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CNN SPECIAL REPORTS
Vanished: The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines flight 370
Aired January 2, 2015 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN ANCHOR: It's one of the greatest mysteries of all time.
MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Nobody expects the 777 to vanish. It just doesn't happen.
SAVIDGE: A state of the art aircraft with 239 people onboard disappears without a trace.
RICHARD QUEST, CNN AVIATION CORRESPONDENT: All communications are suddenly disabled, switched off.
SAVIDGE: How could it happen?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have a series of events that appear to be human driven.
O'BRIEN: Everything went wrong there. It borders on scandal.
SAVIDGE: Missed opportunities.
DAVID SOUCIE, FAA FORMER SAFETY INSPECTOR: The aircraft is still flying. Four hours later, no one is looking yet.
SAVIDGE: Many more questions than answers.
O'BRIEN: There are no black boxes inside human beings. That's what we need in this case.
SAVIDGE: What happen to Malaysia Airlines Flight 370? And will we ever find it?
QUEST: We need to know what happened. It is not an option, not to know.
SAVIDGE: Vanished, The Mystery of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370.
March 8, 2014, Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Just after midnight the pilots of Malaysia Airlines Fight 370 are preparing for take off.
O'BRIEN: It's all about checklist in aviation. They're going through a checklist.
SAVIDGE: Miles O'Brien as a pilot and aviation analyst for CNN.
O'BRIEN: It doesn't matter how mundane it is, how many times you've done it, you do it religiously because that is absolute foundation of safety in aviation.
SAVIDGE: In the cockpit, 27-year old, first officer Fariq Hamid.
This video shows him training on the 777.
Flight 370 was his first time flying the aircraft without an instructor.
O'BRIEN: So while he's experience might have been low on the aircraft, he was totally up to date on how to fly it. A lot of airline pilots told me these are the best people to fly with because they just come out of rigorous training.
SAVIDGE: Next to Fariq, Zaharie Shah, a captain with over 18,000 hours in the air and a stellar reputation.
NIK HUZLAN, FORMER CHIEF PILOT OF MALAYSIA AIRLINES: Captain Zaharie and me, we go back about 30 odd years. We started flying together.
SAVIDGE: Nik Huzlan is a former Chief Pilot for Malaysia airlines.
HUZLAN: My wife is a chief stewardess. So I think if my wife's on board the aircraft, I would like Zaharie to fly the plane then, because I've got great confidence in the guy.
SAVIDGE: And there is real confidence in the aircraft they're about to fly, the Boeing 777.
O'BRIEN: It's a great airplane. It's got a sterling record of safety.
HUZLAN: That aircraft is actually the pinnacle of all the aircraft that I have flown. And the automation is just fantastic.
SAVIDGE: For any critical electric or hydraulic system that would fail, there are two or three backup systems.
After making their final preparations, the pilots are ready for pushback.
MAS 370: Ground MAS370, good morning. Charlie One requesting push and start.
SAVIDGE: At 12:32 a.m., the pilots taxied to the runway.
ATC: 370 32 Right cleared for takes-off. Good night.
MAS 370: 32 Right cleared for take-off.
MAS370. Thank you, bye.
SAVIDGE: Cleared for departure, Flight 370 takes-off for a six-hour scheduled flight to Beijing.
HUZLAN: The human control, direct physical control on the controls will probably cease after the landing gear goes up, the flaps goes up and it goes on autopilot.
SAVIDGE: By 1:00 a.m., the crew and 227 passengers onboard are cruising comfortably of 35,000 feet. Even the pilots can relax a little. The plane is basically now flying itself.
O'BRIEN: There was no particular challenge there for a seasoned captain and that first officer to handle that flight without any problem.
SAVIDGE: And at 1:07 a.m., all seems well according to an automatic message sent from the aircraft's communication system called ACARS.
Richard Quest is an aviation correspondent for CNN.
QUEST: Think of ACARS as a giant smartphone that will send out huge amount of information via satellite or by radio transmission.
SAVIDGE: Then, at 1:19 a.m., a standard handoff with air traffic control as the plan leaves Malaysian airspace and enters the Vietnamese airspace.
ATC: Malaysian 370 contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9. Good night.
MAS 370: Good night Malaysian 370.
HUZLAN: The controller here in Malaysia tells him to speak to Ho Chi Minh and he says good night Malaysian 370. Something I would do.
SOUCIE: There was no indication that anything had gone wrong?
SAVIDGE: David Soucie is a former safety inspector for the FAA.
So for the first 40 minutes of this flight up to that point, everything has been routine?
SAVIDGE: Everything was routine until now. Two minutes after talking with air traffic control, 40 minutes into the flight, the plane's transponder goes dark.
QUEST: The planes transponder is effectively the instrument which sends out the signal to air traffic control, it tells you what height it's at, which direction, and what speed its traveling. Suddenly, this giant 777 is blind to the world.
SAVIDGE: And there's no easy explanation for why it happened.
SOUCIE: Either it was intentional and someone tried to turn all of those systems off at once or the pilot was unable to communicate, kept from communicating, or there was a mechanical failure of some kind that took all those systems out at one time. SAVIDGE: Then, minutes after the transponder stops, the 777 makes an unexpected turn, heading west and way off course.
PETER GOELZ: That the plane turned immediately after the transponder went off is completely inexplicable and very worrisome.
SAVIDGE: Peter Goelz is a former Managing Director of the NTSB.
GOELZ: We don't know whether this was done voluntarily, whether it was done under a rest. We simply have no idea.
SAVIDGE: No idea what really happened. But Goelz sees a red flag.
GOELZ: It was completely out of the ordinary that there was no distress call, that the turn takes place and there's absolute silence. It means that somebody on that plane redirected it to a new course setting and they were not telling anyone.
SAVIDGE: Not telling anyone and never checking in with Vietnam air traffic control.
QUEST: The fact that the westerly turn happens at the point of hand over between Malaysia and Vietnam for many is the strongest evidence that something nefarious was going on.
SAVIDGE: You've been investigated many incidents, is that coincidence that everything seems to go wrong at this particular critical moment?
SOUCIE: It can't be coincidence. I don't believe in coincidence with my accidents. It just seems to me that there was something. Now, it doesn't mean that it was nefarious. It doesn't mean anything else but remember there's a lot of systems doing a lot of things at that time as well.
SAVIDGE: So the critical moment is immediately after this hand over. When you're essentially in this kind of no man's land in the sky?
SOUCIE: Yeah. Nobody is watching right then.
SAVIDGE: For 19 minutes, no one was watching. And Flight 370 would vanish.
Coming up, a critical mistake by air traffic control with time running out.
SOUCIE: The aircraft was still flying as we know now. That just is so painful to thank about, that four hours later no one's looking at.
SAVIDGE: In the middle of the night on March 8th, at 1:21 AM, Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 vanishes into thin air. There's been silence from the cockpit. And by 1:37 AM, a second flight communication system, ACARS isn't working either.
QUEST: ACARS was either switched off or it failed. We don't know which, because whatever did happened, this is the crucial moment. We pretty much know that all the coms are disabled, switched off, broken, blown up.
SAVIDGE: There's an investigator looking at this, what would the determination be -- at least to this point as to what is happening?
SOUCIE: At this point, I've got two different paths. One is that, that aircraft was taken over and that the systems were intentionally shutdown. The other side would be that there was a singular failure at a common location and that singular mechanical failure would have done exactly the same thing. At this point in an investigation there was no evidence one way or the other.
SAVIDGE: But there would be piles of evidence if ACARS haven't stop transmitting?
QUEST: You'd know the air condition of the engines, the route it was taking, the altitudes it was taking. We would know exactly the state of that aircraft.
SAVIDGE: Just the kind of information, someone taking over a plane wouldn't want anyone to know.
QUEST: If you were doing something nefarious, then switching off ACARS would be a crucial part of making the plane go dark.
SAVIDGE: Seventeen minutes after the plane went dark, 19 minutes after the last words from the cockpit, there was still no checking with Vietnam air-traffic control. A call former Chief Pilot Nik Huzlan has made thousands of times.
HUZLAN: You have to be, like, drunk for you to forget to check in after somebody tells you immediately to check in. Every pilot will want to do that as soon as possible. Anything more than two to three minutes, already abnormal.
SAVIDGE: Around 1:38 a.m., air-traffic controllers try to reach the aircraft.
SOUCIE: They tried the radio, they tried to call and see if MH370 was out there, no response.
SAVIDGE: You attempt to communicate directly with the aircraft first?
SOUCIE: Right, that's the first thing you do. If that's not successful, then you to try to contact other aircraft around and they did do that and those airplanes tried to raise MH370 as well. No success.
SAVIDGE: With no response, an air-traffic controller in Kuala Lumpur calls Malaysia Airlines for help.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think fundamentally you have to assume, nobody expect to one of these planes to fall out of the sky. Nobody expects a 777 to vanish. SAVIDGE: And Malaysia Airlines tells air-traffic control a completely
different story. They say MH370 hasn't vanished at all according to their own internal flight tracking system.
SOUCIE: Malaysia Airline says, "Oh, the aircraft is fine." We know exactly where it is.
SAVIDGE: Yet they've had no communication there.
SOUCIE: They've had none. They've had none. So their system was showing that the aircraft had continued to go into that heading.
SAVIDGE: Over the next hour and a half, Malaysia Airlines gives the air-traffic control more promising messages. They had exchange signals with the flight. The plane was in normal condition. And the plane was flying off the Coast of Vietnam along its scheduled flight path.
SOUCIE: And at that point the guard has let down, you start going in a different direction, you're not searching rescue anymore. You're just trying to communicate.
SAVIDGE: But an hour and a half after that first reassuring message, a tragic realization. Malaysia Airlines now tells air-traffic control the information was wrong.
SOUCIE: We don't know where the aircraft is. Our system told us it was there but it wasn't.
SAVIDGE: The airline tells air-traffic control their flight tracking program was based on flight projection and not reliable for aircraft positioning.
O'BRIEN: Everything went wrong there, everything. It borders on scandal, the airline in the middle of there, just offing up -- just complete red herrings and dead ends. It's inexcusable.
QUEST: At best, the Malaysia Airlines information to air-traffic control was unhelpful. At worst, it was down right damaging to getting an investigation and the search underway quickly.
SAVIDGE: Not only did Malaysia Airlines have bad information, air- traffic control waited to sound the alarm.
QUEST: I think the air-traffic control wait so long because it's just a normal confusion of the moment. But there's some point in all of these, an air-traffic controller can push the big red button that says, "Help, panic, missing plane." And that's what they didn't do until much later.
SAVIDGE: Not until two hours after its clear the plane is lost did air-traffic controller notify emergency responders.
SOUCIE: That two hour was incredibly critical towards finding aircraft and finding it if there were survivors.
SAVIDGE: And it didn't have been four hours since ATC had last spoken with the cockpit.
SOUCIE: That just as so painful to think about. That four hours later no one is looking yet.
SAVIDGE: As precious hours pass, time is running out. While Flight 370 flies further and further over one of the world's largest oceans. Coming up, what happened onboard Flight 370?
HUZLAN: We do not know who the perpetrators are. We will never know the reasons why. But definitely there's a human hand involved.
SAVIDGE: In the pitch-black darkness, an hour after its last radio contact, the Malaysian military spots a plane where no plane should be in the middle of the night. They don't yet know it is MH370.
PETER GOELZ, FORMER MANAGING DIRECTOR, NTSB: If you see a primary unidentified return flying towards your country at 500 plus nuts that should raise concerns very quickly.
SAVIDGE: But it didn't seem to. By now, the 777 is believed to be hundreds of miles off its original course.
TOM FUENTES, FORMER ASSISTANT DIRECTOR, FBI: We don't know what's normal for their military. And I think that a big part of the problem with this investigation is that the Malaysians were very tight lipped about what they had, what they knew, and when they knew it.
SAVIDGE: The Malaysian air force, for reasons still not fully explained, doesn't tell anyone in civilian authority what it seen for hours.
MILES O'BRIEN, AVIATOR ANALYST: Governments don't want to talk about this. They don't want to talk about holes in their radar system, a posture which is not as ready as they want the world to believe it to be.
SAVIDGE: Not only as no one told. Nothing is done. No jets are scrambled.
O'BRIEN: Why would you have an air force if it's not capable of doing something like this? That's a big error. That's a big mistake. And frankly, the Malaysian government has not really accounted for in a proper way to these families and to the rest of the world.
SAVIDGE: To David Soucie, however, there is a gray area.
SOUCIE: Here in the United States, we would know that in a heartbeat. Over there, it wasn't setup that way. It was a clear delineation, a firewall between military and civil operations, and the two just didn't meet each other.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A missed opportunity.
SOUCIE: Exactly. SAVIDGE: On the ground in Beijing, of course, the families waiting patiently for the arrival of flight 370 knew none of this.
Finally, an hour after the plane was expected to land, Malaysia airlines makes its first public announcement on Facebook.
AHMAD JAUHARI YAHYA, MALAYSIA AIRLINES, CEO: This flight MH370 lost contact with Subang air traffic control at 2:40 a.m. this morning.
SAVIDGE: It quickly becomes the biggest story in the world.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Where is Malaysia airlines flight 370?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There's more question than there are answers.
COOPER: The hunt for Flight 370 now covers millions of square miles.
SAVIDGE: The world's attention turns to the Malaysian government and airline officials. To many critics, they don't seem to know what they're talking about.
O'BRIEN: There was a dear in the headlights component to those early news conferences. And you can almost see them struggling through it not knowing what they were doing.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And we cannot indulge in speculation at this stage.
O'BRIEN: Not understanding how to begin the investigation.
HISHAMMUDIN HUSSEIN, MALAYSIAN DEFENCE MINISTER: There are currently 43 ships and 40 air crafts searching for it.
O'BRIEN: An unprecedented investigation that would baffle the greatest minds in the aviation world and the accident investigation world.
FUENTES: They put out information without really collaborating it and much of it turned out to be false.
HUSSEIN: I would like to refer the news report to getting suggesting that the aircraft may have continued flying for sometime of the last contact. As Malaysian airlines will confirm shortly, those reports are inaccurate.
FUENTES: So they ended up, you know, on both sides of a bad situation with too little information.
SAVIDGE: Even days after the plane disappeared families believe they aren't being told the truth.
This Chinese woman demanded answers just before another press conference in Kuala Lumpur. She didn't get any.
GOELZ: After 10 days to two weeks, you know, there was a public perception that was set in stone that the Malaysians were not able to handle this situation and that they were having trouble.
HUSSEIN: As far as their images are concern, I don't think we can actually verify when they were taken. I will check when the illustration...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excuse me, hold on ladies and gentlemen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sorry, but this is very important.
HUSSEIN: I know, I know. I know it is very important.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is more does being...
SAVIDGE: Family members were left asking, what on earth was happening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And one wonders, who the interest are being served, are protective by this long wait, and something that's increasingly feeling surreal and rapidly turning into a false.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The main priority area is the orange area.
SAVIDGE: Adding to that, the early conflicting reports on where authorities think the plane actually is, and whether it had turned or not.
QUEST: Initially, the Malaysians said there was no turn around. The transport minister said, "No turn around." And he was very definitive and that was misleading and that was wrong. It's noticeable in the day and days after he became -- he hedged. He hedged. He's suddenly, "I'm not talking about that. I'm not saying that, we're not commenting on that."
SAVIDGE: Weeks after the flight vanished, Richard Quest did put some of those questions to Malaysia's Prime Minister.
QUEST: What would you say to the critics and people on the Prime Minister who say, "Malaysia wasted time a various parts of the investigation?"
NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIA PRIME MINISTER: I don't think they were fair criticism. You remember when the plane was reported lost, I was briefed that morning and I took the decision that we must search both areas, the South China Sea and the Northern part of Strait of Malacca.
SAVIDGE: But no one was willing to comment either on the biggest unanswered question. Did MH370 vanish because somebody with intent took over its controls?
HUZLAN: There is some level of human intervention. This is undoubted.
SAVIDGE: Nik Huzlan has piloted the plane thousands of times.
HUZLAN: We do not know who the perpetrators are. We will never know the reasons why. But definitely there's a human hand involved. O'BRIEN: No matter what scenario we go with, we're deep into the world of crazy. Crazy scenario, obscure scenario, evil scenario, whatever is it. It's -- we're in crazy land, right? This is stuff that doesn't happen.
SAVIDGE: But it did happen. A truly astounding mystery, there is only a handful of verifiable facts and after the confusion, delay, and chaos engendered in the first few weeks comes this, a completely different search area based purely on mathematics.
QUEST: It's never been done before. They were making it up as they go along. They were using information that was never intended to be used for this purpose.
SAVIDGE: Coming up, searching in all the wrong places. Why was there so much confusion when it came to where to search?
SOUCIE: We had no idea of where that aircraft was but yet, the pressure on to do something.
SAVIDGE: On the morning of March 8th, four hours after Flight 370 disappears, a search is launched in the South China Sea, East of Malaysia.
QUEST: As with any search, you start where the plane was last seen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We began this morning with a desperate search at sea after a jet carrying 239 people vanished off the southern coast to Vietnam.
QUEST: But very quickly overnight, very quickly. There's no debris, they couldn't find anything from the aircraft and that's unusual.
SAVIDGE: Even more unusual, searchers also start looking in the opposite direction, hundreds of miles to the west.
QUEST: I sat in the studio covering this and we would look at each other and they say, "Did he just simply say -- did he simply say, we're looking to the west?"
SAVIDGE: Yes. That's because newly discovered military radar reveals the plane may have turned back to the west, at the same time, new leads are coming in.
COOPER: Late today, Chinese authorities released satellite photos of what they call a suspected crashed site.
SAVIDGE: An international fleet of aircraft and boats are now searching in two different areas.
O'BRIEN: They had to look in the East because that's where debris was allegedly being reported. They had to look in the West because that's where the radar data had told them the plane had gone.
SAVIDGE: But searchers still find nothing. Days turned into weeks and the search area expands even farther.
Why was there so much confusion when it came to where to search?
SOUCIE: We had no idea where that aircraft was. But yet the pressure is on to do something.
SAVIDGE: It became the biggest oceanic search of all time.
O'BRIEN: This is completely unprecedented in so many levels. Nothing has every happened quite like this.
QUEST: And into this confusion suddenly drops the Inmarsat data.
SAVIDGE: Inmarsat, a British company reports that Flight 370 had exchanged digital signals known as handshakes with their satellites.
GOELZ: That was a watershed moment and that changed everything.
SAVIDGE: It changed everything because everyone had thought Flight 370 had gone completely dark. But the discovery of the digital handshakes was a proof. The plane was in the air for a several hours longer than anyone thought.
QUEST: Suddenly, they have evidence that it flew west and south and continued to fly for some six and a half hours.
SAVIDGE: Using complicated calculations, Inmarsat could roughly determine where the plane was going.
O'BRIEN: This is evidence that is kind of getting close to black magic, I mean it's a feed of mathematics, and ingenuity, and reversed engineering but we just don't know how accurate it is.
SAVIDGE: But, it is also the only hard evidence available to investigators and Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.
NAJIB RAZAK, MALAYSIAN PRIME MINISTER: I asked them again and again, are you sure? And their answer to me was, "We are as sure as we can possibly be."
SAVIDGE: He needed to be sure because based on those calculations, the Prime Minister was about to deliver some very somber news.
RAZAK: Flight MH370 ended in the Southern Indian Ocean.
SAVIDGE: The southern Indian Ocean, thousands of miles away where no one could likely have survived.
Family members were shocked, distraught, and angry. There would be no rescues, no debris.
Now, a last hope remained, find the black boxes before they stop emitting pings.
QUEST: You're not on an ivory tower. You haven't got the luxury of time. You got pingers that may expire. So you've got to say, "This is our best guess now."
SAVIDGE: Their best guess is a remote area more than twice the size of California.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good morning these are all the aircraft flying tonight.
SAVIDGE: The Australians takeover the search. And soon after the Australian ship Ocean Shield lowers its towed pinger locator into the water, pings are detected.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Clearly, this is a most promising lead.
SAVIDGE: Wow, again.
SOUCIE: It was miraculous. They had just put the towed pinger locator in the water.
QUEST: I was convinced, this is it. They've got the answer. It's a matter of days.
SAVIDGE: A robotic submarine scours the 329 square mile area where the pings were heard. It's painstakingly slow work. Then, two months later.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A massive setback in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, the U.S. Navy said the underwater pings are not from the plane's black boxes.
SAVIDGE: How big a setback was that?
SOUCIE: It was terrible. It felt like we were right back at the beginning again.
SAVIDGE: Back to the beginning and no closer to solving the mystery of Malaysia Flight 370.
Coming up, authorities investigate the last two men known to be in the cockpit of Flight 370.
QUEST: We need to know what happened. It is not an option not to know.
ATC: Malaysian 370 contact Ho Chi Minh 120 decimal 9. Good night.
MAS 370: Good night Malaysian, Flight 370.
SAVIDGE: These are the last words heard from the conflict Malaysia Flight 370. And the moment the mystery begins.
GOELZ: Do you have a series of events that appear to be human driven. You have transponder being turned off, you have ACARS system being turned off, you have the plane being turned not once but at least twice probably three times. SAVIDGE: And most perplexing, no distress calls.
SOUCIE: There are so many ways to notify people that there's a distress, UHF radios, VHF radios, many, many, many ways.
SAVIDGE: None of that happened?
SOUCIE: None of it for seven hours.
SAVIDGE: Could the disappearance of MH370 have been deliberate? To answer that question, investigator zero in on the last two men known to be in controlled of the plane, seen here passing through security on the night of the flight.
First Officer Fariq Hamid, he was only 27-years-old.
O'BRIEN: Very young to be flying a 777 in the U.S. but had gone through all the gates and had passed and was with a very senior guy. That's a perfectly safe scenario.
SAVIDGE: There were these 2011 photos taken of Fariq in the cockpit with two passengers that initially raised eyebrows.
SOUCIE: That was very concerning to me that he would have invited someone into the cockpit, once you're in air that's it.
O'BRIEN: I don't think we indict the first officer with that, but I do think it's something to note and to remember as we think about what might have happened.
SAVIDGE: Fariq had known no known motive and no apparent reason to take down the plane.
GOELZ: There was just no indication that there was anything going on in his life other than he had made it.
SAVIDGE: Fariq had made it and was on impressive career trajectory.
QUEST: He had 5,000 hours on the 737, he goes from a small plane to a big plane and this was his promotion.
SAVIDGE: CNN Aviation Corresponded Richard Quest gained permission to fly on Malaysia Airlines in February. In an eerie coincidence it was one Fariq's last training flight on the Boeing 777.
QUEST: There is absolutely, no question that he was a qualified competent pilot. The captain said he was one the best they had. He landed the aircraft perfectly.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know how to impress people, you know?
SAVIDGE: One of Fariq's next flights would be his last Malaysia 370.
And what about the pilot sitting beside Fariq Hamid? Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah. QUEST: There were questions about whether he was having extramarital relations, whether his marriage was actually in trouble at all. There were questions about his political affiliation to the opposition.
SAVIDGE: Then, there was the flight simulator Zaharie had built in his home to practice landings.
HUSSEIN: Yesterday, officers from the Royal Malaysian Police visited the room of the pilot.
SAVIDGE: It seemed like a potential lead until investigators declared it a dead end.
FUENTES: Examination of the flights stimulator revealed nothing suspicious for the authorities.
SAVIDGE: And nothing came of speculation about his marriage or political leanings.
Like First Officer for Fariq, Zaharie lack any apparent motive.
FUENTES: Many aspects of the case had been centered on the captain and the more they look the less they found.
SAKINAB AHMAD SHAH, ZAHARIE'S SISTER: I just don't see any logic. I don't see any reason why he would want to, to be a rogue pilot.
SAVIDGE: Zaharie's sister Sakinab Ahmad Shah spoke out to Channel News Asia.
AHMAD SHAH: He does not -- He did not have that kind of make-up.
HUZLAN: He got married fairly early. Socially, great guy, extremely helpful, and always willing to share.
SAVIDGE: Nik Huzlan meet Zaharie at Malaysia Airlines during the rigorous days of flight school, 30 years ago.
HUZLAN: We have to polish our shoes until we can see, and we can count teeth in it, you know? Everything was very, very regimented.
SAVIDGE: Above all Huzlan remembers his friend as skilled and seasoned pilot who love to fly, seen here in the video tribute posted by his family.
HUZLAN: He's crazy about flying. He flies real airplanes, also builds small toy airplanes and flies them. He's got a life of aviation running through his vein.
SAVIDGE: But it wasn't Zaharie and it wasn't Fariq. What about the other passengers on flight 370 could it have been a hijack?
SOUCIE: It would explain the fact that the radios were shutdown possibly systematically. It would explain why there may not have been communication.
SAVIDGE: Are there any suspects?
SOUCIE: They've gone through everybody on the aircraft and they have determined that there is no one there who would match the profile of someone who would take over that aircraft.
SAVIDGE: If not human intervention could something on the plane have malfunctioned?
QUEST: It's got to fly for another six hours. That's the problem, with the mechanical questions...
SAVIDGE: What kind of catastrophe could shutdown the plane's communications but still had allowed it to fly?
QUEST: Anybody that chooses to hang their hat a one scenario or the other in my view is heading for a fault. The entire experience of air crash investigation is but yet, it's usually the obvious but it's quite frequently, it's something you'd never even thought of.
SAVIDGE: There is no way to know until the black boxes are found.
Until you find the plane, how can rule anybody, anything off?
SOUCIE: Well you can't, what you'll know from the black boxes is what happened. What you won't know necessarily is why?
O'BRIEN: There are no black boxes inside human beings. That's what we need in this case.
SAVIDGE: Our best hope of solving one of the greatest mysteries of all time presumably still lies somewhere at the bottom of the Indian Ocean.
QUEST: We need to know what happened. We need to know whether this plane came down at the point of a gun, by the hand of the pilot or whether by mechanical failure.
It is not an option not to know.
SAVIDGE: Coming up, a brand new search for answers begins in the Indian Ocean.
O'BRIEN: It's a big, big hunk of ocean. It's as remote as you can get and still be on this planet.
SAVIDGE: The southern Indian Ocean, rough, remote, morbiding (ph).
O'BRIEN: When we look at that route, as pilots we all look at the charts and we look for the way points and the airways, there's really -- there aren't any, it's as remote as you can get and still be on this planet. This is where experts believe the wreckage of Flight 370 may lie, finding it, an immeasurable challenge.
MARK BINSKIN, AUSTRALIAN DEFENCE FORCE VICE CHIEF: (Inaudible) what we got there at the moment. We're not searching for needle in a haystack, we're still trying to define where the haystack is.
SAVIDGE: That was March, when this vessel the Ocean Shield set out in hopes of finding the plane and failed.
MARTIN DOLAN, AUSTRALIAN TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD CHIEF COMMISSIONER: We probably limit it to a small number of haystacks.
SAVIDGE: Now the Australian Transportation Safety Board is searching again. With Chief Commissioner Martin Dolan in charge.
DOLAN: We have very good techniques for detecting needles in those haystacks. We have high confidence that if we've got the right haystack, we'll find the needle in it.
SAVIDGE: Friends and family members can only hope that's true.
O'BRIEN: It's easy to forget the flight of these families. And you can imagine the roller coaster of emotions that goes along with this. And you go through all the stages that you go through including denial, wondering if it happened at all.
And in this case there's no wreckage so you can imagine how people would say, "Well maybe they are alive somewhere." And how much would that add to your torment.
SAVIDGE: Dolan believes he has the tools to find the answers.
DOLAN: This is no easy task but we think we got the best vessels and the best crews to carry out well.
SAVIDGE: And experts have continued to refine the search area, but that doesn't mean it's easy to reach.
DOLAN: It's six days sailing out from the coast of Australia. And so, again in terms of duration we got some challenges. And we're operating at the range towards the limits of the equipment, the survival tools, which the best equipment available.
SAVIDGE: This is the smaller armada counted on to do the job. The Fugro Equator joined by its sister ship the Fugro Discovery and by this vessel, the GO Phoenix.
For the most part, the ships taking part in this search will be canvassing parts of the Indian Ocean sea bed that have never before been charted. A huge task costing huge amounts of money but of course no guarantees whatsoever of success.
But expert says failure is not option for so many reasons.
O'BRIEN: This is an airliner with sterling safety record. Now if there was something wrong mechanically and we don't know about it, that's serious. It's very important that we get to the bottom of this for a lot of reasons, not just -- not the least of which of course is the families, but understanding this mystery is more than just satisfying our curiosity, it could very well be about safety of all of us as we fly. QUEST: There's more than thousand 777s out there. And that's speaks to the crucial nature of finding the aircraft, not just for the humanitarian reasons of those on board but they've got to know what happened. And the only way you can do it is to find the aircraft, get to the aircraft.
SAVIDGE: Getting to the aircraft will take an effort unlike any before it.
DOLAN: What's going on here is unprecedented. So there's surprise, there's puzzlement, there's a great mystery that's sitting there. And so, that's been our focus, let's find the best way of getting to an answer to this mystery.
O'BRIEN: It's a big, big hunk of ocean. It's going to take a long time. Will we find it? I hope so.
I know we can't stop looking, we can't stop looking. So, as long as we continue to look, there'll be chance it will be found.
The worry I have is, it may not solve the mystery.