. As details surface about a mystery phone call received by pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah just a couple minutes before Flight 370 left Kuala Lumpur on March 8, a friend has come forward to say that he was in "no state of mind to be flying."
International Business Times reported March 26 that a friend to Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, one who wishes to remain anonymous, believes that the pilot should not have been flying the airliner that day. "He's one of the finest pilots around," he said, "and I'm no medical expert, but with all that was happening in his life Zaharie was probably in no state of mind to be flying."
The source, who is also a pilot, said that Shah's wife had recently informed the 53-year-old captain that she was going to leave him. Although he was seeing another woman, the friend said, his wife's announcement had left Shah "terribly upset."
The source suggests that this left Shah in a mental state where he should have remained grounded.
The report comes just days after the Daily Mail Online reported that Malaysian investigators were looking into a last-minute phone call Capt. Shah received just a couple minutes before the plane took off. It is as yet unknown who the caller was, save that it was a female.
Could the call have contributed to the plane going missing?
Shortly after Flight MH370 took off, headed for Beijing with 227 passengers and a compliment of 12 crew members, it fell off the radar over the South China Sea. Malaysia authorities later would announce that the plane's tracking transponders and communications gear was turned off, that its course alteration that occurred shortly thereafter was "deliberate."
The anonymous source told the New Zealand Herald (via the International Business Times) that Zaharie Ahmad Shah may have taken the Boeing 777 on a "last joyride."
It certainly is one explanation for how the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 got from the South China Sea to the west coast of Malaysia (at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca), where a military radar detected it. Satellite tracking followed the missing plane for a few more hours, according to more recent reports. Now, Flight 370 is believed to have gone down in the southern Indian Ocean over a thousand miles west of Australia. In fact, Malaysia Airlines and the Malaysia government have stated that the belief is that all aboard Flight 370 have perished.
But was the plane actually quasi-hijacked by an emotionally distraught man bent on one last joyride? Or could he (and/or his co-pilot) have been a possible terrorist himself, as some have suggested, taking over the plane and crashing it? Or was he the ace pilot his colleagues describe him as to the end, trying his best to handle a runaway plane whose instrumentation was playing him false? Or could he, and other crew members (such as the co-pilot), have been victims of a hostile takeover, a hijacking or pirate act? And could he possibly be a hero, taking the aircraft and everyone on it out to sea instead of allowing terrorists to take it wherever they wished, to use as weapon or a piece of propaganda?
The answers may never be found.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 has yet to be found as well. Various sightings of possible wreckage, including most recently a debris field containing over a hundred objects, have yet to yield definitive evidence of the missing plane and its whereabouts.