France Reopens Investigation into Missing Flight MH370


French newspaper Le Parisien reported August 7th that the Gendarmerie of Air Transport (GTA) will reopen their investigation into missing Malaysian flight MH370 following the Malaysian International Civil Aviation Organization's (ICAO) 449-page report from July that failed to determine the cause of the plane's disappearance.

The GTA intends to verify the veracity and authenticity of the technical data transmitted by the aircraft prior to its disappearance. Their investigation will pay special attention to the positional data transmitted to British global satellite company Inmarsat.

French authorities question the reliability of the data, and are asking for its source in an attempt to accurately reconstruct the missing plane's trajectory. An international rogatory commission may authorize them to recover the raw data as early as the beginning of 2019.

Of particular interest to the GTA's investigation is the ICAO's dismissal of a possible murder-suicide by Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, since at least the initial turn that took the aircraft off course was voluntary. 

A panel of international experts brought on to television news program 60 Minutes Australia in May of 2018 shared their findings that they say show Captain Shah deliberately downed MH370--citing the plane's flight path and the damage profile of recovered wreckage as evidence of their claim. 

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing in March of 2014, while flying from Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Malaysia, to Beijing Capital International Airport in China.

An underwater search coordinated by the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, the largest such search in history, was called off in January 2017 after two years.  However, U.S.-based company Ocean Infinity was hired by the Malaysian government to continue searching for the missing plane in early January of 2018.  That search was embroiled in controversy earlier this year when the ship disappeared from tracking screens for three days after turning off its own satellite monitoring system.

Analysis of the satellite data available suggests that MH370 ran out of fuel and crashed in the Indian Ocean west of Australia, thousands of miles from its intended destination.  Various conspiracy theories have been discussed since the plane vanished; everything from cyber hijacking to the intervention of a rogue state like North Korea to extraterrestrial interference has been used by conspiracy theorists to explain MH370's disappearance.

Four French citizens were aboard MH370: Laurence Wattrelos, her 14-year-old daughter Amber, her 17-year-old son Hadrien, and Yan, Hadrien's girlfriend; they are survived by husband and father Ghyslain Wattrelos. The family was returning to France after spending spring break in Malaysia.

Tobias Wayland