What if MH370 was (mistakenly or purposely) shot down?

We can’t rule out anything. Not even the most unbelievable of explanations: that Malaysia Airlines MH370’s Boeing 777 was downed by missile.

Since Mar. 7, when Boeing 777 9M-MRO flying from Kuala Lumpur has vanished enroute to Beijing, we have analysed all the possible scenarios that could explain the end of Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight.

With contradictory information released and denied on a daily basis, we can only update the list of theories and their likeliness.

None of the theories emerged so far seem to address all the mystery surrounding the plane and its 239 people on board: the theory that the aircraft suffered a smoke in the cockpit, does not explain why the pilots shut down the transponder while turning towards the nearest landing strip; the one about the suicide does not explain why the aircraft reportedly flew for 7 hours before eventually crashing somewhere. And so on.

These are just a few of the oddities you can find in any scenario drawn so far.

Regardless of the specific theories, there are some more things that are really hard to explain: for instance, it’s unclear how the MH370 managed to remain invisible to several air defense radars for so much time; the reason why Malaysian authorities did not declare until a couple of days ago that the last known position of the plane (known since the beginning) was over the Strait of Malacca, while some 100 aircraft and ships belonging to more than a dozen nations were involved in a massive search and rescue mission in the Gulf of Thailand.

Nor is it clear why Thai authorities waited 10 days before confirming that they had spotted a plane (most probably the Malaysia Airlines B777) flying westwards moments after MH370 had its transponder switched off.

In a previous post which listed all the “active scenarios”, we mentioned the (unlikely but not impossible) theory that MH370 could have been shot down.

Since then, we’ve received several emails and comments, and talked with a few other journalists who believe that, there are still some chances that the Malaysian Boeing 777 was shot down some time during its 7 hour flight.

Even if it’s at least far fetched, if we are ready to accept that an hijacked plane shadowed another wide body to escape detection by radars, something that would be difficult to execute and thus unlikely, we can’t but explore the scenario of the hijacked plane shot down by an air-to-air or surface-to-air missile.

Especially because several details would perfectly fit this theory.

Even if we don’t know the reasons, we know that MH370 went off radars and turned west because of a deliberate action by a skilled pilot.

Although they kept this information confidential for too much time, we know for certain that both Malaysian and Thai defense radar saw a primary target flying towards the Strait of Malacca.

Thereafter the plane disappears.

It may have taken a northern or a western route, to seek asylum, to land on a remote strip, to conduct a suicide attack, to deliver the plane to some terror organization. As already mentioned before, whatever route it took, the aircraft had all the features of the renegade plane (a civil wide body, hijacked and possibly used for a suicide attack) and as such was a threat to any nearby country’s air defense.

What if the plane, at low altitude headed towards a sensitive target in the region forcing a reaction by that country’s interceptors or surface-to-air missile batteries?

F-22 crosshairs

Image credit: U.S. Navy

This would explain why some governments have been reluctant to provide details or have released contradictory information in what seemed to be a sort-of cover up.

What if all this resistance was due to the need to cover an error or an action difficult to explain to the international community? What if the incoherent flow or information was purposely arranged to divert public attention away from the real cause of the crash until evidence was hidden?

We’ll let you elaborate more. Conspiracy theorists will be able to find many more details that perfectly fit this scenario (including SATCOM pings, ACARS, flight time, etc) and even point to specific targets (Petronas Towers, US base at Diego Garcia, are among those already suggested by several sources, experts, internet trolls etc.). History has taught us that airspace violations have some times ended with the downing of a civil plane.

We mentioned it just because we have discussed almost all possible scenarios and we can’t completely rule out this one until the wreckage (or the plane) is found and truth about the mysterious MH370 will eventually emerge.

Image credit: Daily Mail / Sky Vector

All the articles about MH370 can be read here (scroll down).


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About David Cenciotti
David Cenciotti is a journalist based in Rome, Italy. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviationist”, one of the world’s most famous and read military aviation blogs. Since 1996, he has written for major worldwide magazines, including Air Forces Monthly, Combat Aircraft, and many others, covering aviation, defense, war, industry, intelligence, crime and cyberwar. He has reported from the U.S., Europe, Australia and Syria, and flown several combat planes with different air forces. He is a former 2nd Lt. of the Italian Air Force, a private pilot and a graduate in Computer Engineering. He has written five books and contributed to many more ones.


  1. From the discussion among a few people I know we’re that, the plane was carrying some sort of equipment on board.
    The story goes as followed, the Taliban had intercepted some American equipment, which was going to be sold to Russia, but instead somehow the Chinese bought this. This equipment was on board FLIGHT mh370. The Americans wanted this equipment back as it was a great importance to them. They had someone on board to take control of the plane and unfortunatley all the passengers on board got gased.
    As much as don’t want to believe this, sometimes it’s hard not to as the Americans have such great knowledge when it comes these situations and even for them not know we’re this flight is, it’s even harder to believe

  2. It was going to Diego Garcia… as a missile. Eyewitnesses saw the aircraft at Kuda Huvadhoo (Maldives) 6.15 am local time. This is consistent with a low, slow 8hr flight to avoid radar from last known location. Intent was to crash into DG. Shot down by US 1-3 hrs later. A cover up was then executed and is ongoing. Small debris may turn up on Somalian beaches during April/May. The flight recorders will never be found. Transplanting some debris and spoofed recorders probably considered, but too risky, not necessary.

    This is the simplest theory fitting the only witnesses accounts of the actual aircraft. Yes, this would mean the Inmarsat (UK based) data is spoofed, raw data not released. UK involved in cover up, possibly other countries aware, maybe Australia, possibly Malaysia and China, less likely but possible. Cover up includes information management on social media, fostering alternative conspiracy theories. Working nicely so far (no irony intended). For the victims families, we should do better. Go to Maldives to interview the witnesses. Obtain satellite imagery S/SE of Maldives dawn to dusk of 8th March, centered on -3.37,73.87. Look for one or more ships adjacent to debris field.

  3. OK, if we’re going to assume it was shot down (unlikely in my overall opinion) here is my way of explaining it using minimal far out causes.
    1) After 1 hour or so, MH370 somehow begins losing all forms of aircraft communications. Let’s say a cascading electrical failure as a cause.
    2) The pilot, now unable to contact anyone via aircraft communications (and realizing the plane is no longer squawking MH370 on radar) decides it’s too risky to fly into Chinese air space unannounced (may be considered a threat) and turns back.
    3) The pilot in order to avoid other air traffic on a non-scheduled path lowers his altitude.
    4) As the plane approaches Malaysian air space, the pilot flies near cell towers in hopes that he may use his or co-pilot’s cell phone to announce his condition and intentions — to land back at Malaysia. His continued attempt keeps his plane at a relatively constant distance from the satellite which detected the RR engine pings.
    5) With no success, he re-instructs all passengers to turn off all cell phones to avoid any signal confusion.
    6) After hours of attempting to get a solid signal (only the cell tower handshake is achieved) his radar signature is picked up on military radar.
    7) Military authorities consider this a threat (since no one expects it at the time to be MH370 — and it’s been flying around for hours) and shoots it down.

  4. Rescue was called four hours after the plane went missing. Those four hours time frame was enough time for Malaysian government to clean up the mess, find the black box, relocate the black box and other avionics at Ocean, hence the pinging…

  5. Did anyone in the Dumbo Admin, the Midstream Media, or the Aviation biz point out the most obvious thing: China has claimed the entire area as their own, and had been saber rattling with Japan for a while. Of course a 1st World Democracy like Red China’s Military would never accidentally or on purpose shoot down a foreign airliner…any more than the 1st World Democracy like the U.S.S.R. would never shoot down Korean Air 007…it was a U.S. spy plane, right?

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