KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished above the South China Sea while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014. As extensive search operations have so far failed to uncover the fate of the plane, a number of dedicated enthusiasts and investigators still try to find out what happened to the aircraft.

Noel O’Gara, an Irish writer and investigator who has spent years trying to discover the fate of the MH370 airliner that went missing in 2014, has alleged that the plane was accidentally shot down on the orders of the Malaysian government, which is now trying to cover up the truth, The Daily Star reports.

According to the newspaper, a key element of O’Gara’s claims is the change of course performed by the airliner after it lost contact with air traffic controls, followed by a number of eyewitnesses spotting what looked like a “plane in distress in the area between Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand”.

“Many witnesses saw the plane at that turn around phase and they reported their sightings to the police but were never heard of after that,” O’Gara said.

One such witness, a Malaysian housewife named Raja Dalelah Raja Latife who was travelling aboard Saudi Arabian Airlines flight SV2058 bound from Jeddah, allegedly saw a “silvery object” in the ocean, which “looked like an aeroplane”, while her airliner was passing the city of Chennai.

The woman claimed that she spotted “what looked like the tail and wing of an aircraft on the water”, despite many pilots reportedly dismissing her claim because Latife’s plane was apparently too high for the woman to notice anything on the surface.

“While nobody in authority believed her, she was adamant and very credible, having a son-in-law in the police who asked her to report it to the police,” Noel commented on the lady’s statement. “I would think she saw it during the short window of a few hours when it floated on the sea before sinking and after setting off six pings from its antenna or beacons on the roof of the plane.”

As the newspaper points out, Latife’s claims were echoed by British sailor Katherine Tee who was, at the time of the MH370 vanishing, sailing with her husband from Kochi in India to Phuket, Thailand and reportedly saw what looked like a large burning aircraft.

Several fishermen close to Banda Aceh also claimed that they saw a plane in the water, but their testimonies, as well as those of Latife and Tee, were reportedly ignored by the authorities.

Noel also dismissed theories about MH370 being brought down by its own pilot who went rogue, arguing that if these claims were true, then “all this information about the turn back and dropping altitude would have been revealed immediately in launching a genuine search with all the facts from every witness”.

“The most likely course was a hijacking with threats and all the subsequent evidence such as the turning back and witness sightings shows a picture of a forced landing as the fate of MH370,” he surmised.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished above the South China Sea while en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur in March 2014, after making a leftward detour and flying toward the Indian Ocean, with extensive search operations launched after the plane’s disappearance yielding no results.