Amid reports that the co-pilot of missing Malaysian plane made a desperate call from his mobile phone moments before the jet went off the radar, Malaysia on Sunday said it cannot be confirmed unless the information can be verified by the authorities.
“Unless we can have verifications, we can’t comment on these reports,” Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters here.
He said the authorities have received several reports and leads, including from local and foreign media organisations, but when probed, they turned out to be baseless.
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When asked if any calls had been made from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cockpit, he said: “As far as I know, no.” However, he said that he did not want to speculate on “the realm of the police and other international agencies” investigating the case.
“I do not want to disrupt the investigations that are being done now not only by the Malaysian police but the FBI, MI6, Chinese intelligence and other intelligence agencies.”
The New Straits Times, citing sources, yesterday reported that co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid made a desperate call which ended abruptly, possibly “because the aircraft was fast moving away from the (telecommunications) tower”.
The call was made as the jet was flying low near Penang island on Malaysia’s west coast, the morning it went missing. The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 – carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals – had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
Fariq and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah have come under intense scrutiny after the plane mysteriously vanished.
Investigators last month indicated that the flight was deliberately diverted and its communication systems manually switched off as it was leaving Malaysian airspace. The probe into the missing plane have been focused on four possible areas – hijack, sabotage, as well as personal and psychological problems.
The FBI has been assisting police, including sharing intelligence and expertise.
Police have not cleared the 227 passengers of the flight MH370 of possible foul play. Clearance has also not been given to the crew.
Local media reports on Sunday said police are investigating a ompany involved in the cleaning of flight MH370 cabin before it departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
Hishammuddin said it would be difficult for investigators to clear crew or passengers until the two recorders are located.
The Malaysian police has found nothing suspicious with the passenger manifest, Hishammuddin said, adding that the police are still investigating the case.
“That is an ongoing thing, and I don’t think the IGP would have meant that they have all been cleared, because unless we find more information, specifically on data in the black box, I don’t think any chief of police would be in the position” to declare the cases cleared, he was quoted as saying by the CNN.