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. The proof the U.S. is lying: NORAD (USNorthComm/SouthComm) has known where every aircraft is at any moment since at least the height of the Cold War.
    They know darn well exactly what happened to MH370 and where it went down, probably in the hotly contested South China Sea, not the Indian Ocean.


    Russia can be linked to the disappearance of MH 370 because if you look at the dates it is obvious this plane was shot down as a possible media smoke screen under orders by Putin to cover his take over of Crimea and its illegal referendum.

    3rd march 2014-Russia admitted that it lied about the masked troops taking over Crimea as being non Russian forces.

    8th march 2014- MH 370 disappears in the same manner that MH 17 disappeared in the Indian ocean that will of had Russia carrier based aircraft that could shoot this plane down from over 270 miles away or sea launched missiles with 400 miles range.

    16th March Illegal referendum of Crimea took place away from the global public and media gaze that was focused on the mystery of MH 370.

  3. Vietnam oil platform worker in gulf of Thailand saw the debris fall from the sky. quickly eliminated from the news cycle.

  4. US Navy had two advanced technology destroyers in the waters below the place where the airplane abruptly changed course. I suspect missile fire or collision with a drone (even a target drone). It could be that the plane was crippled and then went to a course that took it across the Malay peninsula and near Penang and Langkawi–with the plane finally ditching at sea because it had been unable to land anywhere. The US has been testing out its ‘littoral combat’ in the region, as well as trying to sell military drone technologies to ‘allied’ navies there (Thailand, Malaysia). Dronex was conducted in the same region just a few years ago. Another question to ask would be: does the US or Australia (their military is also operating in the region) have its spy planes shadow commercial flights for cover? How about the US’s spy drones, which are definitely being flown in the region?

  5. Not necessarily. Suppose an incident with a target drone resulted in a crippled plane, without communications? And this plane then ends up ditched at sea, somewhere west of the Malay peninsula? The fireball that was seen might well have been a US Navy target drone.

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