Probe focus on 'those in the cockpit' behind missing plane

Kuala Lumpur, Mar 16: Investigators were on Sunday examining a flight simulator found at the home of a pilot of the missing Malaysian plane with 239 people on board, as they refocused on "those in the cockpit" who knew how to avoid detection by radars.

The house of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing flight MH370, was searched shortly after Prime Minister Najib Razak said the aircraft veered off course due to apparent deliberate action taken "by somebody on plane".

"Officers spoke to family members of the pilot and experts are examining the pilot's flight simulator. On March 15, the police also searched the home of the co-pilot," a statement issued by the Ministry of Transport said today. 53-year-old Capt Zaharie, a pilot with 18,365 flight hours under his belt, is reportedly also a flight instructor.

Police are verifying the personal, political and religious backgrounds of pilots

He has been in the news after the mysterious disappearance of the plane on March 8. The questions were raised in the media over the simulator found at his home.

Officials said police are verifying the personal, political and religious backgrounds of pilots.

Zaharie and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, were among the 12 crew members of the Malaysia Airlines plane with 227 passengers on board including five Indians and one Indian- Canadian, as the search for the aircraft entered ninth day.

The plane left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing at 12:41 am on March 8 and lost contact with radar an hour after take off.

"Police are investigating all crew and passengers on board MH370, as well as engineers who may have had contact with the aircraft before take-off," the statement said.

"Malaysian officials are also asking countries to provide further assistance in the search for the aircraft, including: satellite data and analysis; ground-search capabilities; radar data; and maritime and air assets," it said.

Malaysia was contacting countries along the northern and southern corridors about the flight.

These countries include: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and France, the statement said.

"Both the northern and southern corridors are being treated with equal importance," it said, and appealed to the public not to jump to conclusions.


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