THE pilots in control of MH370 were likely “incapacitated immediately” following a fire on board the plane, according to a retired pilot.
Captain Ross Aimer believes lithium-ion batteries in the cargo of the Malaysia Airlines plane ignited before setting fire to the Boeing 777.
The former United Airlines pilot also believes the blaze would have spread so quickly the pilots would have been killed just moments later, leaving them unable to save the jet.
Mr Aimer, who has 40 years of flying experience, told Daily Star Online: “That type of fire would very shortly consume perhaps the cockpit area and at least their oxygen supply.
“Because their oxygen supply is in what we call a lower 41, the electronic equipment, which is adjacent to the cargo hold.
“So if that had happened, the pilots would have probably been incapacitated immediately.
The aviation expert has said Captain Zahaire Ahmad would have died instantly in the blaze
“The aircraft maybe, my theory is, flew for a long time on its own and finally ran out of fuel and crashed.
“Not perhaps slow burning, but a very fast burning fire, although not explosive.”
According to Ministry of Transport Malaysia, the plane was carrying 221kg of lithium-ion batteries in its cargo.
It led to suspicion a fire may have been caused by the batteries combining with the 4,566kg of mangosteens, a type of fruit, it was also carrying.
Earlier this month a pair of sleuths who claim the jet was lying in the Cambodian jungle were told the site is surrounded by illegal loggers high on meth.
British video producer Ian Wilson believes he has spotted the doomed plane, which vanished on March 8, 2014, after spending “hours” searching online.
Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur and was heading to Beijing with 239 people on board when it disappeared.
Ian and his brother Jack have reportedly been trekking to the site in a bid to capture the £53million finders’ fee but have been warned about the area, which is in the Chrok La Eang waterfalls.
According to the Daily Star Online an unnamed expat has told the pair that illegal loggers armed with knives and possibly high on methamphetamine pose a danger to their safety.
In an email seen by the website he tells Ian Wilson the loggers would “not be pleased to see white guys wandering around with recording equipment”.
Wilson said: “The first night we were in Phnom Penh and earlier we headed west to a place in Kampong Speu, which is where we are now.
“At dawn we’re leaving for a place close to the Chrok La Eang waterfalls.
“It’s hard to see any real route to it by roads but its earmarked as a place for tourists to go so we’ll find it.
“Then from there it’s anyone’s guess, that’s probably as close as anyone has been to the site.
“We’ve got a tent and it’ll be home for a night or two unless it’s easier than I think it is. Currently there is lightening and thunderstorms.”
Images from Google Maps show the outline of a large plane in a remote part of southern Cambodia – which could simply be an aircraft flying directly below the satellite which photographed it.
A Malaysian government report into the disappearance found the Boeing 777 made a mysterious turn back while flying over Gulf of Thailand.
Investigators have been able to track its route and approximate location by tracking a series satellite log-on “handshakes” during its flight.
So far three items of debris washed ashore in south-eastern Africa and on the island of Reunion have been confirmed as coming from the doomed plane.