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Calls for closure on MH370 mysteries -

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MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: The family of the pilot in command of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 are pleading for an end to international speculation that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah deliberately steered the plane into the south Indian Ocean intent on mass murder.

Initial rumours that he had practised flying a suicide mission have been confirmed to AM by a senior source inside the search for MH370 at the Australian Transport Safety Bureau.

The ATSB developed the failed search off the West Australian coast based in part on the Malaysian Police discovery that Captain Shah carried out a simulated flight into the remote south Indian Ocean on his home flight simulator less than a month before MH370 vanished.

Peter Lloyd reports.

PETER LLOYD: It is the mother of all mysteries in the MH370 disappearance.

Pilot in command Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, senior, safe, cruising into retirement. But when Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced that the plane had been steered off course from its path to the Indian Ocean all eyes were on the crew.

The captain's sister Sakinab Shah clings to hope her brother will one day be called an unsung hero who died battling unknown odds.

SAKINAB SHAH: I know my brother like I know the back of my hand. I don't see him committing this heinous crime. He just did not have that kind of makeup.

PETER LLOYD: Inside the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, carrying out the failed search off the WA coast, there is a different narrative. It's Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, villain.

It's based on the ATSB's belief that FBI technical investigators found Shah had flown a home computer simulator on a route strikingly similar to the suspected MH370 flight path just a month before it went missing.

Two years ago, the media was being told it was no more than rumour.

At the weekend, the New York Magazine published what it says was a leak of a purported Malaysia police document confirming that story.

A senior official in the long search has told AM that that was a factor in choosing the search zone, and the taxpayers weren't told that by the Abbott government.

The disgrace tainted captain's family reckon the mud is being hurled by vested interests trying to distract from the decision by Australia, China and Malaysia to end the search it was confirmed last Friday.

SAKINAB SHAH: We need closure the story of 370 Malaysian must not be allowed to go into oblivion.

PETER LLOYD: Families of missing passengers and crew are united, demanding the search not be stopped, not yet.

It's also the case being waged by the unrivalled hero of the piece, an eccentric US lawyer whose penchant for travel is matched by a determination to go scour beaches for wreckage.

BLAINE GIBSON: I want them to keep on looking somewhere where they think they might find the plane. Where that is I would argue needs to be a combination of Inmarsat, debris, evidence about how the plane actually crashed and current and drift analysis. And the current and drift analysis to me would point to a crash site more north and west.

PETER LLOYD: Blaine Gibson's strange adventure has had extraordinary success.

BLAINE GIBSON: We've got 20 pieces of debris that have shown up in the south-west Indian Ocean.

PETER LLOYD: But Malaysia's government hasn't shown much interest in examining all the pieces he's found.

Gibson says it's clear MH370 ended in a spectacular collision, that suggests no-one was at the control.

BLAINE GIBSON: The debris that I and other private citizens have found in Madagascar shows, one, a high speed forceful impact that shattered the plane, not a controlled ditching.

PETER LLOYD: It's hardly been reported but the French apparently mistrust Malaysia too. They've had possession of a piece of MH370 wing found on Reunion Island, a French overseas territory, last July.

It's still under lock and key in France, where officials maintain it's a criminal investigation - yet more suspicion that a dead man just can't dispute.

MICHAEL BRISSENDEN: Peter Lloyd with that report