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Back to page. You are on the main 2016 updates page. Each of these main pages looks different because each dates to a different year. This is the year I published a new edition of the 2014 book with a lengthy new preface, titled Lemma 3: Africa Gambit (see cover at right). You'll find the latest news and information, plus a record of previous updates back to the vanishing of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 on 8 March 2014. It's the most baffling mystery in aviation history—likely solved here. All options discussed—accident, sabotage, & hijack. Includes the fruitless search off western Australia.

2016 Updates—Aviation's Greatest Mystery

2014 Novel Vanished: Flight 777

December 2016: Searchers Admit Most Likely Wrong

MH370: Plane 'not likely to be in search area', say investigators

19 Dec 2016 ATSB Says: We've Almost Certainly Been Wrong All Along. According to breaking major news stories (see: BBC and CNN), the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) admits their fruitless search area was wrong. *Teams searching for missing aircraft Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 have very likely been looking in the wrong place, a new Australian government report confirmed. "Given the high confidence in the search undertaken to date, the experts agreed that the previously defined (search) area is unlikely to contain the missing aircraft," a spokesman for the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said in a statement. The report recommended that, based on new analysis, a new area to the northeast of the current search area should be searched, approximately 25,000 square kilometers.* Northeast, if they go far enough, will bring them to where my thought experiment says most likely the plane crashed. My idea was confirmed by several reliable witnesses in the Maldives on the day of MH370's disappearance, who were brushed aside by corrupt officials in Maldives and Malaysia. My theory (Lemma 3, as I call it) is thoroughly explained in my novelization and accompanying nonfiction analysis.

2 Nov 2016: Circumstantial Claim; No Trace Yet of Crash Site

2 Nov 2016: Authorities Obviously Desperate. In various media reports (e.g. see BBC) or (see CNN) "…Despite an extensive search no trace of the plane's fuselage has been found. But the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) said analysis of two recovered wing flaps showed they were not in the landing position when the plane went down in the Indian Ocean. Satellite data also indicated a "high and increasing rate of descent", said the report. "You can draw your own conclusions as to whether that means someone was in control or not," the ATSB's search director Peter Foley told reporters…"

Okay; I'm drawing my own conclusions; thanks. In my opinion, until authorities can prove their shaky Lemma 2 case (that the plane crashed into the southern Indian Ocean west of Australia), they will be unable to prove anything whatsoever. This report again, as we approach the two and a half year mark since MH370's disappearance, offers at best speculation. My Lemma 3 proposes that (perhaps) the black boxes were removed in the Bay of Bengal (see my book) and flown south on a decoy craft. The premise of Lemma 3 is that the plane was hijacked for the express purpose of flying it to Africa after refueling in the Bay of Bengal; weaponizing it, most likely in the lawless Horn of Africa (a short and direct flight path from Maldives, folks, hello?), and then dropping it on some horrifyingly cruel target like (oh, let's say) Saint Peter's in Rome, a headquarters of Christianity that these vermin hate so much. As I point out below, it is likely that positioning of regional governments versus the West is a likely root cause, rather than some conveniently turbaned escapees from medieval nut houses; they are likely a distraction. Look to Tehran or Islamabad and similar capitals of relative ambivalence; try the Emirates or Saudi Arabia, where some of the official billionaires hate Israel and the West far more than they love Western oil money (on which they spit with contempt, and use it not only to finance their surreptitious bordellos and bars in London or Paris, but to funnel into terrorist coffers, out of sheer cynicism).

Regional Governments Involved in Plot? I'm more inclined than ever to suspect this was a very sophisticated operation (which went wrong) planned by a major state (like Iran or Pakistan) with baked-in terrorist connections plus means, motive, and suspicious presence (two Iranian men on board with stolen passports). We should dismiss the statements of corrupt governments like those of Maldives and Malaysia, which have been shaken up in the meantime, and which have strong Muslim cultures, putting their objectivity in question in a matter like this. Investigating oneself, and finding oneself innocent, is always a hollow ploy. A real investigator questions everything; nothing is off the table; and that has not been the operating M.O. of Australian, U.S., and other Western governments in this case.

Shaky Ploys; How Naïve Are We Really? That's not Islamophobia but pragmatic realism, based on nearly half a century of continual plots and attacks starting with Munich 1972, and let's not forget 11 September 2001. If you believe that this endless string of West-hating mass murders (e.g. Orlando, Florida 2016, one of many) is being perpetrated by a few small-time nuts, you are naïve. Some of these attacks must be assumed to have the fingerprints of regional governments on them. Why do you think U.S. forces had to invade the military capital of Pakistan to remove Osama bin Laden (Abbottabad, Pakistan, on May 2, 2011), the accused mastermind of 9-11. It is simply impossible that the generals and colonels of the Pakistani armed forces and intelligence services, living next door to bin Laden's enormous walled compound, had no idea who was inside there. Again, you have to be terribly naïve; and/or a gullible kangaroo.

Wing Flaps, Shming Flaps. The statement "recovered wing flaps showed they were not in the landing position when the plane went down" fits 100% with my scenario that the plane was being flown by terrorists, was in trouble and flying low over Maldives (seen by reliable witnesses), and unintentionally crashed into the sea with the flaps straight. Sadly, the vested interests in Australia and other involved nations still do not see fit to look at all proposed scenarios. Look here: if their proposed crash scenario off Western Australia had any credibility, they'd have found at least one tiny shred in that area, after about thirty months and hundreds of millions of dollars spent searching. They have not found the singlest, tiniest shred of the MH370 fuselage, because the plane did not go down anywhere near Australia. As I have shown, oceanic drift patterns from Australia versus those from the northern Indian Ocean west of Maldives would have delivered the same materials, which have been found, in about the same time and places.

Being Reasonable. I'm always prepared to be wrong or right, which is the point of my insistence on keeping all options on the table. My Lemma 3 is a thought experiment, not a conspiracy theory. So far, my Lemma 3 stands strong because nobody has proven a shred of evidence to the contrary. One of my major points is that, if they could prove MH370 crashed off western Australia, it would likely make Lemma 3 go away. So far, Lemma 3 remains the most plausible and powerful option on the table. To get from A to Z, you have to be an objective, intelligent thinker with an open mind—a quality as much missing in this case as the fuselage and major wreckage of MH370. Hello, ATSB? The lights are on, but nobody is home.

Sep-Oct 2016: More MH370 Parts Identified in Africa

06 October 2016: third MH370 part confirmed. According to CNN, the Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) has confirmed that a third part found off Mauritius in May (see article below) belong to MH370, although the location of the airplane wreckage itself remains a mystery. According to Lemma 3 (my theory) the wreckage should be found in abyssal depths west of Maldives.

15 September 2016: Parts Off Tanzania Coast. According to USA Today, the Australian Transportation Safety Board (ATSB) has concluded that a Boeing 777 wing flap found off the coast of Tanzania in east Africa came from the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. ATSB reports that "This debris identification summary is released with the concurrence of the Malaysian ICAO Annex 13 Safety Investigation Team for MH370." This is again part of a wing, which supports my guess that the plane was flying slowly when it entered the water (off the western coast of Maldives) so that the fuselage remained largely intact as it sank, while the wing pieces shattered across the water surface and remained floating on the prevailing currents, which generally flow toward southeastern Africa.

12 September 2016: Burned Parts Found On Madagascar Coast. A BBC News Report claims that MH370 debris hunter Blaine Gibson has found five new pieces of debris that could belong to the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. He found them on the northeast coast of Madagascar. Two fragments appear to show burn marks, which if confirmed would be the first time such marks have been found. According to Richard Westcott, BBC Transport Correspondent, it is too early to tell if these pieces are from MH370. According to his analysis, "They may not be from MH370. Even if they are, the apparent fire damage may have happened long after the aircraft came down —the debris could have been used on a beach bonfire." Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) leaders have said that they plan to end their official search in December 2016, given the total lack of results from their expensive and extensive underwater searches off Western Australia. My own contention continues to be that they should have also conducted underwater searches west of Maldives, where credible sightings occurred in the morning hours following the plane's disappearance on 14 March 2014. The drift patterns for a Maldives crash would resuilt in debris washing up on the coasts of Madagascar, Mozambique, and other African locations as they in fact have done.


New Analysis: Controlled Crash. (01 Aug 2016). According to the BBC, a Canadian expert has suggested the plane made what amounts to a slow and controlled crash into water. Both words 'slow' and 'controlled' are important. Lemma 3 remains on the table because this is exactly what I described as happening in this theory (and all possibilities remain on the table). Under the Africa gambit, MH370 made a slow, controlled crash into the northern Indian Ocean west of Maldives. Like all the evidence so far, this fits the Lemma 3 theory perfectly. My book explains all. ADDED NOTE (17 Jan 2017): Some analysis suggests the plane's flaps were level, meaning it did not slow down before crashing. That also is consistent with my suggestion that the plane was flying low and slow (as reported by reliable witnesses on Maldives) and that it was in mortal trouble, but the hijackers were trying to kee p it in the air until they reached their (unknown) base of operations in the Horn of Africa.

Why did Captain Shah make a Penang Deviation after turning west at IGARI?

Added Notes (Highly Important). Please take a look at this added note regarding the Penang Deviation.

PENANG DISCOVERY (22 July 2016). MH370 on the night of its disappearance made a left turn en route to Beijing and flew west instead of north. One fact about the itinerary has eluded us all until this moment. Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, pilot of MH370, was from Penang on the west coast of the Malaysian Peninsula. The flight of MH370 is not a straight line, but describes a bend *around Penang*, The flight path runs south to the pilot's home island of Penang, hooking south of it, and then heading northwest toward the Andaman Sea northeast of Banda Aceh where contact was lost. I was so excited that I bought the domain and redirected it to this page we're on, with today's time-date stamp. With curious timing, here are two 22 July 2016 articles from the BBC denying that Captain Shah was the cause, and describing how thoroughly his background was checked: Sister statements 1 and Sister statements 2. At the same time, from CNN, we hear the Captain of MH370 practiced the theoretical route into the South Indian Ocean shortly before the loss of MH370, and allegedly both the Malaysians and the U.S. FBI knew this since 2014. This does not mean the pilot planned or committed a suicide run. What it does bring to our attention is that the aircraft made a deviation off its new, unknown course to fly by the captain's home island of Penang. In Lemma 3, that would suggest he was still alive and doing a farewell flyover; and perhaps that he was forced to fly the plane to its destination (see my books and theory under Lemma 3). Understand: I keep all options on the table, including Lemmas 1 and 2. Please read my material before jumping to conclusions, which seems to be endemic in these sorts of situations.

CNN 23 July 2016 Flight Simulator Evidence. In a bizarre twist on this already strange story, Richard Quest of CNN reveals that the Captain of MH370 may have been practicing suicide runs on a flight simulator game at his home. As Quest puts it, it proves nothing either way. However, it appears that the captain's simulated flights (motive unknown) mimic the southward turn on his final journey. Strangest of all is the allegation that the FBI had this information all along, and other than rumors and leaks, kept quiet. Why? The corrupt and incompetent Malaysian government apparently had the information all along, and failed to reveal it. I include the Maldives government in this description. So now we have not only a mystery about MH370, but a bigger mystery yet—was there a massive, global coverup, and if so, why? There is a lot more to this story than meets our eyes, and my Lemma 3 scenario remains solidly on the table. Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah apparently is from Penang, an island on the northwest tip of peninsular Malaysia, near the Malacca Straits. If he made a suicidal swan song, it would be insanely fitting that he made that left hook around Penang into the southern Indian Ocean (see Wikipedia: Penang. On the other hand, we are still left with (a) not a trace of debris off western Australia and (b) the witnesses on Maldives discredited by two corrupt governments with possible unfathomable sectarian (Muslim) motives (all possibilities must stay on the table). Also, why did nobody stop him, like his young co-pilot? As Ricky Ricardo used to say: There's "...a lot of splainin to do." Now, more so than ever—and Lemma 3 remains a possibility. I sent a note to CNN's Richard Quest on 22 Jul 2016 suggesting it is highly significant that the captain was from Penang and took MH370 out of its way over Penang on its final flight. As RQ said in his commentary, the simulator info may mean something or nothing. I think the Penang connection must mean something, but what? Penang was clearly a detour; by a doomed, hijacked pilot who wanted to say a final goodbye? Suicide isn't the only plausible inference. Hijack is still on the table. CNN: More.

Visit the Clocktower Books publisher website for a history of earlier year (2014-2015) updates on the Lemma 3 (Vanished Flight 777) book page.

USA Today 22 July 2016 Throwing In The Towel. According to this report, the West are ready to give up their fruitless search in the wrong part of the Indian Ocean. Had they searched west of the Maldives two years ago, they might have found debris because that is where (in my Lemma 3 scenario, based on the evidence) the plane went down. All options or lemmas must remain on the table until we find the wreckage and learn the reasons for its demise. The world owes it to bereaved families, and to prevent another occurrence of its type.

BBC 15 July 2016 Frustration at Failed Investigation. Relatives and other concerned parties express outrage in this breaking story at the failure of authorities to make any sense of the disappearance. Consider this: two years on, the only traces of the plane have turned up on African coasts. If the plane had gone down off western Australia, there would not have been at least some debris in that region. My thesis is that the plane went down west of the Maldives in the northern Indian Ocean, as described in my two books. Had anyone played fair with this investigation, they would have searched that area as well, and most likely would have found (and still may find) debris there. If even one shred of the plane turns up in the northern Indian Ocean, that will vindicate my theory. Instead, the Australians and others appear to be planning to simply shut the case down and try to ignore aviation's greatest mystery. Note my comments about wing debris (19 Mar 2016).

BBC 9 Jun 2016 Reports More Africa Debris. This news compilation focusing on Madagascar underscores the plausibility of my Africa Gambit theory for missing MH370. So far not a shred of evidence that the aircraft went down off western Australia. If a search west of Maldives two years ago had turned up even a shred of MH370, that would have confirmed my hypothesis. It's a bit late for that now, but in the same breath one can say that zero search results off western Australia support my Lemma 3. That's because the stuff landing steadily on African beaches is most likely coming south from the Carlsbad Ridge and Arabian Abyss areas as described in my scenario.

CNN 12 May 2016 Confirm: Recent Africa Debris from MH370 The Malaysian government confirmed that recent Africa debris is 'almost certainly' from missing airliner MH370. To date, not a shred of MH370 has been found anywhere other than Africa, which strongly supports my Lemma 3: Africa Gambit or hijack with malice planned (weaponizing in Africa, dropping as a bomb on major Western target in Europe or the greater Mediterranean region…TOP

Africa Continues—Theory Ever More Likely. On 19 March 2016, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau announced that parts found on separate dates not far apart in Mozambique are 'almost certainly' from vanished Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370—on 27 December 2015 and on 27 February 2016. A more detailed BBC Business News story confirms the pieces are wing debris as specified in my 2016 update. Once we learned that the flight crashed, it became evident it went down at relatively low speed. The wings and tail planes were torn off, while the fuselage sank relatively intact west of Maldives, not west of Australia. Lemma 3 totally fits this picture.

Two Relevant News Items on 3 April 2016.

Did I mention corruption in Maldives & Malaysia? Luxemburger Wort reports a breaking story from Agence France Presse: (AFP) Luxembourg on Thursday launched a money laundering probe linked to a corruption scandal embroiling Malaysian Premier Najib Razak who is accused of using money in a state-run fund for his own purposes. In my updates, including the new preface to Lemma 3, I voiced the opinion that the govts of Malaysia and Maldives are obviously corrupt on many levels, and could not be relied upon when they dismissed reported Maldives sightings of MH370. What should be dismissed are the dismissals and the dismissers.

Africa Shocker #4—Theory Ever More Likely. On Saturday 2 April 2016, according to CNN, officials on Mauritius report the find of yet more debris that may be from MH370. As I explained in the 8 Mar 2016 new preface to Lemma 3, we know the plane crashed. I believe it most likely crashed into the sea west of Maldives, flying slowly, so that the wings were sheared off while the fuselage sank intact. This is why we are most likely to see wing debris, as has been the case.

Africa Never Stops #4—Not Just Coincidence. On 23 March 2016, CNN reported the discovery of another possible MH370 component, this time in South Africa. Authorities will ignore my theory as long as possible to pursue their elusive Western Australia notion. Yes, everything is still on the table. Lemma 3 is still a theory, not a fact. However, it is being utterly ignored, rather strange for the only plausible explanation of the mystery. Again, it fits my theory perfectly. If this is MH370, the part is identified as part of an engine cowling, which is wing debris. My theory suggests that the plane went down west of Maldives, with the wings shorn off, while the fuselage sank intact. Studies of currents show this scenario is entirely plausible. See my second anniversary book Lemma 3: Africa Gambit or visit Clocktower Books for the full history of my reporting on this fascinating aviation mystery.

Africa Shocker #3—Theory Ever More Likely. On 12 March 2016, authorities announced that yet another part most likely from vanished Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 was found in January on a Mozambique beach in Africa.

Africa Shocker Again—Theory More and More Likely. On 2 March 2016, another part that can only be from vanished Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 washed ashore on a sand bar off Mozambique, in southeastern Africa. This is on the other side of Madagascar, where in 2015 the aircraft's wing flaperon was found on a beach on Reunion Island. When I published my thought experiment Vanished Flight 777 in 2014, I proposed a likely scenario: namely, that Muslim terrorists had hijacked the plane, killed the passengers, and were flying it toward Africa after refueling in the Bay of Bengal. All the details in my novel (a thought experiment) continue to line up perfectly. My scenario (Lemma 3: Hijack to Weaponize) remains strong as ever. We now understand the plane never made it to Africa. It was in trouble when two reliable sources (debunked by a shaky and chaotic government beset by corruption, violence, coups, and Muslim extremism) reported seeing the aircraft flying west over Maldives. The witnesses (a school teacher and a wealthy fishing boat owner) were reliable; the government wasn't. My proposition has long been that the hijackers were not able to repressurize the fuselage, and may also have had engine trouble, perhaps due to bad fuel taken on in the Bay of Bengal. The hijackers had to ditch in the Indian Ocean, where the plane's remains will be found at the bottom. I believe the fuselage is still intact, but the wings sheared off, which is why the only debris found so far is wing debris. Stop wasting time and money on a pointless and doomed search off western Australia and start looking west of Maldives. The ocean gyre in the Indian Ocean supports my theory as well, now more than ever with the find in Mozambique.

= Older Updates =

Africa Shocker—Not A Conspiracy Theory. On 29 July 2015, parts likely from missing airliner MH370 washed ashore on Réunion, a French-owned island off the coast of Africa. This was the first sign of the missing airliner since MH370 vanished without a trace on 8 March 2014. I predicted in June 2014 that the airliner could have been hijacked and flown to Africa. Debris discoveries in 2015 raise disquieting new questions that cannot be ignored. Read here and see why, understanding that my novel is not a conspiracy theory but a logical, analytical thought experiment (and a thinking person's suspense thriller).

Mystery Redux. After more than a year of unquiet dormancy, the mystery of MH370 sprang back to life. With the new African connection, so has my thought experiment of June 2014 revived—a novel titled Vanished: Flight 777. To avoid confusion with conspiracy theories, I titled my novel for the Boeing model number (777) rather than the Malaysian flight number. I reasoned at the time that even if the mystery were solved, the urgency of my hijack scenario must continue to demand the civilized world's attention (to avoid a repeat of 9/11 or worse).

MH370: Three Possible Causes. I have maintained updates for over two years now. Broadly, the following three paths (lemmas) cover all possible solutions to the mystery. I discuss them all, focusing on Lemma 3 with the specific outcome I call the African Gambit (ever more likely):

  • Lemma 1: Accident
  • Lemma 2: Sabotage
  • Lemma 3: Hijack… Our key topic.


2016 Folder:

Mystery of Vanished Flight MH370

"Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Liberty."

= A Novel and Thought Experiment by John T. Cullen =

Click this 2016 updated cover to visit the main Clocktower Books website - specifically the main page for MH370 updates since 2014. There, you can visit the update pages for 2014, 2015, and 2016. At this website, we cover only the very latest current news

View and Buy Links.

Amazon Kindle Edition:  Lemma 3 - MH370 Solution: Updated Edition with 2016 Second Anniverary Introduction - Africa Gambit Theory Stronger Than Ever

Amazon Print Edition:  Lemma 3: MH370 Solution: New 2nd Anniversary Update (8 March 2016 Introduction with Complete text of 2014 novel Vanished Flight 777 w

Print Edition can be ordered from Barnes & Noble online or in stores:  Click to view on B&N website. This is the 2014 edition, titled Vanished: Flight 777 updated with the identical text as the 2016 second anniversary edition. Same book, first edition cover.

All editions (Amazon and B&N, 2014 and 2016) have a long, detailed introduction that refreshes us through 8 March 2016. Already, as of 12 March 2016, news sources report new debris finds in Africa, strengthening the author's Africa Gambit (Lemma 3, Hijack with malicious intent).