A woman leaves a message of hope for the passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur. File picture: Damir Sagolj

Sydney - The first book about missing flight MH370 suggests it may have been shot down during a military exercise and the accident is being covered up, it was reported on Sunday.

Flight MH370 - the Mystery, written by Anglo-American author Nigel Cawthorne, cites anonymous sources to suggest that misinformation was released so the search would concentrate on the wrong area, The Sun-Herald newspaper reported.

The book published by Sydney group New South cites a claim by New Zealander Mike McKay that he saw a burning plane from the oil rig he was working on in the Gulf of Thailand on March 8, the day the plane went missing.

Cawthorne links the supposed sighting to joint US military exercises in the region at the time.

Cawthorne writes if MH370 was accidentally shot down during live fire exercises “those involved would have every reason to keep quiet about it.”

He even suggests that if a flight black box is found it could be a fake planted by those involved in the coverup.

But, he added, “I'm not saying that's what happened.” The book goes on sale on Monday.

Meanwhile, the Australian navy ship Ocean Shield is waiting for repairs to be done to the submersible sonar Bluefin 21 before it can resume the search in the southern Indian Ocean.

The Joint Agency Coordination Centre running the Indian Ocean search had no comment about the new book. - Sapa-dpa