Power supplying equipment on board missing flight MH370 may have been tampered with in a bid to dodge radar, according to a new theory about the doomed plane.
That is following a new report by air crash investigators in Australia which found the jumbo jet suffered a mysterious power outage after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
Cutting the power could have rendered the flight invisible to radar. Aviation experts reckon it was a deliberate act by somebody "messing about" in the cockpit of the Boeing 777.
Investigators deduced a power outage took place because the plane made unexpected contact with a satellite about 90 minutes after take-off on March 8. Known in the industry as a "handshake", it is likely to have been prompted by an interruption in the aircraft's power supply.
It happened after MH370 had turned off course from Beijing, but before it turned south toward the Southern Indian Ocean.
The event has baffled Inmarsat – which operates the satellites used by the missing Air Malaysia plane. A spokesman admitted: "We cannot explain it. It's another little mystery."
Switching off the power must have been an attempt to hijack the plane, claimed Peter Marosszeky, from the University of New South Wales.
"It would have to be a deliberate act of turning power off on certain systems on the aeroplane," he said. "The aircraft has so many backup systems. Any form of power interruption is always backed up by another system.
"The person doing it would have to know what they are doing. It would have to be a deliberate act to hijack or sabotage the aircraft."
Air safety expert David Gleave, of Loughborough University, said it could have been "deliberate".
"A person could be messing around in the cockpit which would lead to a power interruption," he told the Telegraph.
"It could be a deliberate act to switch off both engines for some time. By messing about within the cockpit you could switch off the power temporarily and switch it on again when you need the other systems to fly the aeroplane."