Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull has declined the Labor Party's request to reveal what the government knows about an FBI investigation into the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. He said that it was for investigators of the Asian country to decide when to make the report public.
A recent report claimed that the plane could have been deliberately brought down by its pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah. The New York magazine said that FBI investigators had found a flight simulator at the pilot's house, which showed that Shah had practiced a similar route towards the southern Indian Ocean – which he is believed to have taken on 8 March 2014 before the flight's disappearance. The report also stated that Malaysian authorities withheld this information and did not make it public.
The revelation come at a time when the ongoing search in the Indian ocean for the missing Boeing 777 – based on Australian authorities' "ghost plane" scenario – is about to finish with no results. Despite criticism from the families of the victims and their requests for considering alternative theories for the plane's disappearance, authorities involved in the search have stuck to their theory that said that the plane had crashed into the Indian Ocean after running out of fuel "as the pilots were unconscious".
However, in an article in The Weekend Australian in January, a pilot identified as Byron Bailey had first mentioned about the flight simulator information being recovered and the theory of the pilot hijacking the aircraft and deliberately crashing it into the ocean. The Australian pilot had claimed that he received the information from a government source.
Following the revelation by New York magazine, Labor spokesman Anthony Albanese urged the Australian government to reveal whatever information they had about the inquiry. He told The Australian on Sunday (24 July) that it was the government's duty to help the families of the victims in finding the truth.
But the prime minister rebuffed the request and said that even if the "simulator information" indicates the pilot's suspected plot, it would not reveal the location of the missing aircraft.
"The location of this aircraft I hope will be found, but at this point it is an unknown. It has an element of mystery, but above all a deep sense of tragedy and loss and our hearts go out to the families and friends of those who died aboard that plane," Turnbull told reporters in Sydney on Monday (25 July).
Recently, those involved in the search of the missing plane in the designated seafloor raised doubts that they were probably searching in the wrong area. Earlier, Bailey and British airline pilot Simon Hardy had argued the same based on the suspicion that a conscious "rogue pilot" could have glided the plane much farther from the presumed crash location. However, the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) and the FBI refused to comment on their arguments.
Bailey and other critics have alleged that Australian authorities have intentionally kept the information secret to avoid embarrassing Malaysia, which does not want to conclude that its own pilot had committed the crime, The Australian wrote.