MH370 Theorist Points to Fruitless Search

MH370 search area
MH370 search area, source ATSB

Published Jun 28, 2015 8:32 PM by Wendy Laursen

A U.S. pilot and aviation engineer has elaborated on the theory that a fire in the cargo hold was responsible for the disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 and claimed that the current search strategy for the missing plane is fruitless. 

A number of media reports indicate that Bruce Robertson’s theory suggests that a shipment of 221kg of lithium-ion batteries in the cargo hold of the plane caught fire, releasing carbon monoxide into the cabin. He says that the pilot might have succumbed to the deadly gas, but the co-pilot had enough time to turn the plane around.

“As the plane is blind to the world (and the world is blind to the plane), the plane flies in a very large radius left turn, the exponential spiral path first proposed in March 2014. The plane crashes into the Southern Indian Ocean west of the Zenith Plateau, west of Exmouth Australia. This is at roughly 21 degrees south, 103 degrees east,” states the website news.com.au attributes to expressing Robertson’s views.

“The Zenith Plateau area was the site of the original search in March and April, 2014, due to underwater locater pings being detected in the vicinity. While the ping yield valuable clues as to the MH370’s whereabouts, the search area is soon discarded due to some very impressive but difficult to challenge mathematics that turned out to be wrong. Much too much time and money has been wasted on a fruitless search in an area much further southwest, due west of Perth,” he says.

“There you have it — no conspiracies, no evil intent, no fuzzy pictures, just a simple industrial accident that took a while to play out due to automation trying to save the situation.”

Malaysian Airlines confirmed that the flight had been carrying lithium-ion batteries in its cargo hold a few weeks after the disappearance after previously denying it was carrying any dangerous cargo. Theories about a battery fire in the cargo hold have been voiced since that time along with more elaborate theories relating to military conspiracies. Recent rumors include that the flight might have crashed on land, and it has been claimed that it was seen flying over the Maldives.

Another Battery Problem

Malaysian authorities released an investigation report into the disappearance of the plane in March 2015 and found nothing suspicious in the financial, medical or personal histories of pilots or crew.

The report did however reveal that the battery of the underwater locator beacon had expired more than a year before the plane vanished. It had not been replaced because the engineering department’s computer system had not been properly updated.

Even with an expired battery, the instrument should still have captured flight information, and the battery on the locator beacon of the cockpit voice recorder was working. So, together, the two instruments could provide vital information about cockpit conversations and flight data if recovered.

The Search Continues

The plane vanished from radar screens shortly after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, 2014, bound for Beijing. Investigators believe the plane was flown thousands of miles off course before eventually crashing somewhere off Australia.

The search area was expanded in April beyond an original 60,000 square kilometer search area to enable up to 120,000 square kilometers to be searched if required.  More than 50,000 square kilometers of the seafloor have been searched so far.

The website stating the views reported can be found here.