MH370: Here’s the key exchange that suggests the mystery still isn’t solved

Some aviation experts now believe that the mysterious plane crash was the result of a murder-suicide. Others want better evidence.

MH370: Here’s the key exchange that suggests the mystery still isn’t solved
[Photo: Aero Icarus/Wikimedia Commons]

The Australian version of 60 Minutes just ran a shocking new episode about Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which mysteriously disappeared over four years ago. According to a few aviation experts interviewed, the crash may have been a result of a murder-suicide. Others aren’t convinced.


A key section in the show highlights this tension. One of the experts, Larry Vance, is described as an “air crash investigator.” Vance said plainly throughout the episode that he believes the Malaysia Airlines pilot deliberately crashed the plane. He pointed to a few clues–namely, a large piece of debris from what was allegedly the wing of the flight. His analysis concluded that the wing’s flaps were down, which would indicate that the pilot was in control of the plane until the very end. It should be noted that Vance is about to publish a book called MH370: Mystery Solved, which details this very theory.

Martin Dolan, another airline expert who aided in the flight’s investigation and appeared on this same episode, wasn’t so sure. He admitted that there are “two viable theories”–one that the pilot was in control of the plane until it crashed, the other that he was not. The current investigation into the whereabouts of the plane is focused on the latter idea. But Vance questions this operating theory, to which Dolan asked for evidence.

Here’s a transcript of the section:

VANCE: I think that most people will agree that the flaps were down–not only were they down, they were fully extended.

DOLAN: All we’re saying, Larry, is that the evidence is not yet sufficient to draw as firm a conclusion as you appear to have done.

VANCE: My intention is–the [investigation] starting point … is not supported by the evidence.

DOLAN: So which parts of the evidence are not correct?

VANCE: The fact that the airplane ran out of fuel. It did not run out of fuel. The fact that the…

DOLAN: So your evidence for that is?

VANCE: The fact that the flaps were down and it conducted a controlled…

DOLAN: The speculation that the flaps may have been down.

This back and forth gets at the heart of the episode, and the mystery itself. There are a lot of unknowns. Vance seems convinced of his theory that the pilot intentionally crashed the plane, but didn’t seem to have the data to support that claim. Dolan, on the other hand, admits that there are many unknowns, but hasn’t found the hard evidence to completely support either theory.

Ultimately, no answers are provided–all we get is more speculation. If they find the actual plane, maybe we’ll finally get the closure that so many are hoping for.

You can watch the 60 Minutes section here.

About the author

Cale is a Brooklyn-based reporter. He writes about many things.