News / Asia

    US: Search of Malaysian Pilot's Home Yields No Terror Link

    Women pray during a special event for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014.
    Women pray during a special event for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 in central Kuala Lumpur March 18, 2014.
    VOA News
    U.S. law enforcement officials say investigators checking a home flight simulator and e-mails of the pilots of the missing Malaysian airliner have failed to find evidence that either pilot purposely steered the flight away from its destination.
     
    The two U.S. law enforcement officials spoke Tuesday after being briefed by Malaysian authorities who are leading a 26-nation search for Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. 
     
    The airliner, which was bound for Beijing with 239 people aboard, vanished over southeast Asia March 8, triggering the largest missing airplane search in aviation history.
     
    One of the U.S. officials said authorities were trying to learn whether pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah might have been training on the simulator on how to disable transponders and other in-flight devices ahead of take-off from Kuala Lumpur.  Investigators were also seeking to learn whether he had practiced flight patterns taking the plane away from its destination.
     
    The official, quoted by the Los Angeles Times, also noted that the Malaysian co-pilot was making preparations for his wedding in his homeland.

    Search continues

    Meanwhile, the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has expanded again and now covers more than 7 million square kilometers, extending from Central Asia in the north to the vast waters of the Indian Ocean to the south.

    Thailand's military released new radar information Tuesday that could support earlier reports that the Malaysia Airlines jet made a sharp turn to the west toward the Strait of Malacca after its last contact was recorded early March 8 north of Malaysia.

    Countries participating in the search effort - Infographic

    The Thai government said its radar detected a plane that may have been the missing Flight 370, but initially paid little attention to the jet because it was not considered a security threat.

    On Tuesday, Malaysia Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein called for more international cooperation in helping to narrow the search.

    Authorities believe the Boeing 777 was deliberately diverted and flew either north toward Central Asia, or south toward the Indian Ocean.

    More than 26 nations are involved in the effort to find the jet, which disappeared en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

    • Mike Barton, rescue coordination chief, right, shows Australia's Deputy Prime Minister, Warren Truss, the map of the Indian Ocean search areas during a tour of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority's rescue coordination center in Canberra, March 23, 2014.
    • Royal Australian Air Force pilot Capt. Russell Adams, left, speaks to the media after returning from a search mission in an AP-3C Orion at Pearce Base, Perth, Australia, March 23, 2014.
    • Ground crew members wave to a Japanese Maritime Defense Force P3C patrol plane as it leaves the Royal Malaysian Air Force base heading for Australia to join a search and rescue operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, Subang, Malaysia, March 23, 2014.
    • Royal Australian Air Force commander Craig Heap speaks to the media after Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force's P-3C Orion arrived to help with search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, at Pearce Base in Perth, Australia, March 23, 2014.
    • Royal Australian Air Force Loadmasters prepare to launch a Self Locating Data Marker Buoy from a C-130J Hercules aircraft over the southern Indian Ocean, March 20, 2014. (AFP PHOTO / AUSTRALIAN DEFENSE/LEADING SEAMAN JUSTIN BROWN)
    • John Young, general manager of the emergency response division of the Australian Maritime Safety Authority, answers a question as he stands in front of a diagram showing the search area for flight MH370 during a briefing in Canberra, March 20, 2014.
    • A Royal Australian Air Force pilot steers his AP-3C Orion over the southern Indian Ocean during the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in this picture released by the Australian Defense Force, March 20, 2014.
    • A Chinese family member of a passenger onboard missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 screams as she is being brought into a room outside the media conference area at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur International Airport, March 19, 2014.
    • An image in support of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 is seen on the United Malays National Organisation building in Kuala Lumpur, March 19, 2014.
    • Students watch as a group of artists finish a piece based on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that was painted on a school ground in Makati city, metro Manila, Philippines, March 17, 2014.

    Authorities are considering all possiblities when it comes to the fate of Flight 370 and the 237 people on board, including terrorism, hijacking or a mechanical malfunction.

    China says no suspect passengers

    Beijing said on Tuesday that none of the flight's 154 Chinese passengers appear to​
    Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang listens during a press conference in Sepang, Malaysia, March 12, 2014.Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang listens during a press conference in Sepang, Malaysia, March 12, 2014.
    x
    Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang listens during a press conference in Sepang, Malaysia, March 12, 2014.
    Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang listens during a press conference in Sepang, Malaysia, March 12, 2014.
    have links to terrorism.

    ​China's ambassador to Malaysia said extensive background checks were completed on the passengers from the mainland.

    "China has investigated the backgrounds of all Chinese passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370, and has found no evidence suggesting they are linked to destructive behavior on the aircraft," said . "So we can rule out the suspicion that Chinese passengers are linked to a terror attack or destructive activities on the missing plane."

    Flight MH370 Timeline

    • Mar. 8: Departs Kuala Lumpur at 12:41am local time for Beijing
      Air traffic controllers lose contact with the plane around 1:30am
      Vietnam launches search operation, two oil slicks are spotted but are not related to plane

    • Mar. 9: Malaysia suggests plane may have strayed off course
      Debris spotted off Vietnam, but it is not from the airplane

    • Mar. 10: Search radius expanded, as China urges Malaysia to speed up investigation
       
    • Mar. 11: Search extended to western side of Malaysian peninsula
       
    • Mar. 12: Chinese satellite images of possible debris are released and determined not to be related to the plane
       
    • Mar. 13: Malaysia rejects Wall Street Journal report that MH370 flew for four hours after its last known contact
       
    • Mar. 14: Search now includes South China Sea, Malacca Strait and Indian Ocean
      Media reports say MH370 communications system continued to ping a satellite hours after plane disappeared
       
    • Mar. 15:  Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak says someone on MH370 likely turned off its communications systems
       
    • Mar. 17: 26 countries now involved in the search
       
    • Mar. 19: FBI analyzes flight simulator data from the home of the MH370 pilot
       
    • Mar. 20: Australian aircraft investigate possible debris in a remote area of the southern Indian Ocean
    China said it has deployed 21 satellites to help in the effort to find the commercial airliner. The ambassador also said China has begun looking for the aircraft in the territory along the northern corridor of the search area.

    In their quest to find more answers about what may have happened to the plane, investigators are looking into the backgrounds of all of those on board, including the flight's captain, co-pilot and crew. Authorities say that whoever took control of the plane had a deep knowledge of the jet and its systems.
     
    Huang said experts and security officials from China have been helping out with the investigation since shortly after the plane vanished. However, what China's review of its radar data has uncovered remains unclear.
     
    ​Publicly reviewing radar data has already proven to be a particularly touchy process because it can reveal a country's air defense capabilities.

    Altered route

    Aviation Mysteries

    • 1937: Amelia Earhart disappears during flight over Pacific, no trace of plane found
    • 1996: TWA Flight 800, en route to Paris from New York, explodes over Long Island, questions remain over cause
    • 1999: EgyptAir Flight 990 crashes into Atlantic while headed to Cairo from New York;   US questions if pilot comments indicated suicide mission
    • 2009: Air France Flight 447 goes down over Atlantic while traveling from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, crash report indicates pilot confusion
    The New York Times reports the plane's intended route appears to have been altered by a computer system mostly likely programmed by someone in the cockpit with knowledge of advanced aircraft systems.

    Speaking anonymously, U.S. officials told the Times the development reinforces the theory that foul play was involved and will likely increase scrutiny of the plane's pilot and co-pilot.

    The search has been complicated because the plane's transponder, which identifies it to civilian radar, and other communications devices were disabled or shut off. Authorities are now forced to rely on imprecise satellite tracking data based on automated messages from the aircraft.

    The search area is now so extensive that the U.S. on Monday called back the USS Kidd, a naval destroyer that had been looking for the plane in the Indian Ocean. U.S. officials say it makes more sense to look for the jet using long-range surveillance aircraft.

    Some information in this report was contributed by VOA's William Ide in Beijing.

    You May Like

    Video Rubio Looks to Surge in New Hampshire

    Republican presidential candidate has moved into second place in several recent surveys and appears to be gaining ground on longtime frontrunner Donald Trump

    UN Calls for Global Ban on Female Genital Mutilation

    Recent UNICEF report finds at least 200 million girls and women alive today have undergone female genital mutilation in 30 countries

    UN Pilots New Peace Approach in CAR

    Approach launched in northern town of Kaga Bandoro, where former combatants of mainly Muslim Seleka armed group and Christian and animist anti-Balaka movement are being paid to do community work

    This forum has been closed.
    Comment Sorting
    Comments
         
    by: Not Again from: Canada
    March 19, 2014 12:04 AM
    It is sad to see the suffering of the relatives of the missing passagers, the latest media videos show the very sad and tough situation they face; Why are they not being provided psycological and relief counselling? Let us hope they get expert help.
    If all the people listed on the manifest, of the missing aircraft, have been cleared, is it possible that unlisted individuals were able to board and hide in the plane, before it departed/arrived at the gate? Let us pray/hope they soon find the answers and the aicraft.
    In Response

    by: Bella from: China
    March 19, 2014 12:00 PM
    I hope someone who is responsible for this stands out. You can not hurt the innocent persons. It is not the behavior of a so-called solider. If you really have some request, you can threaten the government by the life of politicians

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.