The captain of missing flight MH370 practised crashing into the Indian Ocean on a simulator weeks before his plane disappeared, confidential police documents reveal.
The documents show that captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah practised flying across remote sections of the ocean until his plane ran out of fuel.
It suggests the disappearance of MH370 was not an accident, but a suicide mission meticulously planned by the pilot, New York magazine reported.
The route he practised on the simulator took him out of Kuala Lumpur before heading south over the remote expanse of the Indian Ocean.
It is a route eerily similar to the one investigators believe the plane flew before it vanished in March 2014.
The simulator data was gleaned from a computer by the FBI and used by the Malaysian Police during their investigation into the incident.
However, the findings were withheld from the public when police released their official investigation last March.
Before the flight vanished it is understood Mr Shah had been distracted and withdrawn as he dealt with the break-up of his marriage.
Speaking in 2014 about the mystery, the wife and daughter of Mr Shah said the 53-year-old pilot had been desolate in the weeks before the aircraft’s disappearance – and refused pleas to attend marriage counseling sessions.
Three weeks after the split Flight MH370 went missing, with some investigators suggesting it was a deliberate and desperate ploy by Mr Shah.
The revelations come as officials from Malaysia, China and Australia admit they could have been searching in the wrong area for the plane for the last two years.
‘With less than 10,000 square kilometers (3,861 square miles) of the high priority search area remaining to be searched, ministers acknowledged that despite the best efforts of all involved the likelihood of finding the aircraft is fading,’ the three nations’ transport ministers said after a meeting in Malaysia as the Indian Ocean continued to be scoured.
Meanwhile relatives of people aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 urged governments to step up the hunt for the aircraft.
Jacquita Gonzales, the wife of MH370 steward Patrick Gomes, said China and Malaysia had not contributed enough to the search effort.
‘China, you could do more. I’m sorry for being so frank but you have the most at stake here,’ she said at a news conference.
‘(Malaysia), you need to do your bit and not just say ‘I’m so sorry, we’re short of funds, there’s nowhere else to search.’
Since the crash there have been competing theories over whether one, both or no pilots were in control, whether it was hijacked – or whether all aboard perished and the plane was not controlled at all when it hit the water
MH370 disappeared during a flight from the Malaysian capital to Beijing in March 2014, carrying 239 people.
Almost $180 million ($135 million) has been spent on an underwater search spanning 120,000 sq km in the southern Indian Ocean, the most expensive in aviation history.