Missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Did stricken jet's co-pilot make last-gasp phone call before it disappeared?

Malaysian media quotes sources saying call was made shortly before plane went missing

The Malaysian government has denied claims that the co-pilot of the missing flight MH370 tried to make a call just before it disappeared.

The New Straits Times quoted unnamed sources saying investigators traced a call from the Malaysia Airlines plane to Fariq Abdul Hamid's phone.

Hishammuddin Hussein, Malaysia's acting Transport Minister, denied the claims and said many leads from local and foreign media had been baseless.

"If this did happen, we would have known about it earlier," he told the paper.

“Unless we can have verifications, we can't comment on these reports.”

According to the article, the call ended abruptly but was connected to a tower north-west of Penang on 8 March.

“The telco's (telecommunications company's) tower established the call that he was trying to make. On why the call was cut off, it was likely because the aircraft was fast moving away from the tower and had not come under the coverage of the next one,” sources told the New Straits Times.

But the paper also quoted a different source saying that although the line was “reattached”, it did not mean a call was made.

According to the report, the plane was flying low enough - under 7,000 feet - for the signal to be picked up by a civilian telecommunications tower on the ground.

There was no indication from the sources over why a call could have been made or who to.

Fariq and the flight’s captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, have come under intense scrutiny after the plane mysteriously vanished on its way Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.

Mr Hussein confirmed on Friday that a criminal investigation is ongoing.

“Everyone on board remains under suspicion,” he said.

Authorities believe the Boeing 777’s communications were deliberately disabled and radar showed it was flown far off course into the open ocean.

Hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board were being considered as possibilities.

Ships and aeroplanes are continuing to scour the Indian Ocean for debris while specialist equipment is being used to search underwater for the plane’s missing black boxes.

Read more:
Mystery sparks passenger anxiety
Race against time in search for black boxes
'Everyone on board remains under suspicion'
Malaysian government 'is concealing information' - claims
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Telesales / Telemarketing Executive - OTE £30k / £35k plus

£18000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company specialises provid...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...

Austen Lloyd: Senior Private Client Solicitor - Exeter

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...

Sauce Recruitment: Retail Planning Manager - Home Entertainment UK

salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...

Day In a Page

HIV pill: Scientists hail discovery of 'game-changer' that cuts the risk of infection among gay men by 86%

Scientists hail daily pill that protects against HIV infection

Breakthrough in battle against global scourge – but will the NHS pay for it?
How we must adjust our lifestyles to nature: Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch

Time to play God

Welcome to the 'Anthropocene', the human epoch where we may need to redefine nature itself
MacGyver returns, but with a difference: Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman

MacGyver returns, but with a difference

Handyman hero of classic 1980s TV series to be recast as a woman
Tunnel renaissance: Why cities are hiding roads down in the ground

Tunnel renaissance

Why cities are hiding roads underground
'Backstreet Boys - Show 'Em What You're Made Of': An affectionate look at five middle-aged men

Boys to men

The Backstreet Boys might be middle-aged, married and have dodgy knees, but a heartfelt documentary reveals they’re not going gently into pop’s good night
Crufts 2015: Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?

Crufts 2015

Should foreign dogs be allowed to compete?
10 best projectors

How to make your home cinema more cinematic: 10 best projectors

Want to recreate the big-screen experience in your sitting room? IndyBest sizes up gadgets to form your film-watching
Manchester City 1 Barcelona 2 player ratings: Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man?

Manchester City vs Barcelona player ratings

Luis Suarez? Lionel Messi? Joe Hart? Who was the star man at the Etihad?
Arsenal vs Monaco: Monaco - the making of Gunners' manager Arsene Wenger

Monaco: the making of Wenger

Jack Pitt-Brooke speaks to former players and learns the Frenchman’s man-management has always been one of his best skills
Cricket World Cup 2015: Chris Gayle - the West Indies' enigma lives up to his reputation

Chris Gayle: The West Indies' enigma

Some said the game's eternal rebel was washed up. As ever, he proved he writes the scripts by producing a blistering World Cup innings
In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare and murky loyalties prevails

In Ukraine a dark world of hybrid warfare

This war in the shadows has been going on since the fall of Mr Yanukovych
'Birdman' and 'Bullets Over Broadway': Homage or plagiarism?

Homage or plagiarism?

'Birdman' shares much DNA with Woody Allen's 'Bullets Over Broadway'
Broadchurch ends as damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

A damp squib not even David Tennant can revive

Broadchurch, Series 2 finale, review
A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower: inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

Inside the mansion of Germany's 'Bishop of Bling'

A Koi carp breeding pond, wall-mounted iPads and a bathroom with a 'wellness' shower