26 March 2014
The Mail on-line reports –
‘It was his last joyride’:
- MH370 pilot devastated by his marriage breakdown
- A close friend said Captain Zaharie was in ‘no state of mind to be flying’
- He warns Zaharie could have taken MH370 on a ‘last joyride’ and that the crew wouldn’t have known something was wrong ‘until it was too late’
- It follows reports the doomed flight climbed to 43,000ft moments before disappearing from radar
- It stayed at that altitude for 23 minutes, but oxygen would have run out after just 12 minutes, rendering passengers and crew unconscious
- Expert says plane would have flown on until it ran out of fuel
- The news comes as authorities continue their efforts to locate debris
- While families of victims of MH370 are expected to start arriving in Perth as soon as the debris is confirmed as belonging to the plane
- The Australian Prime Minister warned the search can’t go on indefinitely
The friend, also a pilot, said Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had been left rattled by his family problems, and didn’t appear to be in the right state of mind to be flying. He warned that it was ‘very possible that neither the passengers nor the other crew on-board knew what was happening until it was too late’.
‘He’s one of the finest pilots around and I’m no medical expert, but with all that was happening in his life Zaharie was probably in no state of mind to be flying,’ he told the NZ Herald on the condition of anonymity.
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Last joyride’: A close friend says Captain Zaharie was upset over the breakdown of his marriage, and wasn’t in the right frame of mind to fly
Virtual reality: A close friend of Captain Zaharie says the pilot might have seen MH370 as a chance to try things he’d only previously been able to try on his simulator.
While his professional record appeared impeccable, Captain Zaharie’s long-time friend said the pilot’s personal life was in turmoil. He said his friend’s relationships were breaking down, and while Zaharie was involved with another woman he was still devastated at his wife’s decision to move out of their family home.
He said the troubled pilot could have seen MH370 as an opportunity to try high-risk maneuvers he’d perfected on his beloved flight simulator.
These shocking new claims follow reports that flight MH370 climbed to between 43,000 and 45,000ft shortly after the last voice communication from the cockpit of the plane.
Mourning: High school students hold candles during a vigil for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airline flight MH370 in Lianyungang, China
The worst news: Ayu Suliasti, daughter of the Indonesian couple Sugianto and Vinny Chynthya Tio, shows pictures of her parents who were passengers on the missing plane.
An aviation industry source, who wished to remain anonymous, told MailOnline: ‘It was tracked flying at this altitude for 23 minutes before descending. Oxygen would have run out in 12 minutes [in a depressurised cabin], rendering the passengers unconscious.’
The 777-200ER Boeing aircraft used on the ill-fated flight has a maximum service ceiling of 43,000 feet and can very probably fly safely at even greater heights, one expert said.
But at this altitude, where the atmosphere drastically thins, it would take mere minutes if not seconds for hypoxia – a lack of oxygen – to set in if the cabin was manually depressurised by one of the pilots, as seen in the below video of a high-altitude experiment.
Oxygen masks would have dropped down, but these only supply between five and 10 minutes of gas.
Central Queensland University’s head of aviation, Ron Bishop, told MailOnline that a drop in cabin pressure that had knocked out passengers and crew would mean the plane would fly on unmanned until eventually running out of fuel and crashing into ocean.
‘You’d just slowly pass out. But it would have no effect on the plane at all,’ he said.
‘The plane would just keep going until it eventually ran out of fuel.
‘That would explain it all. That plane flew on a very long time, all the way from South East Asia to near the west coast of Australia.’
The passengers’ devastated families are expected to start arriving in Perth as soon as the debris is confirmed as belonging to MH370, with the Australian Government announcing it would set up a special facility to assist them, as well as waive any visa fees.
A spokeswoman for the city’s Chung Wah Aged Care and Community Centre told MailOnline she had been inundated with phone calls from people who were willing to accommodate the families of the flight’s 139 Chinese passengers.
‘We’ve received many offers from the public who are volunteering to provide accommodation,’ the spokeswoman said.
Aerial search: the view from the flight deck of an Orion aircraft over the southern Indian Ocean
The Australia-led international search teams today continued their painstaking mission to locate and retrieve debris from MH370 in a target area that began some 2,500kms off Australia’s west coast, but has slowly moved closer to the mainland. Efforts are now being focused on an area that begins around 2,000kms from shore.
After being forced to abandon yesterday’s search due to dangerous weather, the HMAS Success has now returned to the target area in an effort to locate and retrieve debris.
Today’s search is focusing on three areas and 12 aircraft – seven military and five civilian planes – have led the operation, which Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott described as ‘very logistically difficult’. Mr Abbott also warned that the search couldn’t continue indefinitely.
‘We are just going to keep on looking because we owe it to people to do everything we can to resolve this riddle,’ he told the Nine Network.
‘It is not absolutely open-ended but it is not something we will lightly abandon.’