Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was deliberately crashed into the ocean in ''an apparent suicide mission'', according to a report in Britain's The Daily Telegraph.
The newspaper report, which appears on the front page of Tuesday's edition, was based on what it claimed were ''well-placed sources''. Fairfax Media can not vouch for the veracity of the story.
The report said sources had revealed that the team investigating the plane's disappearance believed that no malfunction or fire was capable of causing the Boeing 777's unusual flight path after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, or the disabling of its communications systems.
It does not speculate as to who might have been responsible for causing the crash, and whether there were links to terrorism or mental illness, but rather states that it must have been a deliberate - and therefore suicidal - act.
The Telegraph report was written by Australian journalist Jonathan Pearlman, a former reporter for The Sydney Morning Herald.
While claiming the story was verified by multiple sources, The Daily Telegraph quoted just one unnamed official source as saying that investigators believed "this has been a deliberate act by someone on board who had to have had the detailed knowledge to do what was done ... Nothing is emerging that points to motive."
Asked about the possibility of a plane malfunction or an on-board fire, the source told the newspaper: "It just does not hinge together..... [The investigators] have gone through processes you do to get the plane where it flew for eight hours. They point to it being flown in a rational way."
The worst fears of families were confirmed last night when Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the plane crashed into a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 people on board.
"This is a remote location, far from any possible landing sites," Najib told a media briefing.
"It is therefore with deep sadness and regret that I must inform you that, according to new data, flight MH370 ended in the southern Indian Ocean.''
Confirmation the Boeing 777, one of the world's most sophisticated airliners, crashed into the sea came from Britain's Air Accidents Investigation Branch which had been provided information from the London-based satellite company Inmarsat.
According to the analysis the plane flew for more than seven hours after it had turned back from its scheduled flight path over the South China Sea.
Officials said it was likely the plane ran out of fuel before crashing.
- Sydney Morning Herald