“This pilot, as I say, was a hero struggling with an impossible situation trying to get that plane to Langkawi.
“No doubt in my mind. That’s the reason for the turn and direct route. A hijack would not have made that deliberate left turn with a direct heading for Langkawi.
“It would probably have weaved around a bit until the hijackers decided on where they were taking it.”
“We old pilots were always drilled to always know the closest airport of safe harbour while in cruise. Airports behind us, airports abeam us and airports ahead of us.
“Always in our head. Always. Because if something happens you don’t want to be thinking what are you going to do – you already know what you are going to do.
“Instinctively when I saw that left turn with a direct heading I knew he was heading for an airport.
“Actually he was taking a direct route to Palau Langkawi, a 13,000ft strip with an approach over water at night with no obstacles.
“He did not turn back to Kuala Lampur because he knew he had 8,000 foot ridges to cross. He knew the terrain was friendlier towards Langkawi and also a shorter distance.”
Writing about the lack of communication with air traffic control to alert them or make a mayday call, he said:
“It was probably a serious event and they simply were occupied with controlling the plane and trying to fight the fire. Aviate, navigate and lastly communicate.”