Missing Malaysian plane: Pilots come under scrutiny

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Missing Malaysian plane: Pilots come under scrutiny
Kuala Lumpur, March 14: The international search for the Malaysian Airlines flight 370 which disappeared six days ago has failed to find a shred of evidence so far.

The incident has brought captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and his first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, under scrutiny.

The captain of a missing Malaysian jet is said to be an engineering buff who assembled his own flight simulator, while friends of the co-pilot are defending his reputation after one report portrayed him as a cockpit Casanova, said an AP report.

Authorities are probing all 227 passengers and 12 crew for possible evidences


Authorities are probing all 227 passengers and 12 crew for possible evidences.

This week, an Australian television report made huge controversy when it revealed in an interview with a young South African woman that Fariq and another pilot colleague invited them into the cockpit of a flight he co-piloted from Phuket, Thailand to Kuala Lumpur in 2011.

Passengers have been prohibited from entering cockpits during a flight since the 9/11 attacks on the United States.

Fariq, who joined the airline at the age of 20, studied piloting at a flight school on the Malaysian resort island of Langkawi. He is the son of a high-ranking official in the public works department of a Malaysian state. He is known to be a mild-mannered "good boy" who regularly visited his neighbourhood mosque outside Kuala Lumpur. Fariq also attended occasional Islamic courses.

Zaharie joined MAS in 1981 and had logged 18,365 hours of flying time.

Malaysian media reports have quoted colleagues as calling Zaharie a "superb pilot", who also served as an examiner, authorised by the Malaysian Civil Aviation Department, to conduct simulator tests for pilots.

The mysterious disappearance of the plane from radar has led to speculation over whether its communications were deliberately shut down by someone on board, one of many theories bandied about.

In three of the four flights used for the 9/11 attacks, hijackers who seized control of the aircraft are believed to have manually turned off each plane's transponder, which sends flight data back to air-traffic control.

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