•Chinese satellite images of ‘crash site’ fake
British terror plotter Saajid Badat prompted fears about the fate of the vanished passenger jet as the mystery continued to baffle experts.
The 34-year-old said he was aware of plans for an earlier shoe bomb attack in Malyasia.
He said: “I gave one of my shoes to the Malaysians. I think it was to access the cockpit.
“I said: ‘How about I give you one of my bombs to open a cockpit door?’”
Badat’s account of the 2002 plot prompted new terror fears as he spoke to a US court via video link from London during the trial of Osama bin Laden’s son-in-law in relation to the 9/11 attacks.
Badat was jailed alongside fellow Brit Richard Reid, 40, after they unsuccessfully attempted shoe bomb attacks on US-bound jets in 2001.
He also claimed 9/11 mastermind Khalid Sheikh Mohammed had once revealed plans for a Malaysian terror plot. That led to fears yesterday that the Boeing 777 currently missing with 239 people aboard had been brought down by a shoe bombing.
But yesterday another theory emerged to explain how the jet, packed with tracking devices and monitored by radar stations, could have simply vanished.
An aviation expert said he believed the pilots may have deliberately crashed it as hijackers stormed the cockpit.
They would have taken the action fearing they could be used to commit another 9/11-style attack.
Pilot Karlene Petitt claimed it may have been planned to smash the plane into a skyscraper in a city such as Hong Kong or Singapore.
She said: “I think the flight deck was compromised. The terrorists turned the transponder off which gives its location. They told the captain to fly towards a different city. Hong Kong comes to mind, but they could have turned back to Singapore, or head anywhere in range with one mission in mind – create another 9/11.”
Petitt added: “I believe that the captain initially followed their directions and when he realised what was about to happen he put the plane into the ocean to save thousands of lives on the ground.
“If I were in that seat and they decided they didn’t need me any more I would click off the autopilot and push the nose over in descent during my final breath.”
Petitt speculated that no terrorists had taken responsibility as their plan had failed and they wanted to launch a similar bloodbath soon. She said search parties must work out and search possible flight paths to nearby cities in order to find any wreckage.
Another theory to emerge yesterday suggested a sudden decompression and loss of oxygen may have caused the pilots and passengers to lose consciousness.
Meanwhile, the Chinese satellite images of what was thought to be the site of the crash of the plane, which had 239 people on board, have turned out to be fake.
Planes sent Thursday to check the spot where Chinese satellite images showed possible debris from the missing Malaysian jetliner found nothing, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief said, deflating the latest lead in the six-day hunt.
“There is nothing. We went there, there is nothing,” Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
Rahman said the Chinese satellite images were released by mistake.
•Partly based on Daily Star (London) report.