Aviation expert William Langewiesche wrote in The Atlantic detailing what he felt was the most likely scenario. The plane was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew from Kuala Lumpur International to Beijing when it vanished on March 8 2014. As reported by Mail Online, the aircraft controls were seized when the plane was at 35,000ft before disappearing from the radar at 1.21am.
The Boeing 777 is thought to have crashed in the Southern Indian Ocean and a safety report released last year confirmed the plane was steered off course manually before being flown for several hours.
Mr Langewiesche has explored Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s personal life with reports of a rocky marriage to Fizah Khan and a troubled mental state.
Speaking to The Atlantic, electrical engineer Mike Exner said flying to a height of 40,000 feet would have resulted in the “death of everyone in the cabin”.
Mr Langewiesche added: “An intentional depressurization would have been an obvious way—and probably the only way—to subdue a potentially unruly cabin in an aeroplane that was going to remain in flight for hours to come.”
The oxygen masks would have been ineffective at that height for a long period of time, the report added, before explaining: “The cabin occupants would have become incapacitated within a couple of minutes, lost consciousness, and gently died without any choking or gasping for air.”
A lifelong friend, also a 777 pilot, has come to the conclusion that Captain Shah crashed the plane and said he likely co-tricked co-pilot Fariq Hamid into leaving the cabin.
Mr Hamid was on his last training flight and the friend explained: “Zaharie was an examiner. All he had to say was ‘Go check something in the cabin,’ and the guy would have been gone.”
The friend noted he had a turbulent personal life: “Zaharie’s marriage was bad. In the past he slept with some of the flight attendants. And so what? We all do. You’re flying all over the world with these beautiful girls in the back. But his wife knew.”
Mr Shah was active on social media, posting messages critical of the Malaysian government, who at the time of the incident were majority owners of Malaysia Airlines and have since taken full control.
In May 2014, ten months before the flight went missing, Najib Razak won a second five-year term as Malaysian Prime Minister and Mr Shah wrote: “There is a rebel in each and every one of us. Let it out!”
Mr Shah also appeared to have stalked the profiles of twin Chinese models Qi Man Lan, who said police spoke to her after the flight disappeared, and Lan Qi Hu.
He left 97 Facebook comments directed at Ms Lan in 2013, imploring her and her sister to come to Kuala Lumpur but was mostly ignored.
The family of Mrs Shah has denied any personal problems in the relationship and other family members insisted he was devoted to his family and job as a pilot.
Captain Shah had a flight simulator in his home that police examined but Malaysian Police and the FBI found nothing to suggest he was going to hijack his own plane.
The theory is supported by Ewan Wilson’s conclusion in the first independent study into the incident.
Mr Wilson, a pilot who founded Kiwi Airlines, said he had considered “every conceivable alternative scenario”.