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. why do we take the 2 final arcs so seriously? if based on ping round trip delay they may be wrong

  2. Can we mix two theories together and recreate a new scenario!?

    As per the ‘popular’ Chris Goodfellow’s theory, the pilots were incapacitated due to fire/smoke and they tried to land. And in the process, they failed to land safely and the autopilot took it straight in the south westerly direction. Correct!?

    What if the B777 continued this course and entered Diego Garcia’s military airspace (US’s most secretive military bases) and the US military got it on their radar, were surprised to see a plane in their airspace as there is no commercial jetliner route via their airspace. Hence they tried to contact the plane, for more details and the transponder didn’t respond, the pilot’s didn’t respond and there was dead silence. The forces will soon declare it as a hostile aircraft approaching a military base with no communication/response. Hence their missiles batteries might have acted via a quid-pro-quo procedure. I am not from the military, hence won’t be able to tell you, if the military sent a fighter jet to check the approaching plane, before they shot it down or not. But if the missile theory has to fit into this scenario, it has to be Diego Garcia. Far away from any civilian air space or surveillance, no visual evidences……..hence a cover up for a mistakenly missile strike is easier.

    Whether this theory is true of now, somehow, I get a feeling that Diego Garcia has ‘something’ to do with this disappearance!! SOMETHING……

    Even the below theory makes me think of Diego Garcia, once again:


    • I am sorry, but this theory with diego garcia and the russians is pure bullshit as long as there is no minimal proof about it. It was issued by obscure internet blogs, with no proof that the presumed document from the russian intelligence really exists. And even if it exists, the theory is wrong. I read it, and it has a lot of points where the presumed “documented” information seems just a puzzle of different pieces, not connected to each other, but pretended to be connected to eachother. It is a typical case of conspirationist theory, invented in a way that it looks plausible for somebody who does not check all the details. Lies can only function if they are made plausible with little pieces of thruth, but wrongly interconnected to eachother.

      And of course, Russia is interested, in the information war it started some years ago against the americans, to suggest that “it’s the americans again” which are at fault for everything. Even for this malaysian-chinese tragedy.

      • Sadly every theory about MH370 until now is merely bullshit. Even the official news are just as incredible as this Missile theory.
        I don’t know what happened with the MH370 and at this point since i knew about the missing plane i have been sceptical, but I just dunno what to think with all this tricky and contradictory information given by the malaysian government.

  3. Oh my god..for the sake of the children in the plane I sincerely wish the plane is safe somewhere…its too awful to even contemplate how children would’ve suffered if otherwise…

    Chandar India

  4. Wouldn’t DPS sats spot? Where’s the debris, ELT & orange “black boxes” pingers if in water?

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