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. @”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”

    No matter how skilled a pilot you are, if you’re suffering from hypoxia, a primary symptom is severe confusion.

  2. True. But they knew where to search for the debris! The plane of AF did not turn it’s communication systems off. In the case of MH, nobody seems to know where to search. (Even if it looks as if the rescue teams know more than they disclose, because otherwise I do not know why they search so intensively just in the south “corridor”? On the other hand, it could be just guessing, and knowing that no military radar in the north signalised the plane…)

  3. It’s quite obvious that something is being covered up here. I’m just not sure what exactly. This is definitely a possibility though. If the plane was hijacked or even just going off course and not responding why wouldn’t it be shot down? I would assume almost any country would see this as a threat! I just think we need to stop blaming the pilots. That’s really not fair at all. They are most likely deceased and they may have been trying to land the plane in an emergency situation. The media really needs to stop blaming the pilots! I’d blame the governments before the pilots for sure.

  4. The US naval crew shot down Iranian flight 655 after the thought it was a military jet…No wonder the Iranians hate us–we’re nothing but a nation of stupid, Jew-owned idiots.

  5. Very interesting parallels between KAL007 [1983] and MH370 [currently]

    Nan Oldham, Mother of Princeton law grad who went down with KAL007, states her case:

    “So many questions have never been answered. The U.S. said the plane had flown off
    course. I’ve flown out of Anchorage
    plenty of times-how could they lose the plane? Nobody could have lost that
    plane. I wish I could believe the straying off course was an accident.”

    From the start, discrepancies arose in accounts of the plane’s flight path, and why U.S. and
    Japanese air controllers hadn’t warned the errant plane. Aspersions turned
    sinister with reports that the pilot had told his wife the flight was going to
    be unusually dangerous, and she should buy more life insurance. Why had he
    ordered an extra 10,000 pounds of fuel in Anchorage?
    The plane’s several turns suggested a deliberate attempt to fly into Soviet
    territory. And the aircraft had reported its position inaccurately, as if
    trying to be evasive. Why had the pilot ignored the Soviet warning shots? And
    why did tapes of communications between air controllers given to the U.S.
    Government before their public release contain erasures?


    In an effort to build support for a congressional investigation, Nan Oldham
    appeared on The Phil Donahue Show and other talk programs. “I raised a lot
    of hell,” she says. “I never asserted anything directly, never talked
    like I am now.”

    “My theory,” she says, “is that our government provoked an incident to make the Soviets look like the evil empire
    that Reagan was always describing. He needed to sell our defense agenda, to get
    missiles placed in Germany, where there was a lot of opposition to us at the time. Otherwise, how could this have happened? There was no effort to find the black box because, we were
    told, it was inside Russian waters. I know Ben died because of a tumor, but to
    think my own country sacrificed my son. . . . ” In the end, Congress
    declined to conduct an investigation, though the controversy continued,
    producing several books and articles in subsequent years.

    “I see in my mother a deep maternal rage about the loss of her son,” says Charlotte. “She has been profoundly damaged. Parents can never completely heal from the loss of a
    child. The loss of two is unfathomable-it’s the horrific overlaid with the
    anger of not knowing what really happened. She never had a body to bury, never
    got answers. She feels she’s been mistreated, lied to. The U.S. Government has
    never been forthcoming.

    “I believe Reagan knew the plane was off course,” Charlotte continues, “and chose not to
    warn it because it would activate the new system of Soviet radar which our
    military wanted to observe. It was said later that we got a treasure trove of
    information from the incident. My mother’s anger is a powerful force. It keeps
    us alive, though it’s very disturbing to others.”

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