On March 8, 2014 at 12:42 a.m., a Boeing 777 took off in the sky over Kuala Lumpur Airport. There are 227 passengers and twelve crew members on board the Malaysia Airlines machine, which is to go to Beijing. Everything points to a normal night flight, but this becomes the greatest mystery in aviation history.
Because the plane never arrives in the Chinese capital, and nowhere else either. Instead, the unimaginable happens: flight MH370 simply disappears. At 1:21 a.m. the aircraft was no longer visible on the radars. A large-scale search begins, but to this day it is not finally clear what actually happened that night. The new Netflix documentary series "MH370: The Missing Plane" lets relatives of the people on board have their say, as do experts who have been working intensively on the case for years - and tries to shed some light on the matter.
The MH370 case has officially been closed since 2018. Based on satellite data, the Malaysian authorities assume that someone on board the aircraft switched off the communication systems and steered the machine back in the opposite direction. When the fuel ran out, the Boeing is said to have crashed into the Indian Ocean. Later, individual parts were discovered that are said to belong to the aircraft. However, the wreck was never found, and all the people on board were pronounced dead. So far the official version.
But many relatives of the disappeared distrust this version, accusing the Malaysian government of withholding information. And also some experts are not convinced and look for other experts. Because, as aviation journalist Jeff Wise sums it up well in the documentary, "Planes land and planes take off. What planes don't do is just vanish into thin air." But that seems to be the case here.
Wise and other journalists, aviation experts, relatives and adventurers have long dealt with the disappearance of MH370, and the case has been the subject of intense debate on Internet forums. The Netflix documentary series shows three different possible explanations in three episodes. The first seems to be the most obvious: the pilot is said to have committed suicide by throwing the plane and 238 other people into the ocean. There was a similar case in 2015 when the German co-pilot of a Germanwings plane crashed the plane in the Alps.
The second theory sounds much more adventurous: Jeff Wise thinks it is at least possible that Russian agents hijacked the plane and steered it to Kazakhstan. The journalist shows parallels to the crash of flight MH17 - the plane was hit by a Russian missile just four months later, 298 people died. Allegedly, Russia wanted to distract from its invasion of Crimea by hijacking MH370. Wise is also not convinced that parts of a Boeing 777 aircraft were found in the Indian Ocean. He suspects the finds may have been staged.
The third theory is at least as daring: A journalist suspects that the USA could have shot down the plane because it was intended to smuggle war technology to China. The passenger plane may have ignored requests from the US fighter jets to land.
None of these versions is really convincing in the Netflix documentary, there is a lack of evidence. On the contrary: their proponents are well aware of how adventurous their attempts at explanation sound - they are often worded accordingly cautiously. The problem, however, is that there is no more convincing theory about the disappearance of MH370 if you do not want to believe the official version. The documentation offers a lot of speculation and few reliable findings.
That sounds like a spy thriller if it weren't for a case that directly affects many people. Netflix also brings relatives of passengers and crew members in front of the camera. They make it clear how great their pain is, even after nine years. The fate of Flight MH370 will continue to remain a great mystery, perhaps forever. For the families, that is the biggest burden: simply not being able to get a degree.