The failure of satellites to detect any signs of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 on land is advancing the possibility that the jetliner crashed at sea, former Indian Air Force presidential pilot Vilas Shinde says.
"This airplane may be under the sea, because if it landed anywhere on land, the satellite imagery should be able to detect it," Shinde told "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
"It is true a massive search was launched at sea, but initially the search was in the wrong area and by the time they realized it, they had turned back."
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A sea search is trickier than it looks, said Shinde, now a flight safety instructor based in Malaysia.
"The ships have to keep expanding the search area. They have to keep moving up and down, up and down, scanning the bottom of the ocean," Shinde said.
A full-fledged criminal investigation is continuing in the March 8 disappearance of the jet, with 239 passengers aboard. Authorities have been focusing on the two pilots, who they think may have disabled the jet's communication systems.
The jet's last known location, as detected by a satellite, spans one massive area north over Asia and another over the Indian Ocean.
New information from Thai government officials bolsters the belief that the missing plane took a sharp westward turn after communication was lost.
As for the possibility of a terrorist group being involved in diverting the Bejing-bound flight, Shinde is less inclined to think so.
"Malaysia is a country that is off terrorists' radar. The terrorist groups active here, the political dissent, etc., is not so volatile as you've seen in other countries," he said.
"So, if there is an act of terror that's involved, then it is something . . . not indigenous in Malaysia.
"Maybe initially the plane was diverted by terrorist activity, but it [was stopped] and there was an accident of some kind."
Another theory being floated in recent days is that the aircraft has flown to India or Pakistan.
"That possibility I cannot accept because both these countries have sophisticated airplanes and air defense radars, also ground-to-air missiles," he said.
"So, an aircraft of such big dimension — it's not possible to go through [without detection]."
Shinde said his focus would not be on the two passengers found to be flying with fake passports, with tickets paid for in cash by an Iranian businessman.
"These kind of incidents have happened not only in Malaysia . . . Generally, this is to beat the immigration law, etc., and not for terrorist activities," he said.
As to reports the jet's copilot had a history of allowing women passengers into the cockpit during the flight, Shinde said:
"When the world was more peaceful, this was not unusual. When I was flying, sometimes we did allow people in. Before 9/11, I'm talking."
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