In a six-page article published in French glossy Paris Match, Marc Dugain - the former head of Proteus Airlines and an established French author – went public with his theory that the missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft didn’t go down anywhere near where authorities and rescue teams have been searching for a possible wreckage.
Instead, Dugain is convinced that the Boeing 777, which had 239 people on board - mainly Chinese - crashed near the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia. Dugain also suggests the plane might have been hijacked by a hacker and that it was then brought down by the United States which feared a September 11th, 2001 style attack.
Britain has a military base on the tiny island which has been let to the Americans.
“It’s an extremely powerful military base. It’s surprising that the Americans have lost all trace of this aircraft. Without getting into conspiracy theories, it is a possibility that the Americans stopped this plane,” he told France Inter in a broadcast interview earlier this week.
The US has denied that the aircraft, which mysteriously vanished from all radars on March 8th, ever came close to Diego Garcia on its flight between Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia and Beijing in China.
Dugain bases his speculations, among other things, on a trip to the Maldives where locals told him they had witnessed an aircraft flying toward Diego Garcia.
“I saw a huge plane flying at a really low altitude above us,” a fisherman told him, adding the plane carried the colours of Malaysia Airlines: red and blue stripes with a white background.
Authorities, however, have denied these claims, which were also widely carried by local media that cited several witnesses who spoke about an aircraft with the same description.
Dugain argues that due to the Boeing technology the aircraft was using, it is possible that the aircraft hijacked by remote control and steered toward Diego Garcia.
He also said a fire could have prompted the air crew to turn off its electrical devices, possibly explaining why the plane vanished from radars.
In the Paris Match interview, he supports this argument by pointing to a device – deemed by some experts to be a Boeing fire extinguisher – found on a beach on Baarah island, also in the Maldives, shortly after the MH370 went missing.
According to Dugain, the passengers could have died from asphyxiation but the fire did not damage the exterior of the plane, allowing it to continue on autopilot until it ran out of fuel and glided down into the sea.
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His main arguments for the theory that the disappearance was a cover-up is based on the fact that he finds it near impossible that the Americans “equipped with the best technology in the world” could have lost track of “a 63-metre-long object” and the suppression of Maldivian testimonies.
He also said he had been warned by a British intelligence officer of taking “risks” by looking into the fate of the MH370’s disappearance.
“Someone knows,” he said.
In the past nine months, several conspiracy theories have circulated on the disappearance of flight MH370 and there have even been books written about it. Some theories have been quickly dismissed, while others have had a harder time to die down.
One of the more spectacular theories was reported by Beforeitsnews, which claimed the plane was part of an electronic warfare experiment, and that the aircraft was “'cloaked', hiding with hi-tech electronic warfare weaponry that exists and is used."
Nigel Cawthorne, author of the book "Flight MH370: The Mystery", has suggested that the plane might have been shot down in a military training operation gone wrong by US-Thai strike fighters.