South Tibet Theory: A Speculative Theory on Missing Flight MH370

This is a speculative theory on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

It does try to take into account latest Inmarsat-3F1 Doppler Effect data, but suggests in fact a northerly flight path.    There is no real contradiction in this respect, as has just been pointed out by Duncan Steel.

The ping data from the "handshakes" between the plane and the satellite are indicative of southerly direction only at the moments of the "handshakes", and may reflect non-constant velocity (both speed and heading) of the plane at these times, and overall.  In other words, the plane may have been turning at different stages of the flight, and perhaps even making loops along the way.   Perhaps, the Inmarsat-3F1 Doppler Effect data do not necessitate southerly directions even at the times of the "handshakes".

The theory sketched here does not pretend to interpret quantitatively all the available data, and no detailed analysis of the flight path has been carried out. However, it does assume that a human was at the controls, rather than the autopilot.  Furthermore, the theory tries to consider the scarce data on possible behaviour of people in control of the plane.  In particular, it pays attention to the evasive manoeuvre(s) in South China Sea when the communications were switched off around the time when the plane was about to cross from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace.  It could be argued that this actions deliberately created an ambiguity that was used to delay plane's tracking for a while.  Therefore, it can be assumed that the people in control of the plane continued to use such evasive manoeuvres for the remainder of the ill-fated flight.  Specifically, it can be hypothesised that the flight was intended to follow a border between some countries, to minimise chances of radar detection from either side.

It is known that at 8:11 the plane was somewhere along the "arcs" (Northern or Southern), and could have continued for less than an hour beyond the arcs in any direction. The next handshake at 9:15 was not completed.

There is one border - specifically between India and Myanmar (Burma) - which could have been followed from Bay of Bengal towards the northerly arc.  The border has enough twists and turns, so that the plane roughly tracing its contour could have been changing its heading (and speed) in a pattern consistent with the Doppler Effect data analysed by Inmarsat team.  Importantly, the border, if followed in a northerly direction, "leads" to an area extremely close to the Northern arc. 

The image below shows a possible flight path starting from the last known point in Malacca Strait, across Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal, towards the border between India and Myanmar (Burma), and heading north-east towards the tri-junction of India, China and Myanmar in the Changlang district of Arunachal Pradesh, and beyond to the arc, a segment of which is shown in magenta colour.   The wider path shown in the image along the border may include twists and turns possibly carried out to better avoid radar detection. A more detailed possible path is updated on 5 April 2014


It is much harder to imagine where the plane has gone after reaching the arc.  It may have crashed or landed anywhere within the blue circle - the radius of the circle is approximate, given uncertainty with the flight duration past 8:11. The plane may have even turned back to find a landing strip. For example (and this is only pointed out as an example), the plane may have attempted to reach the landing strip at Vijoynagar (Vijayanagar):


There may be other landing sites in the vicinity.

The theory does not suggest that the flight was diverted to this region because of a dispute on Arunachal Pradesh between India and China which claim most of the state as part of Tibet and call the disputed area South Tibet.  

However, given the assumed malevolent intent behind the disappearance of the flight, this region is more logical than empty spaces somewhere in the Indian Ocean.  On the other hand, the suggested flight path would still be highly detectable by military radars, and so the theory remains fairly speculative. It is presented here only to motivate its timely consideration by more informed parties. Our apologies if the content appears in any way disturbing to relatives and friends of the flight's passengers.

Mikhail P. and Peter W.
02 April 2014

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