The Mystery Behind Malaysia Flight 370's Final Words

The three-part Netflix documentary series "MH370: The Plane That Disappeared," set to premiere on March 8, 2023, tells the story of Malaysia Flight MH370, the Malaysian airlines plane that went missing in 2014 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. None of the 239 people on board were ever heard from again, as CBS News reports. Though scattered debris from the wreckage was later found, the bulk of the plane is unaccounted for, and what might have caused the plane to crash remains unexplained, based on BBC News reporting. 

As is often the case with similar aircraft disasters, conspiracy theories about what happened to MH370 have proliferated. Despite that uncertainty, in the immediate aftermath of the plane's disappearance, authorities released the final transmission from the cockpit of the plane. The routine normalcy of the MH370 pilot's final known words are as chilling now as they were when Malaysia Flight MH370 and all those on board vanished without a trace.

The cockpit's final words changed, according to official story

Only adding to the mystery of MH370, Malaysian officials first said that the pilot or copilot's final transmission from the doomed aircraft was (via CNN), "All right, good night," but that was not the case. Other than that recording, in the aftermath of the aircraft's disappearance, there was scant evidence as to what happened before all contact was lost. Radar showed the plane, a Boeing 777, took a sudden and unexplained turn shortly before it disappeared. The Malaysian government called the maneuver a possible criminal act.

According to investigators, for this reason, someone in the cockpit or a passenger onboard the plane may have had an extremist political motivation to hijack and intentionally crash the aircraft in an act of international terrorism. The pilot, copilot, or someone onboard the aircraft could have also downed the plane to commit suicide. But neither of those theories were ever confirmed. That, combined with the Malaysian authorities' unusual handling of the case, including those backtracked final words from the cockpit, left many uncertain about what to believe, regardless of the official story.

If you or anyone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline​ by dialing 988 or by calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255)​.

The pilot's final words were a routine sign-off

If the pilot, copilot, or someone inside the cockpit of MH370 intended to crash the plane and kill everyone on board, their final transmission, similar to the first version (via The Guardian), "Good night Malaysian three seven zero," gave no clear indication that anything was amiss. That one version of the plane's last broadcast was released and then changed to something similar, but no-less expected from a pilot was never explained by Malaysian authorities. Some 20 pieces of possible MH370 debris were later found off the coast of Africa and on Islands in the Indian Ocean.

Those items include a bit of an interior cabin panel, a right-wing flaperon, and a right-outboard flap. All were matched to the Boeing 777 based on identification numbers and date stamps consistent with Boeing manufacturing. Other items have shown up possibly connected to the crash but were unrelated. Shortly after the plane's final transmission, it inexplicably turned back toward Malaysia and then changed course again toward the Indian Ocean. No distress calls or reports of bad weather were received. Unfounded conspiracy theories relating to the plane's unexplained disappearance have touched on alien involvement, a CIA coverup, and an accidental explosion, among other possibilities.