An Egyptian engineer, Ismail Hammad, claims a picture of MH370 pilot Zaharie Shah holds the clue as to where the Malaysian secretly flew the aircraft, i.e. somewhere in the Philippines.

He adds that the disappearance of the plane was carefully planned and further claims that the plane is still being held in that location.

The photo shows Shah, his wife and two young children sitting on a sofa with a blue-patterned cover.

Ismail makes the surprising claim that the pattern is a reference to the archipelago of islands in the Philippines.

He adds that the plane was to land on an abandoned World War II runway and that there were plotters waiting for it to land in the middle of a forested area. He did not say why the pilot acted in such a manner or who else was in collusion with him.

He told the Daily Star in Britain that, if the pilot had planned the whole thing, he had a message about the hiding place in the very first picture that was published of him.

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“I think he leaked to us a coded message symbolising the place of hiding in the first pictures leaked to the world of him at home,” he told the daily.

The engineer’s incredible claim comes ahead of the sixth year of the plane’s disappearance on March 8, 2014, as the victim’s families still seek answers and closure.

The claimant believes the authorities are searching for the plane in the wrong location and should be looking at the Philippines and the many islands there.

He notes that 7,000 islands make up that nation and that there are a number of World War II-era airstrips there.

He adds, however, that the hijacker or hijackers failed to land the plane because the airstrips were designed for smaller planes. The MH370 aircraft ended up in the sea.