Friday 19 December 2014

Wife of pilot confirms final sign-off was husband not co-pilot

Jonathan Pearlman and Tom Phillips

Published 25/06/2014 | 02:30

Suspicion of Captain Zaharie emerged within a week of MH370's disappearance as the Chinese government intensified pressure on Malaysia to explain the mystery and find the missing plane

The wife of the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has revealed that her husband Zaharie Ahmad Shah spoke the final words from the cockpit, not the co-pilot, as the airline has said.

Two New Zealand journalists writing a book about the flight say they spoke by phone to Faizah Khan, who revealed that her eldest son had identified the voice which delivered the final sign-off of as that of his father. The Boeing 777 disappeared on March 8 with 239 passengers aboard; no wreckage has been found despite a continuing international search.

Geoff Taylor, deputy editor of New Zealand's 'Waikato Times', said he and his co-author Ewan Wilson spoke to Zaharie's brother-in-law Asuad Khan in Penang and then to the 53-year-old pilot's wife. Khan initially claimed the voice from the cockpit was not Zaharie's but then telephoned his sister Faizah, who spoke in the journalists' presence and confirmed the voice belonged to her husband.

Malaysian Airlines chief Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said initial investigations found the final words were spoken by Fariq Abdul Hamid, the co-pilot. He also said the words were "All right, good night" – a message which raised suspicion as it did not follow the protocol.

Weeks later, Malaysian officials revealed they had not yet confirmed who delivered the sign-off and that the words were "Good night Malaysian 370."

On Sunday it emerged that Zaharie had used a flight simulator at his home to plot a path to a remote island deep in the southern Indian Ocean, where much of the recent search operation has been focused.

That discovery has rekindled suspicious that the pilot may have hijacked the plane and deliberately steered it off course.

But Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting transport minister, rejected reports that police now considered the pilot as the "prime suspect". "We should not entertain conspiracy theories," he said. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent

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