A crew member aboard a Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF) P-3K2 Orion aircraft looks out an observation window as they fly over the southern Indian Ocean to continue the search for missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370. Photo: REUTERS
A new book has claimed that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 may have been accidentally shot down and the search for survivors covered up, British newspaper Mirror reports.
‘Flight MH370: The Mystery ’ makes the incredible allegation that the airline was shot down by US-Thai strike fighters as part of a training drill that went horribly wrong.
But just 71 days after the Boeing 777 vanished carrying 239 people from 14 nations relatives say the UK published work is "too soon" and "too insensitive".
The book also claims search parties were deliberately sent in the wrong direction as part of a cover up, Mirror wrote.
The family of missing Australian Rod Burrows are appalled.
"There’s absolutely no answers. It’s devastating for the families," the report quoted Irene Burrows, Rod’s mother, as saying.
"There are so many theories that I only want to believe one, that they were all unconscious and didn’t know what was going on ... That keeps me sane. All I want is for somebody to find a bit of plane."
She said both her and husband George are still trying to understand what happened, and that a book full of conspiracies does nothing to alleviate the pain of losing their son.
The book’s author, Nigel Cawthorne, believes there may never be a clear answer.
In her account of the fate of the ill-fated plane that vanished on March 8 he writes: "Did they die painlessly, unaware of their fate? Or did they die in terror in a flaming wreck, crashing from the sky in the hands of a madman?"
Cawthorne describes how a man, while working on an oil rig in the ocean at about the same time the plane’s transponder went off, saw a burning plane and how this was right near the military exercise.
He claims that these countries may have then sent searchers in the wrong direction in order to cover their tracks.
"After all, no wreckage has been found in the South Indian Ocean, which in itself is suspicious," he adds.
Watch Flight MH370 film trailer to be showcased at this year's Cannes Film Festival http://t.co/EudPKtaTnp #MH370 pic.twitter.com/hP7GPEER5m
— Daily Mirror (@DailyMirror) May 17, 2014
The book says the drill was to involve mock warfare on land, in water and in the air, and would include live-fire exercises.
It adds: "Say a participant accidentally shot down Flight MH370. Such things do happen. No one wants another Lockerbie, so those involved would have every reason to keep quiet about it."
Cawthorne, who lives in London, says on his website that he has written more than 150 books, including the "Sex Lives" series, which examines the private lives of popes, US presidents and "Great Dictators".
His book on MH370 says the failure to find wreckage is "in itself is suspicious" and that even if the plane’s black box is eventually found, it may not be the original black box.
"Another black box could have been dropped in the sea 1,000 miles from Perth while the search was going on in the South China Sea," it adds.
Cawthorne also raises more doubt into the plane’s disappearance, claiming it could have been located if its tracking software had been upgraded - something that costs just £6 per flight.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has called for real-time tracking of planes and improvements to their communication systems to prevent a repeat of the MH370 tragedy.
"One of the most astonishing things about this tragedy is the revelation that an airliner the size of a Boeing 777 can vanish, almost without a trace. In an age of smartphones and mobile Internet, real-time tracking of commercial airplanes is long overdue," he said.
Meanwhile the search for the plane continues .
Led by Australia their ship Ocean Shield carrying a robot submarine, the Bluefin 21, has returned to survey the ocean floor for MH370’s black box.