Abbott: Top Malaysian officials told me MH370 likely a case of ‘mass murder’

Tony Abbott suggests that the ‘rogue pilot’ theory on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 should be re-visited. (Reuters pic)

PETALING JAYA: Former Australian prime minister Tony Abbott said he had been told by the “highest levels” of Malaysian officials that the pilot of missing flight MH370 could have committed mass murder, ahead of the sixth anniversary of the plane’s disapperance next month.

“My understanding – my very clear understanding – from the very top levels of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on here they thought it was a murder-suicide by the pilot,” Abbott, who was prime minister at the time the plane disappeared six years ago, told a new Sky News documentary.

The Malaysia Airlines flight carrying 239 people vanished some 40 minutes after leaving Kuala Lumpur for Beijing on March 8, 2014.

Its disappearance is considered one of aviation’s biggest mysteries, and culminated in the longest and most expensive search and rescue mission in history.

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

There have been no few conspiracy theories on its disappearance, including one that 53-year-old senior pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah had deliberately steered the plane away from its normal route, after his final words “Good night. Malaysian 3-7-0” before the plane dropped off the radar at 1:21am.

The “rogue pilot” theory was however rejected by Zaharie’s friends and fellow pilots.

Abbott in the interview refused to reveal the identities of the Malaysian officials.

“I’m not going to say who said what to whom. But let me reiterate – I want to be absolutely crystal clear – it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder suicide by the pilot. A mass murder suicide by the pilot,” he was quoted as saying by news.com.au

But Abbott said he did not suspect a conspiracy to cover-up the pilot’s alleged murder plot, but said he supported any move to re-open investigations.

“Let’s assume that it was murder-suicide by the pilot, and if there is any part of that ocean that could have been reached on that basis that has not yet been explored, let’s get out and explore it.”