US lawyer slams Malaysia for misleading information on flight MH370

100 days on, families of MH370 passengers and crew remain hopeful

An American lawyer has criticised Malaysia for fuelling what he describes as misleading speculation over the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Steve Marks, a lawyer with American firm Podhurst Orseck, told The Guardian he was suspicious of information being released by Malaysian authorities.

Podhurst Orseck represented relatives of victims of a SilkAir crash in Asia in 1997 and the 2009 Air France crash.

"In my opinion, terrorism and pilot suicide are very remote and far-fetched theories," Marks told the UK daily.

"While it cannot be ruled out 100% but it certainly should not be the focus," he said.

"This kind of speculation without any evidence is very damaging and hurtful to the families."

Marks was of the opinion that the most likely explanation for flight MH370's disappearance was a sudden technical failure.

"It is not uncommon in plane crashes over water to have a very extended search."

"What is so mysterious here is the complete absence of any information, which to me tends to support a complete catastrophic failure at attitude.

"If the aircraft had come under control it would have been picked up by some radar, or some radio confirmation," Marks told The Guardian.

Marks said the total absence of any information suggests there was a big failure and it was very sudden.

Yesterday, Reuters quoted a Malaysian military source saying flight MH370 had changed course and was detected over the Strait of Malacca at a lower altitude.

This meant that the aircraft was several hundred miles from where it lost contact with air traffic control.

On the report, Marks said he wanted to know the basis for the claims.

"If they were visible observations, they are not going to be reliable, especially at higher altitudes.

"For them to positively identify that MH370 came over the Strait of Malacca, the transponder would have to have been working," Marks told The Guardian.

"If there was power to the transponder there would have been power to the radio.

"In that event why would the pilot not have communicated a problem? There are a lot of questions about that claim."

Marks cautioned that it was difficult for the investigators to be genuinely independent because they needed to rely on the information supplied by the makers of the plane - Boeing.

"The investigators don't have the resources to understand the aircraft well enough to investigate it independently, so they involve the manufacturers, which is a real problem in the process," he said.

David Learmount, operations and safety editor at Flightglobal, told The Guardian that Malaysian investigators should be more transparent.

"The Malaysia authorities are likely to have a lot more information than they are sharing with us," he said.

"I think the Malaysian military knows a lot more about the position of the aircraft than has come out," he said.

"But the military don't appear to be in charge of the search. The problem is that the various government agencies are not communicating effectively."

He asked: "If they have military tracking information why are they still looking both sides of the [Malaysia] peninsula?"

"It's impossible to deduce what happened. If a pilot changes the course of an aircraft he usually tells air traffic control straight away," he added.

Writing in his blog, Learmount added: "There are so many information sources that do not appear to have been used effectively in this case.

"There is an all-pervasive sense of a chaotic lack of coordination between the Malaysian agencies which has hindered the establishment of an effective search strategy."

On Tuesday, Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police were focusing on four main angles including hijack and sabotage.

Khalid said they were also probing whether there were any personal issues or psychological problems between the passengers and crew members.

MAS flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, disappeared off radar at 1.20am on Saturday morning. – March 12, 2014.