A former French airline executive is speculating that the American military downed a civilian Malaysian Airlines flight in March because the plane was headed to a remote U.S. base in the Indian Ocean.
Much like the commander of the 101st Airborne Division during the Battle of the Bulge, the Pentagon's response to these claims is to the point: Nuts!
"This claim is too ridiculous to deserve a serious response," Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said Monday when asked about the story.
MH370 disappeared while on a March 8 flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Ships and planes from the U.S. Navy's 7th Fleet spent weeks looking for the missing airliner carrying 239 passengers and crew members, but search efforts ended in late April without locating the plane.
However, the search efforts did produce a cottage industry of so-called aviation analysts, who have provided cable networks and other media outlets endless amounts of speculation about what could have happened to the doomed flight.
Most recently, Marc Dugain wrote in a Dec. 22 article for "Paris Match" that a fire could have broken out on the plane, causing the aircraft's autopilot to reroute it to the U.S. Navy base at Diego Garcia. But the U.S. military could have thought MH370 was trying to attack the base and shot down the plane down, he wrote.
The only evidence Dugain offers is a fire extinguisher from a Boeing aircraft was found in the Republic of the Maldives, south of Diego Garcia, where villagers apparently told local authorities they saw a large airplane on March 9. One villager said the plane was flying very low and then he saw red and blue streaks come from it.
The U.S. has used the Navy base at Diego Garcia to launch airstrikes against Afghanistan and other targets since Sept. 11, 2001. In December 2001, a B-1B Lancer crashed into the Indian Ocean about 60 miles from the base while returning from Afghanistan.
Diego Garcia is cut off from much of the world. The website for the base's Navy health clinic describes Diego Garcia as a "very isolated island located in the Indian Ocean." At the beginning of operations in Afghanistan and Iraq, service members stationed on Diego Garcia called it "Gilligan's Island with guns," according to media reports.