1977 MH653 Flight Incident

Malaysia Airlines Flight 653 is a regularly-scheduled passenger flight from Penang to Kuala Lumpur. On 04 December 1977, the plane, the flight was hijacked. It eventually crashed into a mangrove swamp in Johor after failing to land at Kuala Lumpur (Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah International Airport, Subang).

The perpretors of the hijack have never been identified until today, resulting in MH 653 being one of the greatest aviation mystery of all time.

MH 653 Passengers

A total of 100 lives onboard perished during the crash. Out of 100, 7 of them are crew members and another 93 are passengers. A number of high-profile figures board the plane.

The Aircraft

The aircraft is a Boeing 737-200, registered to Malaysian Airlines System – MAS, bearing the registration number 9M-MBD. The aircraft made its first flight on 12 September 1972.



Approximately at 7:54 PM, while the aircraft was descending towards Runway 33 of Subang Airport, Subang Tower was alerted about hijacker’s presence onboard. This has been confirmed by Malaysian Civil Aviation Department’s report on the crash.

Preparations were made at Subang Airport, anticipating the worst. However, the aircraft did not land at the airport and proceeded towards Singapore.


Immediate reaction

As the aircraft continues the journey towards Singapore, authorities observed the aircraft carried out unusual pitch up and pitch down maneuvers.

It was 8:36 PM when the residents of Kampong Ladang, Tanjung Kupang, Johor heard loud explosion and saw burning wreckage in swamp.


The report concluded that the crash happened because the crew were fatally incapacitated and the aircraft was not professionally controlled afterwards.

Decades after

On March 31st 2014, Ruth Parr said she has not known the truth. Parr was 19 when her father, Thomas, died in the crash.


  1. CNN report written by Pamela Boykoff and Saima Mohsin
  2. ASN page about the aircraft involved, 9M-MBD