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

Multimedia US Nurse ‘Cured of Ebola,’ NIH Says

Nina Pham, Texas nurse who treated first Ebola patient in US, received no experimental drugs; WHO expects vaccine surge in 2015 More

Video Islamic State Militants Encroach on Baghdad

Iraqi capital not under ‘imminent threat,’ US military says, amid worries about foothold More

Video Hong Kong Protesters Focus on Holding Volatile Mong Kok

Activists say holding Mong Kok is key to their movement's success, despite confrontations with angry residents and police More

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.
After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rulesi
X
October 21, 2014 12:20 AM
European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video After Decades of Pressure, Luxembourg Drops Bank Secrecy Rules

European Union finance ministers have reached a breakthrough agreement that will make it more difficult for tax cheats to hide their money. The new legislation, which had been blocked for years by countries with a reputation as tax havens, was approved last week after Luxembourg and Austria agreed to lift their vetoes. But as Mil Arcega reports, it doesn’t mean tax cheats have run out of places to keep their money hidden.
Video

Video Kobani Refugees Welcome, Turkey Criticizes, US Airdrop

Residents of Kobani in northern Syria have welcomed the airdrop of weapons, ammunition and medicine to Kurdish militia who are resisting the seizure of their city by Islamic State militants. The Turkish government, however, has criticized the operation. VOA’s Scott Bobb reports from southeastern Turkey, across the border from Kobani.
Video

Video China Political Meeting Seeks to Improve Rule of Law

China’s communist leaders will host a top level political meeting this week, called the Fourth Plenum, and for the first time in the party’s history, rule of law will be a key item on the agenda. Analysts and Chinese media reports say the meetings could see the approval of long-awaited measures aimed at giving courts more independence and include steps to enhance an already aggressive and high-reaching anti-corruption drive. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
Video

Video US ‘Death Cafes’ Put Focus on the Finale

In contemporary America, death usually is a topic to be avoided. But the growing “death café” movement encourages people to discuss their fears and desires about their final moments. VOA’s Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Ebola Orphanage Opens in Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone's first Ebola orphanage has opened in the Kailahun district. Hundreds of children orphaned since the beginning of the Ebola outbreak face stigma and rejection with nobody to care for them. Adam Bailes reports for VOA about a new interim care center that's aimed at helping the growing number of children affected by Ebola.
Video

Video Young Nairobi Tech Innovator on 'Track' in Security Business

A 24-year-old technology innovator in Nairobi has invented a tracking device that monitors and secures cars. He has also come up with what he claims is the most robust audio-visual surveillance system yet. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from the Kenyan capital, his innovations are offering alternative security solutions.
Video

Video Latinas Converting to Islam for Identity, Structure

Latinos are one of the fastest growing groups in the Muslim religion. According to the Pew Research Center, about 6 percent of American Muslims are Latino. And a little more than half of new converts are female. VOA’s Carolyn Presutti travelled to Miami, Florida -- where two out of every three residents is Hispanic -- to learn more.
Video

Video Exclusive: American Joins Kurds' Anti-IS Fight

The United States and other Western nations have expressed alarm about their citizens joining Islamic State forces in Syria and Iraq. In a rare counterpoint to the phenomenon, an American has taken up arms with the militants' Syrian Kurdish opponents. Elizabeth Arrott has more in this exclusive profile by VOA Kurdish reporter Zana Omer in Ras al Ayn, Syria.
Video

Video South Korea Confronts Violence Within Military Ranks

Every able-bodied South Korean male between 18 and 35 must serve for 21 to 36 months in the country’s armed forces, depending upon the specific branch. For many, service is a rite of passage to manhood. But there are growing concerns that bullying and violence come along with the tradition. Reporter Jason Strother has more from Seoul.
Video

Video North Carolina Emerges as Key Election Battleground

U.S. congressional midterm elections will be held on November 4th and most political analysts give Republicans an excellent chance to win a majority in the U.S. Senate, which Democrats now control. So what are the issues driving voters in this congressional election year? VOA National Correspondent Jim Malone traveled to North Carolina, one of the most politically competitive states in the country, to find out.
Video

Video Comanche People Maintain Pride in Their Heritage

The Comanche (Indian nation) once were called the “Lords of the Plains,” with an empire that included half the land area of current day Texas, large parts of Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Colorado.The fierceness and battle prowess of these warriors on horseback delayed the settlement of most of West Texas for four decades. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Lawton, Oklahoma, that while their warrior days are over, the 15,000 members of the Comanche Nation remain a proud people.
Video

Video Turkey Campus Attacks Raise Islamic Radicalization Fears

Concerns are growing in Turkey of Islamic radicalization at some universities, after clashes between supporters of the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) or ISIS, and those opposed to the extremists. Pro-jihadist literature is on sale openly on the streets of Istanbul. Critics accuse the government of turning a blind eye to radicalism at home, while Kurds accuse the president of supporting IS - a charge strongly denied. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

All About America

AppleAndroid