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Malaysian police look into possible pilot suicide in investigation on MH370: Minister

Published on Mar 17, 2014 5:54 PM
 

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysian police are looking into possible pilot suicide in their investigation into missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, says acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein.

But he declined to say if anyone on board the flight had personal problems.

Mr Hishammuddin told reporters that Malaysia would not withhold any information that would help with investigation, but would not publicly release it until it has been verified.

It was also revealed that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) had been deliberately shut down just after Kota Baru, and the transponder turned off near Igari.

Malaysian police are looking into possible pilot suicide in their investigation into missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370, says acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, speaking at the same daily press briefing on Monday, told reporters that the last transmission from ACARS was at 1.07am on March 8 but it was unknown when it was switched off. It did not transmit 30 minutes later as programmed.

Initial investigation also showed it was the co-pilot who spoke in the last communication with air traffic control. The last pilot communication was at 1.19am.  

But Mr Hishammuddin declined to speculate on whether it was suspicious that the last communication came after ACARs was turned off.

MAS also said psychometric test is standard procedure for pilots and crew and it will look into strengthening recruitment procedures.

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 entered a dramatic new phase after Prime Minister Najib Razak acknowledged on Saturday for the first time that the plane was deliberately diverted, and that it could have gone as far north as Kazakhstan in Central Asia or southwards towards the Indian Ocean.

The revelation refocused attention on the background of the 239 passengers and crew, while sparking both outrage and relief among anxious family members in Kuala Lumpur and Beijing.

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