Putin knows where MH370 crashed, says investigator

PETALING JAYA: An investigator has claimed that Russian president Vladimir Putin knew where missing Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 had gone following its disappearance.

According to a report by UK's Daily Star, defence technology company Unicorn Aerospace founder and volunteer investigator Andre Milne said there was evidence the Russian leader was aware of the plane's location hours after it went missing.

Milne opined that the missing aircraft had made a soft ditch landing at the Bay of Bengal. He also believed the Russian government was aware of exactly where the aircraft went down because it was picked up by a satellite.

"Satellites that were placed by the Russians saw the wreckage. This satellite information was discovered 52 hours after MH370 went missing," he was quoted by the newspaper as saying.

"Putin would have been given that information and he would have said, 'let's get that information out there'."

Milne, however, said the Russians got cold feet about going public with their findings as he believed that it was one of Russia's "spy" satellites that detected the doomed airliner.

"The reason president Putin did not raise his hand and march in, and say we found it is because technically he would have been admitting committing espionage," he said.

Milne further stated there was satellite data to back his claim, adding that if a search party went to the Bay of Bengal, they would find "wreckage with no flaperon" on the sea floor.

He added witness statements also corroborated his theory, including numerous people who say they saw a plane flying at an incredibly low altitude over the Indian Ocean the night it went missing.

The latest claim among the hundreds that have been made since the aircraft's disappearance comes just days after the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) said it was "confident" it had found the crash site.

The agency had claimed the plane is in an area 25,000km² north of the original 120,000km² search zone.

However, the governments of Malaysia, China and Australia said there is not enough evidence to begin a new search.

The aircraft vanished on March 8, 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.