Canberra: As police investigate the two pilots of a Malaysian passenger jet that disappeared more than a week ago, a possibility they must consider is that one of them committed suicide by deliberately crashing the plane.
While such incidents have happened before, the topic remains almost taboo, with investigators and officials reluctant to conclude that a pilot purposely crashed a plane in order to commit suicide even when the evidence appears compelling.
A dozen years ago, U.S. investigators filed a final report into the 1999 crash of EgyptAir Flight 990, which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean near the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing all 217 aboard.
They concluded that when co-pilot Gameel El-Batouty found himself alone on the flight deck, he switched off the auto-pilot, pointed the plane downward, and calmly repeated the phrase “I rely on God” over and over, 11 times in total.
Yet while the National Transportation Safety Board concluded that the co-pilot's actions caused the crash, they didn't use the word “suicide” in the main findings of their 160-page report, instead saying the reason for his actions “was not determined.”