OTR Interviews

Cargo materials the root of missing plane mystery?

One former FAA head of security suspects material Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was carrying was somehow linked to its disappearance


This is a rush transcript from "On the Record," March 19, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

GRETA VAN SUSTEREN, FOX NEWS HOST: Our next guest has a theory about what happened aboard flight 370. Billie Vincent was the director of the Office of Civil Aviation Security for the FAA. And he developed the aviation security system for Kuala Lumpur Airport incidentally. He joins us.

Nice to see you, Billie.


VAN SUSTEREN: Bill, what's your theory? Everybody has got like a billion theories. I think what we got are the odds. Odds are it went in the water and there is no proof.

VINCENT: The odds are that it went into the water. And if it went into the water and the ELT was activated and then it sank very quickly, it would be unlikely that you would get the signal anyway.

VAN SUSTEREN: But isn't that one signal -- that would be out there, it's not like gone. It could be had at this point? There is a record of it?

VINCENT: There should be. However, that is a large area. And it would depend on our satellite coverage of that area at that time.

But, let's go back to the -- what probably happened on this. In my opinion, with everything that's been released thus far, none of it, except in one extreme case, fits a hijacking. And, in that case, it would be a hijacking by the crew. And none of that makes sense from everything that's been released about the crew.

VAN SUSTEREN: Just that we don't think that there is anything strange in the background, but we're not even through going through hard drives.

VINCENT: Yes. But, all of that has to be looked at. But I don't place much stock in that. I think it's much more likely that one of three things happened. A small device detonated in the cargo hold.


VINCENT: A bomb. Or a hazardous material, illegally or legally.

VAN SUSTEREN: Which would be a fire, maybe?

VINCENT: Would start a fire.


VINCENT: Or an electrical fire. All of those would explain the series of events that happened in the shutdown of the communications.

VAN SUSTEREN: OK. Let me take you on in that. First, if there is a fire, I assume there is some sort of notice because there are so many detectors throughout the plane. There is no May Day call. There was a deliberate effort to change the direction of the plane. And that -- you know, and so, I mean, there is something going on there. They actually do something. And you have got the 8:11 a.m. handshake. Meaning that plane, if there had been a fire, a bomb, or an electrical problem, why do we get an 8:11 a.m. handshake that it's still flying?



VINCENT: Well, these things -- if it's electrical fire or if it's a fire started in the belly of the airplane up near the avionics bay and so on, you could quickly, in a serial condition, shut down those communications.

VAN SUSTEREN: But wouldn't one pilot -- wouldn't the protocol be, OK, you fly the plane, I'll communicate May Day so I get preferential airspace, look for a landing where they could take 3,600, 4,000-feet landing. Wouldn't we both sort of jump in -- isn't that that protocol?

VINCENT: Provided you get that much warning. This appears to be a catastrophic event that those two pilots, the first thing they are doing is donning their oxygen mask as the cockpit is filling with smoke. And then they are trying to turn that airplane around to get it to the closest airport, which is probably Langkawi, all the way across the peninsula. That would be closer than Kuala Lumpur, which would be another 40 or 50 miles.

VAN SUSTEREN: Would have some debris some place, wouldn't we? And they've searched that area.

VINCENT: No. In this case, you have not ruptured the pressure hull of the airplane. And I'm afraid I don't have any solace for the families of the victims or the passengers. In this instance, the passengers and everybody on that airplane very quickly are asphyxiated, either by the toxic fumes or the --simply the smoke.

VAN SUSTEREN: Go back to the 8:11 a.m. handshake. Why do we have that?



VINCENT: That is an automatic thing that's happening.

VAN SUSTEREN: But that indicates -- under your theory, this fire explosion would have occurred shortly after about 1:17 a.m.


VAN SUSTEREN: And so whatever it was, then the plane flew for another six or seven hours?

VINCENT: Yes. The scenario that I see is happening on this as the crew, the cockpit crew, one or both of them immediately gets into the turning the airplane around and then they succumb. That airplane then supposedly goes to 45,000 feet --

VAN SUSTEREN: All right. OK. But the phone call -- the -- when the auto pilot was changed directions, it was prior to the 1:17 verbal phone call. When they had the verbal connection, the handoff between -- around the Vietnamese airspace, he wouldn't have said, good night, saying all right. He would have said good night, this is really bad.

VINCENT: That does not track with what the air traffic controllers were doing. So you recall that the Malaysians released information before and then they had to go back and backtrack and say the sequence was wrong. What I fault the Malaysians on and all of this that I see is that they are trying to be too accommodating to answer the questions that are raised by the families and by the Chinese and by the pressure by the press. If this had happened in the United States, the NTSB spokesman or the --


VAN SUSTEREN: Oh yeah. They would have handled it different.

VINCENT: -- would have said go fly a kite.


VAN SUSTEREN: They would also give us hourly updates.

VINCENT: Ah, but that would be pabulum. They would not tell you some of this detail until they had had a chance to validate the data.

VAN SUSTEREN: But they would at least tell us that they can't tell us.

But, anyway, we have to take a quick break, Billie. You are staying with us.