Malaysia Airlines: Could this be what happened?

2014-03-19 15:28
Cape Town - Amid all the crazy conspiracy theories that have surfaced around the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on 8 March, one simple conjecture has taken the internet by storm.

Time reports that Chris Goodfellow, a pilot with 20 years of experience, suggested in a lengthy post on his Google+ page that a fire on board the aircraft caused the pilots to set course for the nearest viable airport.  

According to Goodfellow’s theory, heading back to Kuala Lumpur for an emergency landing would have meant traversing difficult terrain, so the pilot instead decided to go for a much more feasible option: the 13 000-foot runway at Pulau Langkawi, a destination which would correspond with the new route the aircraft appeared to have followed.  

“What I think happened is that they were overcome by smoke and the plane just continued on the heading probably on George (autopilot) until either fuel exhaustion or fire destroyed the control surfaces and it crashed. I said four days ago you will find it along that route - looking elsewhere was pointless,” he explains in his post on Google+.

In Goodfellow’s theory the much-scrutinised pilots are rendered innocent, in fact, they are rather made out to be heroes. “This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi. No doubt in my mind,” he said.  

It's wrong?

While the theory is considered viable by many, Goodfellow has experienced a strong rebuttal from various sources.  

The most notable is an article on Slate titled: ‘A “startlingly simple theory” about the missing airliner is sweeping the internet. It’s wrong.’  

Writer, Jeff Wise points out that while Goodfellow’s account is emotionally compelling and simple, it falls apart when taking other major findings of the investigation into account.  

“For one thing, while it’s true that MH370 did turn toward Langkawi and wound up overflying it, whoever was at the controls continued to maneuver after that point as well, turning sharply right at VAMPI waypoint, then left again at GIVAL. Such vigorous navigating would have been impossible for unconscious men,” Wise writes.  

He adds that it also does not cover the electronic ping detected by the Inmarsat satellite at 08:11 on the morning of March 8. According to analysis provided by the Malaysian and United States governments, the pings narrowed the location of MH370 at that moment to one of two arcs, one in Central Asia and the other in the southern Indian Ocean.

Without human intervention—which would go against Goodfellow’s theory—it simply could not have reached the position we know it attained at 08:11.

Goodfellow is, however, sticking to his guns and has even stated that he expects the aircraft to be found within the next day.  

“Somehow I believe this is coming to an end. The reported sighting over the Maldivescoincides with the time line well. The aircraft is probably a small distance west of Maldives. I believe it will be found in next 24 hours hopefully,” he said.       
Read more on:    air travel  |  travel  |  malaysia airlines flight mh370  |  aviation

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

SHARE: publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside Travel


6 myths about male cancer

It is important to be aware of the most prevalent cancer diseases amongst men in our country.


You won't want to miss...

Who are the highest paid models of 2017?
10 gorgeous plus-sized models who aren't Ashley Graham
5 top leg exercises for men
10 best dressed men of 2017

#FindYourEscape with Traveller24

Your insider guide to exploring South Africa and the world...
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.