Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah probably used Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 to commit mass murder/suicide, according to a book by two Waikato authors.
The captain of MH370 may have even glided the out-of-fuel aircraft to its final end in the southern Indian Ocean and sunk it intact, say Geoff Taylor and Ewan Wilson, authors of Goodnight Malaysian 370 - the truth behind the loss of Flight 370.
The authors suggest Zaharie, who prided himself on his technical expertise and methodical nature, may have got satisfaction out of making the Boeing 777 virtually impossible to find in what they described as "the ultimate post-mortem triumph".
The book, released on Amazon Kindle on Monday and in hard copy on August 10, was written after extensive research in Malaysia and interviews with family members and friends.
Wilson, a pilot and former chief executive of two airlines, said the book analyses every possible scenario of what could have happened to the ill-fated airliner that left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing at 12.41am on March 8.
"We were able to completely rule out any possibility of catastrophic structural failure, rapid depressurisation, electrical failure, fire or being shot down as possible causes for MH370's loss," said Wilson, who also has transport air investigation qualifications.
"They simply couldn't have happened. Through a process of elimination, we were left with the uncomfortable and very tragic likelihood that Zaharie - because of some personality disorder, depression or emotional breakdown - killed himself and everyone on the aircraft deliberately."
The authors believe Zaharie probably shut his co-pilot, Fariq Hamid, out of the cockpit, then closed off all communication and turned the aircraft around. He depressurised the aircraft and, once the cabin crew and passengers' oxygen had run out, they died from hypoxia.
The book cites the fact that pilot suicide has killed hundreds of people in recent decades, and the authors call for tighter scrutiny of pilot stress levels and more openness about mental health issues in the cockpit.
They are also critical of some Muslim countries' reluctance to acknowledge pilots' role in murder/suicide.
"Muslims don't commit suicide seems to be the common refrain," says Taylor, deputy editor of the Waikato Times.
"Well, they do, and surely the travelling public deserve better than that."
- Waikato Times