MH370 Was Shot Down in 'Diversion Operation' to Possibly Cover Up Illicit Goods, New Book Claims

According to a French journalist, 4.5 tonnes of fresh mangosteen fruits could have been used to cover up goods such as "rhino horns or "elephant tusks" on board.

Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 that vanished without a trace nearly seven years ago may have been gone down into the South China Sea after being shot down accidentally or on purpose, according to a new book by a French journalist. The book also claimed that the Malaysian government's final version that the plane plunged into the Indian Ocean after taking a sharp U-turn could be a part of an elaborate cover-up.

Beijing-bound flight MH370, carrying 239 people, disappeared on March 8, 2014, from radar — less than an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur. The following year, the Malaysian government declared that the passengers and crew of the fateful flight were presumed dead. According to the government, the flight "ended in the southern Indian Ocean."

However, French journalist Florence de Changy claimed in her book The Disappearing Act: The Impossible Case Of MH370 that the plane could have been shot down by a "jet, missile or a new laser-guided weapon system." Florence, who started an investigation into MH370 a week after it vanished, told the Sun that the government's version appeared to be a "diversion operation" to hide illegal goods that were being carried on board.

Search for flight MH370
A woman whose relative was aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 holds placard after police stopped protesting relatives from entering a road leading to the Malaysian embassy in Beijing August 7, 2015.

"A new laser weapons system was being tested at the time. The shooting-down could have been a blunder or a last resort to stop the plane's special cargo falling into the wrong hands," Florence told the Sun. "Only military or intelligence sources could provide this kind of detail. The strength of my book is in the timing and the cluster of clues that prove a disaster around 2.45 a.m. in the north of Vietnam."

According to Florence, 4.5 tonnes of fresh mangosteen fruits could have been used to cover up goods such as "rhino horns or "elephant tusks" on board. She also said that 2.5 tonnes of small electrical items were onboard without being X-rayed.

"The head of one of the biggest cargo airlines in the world said never in his life had he accepted cargo on a plane that had not been X-rayed.," Florence said. "The reason given was that it was too bulky. How can walkie-talkies and chargers be bulky? On top of all that, in the official report, this cargo was escorted from Penang to the airport that night. That is suspicious. It never happens."

This March 8 will mark seven years since MH370 disappeared. While a massive search operation for the plane was called off, the Malaysian government said that it will consider restarting the search when concrete evidence is found.