Florence de Changy new book challenges MH370 claims

For ten years it is the mystery that has left the world baffled.

On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur for Beijing.

But 38 minutes into its journey, at 1.20am, it lost contact with air traffic controllers over the South China Sea, The Sun reports.

The fate of the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew remains unknown.

French investigative journalist Florence de Changy has been probing the disappearance for a decade and is the author of an explosive book into the mystery.

She says: “It is shocking for the families.

“The official narrative has been so strongly imposed on them that they have no choice but to stick to that and the only thing they can ask for is to keep searching.

“They worry if they start to doubt the authorities, they will start to break talks with them.”

On Saturday, in an exclusive interview, Florence challenges key parts of the official version of events.

Flight Path: Key to the mystery

The official line is the plane was tracked by radar crossing Malaysia and vanished over the Andaman Sea.

Satellite analysis was said to have shown it U-turned and likely plummeted into the Southern Indian Ocean.

A potential crash site was identified 1,500 miles (2414km) south west of Australia.

The search there was the most expensive in aviation history.

Yet, apart from disputed pieces of debris, there was no trace of the plane.

Florence found evidence from Vietnamese air traffic control and intelligence sources that suggest the plane met its fate at around 2.45am north of Vietnam – two minutes after a mayday saying the cabin was disintegrating.

She said: “I am surer than ever there was no crash in the Southern Indian Ocean.

“The plane continued to fly until 2.40am.”

Debris: Was it planned?

Investigators said the first debris found, on July 29, 2015, was a section from the right wing called a flaperon. It was on a beach on Reunion Island, a French territory near Mauritius, around 3,500 miles (5632km) from Malaysia.

But Florence said: “There are good reasons not to believe it is from MH370.

“First, they never even established the provenance of the flaperon. This is shocking.

“Secondly, they said the flaperon suffered two consecutive shocks, which does not fit a crash in the ocean.

“Also, that piece of broken composite material is not meant to float.

“But in the fiercest ocean on the planet it must have travelled up to ten miles a day in a straight line over 500 days to reach Reunion.

“Plus, it lost its ID plate, which is an enormous red flag. I am certain it was planted or is unrelated.”

The Captain: Suspect or innocent?

Suspicion initially fell on captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 52, who was branded a troubled man with a chaotic love life. The Malaysian Prime Minister at the time even hinted Zaharie may be behind a murder-suicide plot.

But Florence says: “An important aspect I think is that the captain is innocent.

“He has been at the centre of many accusations and smear campaigns.

“I have spoken to people who knew him and saw confidential police reports about him and I am convinced he was a good man and had nothing to do with the fate of the plane.”

Cargo: Was it a cover?

According to the cargo manifest, 4.5 tons of fresh mangosteens, a tropical fruit, were on board, as well as 2.5 tons of small electrical items. But Florence said: “The mangosteens made no sense. It was not the right season, it was a ridiculous amount.

“Then I found they were on every MH370 flight for the next month.

“The largest hub for illegal trade between Africa and China is Kuala Lumpur airport.

“Mangosteens could be a cover for all sorts of things, including rhino horns or elephant tusks.”

She said of the electrical items: “The official report said this cargo was not X-rayed. This is a big problem.”

Florence thinks the load could have forced an emergency landing, adding: “I believe there was a cargo confiscation operation. If you’re surrounded by military planes, you follow orders.”

Air chief: Was expert silenced?

At the time of the tragedy, Sir Tim Clark, the British president of Emirates airline, said almost every other missing flight in history had been “at least five or ten per cent traceable” and that MH370’s disappearance raised “a degree of suspicion”.

Florence claimed the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, which led the initial search, asked him to stop commenting.

She said: “He had the largest fleet of those planes and said he did not believe they had lost one. Months later he was silenced.”

Sir Tim said in an interview she was right about him being silenced.

This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission

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