MH370 pilot plotted course to flight crash area on simulator, officials say

Experts say the most likely scenario was "uncontrolled ditching" of the plane

MH370 pilot plotted course to flight crash area on simulator, officials say

In this file photo, a man views a fleet of Malaysia Airline planes on the tarmac of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, in Malaysia | Image: Joshua Paul / AP/Press Association Images

Malaysian officials say a pilot of Flight MH370 had plotted a course on his home simulator to the area where the missing plane is thought to have crashed.

It is the first time that Malaysia has acknowledged a theory put forward last month by Australian officials overseeing the search for the plane.

It disappeared on March 8th, 2014 with 239 people on board - and it remains one of aviation's greatest mysteries.

Data recovered from Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah's home computer included a flight path to the southern Indian Ocean, where the plane is believed to have come down.

But Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai said thousands of other destinations were also found on the computer, and there was no evidence that Captain Zaharie flew the plane in that area, or deliberately crashed it.

Mr Liow said: "Until today, this theory is still under investigation. There is no evidence to prove that Captain Zaharie flew the plane into the southern Indian Ocean."

"Yes, there is the simulator but the (route) was one of thousands to many parts of the world. We cannot just base on that to confirm (he did it)."

Mr Liow added that international experts and Australian officials have agreed that the most likely scenario was "uncontrolled ditching" of the plane.

Australia's Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre - which is overseeing the search for the plane off the country's west coast - said there was no proof Captain Zaharie had planned to steer the plane off course.

The home simulator showed only "the possibility of planning" for such an event, it said.

Search to be suspended

One of the world's leading air crash investigators said last month he believed the plane was deliberately flown into the sea.

Larry Vance said a section of a wing recovered from the sea showed evidence that it was it was extended, suggesting a controlled landing rather than an accidental crash.

New York Magazine has reported that FBI analysis of Captain Shah's flight simulator suggested strong evidence that the crash was a murder-suicide caused by the pilot.

Black box flight recorders have not been recovered from the Boeing 777, which went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Search crews have been unable to trace the main wreckage of the plane.

The underwater search is to be suspended when the current operation to scour more than 46,000 square miles of ocean is completed.

The families of the passengers and crew have pleaded for the search to not be called off for good.