The "highest levels" of the Malaysian government believe the 239 people on-board Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were killed in a mass murder-suicide, according to former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott.
March 8 will mark six years since the disappearance of MH370, now largely considered one of the greatest aviation mysteries in history. Contact was lost with the aircraft over the South China Sea as it travelled from Kuala Lumpur International Airport to Beijing Capital International Airport in 2014.
In a two-part Sky News documentary, MH370: The Untold Story, grave new details have emerged as Abbott reveals insider information for the first time.
"My understanding, my very clear understanding, from the very top levels of the Malaysian government is that from very, very early on here they thought it was a murder suicide by the pilot," Abbott told Sky News.
"Let me reiterate - I want to be absolutely crystal clear - it was understood at the highest levels that this was almost certainly murder suicide by the pilot.... mass murder-suicide by the pilot."
In 2018 it was revealed that Flight 370's 53-year-old pilot, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, showcased "self-destructive and obsessive" behaviour that went largely unnoticed by Malaysia Airlines.
An investigation by News Corp appeared to support the theory that Shah may have hijacked the flight as a political protest, revealing his bizarre social media behaviour in the months leading up to the aviation mystery.
The 53-year-old published rants on Facebook against the Malaysian government, once calling then-Prime Minister Najib Razak a "moron". He posted 119 anti-government comments over the course of one month in 2013.
In addition to airing his political views, Shah - who was married - used Facebook to contact young women, namely 21-year-old twin sisters and models Lan Qi Hui and Lan Qi Min.
In the year before MH370 disappeared, Shah left 97 comments for Qi Min, often of a sexual nature. He repeatedly asked her to come to Kuala Lumpur and often called her "tasty" and "gorgeous".
Award-winning Australian journalist Paul Toohey authored the investigation, claiming Shah "exhibited self-destructive and obsessive online behavior that should have raised a red flag with Malaysia Airlines".
Psychologist Paul Dickens, who specialises in the mental health of commercial airline pilots, agrees that Shah displayed some concerning signs.
"What you're seeing is a degree of obsessional behaviour mixed with recklessness, which is unusual for a pilot. He had a degree of obsessional behavior about politics and the girl."
Aviation expert Geoffrey Thomas also weighed in on the findings, telling Australia's Daily Telegraph that Shah should have been fired for his conduct.
"It should have raised serious alarm bells with the airline that you have someone flying who has such strong anti-government views," he said.
In June 2019 The Atlantic published a story recounting how investigators suspected Shah was clinically depressed and likely starved the passengers of oxygen before crashing the plane into the ocean.
Malaysia, China and Australia called off the two-year underwater search in the southern Indian Ocean in January 2017 after finding no trace of the aircraft.
On Wednesday MH370: The Untold Story is set to air in Australia on Foxtel.