10 Years Ago, the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Disappeared; Now There’s a New Theory on its Whereabouts

By: Chris Gorrie | Published: Mar 22, 2024

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappeared ten years ago. The search for it has been marked by a multitude of theories, each offering varying levels of plausibility.

One such theory, proposed by former National Transportation Safety Board investigator Alan Diehl, suggests that the missing Boeing 777 might be located almost 3,500 miles north of the current search focus.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 Pilot Wanted to Make Political Statement

Diehl believes the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, intended to make a political statement against the regime by commandeering the plane and taking it to the American military base in Diego Garcia. There, Diehl says, Shah would broadcast a manifesto. 

Indian Navy's Boeing P-8I crew at their work stations during a search and rescue sortie for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 in South Indian Ocean on 23 March 2014.

Indian Navy/Wikimedia Commons

This theory challenges the predominant focus on the southern part of the Indian Ocean, shifting attention to the Andaman Sea northwest of Malaysia.

Theories Abound, Families Remain Haunted

The mysterious disappearance of MH370 on March 8, 2014, continues to haunt the families of the 239 victims. All governments involved provide no definitive answers.

A “Pray for MH370” banner at “Tower of Heaven” (Menara Kayangan) on Mount Silam in Malaysia in 2014.

CEphoto, Uwe Aranas/Wikimedia Commons

Diehl’s theory, while speculative, reminds us of the lack of closure for those affected. Theories about the plane’s fate range from deliberate actions by the pilot to suicidal intentions or hijacking. The sudden and unexplained deviation from its flight path after leaving Kuala Lumpur, followed by the loss of radar contact, adds to the complexity of the case.

Expert Suggests Plane’s Electronic Blackout was Intentional

Diehl possesses expertise in investigating plane crashes and analyzing the mental states of pilots. He suggests that intentional actions caused the plane’s electronic blackout.

A commercial airplane black box.

André Gustavo Stumpf/Wikimedia Commons

The intentional turns and electronic silence, according to Diehl, could have been part of a clandestine flight across Malaysia.

Prevailing Theory of Suicide in MH370 Case Questioned

He questions the prevailing theory of suicide, pointing out that motives for such actions are not evident in publicly available information.

A U.S. Navy MH-60R Sea Hawk helicopter from the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS Pinckney (DDG 91) departs to aid in the search efforts of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

US Navy/Wikimedia Commons

Diehl delves into his theory in his book, Best Laid Plans, utilizing fictional elements to present a plausible narrative of intentional actions by the pilot.

Alan Diehl’s Theory in Best Laid Plans

The essence of Diehl’s argument revolves around a patriotic airline captain’s audacious plan to expose Malaysian political abuses by hijacking his own aircraft. The intention was to land at an American base in the Indian Ocean, broadcast a manifesto, and seek asylum.

A specialist operator looks at two computer monitors, processing data received from the Dragon Prince deep towfish during Fugro Discovery’s search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

ATSB, photo by ABIS Chris Beerens, RAN/Wikimedia Commons

In a drastic and unexpected turn of events, a fire alters everything, and a flight attendant is forced to take charge. By drawing on his forensic expertise from crash investigations, Diehl created a novella that weaves a theoretical narrative of this high-stakes drama. Best Laid Plans offers a captivating blend of aviation psychology, political intrigue, and clandestine maneuvering.


What Are the Theories Surrounding Malaysia Airlines MH370 Disappearance?

As noted, the diverse range of theories includes notions of suicide, hijacking, and even the pilot’s intention to embarrass the country’s regime.

The Dragon Prince deep towfish on the back deck of Fugro Discovery. This EdgeTech DT-1 towfish was used to search the seafloor for MH370

ATSB, photo by ABIS Chris Beerens, RAN/Wikimedia Commons

Diehl explores the possibility of a political statement, proposing that the pilot’s target was not a remote location off Australia’s southwest coast but potentially a U.S. military base. While such theories may seem far-fetched, the absence of concrete evidence has allowed for a multitude of speculations.


Efforts Made to Recover Flight MH370

Extraordinary efforts have been made to locate Flight MH370. The search initially spanned the South China Sea, the Andaman Sea, and the Indian Ocean, and involved numerous ships and aircraft from various countries. 

A map of MH370 with GEOMAR calculation of wing flaperon origin.

MrAurum/Wikimedia Commons

Australia, Malaysia, and China led the largest underwater search, covering 120,000 square km off western Australia, utilizing advanced technology such as sonar-equipped vessels and robotic submarines. Despite detecting signals and finding shipwrecks, the plane’s wreckage and its passengers continued to elude.


Pivotal Discoveries and Renewed Efforts in the Search for MH370

In July 2015, a pivotal discovery occurred when a confirmed flaperon from Flight 370 was found on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean, providing concrete evidence of the plane’s fate. Additional debris washed ashore on Africa’s east coast in subsequent findings. The search, marked by challenges, was eventually suspended in January 2017.

Two men stand near the MH370’s flaperon on Reunion Island.


In a renewed effort, US marine robotics company Ocean Infinity, under a “no find, no fee” contract with Malaysia, resumed the search in January 2018. Focusing on an area north of the earlier search based on a debris drift study, the exploration concluded a few months later without success. These comprehensive search initiatives reflect the persistent quest for answers regarding the mysterious disappearance of MH370.


Theory of Suicide by MH370 Pilot

One of the most captivating hypotheses centers on the pilot’s actions. Aviation experts propose a suicidal pilot theory, asserting that evidence points to the intentional crashing of the Boeing 777 into a deep trench in the Indian Ocean.

The Bluefin 21 Artemis autonomous underwater vehicle (AUV) is hoisted back on board the Australian navy vessel Ocean Shield after successful buoyancy testing. Joint Task Force 658 is supporting Operation Southern Indian Ocean, searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777.

Official U.S. Navy Page/Wikimedia Commons

This theory suggests a deliberate murder-suicide plot that entombed the aircraft and its 239 passengers in the ocean’s depths. The plane’s last contact occurred while entering Vietnamese airspace, but it took a drastic course change, re-entering Malaysian airspace and flying for nearly six hours over the Indian Ocean before vanishing from radar.


Was the United States Involved in MH370’s Disappearance?

Former airline director Marc Dugain proposes a theory suggesting US military involvement in the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. He speculates that the American government may have targeted the aircraft due to fears of a September 11-style attack on a military base in the Indian Ocean.

An aerial port bow view of the aircraft carrier USS SARATOGA (CV-60) tied up at pier. This was the first time an aircraft carrier had docked at the island Diego Garcia.

National Archives and Records Administration/Wikimedia Commons

Dugain suggests MH370 did not crash where search teams have been looking but went down near the US military base on Diego Garcia. He mentions witness accounts in the Maldives describing a low-flying plane bearing Malaysia Airlines colors.


What the Official Report on MH370’s Disappearance Said

The official report released in 2018 found no evidence of the pilot’s motive for a suicidal mission. Diehl has directly challenged this narrative, presenting an alternative scenario involving intentional actions by the pilot with no motive for suicide.


The uncertainties surrounding the pilot’s intentions contribute to the enduring mystery of MH370. Diehl emphasizes the need for renewed search efforts, potentially focusing on the Andaman Sea rather than the southern Indian Ocean.


Decade of Search Covering Over 2 Million Square Miles Reveals Nothing

Despite years of extensive investigations covering over 2 million square nautical miles, the wreckage of MH370 continues to elude searchers. Diehl considers the discovery of wreckage as the piece of puzzle necessary to solve the mystery.

An Australian AP3C Orion Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA) flys over the Royal Navy survey vessel HMS Echo during the search for the Malaysian airliner Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.

LS(HM) Andy Coutanche/Wikimedia Commons

He advocates for a shift in the search area to the eastern edge of the Seventh Arc, believing it a more fruitful area for exploration. As discussions about a new search operation emerge, Diehl’s theory adds a new dimension to the conversation surrounding MH370. Perhaps his argument will open a new avenue for solving one of aviation’s greatest mysteries.