What occurred to Flight MH370? Do not imagine Netflix’s documentary

Except it’s on Nationwide Geographic, I’m deeply skeptical of documentaries. Plainly many movies that label themselves as such are primarily about presenting a refined, extremely persuasive narrative — however whether or not that narrative is true is of secondary significance. Relying on the subject, a documentary that chooses to have an informal relationship with the reality can vary from principally benign leisure (like Animal Planet’s Mermaids) to nefarious propaganda (like Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11). Sadly, Netflix’s new documentary, MH370: The Airplane that Disappeared, is extra akin to the latter.

A quick historical past of Flight MH370

On March 8, 2014, Malaysia Airways Flight 370 (MH370) departed Kuala Lumpur for Beijing simply after 12:40 am (00:40) native time. It by no means reached its vacation spot. Roughly 40 minutes into the flight, the aircraft vanished from airport radar and took an surprising U-turn, flying over the Malay peninsula, then over the Andaman Sea subsequent to Thailand.

What occurred after that’s the topic of hypothesis, however we a minimum of know this: Items of the airplane washed ashore on Réunion Island and in varied African international locations (like Madagascar, Mozambique, Mauritius, and South Africa), indicating that it crashed someplace within the southern Indian Ocean. The truth is, utilizing a mannequin of ocean currents, scientists predicted 12 months prematurely that particles would float westward towards Africa — and, certainly, the particles was finally discovered there.

So, how did the aircraft find yourself within the southern Indian Ocean when it was presupposed to go north to China? The present proof strongly means that the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, intricately deliberate a mass murder-suicide. Three information specifically stand out.

First, pals described Zaharie as lonely and unhappy. In keeping with a 2019 article in The Atlantic:

“His spouse had moved out, and was dwelling within the household’s second home. By his personal admission to pals, he spent numerous time pacing empty rooms ready for the times between flights to go by… Zaharie appears to have turn into considerably disconnected from his earlier, well-established life. He was in contact along with his kids, however they have been grown and gone… There’s a sturdy suspicion amongst investigators within the aviation and intelligence communities that he was clinically depressed.”

Second, and most damningly, Zaharie had a house flight simulator that simulated crashing a aircraft into the center of nowhere within the southern Indian Ocean. The simulated flight path was almost equivalent to the flight path that investigators imagine MH370 really took. Third, there is no such thing as a plausible approach for anybody apart from the pilot to alter the flight path.

Because it so occurs, nearly one yr afterward March 24, 2015, the co-pilot of Germanwings Flight 9525 purposefully crashed the airplane right into a mountain in France, killing all 150 individuals on board. And, in fact, 19 hijackers crashed airplanes into the World Commerce Heart, the Pentagon, and a subject in Pennsylvania on 9/11. So, “mass murder-suicide by pilot” is an actual phenomenon (although the hijackers weren’t precisely “pilots”).

Netflix documentary promotes conspiracy theories

Sadly, there is no such thing as a “smoking gun” proving that Zaharie is responsible. Richard Godfrey, an avionics skilled who has studied MH370 for almost a decade and has in depth expertise designing and working digital programs for business and navy plane, instructed Massive Suppose in an interview, “Most proof factors to a murder-suicide by the Captain Zaharie Shah, though most proof is inadequate to face up in a courtroom of regulation.”

We’re, subsequently, within the irritating place of figuring out the seemingly reality however being unable to show it. And exactly as a result of there isn’t 100% uncertainty, conspiracy theorists have stepped in, assured that their weird explanations are each bit as respectable because the “MH370 consensus,” equivalent to it’s. That is the place the Netflix documentary comes into play.

The three-part collection MH370: The Airplane that Disappeared proposed three theories to clarify what occurred: (1) The Pilot, (2) The Hijack, and (3) The Intercept. To its credit score, the documentary defined every thing that I’ve written above within the first concept in regards to the pilot. If solely Netflix had stopped there. As an alternative, it went on to suggest two extra theories.

In “The Hijack,” the documentary closely relied on journalist Jeff Clever, who proposed that Russian terrorists hijacked the airplane by climbing down into an electronics compartment (referred to as the Major Tools Heart, MEC) hidden beneath the primary class cabin, commandeering the aircraft, faking satellite tv for pc location knowledge, and flying it to Kazakhstan. However this concept ignores some vital information and finally ends up creating extra questions than solutions.

For instance, Godfrey defined to the web site Airline Scores that it’s not doable to entry the MEC with out being observed by somebody; it’s not doable to take management of an airplane from contained in the MEC; satellite tv for pc location knowledge is captured and distributed in real-time and can’t be manipulated; and the radar programs in India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, and China would have detected a stray Boeing 777 flying towards Kazakhstan. Moreover, if the aircraft landed in Kazakhstan, then why haven’t we heard from any of the passengers?

In “The Intercept,” Netflix delves additional into fantasy by selling the work of French journalist (I’m utilizing that phrase right here very loosely) Florence de Changy, who proposed that the U.S. authorities used particular plane referred to as AWACS to jam MH370’s communications system (thereby inflicting it to vanish from radar), after which it was then shot down. Why? In keeping with de Changy, MH370 was carrying “poorly documented Motorola electronics gear” that the U.S. didn’t need China to have. So, the U.S. murdered 239 harmless civilians to make sure that China didn’t get that gear.

One downside with this concept — apart from the whole lack of proof in assist of it — is {that a} conspiracy of this magnitude would require the cooperation of 1000’s of individuals throughout a number of international locations. That is basically a mathematical impossibility as a result of, ultimately, one of many many conspirators would unintentionally or deliberately blow its cowl. It’s been 9 years; absolutely any person, someplace would have stated one thing by now.

Although it wasn’t introduced within the documentary, de Changy additionally believes that the capturing down of Malaysian Airways Flight 17 over Ukraine by Russian separatists in July 2014 was really an act of retaliation carried out by Vladimir Putin on behalf of China, which misplaced many voters on MH370. It goes with out saying that there isn’t proof for that, both — although she did publish her investigations in a ebook that Massive Suppose doesn’t plan to evaluate.

For good measure, the documentary included a number of scenes by which interview topics have been questioning every others’ motives and credibility, giving the viewer the impression that no one is reliable.

Disgrace on Netflix

Video is a robust medium. Individuals imagine what they see, notably if it’s tied along with a convincing story. It’s why dictators the world over be sure that they management the TV information. However as an alternative of giving the 239 struggling households and the general public at giant a real story, Netflix exploited the ache brought on by a horrifying tragedy to push lies and conspiracies to spice up its viewership. Disgrace on them.

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