MH370 Captain 'Planned Route' to Remote Island

Malaysia investigation focuses on Captain Zaharie Shah, 53

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 22, 2014 1:30 PM CDT

(Newser) – Malaysia's police probe into the downing of flight MH370 has zeroed in on one suspect: the captain, who had plotted a flight path to a remote island on his flight simulator at home, according to a report in the Sunday Times. The investigation doesn't rule out terrorism or mechanical failure in the March 8 disappearance, but investigators haven't been able to build a case against anyone else on the flight. If intentional human action took down the plane, the circumstantial evidence points only to Captain Zaharie Shah, 53, the Times' report suggests. For example:

  • On his flight simulator, Shah charted a route that would see a plane land on an unnamed island in the south Indian Ocean, the Telegraph reports. The route was deleted from his simulator but retrieved by computer experts.
  • Shah was "unique among those on board the flight" for having no planned commitments, personally or professionally, after MH370 was scheduled to land, the Independent reports.

Some have also speculated that Shah's home life was deeply troubled, but his family denies it, Australia's News Network reports. In fact, friends and family have described him as a warm and pleasant person, interested in social work, who had volunteered for a mainstream political party and opposed Muslim extremists. His family has said they believe the truth will only come out when the flight's black box is retrieved. (For more, see how family members are being compensated for the disaster.)

Photos of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, top right, and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, who were onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 are seen in Malaysia, Sunday, April 13, 2014.   (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)
In this March 31, 2014 file photo, a shadow of a Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3 Orion aircraft is seen on low cloud cover searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 in the Indian Ocean.   (AP Photo/Rob Griffith, File)
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