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
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)

(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.)

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InklingBooks
Jun 28, 2014 9:29 PM CDT
It's a pretty bleak part of the world. I looked for an island anywhere near the assumed path that had a short runway and drew a blank. Here's what I found via Wikipedia: Cocos (Keeling) Island: The only airport is Cocos (Keeling) Islands Airport with a single 2,441 m (8,009 ft) paved runway. That’s hardly short. Too far north anyway. I do believe that is the island that claims it was buzzed by a large airliner the morning it went missing. Ile Amsterdam: Population 25. No mention of any air field. Ile Saint-Paul: No permanent population. No mention of an airport. Kerguelen Islands: Only French scientists there. No airport. Heard Island and McDonald Islands: Uninhabited. No mention of an airport. As best I can tell, there's not island with a short runway even remotely close to the claimed path of the plane. Any ideas? --Michael W. Perry, Across Asia on a Bicycle
Ezekiel 25:17
Jun 24, 2014 9:07 PM CDT
By now they should have gone through the records and scoped out all of the old Air America bases in SE Asia. That's because its highly possible that the captain could have flown there undetected. This is considering he used the Foxfire move to confuse ground controllers. He first flew south at maximum service altitude to get a good ping on a southward track. Then he dove to minimum safe altitude to stay under all possible radar hits. I think he then turned north and stayed 100 feet above sea level. He then made it to Cambodia which has no air defenses and continued into the peninsula until reaching Laos and landing. The reason I believe this is there is a long arching path from the engine pings that Inmarsat picked up. They only assume the plane could have gone the south arch when it could have easily taken the north arch which extends through the peninsula all the way to China.
fractal
Jun 23, 2014 5:54 PM CDT
You know, Those lie detection specialists have probably already figured out if the pilot/co-pilot were behind this, based on voice and visual analysis. But no one is talking... I am still VERY suspicious of the Malaysian military/police. I think there might be some militant infiltrators in those organizations who are telling us whatever they wish, while lying thru their teeth.