After much dilly-dallying, much to the chagrin of the relatives, Malaysia has now confirmed that the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 did have a route along the southern Indian Ocean on his flight simulator.
According to CBS News, the flight simulator of Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had a course towards the area where the flight went missing.
Australian authorities, who were involved in the massive search and rescue operations, had last month pointed out the same but Malaysia had then refused to acknowledge it.
FBI analysis of the device had shown that Zaharie’s simulated flight was conducted less than a month before the plane vanished.
According to New York Magazine, the discovery indicated that the flight was deliberately downed and it was a premeditated act of mass murder-suicide at the hands of the captain. Yet Malaysia did not comment on the same until now. In a press conference, Malaysian Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai told local journalists that the flight path was found on the simulator but pointed out that there were “thousands” of destinations too on the simulator.
He said that the disappearance case is under investigation and there is no evidence against Zaharie.
The flaperon found on the Reunion Islands. Raymond Wae Tion/European Pressphoto Agency
“There is no evidence to prove that Captain Zaharie flew the plane into the southern Indian Ocean,” Liow said. “Yes, there is the simulator but the (route) was one of thousands to many parts of the world. We cannot just base on that to confirm (he did it).”
Fifty-three-year-old Shah was from Penang, Malaysia. He was with Malaysia Airlines since 1981 and was promoted to the rank of Captain by 1991.
Liow stressed that “uncontrolled ditching” of the plane was what both Malaysia and international experts have agreed upon. But analysis of a flaperon – a small section of the wing – that washed ashore on Reunion Island near Madagascar indicated controlled ditching of the plane. Relatives of missing passengers, mostly Chinese, are infuriated by the delay in the confirmation of what happened to the plane and the cover up attempts of Malaysia.