MH370 conspiracy theories re-emerge as search sputters

MH370 conspiracy theories re-emerge as search sputters

KUALA LUMPUR - The fruitless MH370 search has breathed new life into conspiracy theories on the plane's fate, with a book, two films and even a former prime minister pushing ideas ranging from diversion by the CIA to an accidental shoot-down.

A host of wild theories including a Taliban hijack or meteor strike had emerged to fill the information vacuum in the days following the plane's disappearance on March 8 with 239 aboard as authorities across Asia scrambled to figure out what happened.

The speculation abated after Malaysia said in late March the plane was believed to have gone down in the Indian Ocean for unknown reasons, but has revived due to the failure of an international search effort to find any trace of the plane.

In a blog posting Sunday, former Malaysian premier Mahathir Mohamad put his weight behind online rumours that the Boeing 777 had a feature allowing the plane's controls to be taken over remotely.

The still-influential Mahathir, 88, said the US Central Intelligence Agency might have taken control of the American-made plane after it was commandeered by terrorists, adding it was possible "the plane is somewhere, maybe without MAS (Malaysia Airlines) markings".

"Can it not be that the pilot of MH370 lost control of their aircraft after someone directly or remotely activated the equipment for seizure of control of the aircraft?" Mahathir wrote.

Someone is hiding something

"Someone is hiding something. It is not fair that MAS and Malaysia should take the blame. For some reason the media will not print anything that involves Boeing or the CIA," wrote Mahathir, who is known for his anti-western rhetoric.

Similar allegations were floated previously by a newspaper controlled by Malaysia's ruling party - which was under fire over a perceived bumbling and secretive handling of the crisis.

The suggestion of American involvement was dismissed at the time by the US embassy in Malaysia.

Two films about MH370 were touted Sunday to potential distributors at the Cannes Film Festival in France, with a trailer for one of them - "The Vanishing Act" - showing terrified passengers and a gun being brandished.

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