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'Pilots invited us to stay in cockpit during flight'

THE airline involved in the mystery of the missing jetliner says it is taking seriously a report by a South African woman who said the co-pilot of the plane had invited her and a female companion to sit in the cockpit during a flight in 2011 in an apparent breach of security.

"Malaysia Airlines has become aware of the allegations being made against First Officer Fariq Ab Hamid which we take very seriously," the airline said.

"We are shocked by these allegations.

"We have not been able to confirm the validity of the pictures and videos of the alleged incident."


The woman, Jonti Roos said that she and a friend were invited to fly in the cockpit by Fariq and the pilot between Phuket in Thailand, and Kuala Lumpur in December 2011.

"I thought that they were highly skilled and highly competent and since they were doing it that it was allowed," Ms Roos said.

"I want to make it clear, at no point did I feel we were in danger or that they were acting irresponsibly."

Hugh Dunleavy, the commercial director of Malaysia Airlines, said that there was no reason to blame the crew.

He said that it had "no reason to believe that there was anything, any actions internally by the crew that caused the disappearance of this aircraft".

The Boeing 777 has one of the best safety records of any commercial aircraft in service.

Its only previous fatal crash came on July 6 last year.

This was when the Asiana Airlines Flight 214 struck a seawall on landing in San Francisco in the US, killing three people.