Latest Theory Puts Renewed Focus on Pilots

But no red flags emerge about lives of Malaysian pair
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 14, 2014 3:25 PM CDT
In this file photo, clouds hang over the North Sentinel Island, in India's southeastern Andaman and Nicobar Islands.   (AP Photo/Gautam Singh, File)

(Newser) – The new theory that the missing Malaysia jet was deliberately flown for hundreds of miles off its intended course is putting new scrutiny on the plane's two pilots. Malaysian authorities say they are at least examining the possibility that one or both might have been involved in whatever happened, reports ABC News. But they're apparently not too concerned because they haven't gotten around to searching the houses of either Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, and Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27. Besides, as the AP points out, nothing in either of their backgrounds raises red flags. Both are described as "respectable, community-minded men," says the AP story.

Fariq has drawn the most scrutiny because of reports that he allowed two women into the cockpit during a 2011 flight, allegations that Malaysia Airlines says it is investigating. But the head of a mosque near his home calls him a "good boy, a good Muslim, humble and quiet." Meanwhile, the search continues with a renewed focus on the Indian Ocean. And in a bit of good news, satellite company Inmarsat has confirmed that it picked up "pings" from the plane hours after its last contact with flight controllers, reports the New York Times. The company is analyzing the data in the hope of narrowing the search area. (Read more Malaysia Airlines crash stories.)

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