A recently discovered fragment from flight MH370 suggests that the pilot lowered the plane’s landing gear shortly before it plunged into the ocean, supporting the theory that the plane crashed deliberately.
The Boeing 777 component, also known as the trunnion door, was found in the possession of a Malagasy fisherman 25 days ago, becoming the first physical evidence to suggest that one of the pilots intentionally attempted to destroy and sink the Malaysian Airlines plane with 239 passengers and crew on board.
Now, a fresh report published by British engineer Richard Godfrey and self-described American MH370 scrap hunter Blaine Gibson, suggests that the washed-out landing gear hatch was likely penetrated from the inside by the aircraft’s engines which disintegrated on impact.
This makes it very likely that the landing gear was down when the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean on March 8, 2014, leaving behind one of the biggest aviation mysteries in recent history.
In their new analysis, Mr Godfrey and Mr Gibson suggest that the airliner crashed quickly and deliberately.
“The fact that the damage was from the inside to the outside…leads to the conclusion that the landing gear was highly extended at impact, which in turn supports the conclusion that there was an active pilot to the end of flight,” the report reads.
He added: “The level of damage with fractures on all sides and the extreme force of the penetration through the debris lead to the conclusion that the end of the flight was in a high speed dive designed to ensure that the aircraft broke apart in as many pieces as possible.
“The crash of MH370 was anything but a soft landing on the ocean.”
The report said the combination of the high-speed impact designed to break up the aircraft and the extended landing gear designed to sink the aircraft as quickly as possible both show a “clear intent to conceal evidence of the crash”.
Pilots usually do not lower gear if they need to make an emergency landing on water, as extended landing gear will dig into the water and break contact with the surface, increasing the chances of a catastrophic failure as the aircraft slows.
While four pieces of debris thought to belong to the missing airliner were discovered on the same beach, the door is the first to offer any real clues about the 2014 crash.
Nineteen pieces of wreck have so far washed ashore in Madagascar and have been handed over to the authorities.
The latest find, the damaged landing gear hatch, was discovered at the home of a fisherman, who discovered the stranded part on the coast of the Antsiraka Peninsula in March 2017 in the wake of Tropical Storm Fernando.
The fisherman has been guarding the debris for more than five years, unaware of its existence. He kept it in his big backyard and his wife used it as a washboard, and she admitted she had no idea what he was.