The Crash Detectives
by Christine Negroni
Penguin

Avoid reading this book on a flight. Subtitled “Investigating the world’s most mysterious air disasters”, it is centred on a theory of what caused Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to disappear en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in 2014. Aviation reporter Christine Negroni’s theory is that hypoxia was behind the disaster. She believes an electrical malfunction on the Boeing 777 led to rapid decompression and the pilots being incapacitated from a lack of oxygen. This form of altitude sickness may have rendered them imbecilic, which explains the strange chain of events that night. Scarier is that “at least 40 to 50 times a year, an airliner … will encounter a rapid decompression”. Those who prefer conspiracy theories will balk at Negroni’s application of Occam’s razor to come to her conclusions. These she puts into context by analysing other mid-air mysteries, including 2005’s Helios Airways Flight 522, which left Cyprus but never arrived at its destination, Athens. That plane ran out of fuel and crashed after flying on autopilot for more than two hours, long after everyone on board had fallen unconscious. She writes: “The pilots were hypoxic before they realised what had gone wrong.”