In the ongoing absence of firm evidence
about the fate of missing flight MH370,
the world’s conspiracy theorists have
weighed in with explanations of their own
for the disappearance of the Malaysia
The susbsequent crash of flight MH17,
shot down over eastern Ukraine, added to
speculation, while a lack of clarity from
Malaysian officials about the earlier
mystery allowed rumours to flourish.
Relatives of some passengers on board the
flight have offered a $3m reward for
information in the belief that details of the
investigation are being withheld from them.
Even the Malaysian opposition leader,
Anwar Ibrahim, has accused his country’s
government of holding back “missing bits of
information”, giving fuel to the conspiracy
theories. He asked how a country with “one
of the most sophisticated” radar systems in
the world could simply lose track of an
aeroplane. Similar doubts have been
expressed by the chief executive of
Emirates, Tim Clark.
Flight MH17 conspiracy theories
A poll conducted by CNN in the summer
found that one in ten Americans believe
that “space aliens, time travellers or beings
from another dimension” were involved in
the plane’s disappearance.
The claim that investigators still can’t rule
out the possibility that Flight MH370 landed
rather than crashed has also reignited the
debate: according to the CNN poll, 21 per
cent of people believe that at least some
people from the flight survived.
The Australian-led search operation is now
looking for the plane along the so-called
“seventh arc”, a remote area of the
southern Indian Ocean.
But far away from the scene of the search,
on the internet’s more excitable fringes,
individuals have been working on theories
of their own to plug the information gaps.
Here are some of the best (and weirdest):
Life insurance scam
In March last year, Malaysian police
refused to rule out the possibility that the
entire incident may have been a
complicated insurance scam.
“Maybe somebody on the flight has bought a
huge sum of insurance, who wants family
to gain from it or somebody who has owed
somebody so much money, you know, we
are looking at all possibilities,” said Tan
Sri Khalid Abu Bakar Malaysia’s Inspector-
General of Police.
Authorities said that they would consider
all possible motives, no matter how
unlikely they seemed, and would investigate
all passengers and crew for any sign of
“We are looking very closely at the video
footage taken at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur
International Airport),” he added. “We are
studying the behavioural pattern of all the
China and Edward Snowden
Reddit user Dark_Spectre has a theory that
links the disappearance of MH370 with
Edward Snowden’s revelations about the
extent of US surveillance.
The theory is based on the fact that the
flight was carrying 20 employees of
Freescale Semiconductor – a company
which may have worked with the NSA to
develop surveillance technology, according
to Snowden’s documents.
Dark_Spectre writes: “We have the
American IBM Technical Storage Executive
for Malaysia, a man working in mass
storage aggregation for the company
implicated by the Snowden papers for
providing their services to assist the
National Security Agency in surveilling the
Chinese. And now this bunch of US chip
guys working for a global leader in
embedded processing solutions (embedded
smart phone tech and defence contracting)
all together… on a plane… and disappeared.
The Reddit sleuth suggests that the apparent
disappearance of flight MH370 may actually
have been the result of an audacious
attempt by China to capture a group of
private contractors who helped the NSA to
conduct spy operations against them.
“Honestly, what would 200 lives be to the
Chinese intelligence community for the
opportunity to find out exactly the depth
and scope of our intrusion,” Dark_Spectre
Hijacked by Afghans
The missing Boeing 777 was hijacked and
flown to a small village in Afghanistan,
according to a Russian newspaper.
A military source reportedly told the
Moskovsky Komsomolets newspaper: “Flight
MH370 Malaysia Airlines missing on March
8 with 239 passengers was hijacked.
“Pilots are not guilty; the plane was
hijacked by unknown terrorists. We know
that the name of the terrorist who gave
instructions to pilots is ‘Hitch’. The plane is
in Afghanistan not far from Kandahar near
the border with Pakistan.”
Others have elaborated on the theory,
suggesting that passengers have been divided
into seven groups and are living in mud
huts with almost no food.
MH370 and MH17 were in fact the same
One theory that has gained traction over the
summer is the suggestion that the airliner
that crashed in a field in Ukraine was in
fact the lost flight MH370, not the scheduled
flight MH17 from Amsterdam to Kuala
According to the theory, proposed by a
number of sites, including
humansarefree.com , MH370 was hijacked
and forced to land safely in an undisclosed
location. Some believers say that the plane
was taken to the US military base Diego
Garcia – believed to be within range of
where the MH370 disappeared – and then
deliberately crashed near Donetsk by US
agents months later in a “false flag”
operation designed to discredit Russia.
Subsequent world events have played into
the theorists’ hands, as a number of
countries accused Russia of providing
military support to Ukrainian separatists –
including Buk missile launchers capable of
shooting down planes at high altitudes. The
EU and US subsequently tightened their
sanctions on Moscow.
To support their argument, some
commentators, such as Opob News, point to
the fact that wreckage found
in Ukraine seems to have a different
configuration of windows to the actual
MH17, and that a Malaysian flag on the side
of the fuselage is not in the right place.
Others have suggested that these pictures
Five per cent of Americans surveyed by
Reason.com believe that the plane was
abducted by aliens. Some bloggers have
pointed to a number of recent UFO sightings
in Malaysia as evidence for extraterrestrial
intervention. Alexandra Bruce, from
Forbidden Knowledge TV , “proves” the
involvement of aliens with her analysis of
radar data. She claims that footage posted
on YouTube shows the presence of
something that “can only be termed a UFO”
in the skies over Malaysia. Of course, that
means something that is “unidentified”
rather than aliens.
A 9/11-style false-flag hijack mission
No conspiracy is complete without Israeli
involvement, and MH370 is no exception.
According to this theory, Israeli agents
planned to crash the Malaysia Airways
plane into a building, as in the September
11 attacks, and then blame the atrocity on
Iran. Proponents point to the quick
identification of two Iranian nationals
travelling on forged passports, and claims
that CCTV images released of the pair had
been doctored. More extravagantly, some
have claimed that a Malaysia Airways
Boeing 777 identical to the one that went
missing “had been stored in a hangar in Tel
Aviv since November 2013”.
In the ongoing absence of firm evidence