Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was ‘shot down in military training exercise’ claims first book released about lost jet

Book written by London-based journalist and author suggests families will ‘almost certainly’ never know what happened

The missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was shot down during a joint Thai-US military training exercise and then the subject of an elaborate international cover-up – according to a book released about the lost plane that has caused anger among the relatives of those on board.

Tomorrow, just 71 days after the Boeing 777 vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, Flight MH370: The Mystery will go on sale in Australia, the Sun-Herald reported.

It has been written by the Anglo-American journalist and author Nigel Cawthorne, who describes his London-based home as a “book-writing factory” and is most famous for his Sex Lives series of “salacious tales” about the rich and famous.

Cawthorne introduces his book by claiming that the families of MH370’s passengers will “almost certainly” never be sure what happened to their loved ones.

But he goes on to support one theory, based on the eye-witness testimony of New Zealand oil rig worker Mike McKay, that the plane was shot down shortly after it stopped communicating with air traffic controllers.

At the time there was a series of war games taking place in the South China Sea involving Thailand, the US and personnel from China, Japan, Indonesia and others, and Cawthorne has linked this to Mr McKay’s claims to have seen a burning plane going down in the Gulf of Thailand.

“The drill was to involve mock warfare on land, in water and in the air, and would include live-fire exercises,'' Cawthorne said.

“Say a participant accidentally shot down Flight MH370. Such things do happen. No one wants another Lockerbie [Pan Am flight 103 by terrorists in 1988 allegedly in retaliation for a US Navy strike on an Iranian commercial jet six months earlier], so those involved would have every reason to keep quiet about it.”

Cawthorne then suggests that “another black box” could have been dropped off the coast of Australia to divert the efforts of search teams. “After all, no wreckage has been found in the south Indian Ocean, which in itself is suspicious,” he wrote.

The cover of Nigel Cawthorne's controversial new book The cover of Nigel Cawthorne's controversial new book Irene Burrows, whose son and daughter-in-law were passengers on board MH370 when it disappeared, told the Sun-Herald of her anger at the book’s release.

“Nobody knows what happened so why would anyone want to put out a book at this stage?” she said.

“There's absolutely no answers. It's devastating for the families. It's 10 weeks tomorrow and there's nothing.”

The release of Cawthorne’s book came as Rupesh Paul promoted a film to be made about the missing plane, entitled The Vanishing Act, at the Cannes Film Festival.

Though associate director Sritama Dutta said the film had “no similarities” to MH370 because the “true facts keep changing every day”, a trailer posted to YouTube yesterday and promotional posters suggest it reveals “the untold story” of the Malaysia Airlines flight.

Paul told Variety he plans to release the film worldwide in September. In March, an Australian film called Deep Water was shelved because it contained “uncomfortable similarities” to the disappearance of MH370.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Ashdown Group: Editor-in-chief - Financial Services - City, London

£60000 - £70000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power