Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Flight MH370: What's Known And What's Speculation


Why this particular flight, why no earlier searches, and more questions in this aviation mystery


Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, centre, with Minister for Transport Hishamuddin Hussein, left, and civil aviaition director Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, delivering a statement to the media this weekend. Photograph: Wong Maye-E/AP

Why did it take so long before anyone realised the plane was missing?

It didn't. Malaysia's acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, has confirmed that the plane ceased communicating with ground control about 40 minutes into its flight to Beijing, but this information was not made public for many hours. Malaysia has faced accusations of not sharing all of its information or suspicions about the plane's final movements. It, however, says it would be irresponsible to narrow the focus of the search until there is firm evidence of the plane's flight path. Malaysia's reluctance to go public with the news that one of its planes had vanished is perhaps understandable.

The disappearance of the Boeing 777 – one of the safest commercial jets in service – is one of the most baffling in aviation history. It is extremely rare for a modern passenger aircraft to disappear once it has reached cruising altitude.

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PM NAJIB'S OFFICIAL PRESS STATEMENT ON MISSING MH370

Seven days ago Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared. We realise this is an excruciating time for the families of those on board. No words can describe the pain they must be going through. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.

I have been appraised of the on-going search operation round the clock. At the beginning of the operation, I ordered the search area to be broadened; I instructed the Malaysian authorities to share all relevant information freely and transparently with the wider investigation team; and I requested that our friends and allies join the operation. As of today, 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft are involved in the search. I wish to thank all the governments for their help at such a crucial time.

Since day one, the Malaysian authorities have worked hand-in-hand with our international partners – including neighbouring countries, the aviation authorities and a multinational search force – many of whom have been here on the ground since Sunday.

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Taliban: We wish we had hijacked missing Malaysia Airlines plane... but we didn't
The Taliban have said they had nothing to do with the hijack [REUTERS ]

Amid speculation the plane may have been landed in a Taliban-controlled area on Pakistan’s border with Afghanistan, a spokesman said the group: “do not have any information as it is an external issue.”

But another unnamed Taliban source in Pakistan added: “We wish we had an opportunity to hijack such a plane.”

The Malaysian Transport Minister said a theory that someone on board the plane took "deliberate action" to change the flight's course is still being investigated.

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Malaysia Airlines jet: Are military rulers COVERING UP details of plane's last flightpath?Missing Malaysia Airlines: Jet expert probed as search area grows to 28m square miles
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Malaysia Airlines missing plane latest: Co-pilot transmitted final words from the jet
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Malaysia Airlines plane: Has there been a military COVER UP over jet's last flight path?

SOME of the world’s most militarised regimes might be covering up embarrassing details about the flightpath of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, a leading aviation expert has suggested

David Learmount, operations and safety editor at the respected Flight Global publication, said countries in the world’s most volatile region might be withholding vital radar data about Flight MH370 for fear it would expose holes in their multibillion pound air defences.

If the unidentified Boeing 777 had passed over their territories without sounding any alarm bells it would be a humiliating failure for radar systems that are meant to alert rulers to enemy attacks.

The countries over which the Malaysia Airlines plane might have flown include Thailand, Burma, China, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan. Between them they spend some $185billion every year on military defences–and that excludes the amount spent by the US, the UK and other allies securing Afghanistan’s airspace.

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US rules out Malaysian plane landed at its Indian Ocean base

The United States has ruled out the possibility of the missing Malaysian plane landing at its Indian Ocean base in Diego Garcia.

"I'll rule that one out,"  Press Secretary  told reporters yesterday when asked about such news reports appearing mainly in the Chinese press.

Carney said the Malaysian government has the lead in this investigation and the US officials are in  working closely with the Malaysian government on the investigation.

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Plane search spans Asia, but investigation shows little progress

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Maldives ‘sighting’ adds to MH370 mystery

A group of villagers on a remote island in the Maldives claimed they saw a low-flying aircraft similar to the Malaysia Airlines plane that went missing on March 8, reports from the capital Male said on Tuesday.

Villagers on the island of Kuda Huvadhoo, in the Dhaal atoll, were interviewed by the Maldivian media outlet Haveeruonline. They claimed they saw a “low-flying jumbo jet” at 6.15am (01h00 GMT) on that day.

“Our journalists have interviewed about eight villagers who say they spotted this flight,” a journalist attached to Haveeruonline told Deutsche Presse-Agentur (dpa) from Male.

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Just a geek who took his work home with him: Investigators say there was NOTHING suspicious on missing flight MH370 captain’s home flight simulator or computer



Investigators probing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 are understood to have found nothing suspicious on the flight simulator and computer seized at Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah's (pictured) Kuala Lumpur home

CNN today reported police sources had revealed after reassembling the simulator at police headquarters, experts believe it showed nothing suspicious. The same applied to the captain's computer, it was claimed.

With nothing lurking on either device that raised alarm bells, the discovery appears to corroborate the protests by 53-year-old Zaharie's family and friends that he was noting more than a 'tech geek' who loved flying so much, that he took his work home with him.

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  • Has there been a military cover-up over missing jet? Thai air force says its radar spotted MH370 heading to Strait of Malacca MINUTES after it vanished (but didn't say anything)
  • Did these Malaysian tuna fisherman see missing flight MH370 flying low over the Gulf of Thailand as it tried to stay off radar?
  • Could a small BOMB have been hidden inside one of the crates of fruit stacked in the cargo hold on MH370? A new theory being investigated

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    Lost Jet’s Path Seen as Altered Via Computer

    A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, flight 318 to Beijing, sat on the tarmac Monday at Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Flight 318 replaces 370, retired out of respect to the passengers and crew of the missing plane. Edgar Su/Reuters

    The first turn to the west that diverted the missing Malaysia Airlines plane from its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in the plane’s cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems, according to senior American officials.

    Instead of manually operating the plane’s controls, whoever altered Flight 370’s path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a computer on a knee-high pedestal between the captain and the first officer, according to officials. The Flight Management System, as the computer is known, directs the plane from point to point specified in the flight plan submitted before a flight. It is not clear whether the plane’s path was reprogrammed before or after it took off.

    The fact that the turn away from Beijing was programmed into the computer has reinforced the belief of investigators — first voiced by Malaysian officials — that the plane was deliberately diverted and that foul play was involved. It has also increased their focus on the plane’s captain and first officer.

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    Cops find five Indian Ocean practice runways in MH370 pilot’s simulator, BH reports


    Investigators have discovered the runways of five airports near the Indian Ocean loaded into Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home-made flight simulator, a Malay daily reported today.

    An unnamed source told Berita Harian that while it was too early to make any conclusions on the new finding, it was still considered an important element in the probe on the whereabouts of the plane and its 239 people.

    “The simulation programmes are based on runways at the Male International Airport in Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres.

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    Southerly route ‘most likely’ for missing MH370, says ex-CIA agent
    Anwar debunks link to Captain Zaharie but says pilot attended PKR meets
    MH370 was programmed to turn around, investigators claim


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    Hunt for missing Malaysian airliner sets modern record

    Malaysia's acting Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein shows maps of southern corridor and northern corridor of the search and rescue operation during a press conference at a hotel near the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, in Sepang, Malaysia, Monday, March 17, 2014. Twenty-six countries are involved in the massive international search for the Malaysia Airlines jetliner that disappeared on March 8 with 239 people aboard. They include not just military assets on land, at sea and in the air, but also investigators and the specific support and assistance requested by Malaysia, such as radar and satellite information.

    Malaysia Airlines Flight 370’s disappearance became the longest in modern commercial aviation history as investigators on Monday increased their focus on the plane’s captain and first officer.

    Whoever was operating the plane went to great lengths to avoid being detected, shutting off the plane’s transponder beacon and a text-to-ground messaging system before turning the Boeing Co. 777-200 off its course to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
    Senior U.S. officials said the plane’s first turn to the west that diverted the plane from its planned flight path was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in the cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems, according to senior U.S. Officials.

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    New uncertainty about missing Malaysian plane

    Officials have revealed a new timeline suggesting the final voice transmission from the cockpit of the missing Malaysian plane may have occurred before any of its communications systems were disabled, adding more uncertainty about who aboard might have been to blame.

    The search for Flight 370, which vanished early March 8 while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, has now been expanded deep into the northern and southern hemispheres. Australian vessels scoured the southern Indian Ocean and China offered 21 of its satellites to help Malaysia in the unprecedented hunt.

    With no wreckage found in one of the most puzzling aviation mysteries of all time, passengers' relatives have been left in an agonizing limbo.


    China rules out hijack, attack by Chinese passengers on MH370

    About two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese

    There is no evidence Chinese passengers were involved in a hijack or terror attack on a Malaysia Airlines flight that vanished 10 days ago, state media quoted China's ambassador to Malaysia as saying today. - See more at: Ambassador Huang Huikang told Chinese reporters that Beijing had carried out a detailed investigation of the Chinese passengers and could rule out their involvement, state television said on one of its official microblogs.

    Huang said a lot of the information involved criminal matters which was “not suitable to publicise” but gave no other details.

    “The probe into the incident's cause is not suitable to be conducted in a high-profile way,” he said.

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    The 30-minute period when something went horribly wrong

    Co-pilot of flight MH370, Fariq Abdul Hamid spoke the last known words from the cockpit

    The process of unravelling what really happened to missing passenger jet MH370 boils down to a crucial 30-minute window, during which something on board went horribly wrong.

    It was between 1.07am and 1.37am on March 8 that the Malaysia Airlines plane, with 239 passengers on board, appeared to vanish into radar darkness and deviated from its intended path.

    Whether that was an intentional action by someone on board the plane, human error, or down to a mechanical fault, relies on investigators forensically reconstructing the 30-minute block shortly after the plane took off. Such a task would seem to be nearly impossible without recovering the plane’s flight data recorders.

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    Classified analysis shows Flight 370 crashed

    Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 made drastic changes in altitude and direction after disappearing from civilian radar, U.S. officials told CNN on Friday, raising questions for investigators about just who was at the controls of the commercial jetliner that went missing one week ago with 239 people on board.

    The more the United States learns about the flight's pattern, "the more difficult to write off" the idea that some type of human intervention was involved, one of the officials familiar with the investigation said.

    The revelation comes as CNN has learned that a classified analysis of electronic and satellite data suggests the flight likely crashed either in the Bay of Bengal or elsewhere in the Indian Ocean.

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    Flight MH370: Malaysians convinced missing airliner was hijacked

    Indonesian search and rescue crew head to the Andaman sea as the hunt for Flight MH370 moved west on Saturday. Photograph: Hotli Simanjuntak/EPA

    Investigators are now convinced the missing Malaysia Airlines plane was hijacked by one or more people with significant flying experience, who switched off communications and diverted the flight, an official involved in the investigation said on Saturday.

    But they do not know the motive or where the plane was taken, the unnamed source told Associated Press.

    “It is conclusive,” said the Malaysian official, who spoke anonymously because he is not authorised to brief media.

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    Suicide, piracy, terrorism - the theories so far

    When Malaysian authorities disclosed this weekend that flight MH370 was deliberately steered off course and the equipment sending out its location disabled (or the subject of an unlikely malfunction), attention focused on the Boeing 777’s pilots.

    Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, the “loving and generous” father of three, reportedly travelled on the day of the flight to the court where Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim was jailed on what his supporters say were trumped-up sex charges. Shah was a committed supporter of Ibrahim but his friends have denied he was a “fanatic”.

    The theory that the fate of the plane was sealed from within its cockpit also raises questions of the second pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, who was yesterday confirmed as saying “all right, good night” when the aircraft signed off from Malaysian air traffic control for the last time. He posted the online comment “Time to take passion to next level” before the flight.


    Several ghost stories doing rounds

    "All right, good night," the last words spoken by who is presumed to be one of the two pilots of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 which took off on March 8 and has since remained untraced, has gone very wrong for the families of the 239 passengers and 11 crew. That was not a "good night", and definitely not "all right" . And there's an Indian connection in as far as five Indians were on board, and the aircraft after it was diverted moved towards the Andaman Sea.

    As of Monday, the day after Malaysian prime minister Najib Razak called prime minister Manmohan Singh seeking further help, 26 countries are on the lookout for the Boeing missing 777-200,which transmitted those last four words of comfort and then veered off, on to another course, flying high up at 45,000 feet, according to certain reports, and then in an attempt to "terrain mask", hugging the planet at 5000 feet.

    Those are just two of the many theories/stories doing the rounds as antagonism for Malaysia builds up in several countries involved in search operations. China, with the majority of passengers in MH370 of Chinese origin, is the most distrustful of Malaysia, followed by the United States, which is peeved that Malaysia has refused US help on a larger scale. Only two FBI agents are stationed in Kuala Lumpur, and the pair has been kept at arm's length, for reasons best known to Malaysia only.

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    Search for missing Malaysian airliner remains futile

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    Camera captures missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 pilots clearing airport security


    CCTV footage shows the pilots of flight MH370 passing through airport security

    These are the last known images of two pilots who boarded a passenger jet in Malaysia more than a week ago, and then seemingly vanished into thin air.

    The two men have come under increased scrutiny, after Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak confirmed on the weekend that the Boeing 777’s tracking systems were deliberately disabled by "someone on the plane".

    Investigators have subsequently turned their attention to the crew and passengers on board the flight, including the political leanings and religious beliefs of its pilot and co-pilot, shown here being frisked as they passed through security at Kuala Lumpur International Airport, shortly before taking control of the doomed plane.

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    Final video of the MH370 pilots

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    Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Satellite 'handshake' may point to plane


    U.S. Navy crew members on board the aircraft P-8A Poseidon assist in search and rescue operations for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean. (Eric A. Pasto/Associated Press)

    Finding a missing Malaysia Airlines plane may hinge on whether searchers can narrow down where they need to look using satellite data that is inexact and has never been used for that purpose before, search and rescue experts say.

    Authorities now believe someone on board the Boeing 777 shut down part of the aircraft's messaging system about the same time the plane with 239 people on board disappeared from civilian radar. But an Inmarsat satellite was able to automatically connect with a portion of the messaging system that remained in operation, similar to a phone call that just rings because no one is on the other end to pick it up and provide information. No location information was exchanged, but the satellite continued to identify the plane once an hour for four to five hours after it disappeared from radar screens.

    Based on the hourly connections with the plane, described by a U.S. official as a "handshake," the satellite knows at what angle to tilt its antenna to be ready to receive a message from the plane should one be sent. Using that antenna angle, along with radar data, investigators have been able to draw two vast arcs, or "corridors" — a northern one from northern Thailand through to the border of the Central Asian countries Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and a southern one from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. The plane is believed to be somewhere along those arcs.

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    Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may change aviation history - Minister •25 countries now involved in ‘new phase’ of search

    Meanwhile, the families of the two pilots are being questioned and a flight simulator found at chief pilot Zaharie Shah’s house is being examined by authorities. Allegations about his political and religious allegiances are also being investigated.

    Zaharie was known to be an opponent of Malaysia’s governing coalition.

    Authorities said police had searched the homes of the pilots of a missing jet and examined a home flight simulator after revelations that the flight was deliberately diverted triggered a full-scale criminal probe.

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    Final words from jet came after systems shutdown

    When someone at the controls calmly said the last words heard from the missing Malaysian jetliner, one of the Boeing 777's communications systems had already been disabled, authorities said, adding to suspicions that one or both of the pilots were involved in the disappearance of the flight.

    Investigators also were examining a flight simulator confiscated from the home of one of the pilots and dug through the background of all 239 people on board, as well as the ground crew that serviced the plane.

    The Malaysia Airlines jet took off from Kuala Lumpur in the wee hours of March 8, headed to Beijing. On Saturday, the Malaysian government announced findings that strongly suggested the plane was deliberately diverted and may have flown as far north as Central Asia or south into the vast reaches of the Indian Ocean.

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    Missing plane: Was it pilot suicide?
    The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER that disappeared on March 8 and, inset, its captain Zaharie Shah. Photo / AP

    As police investigate the two pilots of a Malaysian passenger jet that disappeared more than a week ago, a possibility they must consider however remote and improbable is that one of them committed suicide.

    While such incidents have happened before, the topic remains almost taboo, with investigators and officials reluctant to conclude that a pilot purposely crashed a plane in order to commit suicide even when the evidence appears compelling.

    A dozen years ago, US investigators filed a final report into the 1999 crash of EgyptAir Flight 990, which plunged into the Atlantic Ocean near the Massachusetts island of Nantucket, killing all 217 aboard.

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    Malaysia steps up search for missing flight MH370, enlists help of 25 countries


    Military officer Duong Van Lanh works onboard a Vietnamese airforce AN-26 during a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off Tho Chu islands March 11, 2014. REUTERS/Kham

    Some 25 countries have joined the search and rescue operation as Malaysia ramped up its efforts to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, amid fresh criticism from China.

    Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia was asking countries that have satellite assets, including the US, China and France, among others, to provide further satellite data as the search stretches across two corridors, from the Caspian Sea to the southern Indian Ocean.

    “We are contacting additional countries who may be able to contribute specific assets relevant to the search and rescue operation. Surveillance aircraft are required, and maritime vessels are needed, particularly for the southern corridor,” he told a media conference today.

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    Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370: Missing Plane Flown Over Taliban Territory?
    A woman places a lighted candle on a poster with messages expressing hope for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 during a candlelight vigil in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur on 16 March, 2014

    Malaysian authorities are currently investigating the theory that the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 could have been navigated under the radar to the bases on the boarder of Afghanistan and North West Pakistan believed under the Taliban territory.

    According to the Independent, Malaysian authorities are already requesting for diplomatic permission to confirm the theory.

    Eight days after the Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 went missing and lost communications with ground control, 25 countries are reportedly collaborating to find the lost aircraft with intensified challenges of coordinating with search efforts in land, air and sea.

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    Was Flight 370 flown into a Taliban area?
    New revelation authorities want to investigate theory the jet was flown into Taliban-controlled area

    Eight days after Flight MH370 vanished, Malaysian authorities are seeking diplomatic permission to investigate a theory that the Boeing 777 may have been flown under the radar to Taliban-controlled bases on the border of Afghanistan and North West Pakistan, The Independent has learnt.

    The latest revelation came as it was revealed that 25 countries are assisting in the search for the plane, intensifying challenges of co-ordinating ground, sea and aerial efforts.

    Countries known to be involved include Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Burma, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, with special assistance regarding satellite data requested from the US, China and France.



    Did the missing B-777 touch Pakistani airspace?

    The Japanese media has reported that the Malaysia Airlines’ Flight 370 which went missing last week under mysterious circumstances with 239 passengers on board might have traveled west across Malaysia to reach the Pakistani border and touching its sky before possibly crashing into the Indian ocean.

    The Japan Times, the country’s largest circulated English daily has reported while citing incomplete radar information as well as data transmitted by the plane’s engines back to their manufacturer, Rolls-Royce, that the missing plane remained in the air for roughly four hours past the time it reached its last location.

    In such an eventuality, the aircraft could have traveled another 2,200 nautical miles based on the jetliner’s cruising speed. “It means that the ill fated plane could have reached points as far away as the Indian Ocean, the border of Pakistan, before possibly crashing into the Indian Ocean”, said the paper while adding that Malaysia has already asked India for help in tracing the aircraft and New Delhi’s coastguard planes have joined the search.

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    160 airplanes have gone missing since 1910


    Apart from the Malaysian Airlines Flight 370, which has now been missing for more than a week, at least 160 airplanes have vanished off the face of the earth since December 22, 1910 when a private plane en route from Calais (France) to Dover (England) disappeared while flying over the 560 kilometre English Channel in the Atlantic Ocean.

    The list of 160 aircraft only includes the ones that have remained an unsolved mystery till date, because neither were the reasons of their disappearances definitely determined, nor were their wreckage or any human onboard recovered—-dead or alive.

    A prestigious British newspaper “The Guardian” stated in its March 13, 2014 edition that since 1948, 100 aircraft have gone missing in flight and never been recovered.Having sought data of the post-1948 aerial disappearances from the Aviation Safety Network, “The Guardian” had reported a few days ago: “Should the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 never be found, its disappearance would be by far the biggest such unexplained disaster in aviation.”

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    Missing MH370 pilot's family moved out of Shah Alam house:

    As more speculations emerge about Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, another detail has raised questions about the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

    Capt Zaharie, 53, the flight crew and even the passengers are now under scrutiny as Malaysian authorities believe foul play was involved in the disappearance of the aircraft.

    Reports say the family of Capt Zaharie have moved out of their house in Laman Seri, a gated community in Shah Alam. It remains unclear, however, when they chose to leave their home.

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    MH370 picture exclusive: Pilot wears anti-government slogan t-shirt amid fears he hijacked missing jet


    T-shirt: Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah (right) with best friend Peter Chong. The father-of-three was a fervent supporter of Anwar Ibrahim - jailed for homosexuality only hours before the Malaysia Airways jet disappeared

    The pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet is pictured in a T-shirt with a Democracy is Dead slogan as fears emerge he could have hijacked the plane as an anti-government protest.

    Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was a fervent supporter of his country's opposition leader who was jailed for homosexuality - illegal in Malaysia - only hours before flight MH370 vanished with 239 passengers and crew on board, the Sunday Mirror can reveal.

    And in a new twist, it emerged that the pilot's wife and three children moved out of the family's home the day before the plane's disappearance.

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    Malaysia Airlines: What we know about flight MH370

    A Malaysia Airlines flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing went missing on the morning of Saturday 8 March (local time) with 239 passengers and crew on board.

    That is all anyone knows for sure about flight MH370. But there are now increasing signs that the jet was deliberately diverted by someone on board about an hour after takeoff.

    In a hyper-connected age where we are constantly tracked, the void feels more like a mystery from an earlier era of aviation than something happening to one of the world's biggest airlines flying a busy route in 2014, and has prompted much speculation about its fate.

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    Missing flight MH370’s communication systems disabled, Malaysia’s PM says

    The communication systems of missing flight MH370were deliberately disabled, Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak has confirmed.

    Razak said radar and satellite data showed the plane then changed course.

    ‘‘We can say with a high degree of certainty that the aircrafts communications addressing and reporting system or ACARS, was disabled.

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    The mystery of MH370 goes to the heart of our fears


    Aeroplanes exert a unique hold over our imagination. Photograph: Charles O'Rear/Corbis

    The satirical website the Onion said it best on Thursday. The investigation into the fate of flight MH370 had been widened, it declared, "to encompass not only the possibilities of mechanical failure, pilot error, terrorist activity or a botched hijacking, but also the overarching scope of space, time and humankind's place in the universe".

    Is it right to joke at all about what may very well turn out to be a mass tragedy? Perhaps a combination of gallows humour and conspiracy theories are our instinctive response to the confusion surrounding an incident like this. But an incident like what? Experts on all sides repeat the word "unprecedented" and it is precisely this sense of mystery that keeps us glued to the 24-hour news, awaiting the next instalment. I'd bet there isn't a thriller writer in the world who isn't guiltily wishing they'd dreamed up a scenario like this.

    We thought we lived in a world so webbed around with digital surveillance and electronic footprints that it was all but impossible for an individual to vanish comprehensively, much less an international airliner. The story of MH370's disappearance has had all the hallmarks of a thriller over the past week: the red herrings, the misinformation, the suspicious passengers, the wider political ramifications. And yet, at the heart of all the theories and counterclaims, remains this black hole: the plane is still missing.

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    The pilots of missing MH370 did not request to fly together: Minister


    Malaysia's Minister of Defence and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein (second from the right) answers questions from journalists during a press conference at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang on March 16, 2014. The two pilots of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 did not ask to fly together, said Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Sunday, March 16, 2014. -- PHOTO: AFP

    The two pilots of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 did not ask to fly together, said Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein on Sunday.

    The search for the missing plane entered a dramatic new phase on Saturday after Prime Minister Najib Razak acknowledged for the first time that the plane was deliberately diverted, and that it could have gone as far north as Kazakhstan in Central Asia or southwards towards the Indian Ocean.

    Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar, who was also present at the press conference on Sunday, said investigation now includes ground staff, as well as crew and passengers of the plane.

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    Did pilot hijack MH370 as political protest against Anwar’s latest jail term?


    Associated Press/Lai Seng Sin - Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, center left, and his wife Wan Azizah, center right, arrive at a nomination center in Bangi, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, March 11, 2014. Azizah replaced her husband Anwar as the opposition People's Justice Party's candidate in the Kajang state seat by-election. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

    With the authorities settling on what amounts to air piracy, the Daily Mail is reporting a theory that the pilot of MH370 may have hijacked the plane as a political protest against Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim's latest sodomy conviction.

    The British tabloid revealed that hours before he took command of the Boeing 777-200ER (9M-MRO) bound for Beijing last Saturday, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had gone to court on March 7 for the trial and sentencing of Anwar in the sodomy case.

    The opposition leader was jailed for five years by the Court of Appeal which had overturned his High Court acquittal for sodomising a former aide in 2008.

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    MH370: Prime Minister's address at 2:00pm, 15 March 2014

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    PKR rubbishes Daily Mail's claim of Zaharie-Anwar link

    Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah(left) and Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim (right)

    PKR leaders have swiftly dismissed a British tabloid report which claimed MH370 flight captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah is a "political fanatic."

    PKR communications director Fahmi Fadzil said the Daily Mail report was "wild allegations" and the paper "is a sensationalist tabloid known for cooking up stories." "These allegations are wild speculation for the moment.

    "If there is any concrete data backing up an allegation we will respond to it. If anyone aboard (the flight) chose to attend the Anwar trial that is their right as it was in open court.

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    Police recover ‘elaborate flight simulator’ from home of MH370 pilot


    A woman holds up a sticker in support of the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight (Picture: Reuters)

    Malaysian police have recovered an ‘elaborate flight simulator’ from the home of one of the two pilots on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

    That discovery has deepened fears that the disappearance of the Boeing 777 is due to a possible hijack attempt.

    After taking the simulator from the home of Zaharie Ahmad Shah police said they are also investigating engineers who may have had contact with the plane before it took off.

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    Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight: What We Know Now


    After a week of investigating and searching, officials are still unable to explain what happened to Malaysian Airlines Flight MH 370

    Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, China, disappeared from radar about 1:30 a.m. a week ago.

    Investigators revealed Saturday that the jetliner is now believed to have been in the air for nearly seven hours after initially disappearing.

    The plane's transponder, which reports its location and altitude - along with a data reporting system - were shut down within minutes of each other before the plane changed course. According to experts, the fact that the systems were shut down separately means a catastrophic event is unlikely because both systems would have failed at the same time.

    related: Malaysia Airlines Jet Made 'Tactical Aviation Maneuvers': Law Enforcement Officials


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    Investigators hunt for motive behind missing Malaysia plane


    People write well wishes for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at a viewing gallery at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 16, 2014. REUTERS/Edgar Su

    Malaysian investigators are trawling through the backgrounds of the pilots, crew and ground staff who worked on a missing jetliner for clues as to why someone on board flew it perhaps thousands of miles off course, the country's police chief said.

    Background checks of passengers on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370 have drawn a blank, but not every country whose nationals were on board has responded to requests for information, police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference on Sunday.

    No trace of the Boeing 777-200ER has been found since it vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board, but investigators believe it was diverted by someone who knew how to switch off its communications and tracking systems.

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    No Answers, No closure on #MH370

    The mysterious disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has shocked the world and caused untold distress to the families of the 239 people on board.

    Till the wreckage of the aircraft is not found, there is no closure for family members and investigators. The slim hope lingers that if the aircraft was hijacked, it might have landed on an airstrip. There is then a remote chance that their family members are alive and might be reunited with them. But as the days pass and there is no trace of the aircraft and no communication from hijackers, if indeed it was hijacked, hopes keep receding.

    For eight days, the families have gone through a traumatic wait and no end seems to be in sight. 24-hour news channels are beaming endlessly speculative reports, which are hard to ignore. The plane is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean, no it is on the China-Kazak border, it landed in the jungles of Burma, it fell into the South China Sea, Iranian hijackers, Uyghur terrorists, suicidal pilots: endless speculation because accurate information is coming in a trickle.

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    Investigators look for motive in Malaysia plane disappearance


    A man writes a message for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on Sunday, March 16, 2014. (AP/Lai Seng Sin)

    Malaysian police are investigating the personal, political and religious backgrounds of the pilots and crew of a missing jetliner, a senior officer said on Sunday, as they try to work out why someone aboard flew the plane hundreds of miles off course.

    The government also appealed for international help in the search for the Malaysia Airlines plane across two corridors stretching from the Caspian Sea to the southern Indian Ocean, diplomats said.

    No trace of the Boeing 777-200ER has been found since it vanished on March 8 with 239 people on board, but investigators believe it was diverted by someone who knew how to switch off its communications and tracking systems.


    MH370 pilot waves meat cleaver in viral photo

    In one of the pictures Zaharie Ahmad Shah appeared waving a meat chopper . (Photo courtesy: Facebook)

    Almost a week after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH 370 went missing, its whereabouts or fate remains unknown. The latest speculation involves criminal investigation, especially following official reports that the plane might have been deliberately diverted off course.

    Suspicion has hardened that it might have been flown off-course by the pilot or co-pilot, or someone else with detailed knowledge of how to fly and navigate a large commercial aircraft.

    No details have emerged of any passengers or crew with militant links or psychological problems that could explain a motive for sabotaging the flight.

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    Focus shifts to flight crew amid new plane revelations


    Someone deliberately diverted Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and shut down communications with the ground, and the jetliner continued flying for six hours, Malaysia's prime minister said Saturday. The announcement shifted the focus of the investigation to the crew and passengers on the plane, which has now been missing for more than a week.

    Prime Minister Najib Razak's statement also meant the flight path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to Beijing could have strayed as far as the southern Indian Ocean or northwest to Kazakhstan, complicating the work of search crews who already have been scouring vast stretches of ocean seeking the plane's 12-person crew and 227 passengers.

    Police on Saturday told CBS News that the homes of all of the jetliner's flight crew were searched after being under surveillance for the last few days. Authorities have said they will be investigating the pilots as part of their probe, but have released no information about how they are progressing.

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    A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 takes off

    As the search continued Monday for a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet, the mysterious disappearance cast a shadow on a carrier that has already had its share of troubles.

    Flight 370 took off from Kuala Lumpur with 239 passengers and crew members shortly before 1 a.m. on Saturday, only to lose contact with Malaysian air traffic controllers not long after. The revelation that two passengers had boarded the Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 with stolen passports has raised suspicions of foul play.

    The incident comes as established players in the Southeast Asian nation's airline industry face growing pressure from budget carriers, which now control more than half of short-haul routes. Struggling under pressure from such low-cost rivals as AirAsia, Malaysia Airlines booked a 1.17 billion ringgit ($356 million) net loss for the year ended December.

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    Friends discount claims by South African woman that Malaysian co-pilot was a cockpit Casanova


    People looking at a plane of Malaysia Airlines at the international airport of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, The missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was yet to be found. (PICTURE: XINHUA)

    The captain of a missing Malaysian jet is an engineering buff who assembled his own home flight simulator, while friends of the co-pilot have defended his reputation after one report portrayed him as a cockpit Casanova.

    Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and is praised as a passionate pilot who has logged 18,365 hours of flying time at work and still more at home on his sophisticated simulator.

    A tribute page that has garnered more than 400 comments largely from well-wishers, shows pictures of the complex set-up including Zaharie posing in front of it.

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    Malaysia investigators take closer look at flight crew


    Passengers look at a "digital earth" displayed at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur on Sunday

    Malaysian authorities said Sunday that the number of countries involved in the search for the missing jetliner has increased from 14 to 25, as the investigation shifted its focus toward the actions of the flight crew.

    Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Sunday that 11 more countries joined the search after it was determined that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 may have gone as far north as Central Asia, flying over several countries. "This is a significant recalibration of the search," he said.

    Authorities were hoping for more satellite data that would narrow the search, which also includes the Indian Ocean, he said.


    Malaysia Airlines Jet Made 'Tactical Aviation Maneuvers': Law Enforcement Officials
    The search area for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 now includes two corridors: one stretching from approximately the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and another stretching across Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean

    U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials are focusing on the possibility that at least one of the Malaysia Airlines pilots is responsible for the disappearance of flight MH 370 after new information revealed the plane performed "tactical evasion maneuvers" after it disappeared from radar, two senior law enforcement officials told ABC News today.

    U.S. authorities believe only a person with extensive flight or engineering experience could have executed the maneuvers. They also are suspicious of what appeared to be attempts to evade radar.

    After the plane's transponder -- which reports the plane's location and altitude -- was turned off about 1:20 a.m. last Saturday, the plane was picked up by military radar as it turned back towards Malaysia and passed above Peninsular Malaysia before heading into the Strait of Malacca.

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    Malaysia Flight 370: Pilot Attended Protest Leader’s Trial Before Takeoff



    A day after authorities all but confirmed that one of the two pilots flying Flight 370 were involved in its disappearance, a new report on March 16 claimed that one of them, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, was an ‘obsessed’ political activist who watched his leader get sentenced to five years in prison just hours before takeoff. Could revenge be the motive for the vanishing of Flight 370?

    The investigation of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 turned inward on March 14 when the Prime Minister of Malaysia Najib Razak concluded that the aircraft had been deliberately flown off course — and soon the plane’s two pilots, Zaharie Ahmad Shah and Fariq Abdul Hamid, became the prime suspects. Now, the digging done on Zaharie specifically has seemed to open some new leads, as investigators have reportedly discovered that he was a deeply political person who watched his party leader sentenced to prison just hours before he boarded Flight 370.

    Zaharie Ahmad Shah: Was Flight 370′s Disappearance His Political Revenge? Zaharie was reportedly an “obsessive” follower of Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim, according to Mail Online. On March 8, the day of the flight, Anwar was sentenced to five years in prison for sodomy, after his acquittal for the same charge was overturned. Human rights groups have since condemned the trial decision, and some have suggested that it was political, Huffington Post reports.



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    Malaysia Flight Hijacked: Pilots Likely Involved



    With confirmation that the aircraft was hijacked and deliberately flown off course for over SEVEN hours — possibly to Pakistan or Iran — the investigation has finally been turned into a criminal one, and police are now looking into Zaharie Ahmad Shah and Fariq Abdul Hamid, the two men who were in the cockpit of Flight 370.

    Flight 370 Hijacked: Pilots Houses Searched - Are Flight 370′s pilots to blame for the mysterious and scary disappearance? That is the question investigators are finally focusing on after the Prime Minister of Malaysia concluded with certainty on March 15 that contact with Flight 370 was deliberately shut down, and that the plane then purposefully flew for seven more hours, possiblytowards Pakistan, Iran, or Afghanistan. That same day, after the case had been turned into a criminal investigation, police searched the home of one pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and they are expected to search pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid‘s house as well.

    Malaysian police searched in and around Zaharie’s home, which is located in a gated community outside of Kuala Lumpur, according to CNN. Two vans reportedly exited the house carrying small bags, similar to shopping bags, but it was not clear if the bags had come from the home.



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    Malaysian Prime Minister Calls Indian Premier for Help


    An Indian Navy boat patrols in the waters of the Andaman Sea near Port Blair, the capital of India’s Andaman and Nicobar islands, Sunday

    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak called Indian premier Manmohan Singh Sunday to request further assistance in the search for Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 which has been missing more than a week and may have passed over or even crashed in Indian waters.

    In his first call to Mr. Singh since the Boeing 777 disappeared off of radar screens, Mr. Najib asked “for technical assistance in corroborating possible pathways MH370 may have taken,” Syed Akbaruddin, a spokesman for the foreign ministry said.

    He said Mr. Singh has assured Mr. Najib that India would provide any assistance it needed. He didn’t say what kind of help would be provided beyond the search operation Indian armed forces have been participating in since last week.

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    Pakistan dismisses reports of Malaysian Airlines jet being in its territory

    Pakistan has dismissed reports that the missing Malaysian Airlines jet is somewhere in the country

    Pakistan's senior aviation official Aviation Shujaat Azeem told Dawn.com that the plane never came towards Pakistan.

    Azeem, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Aviation, said the plane disappeared far away from Pakistani air space and was not visible on its radars, 'so how it could be hidden somewhere in Pakistan'.

    His attention was drawn on the reports which said the disappeared plane could have potentially reached as far as Pakistan.

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    Pakistan rules out possibilities of missing MH 370 hiding in its territory


    Quashing the media reports which said that the missing Malaysian airliner MH 370 could have potentially reached as far as Pakistan, Shujaat Azeem, special aviation assistant to the Pak PM, said that there is no chance of jetliner hiding in the country

    He reportedly said that MH 370 vanished far away from Pakistani air space and was not traced on its radars, “so how it could be hidden somewhere in Pakistan”?

    Azeem said that his division is following all the developments in the missing jetliner incident and would provide full cooperation.

    Meanwhile, Malaysia has appealed for international help in the search for the plane across two corridors stretching from the shores of Caspian Sea to the far south of the Indian Ocean. 

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    Missing Malaysian jet could have been flown to Taliban-controlled regions

    Ten days of the frantic search and there still has been no clue about the missing Malaysian Airline passenger jet and now the investigators are reportedly looking at a possibility of the plane being flown to -controlled bases.

    The Flight MH370 went off civil radar just after 40 minutes after take off from  on 8th March, carrying 239 people.

    After numerous theories of a possible sea crash, hijack and pilot suicide, Malaysian authorities are seeking diplomatic permission to scrutinize Taliban-controlled bases on the borders of  and North West , the Independent reports.

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    Malaysia seeks Pakistan help over missing jet issue


    Malaysia on Sunday asked nearly a dozen Asian countries including Pakistan to share information that may help finding the missing plane.

    The number of countries involved in efforts to find a missing passenger jet had nearly doubled to 25 as it began a new push to find the plane across a vast arc of land and ocean.

    "The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation has increased from 14 to 25, which brings new challenges of coordination and diplomacy to the search effort," said Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's defense and transport minister.



    Missing jet to incur unthinkable woes for Malaysia

    Malaysia Airlines could face financial woes following the disappearance of one of its aircraft. (File photo)

    The mystery surrounding the fate of a missing Malaysia Airlines passenger plane has prompted concerns about the prospect of major financial troubles for the company in view of likely lawsuits and a potential decline in the number of customers.

    Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said that investigators believe the aircraft, with 239 passengers and crew on board, had been deliberately diverted from its course and flown on for hours after primary radar contact was lost.

    “It definitely makes investors very concerned,” said Daniel Wong, an analyst with Hong Leong Investment Bank in Malaysia, as quoted in an AFP report on Sunday. “People want to know what went wrong, whether there is a safety issue or security issue with Malaysia Airlines if the plane was hijacked,” he added.

    Last month, Malaysia Airlines announced a 1.17-billion-ringgit (about $360 million) loss for the year ending in December 2013. The figure exceeded analytic expectations.

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    Military data suggests 'skilled' flyer turned Malaysia jet

    A Malaysian jet that vanished a week ago appears to have changed course and continued flying for hours, a senior Malaysian military official said Saturday, citing radar data indicating a "skilled, competent" pilot was at the controls

    Speaking to AFP on condition of anonymity, the official cited Malaysian military radar data that investigators believe indicate the Boeing 777 may have radically changed course and headed northwest towards the Indian Ocean.

    "It has to be a skilled, competent and a current pilot," the official said.

    "He knew how to avoid the civilian radar. He appears to have studied how to avoid it."

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