Missing Malaysia Flight MH370: FBI called in to recover deleted data from flight simulator at pilot’s home

Malaysian minister insists those aboard should be considered innocent until proven guilty

Kuala Lumpur

Experts from the FBI are trying to restore data that was deleted from the flight simulator found in the home of the pilot of missing Flight MH370, officials have said. They hope that by restoring the information they may obtain something that can help pry open the mystery.

Twelve days after the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew disappeared without a trace, Malaysia’s Transport Minister said additional efforts were being made to search one of two “corridors” possibly flown by the plane after it disappeared from civilian radar.

The minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said it was important that pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 57, along with the other members of the crew and the passengers, should be considered innocent until something was found to the contrary. He also stressed that Mr Zaharie’s family were cooperating with the police.

“Local and international expertise has been recruited to examine the pilot’s flight simulator,” Mr Hussein told reporters. “Some data had been deleted from the simulator and forensic work to retrieve this data is ongoing.”

 

But other pilots said there was nothing suspicious about deleting data from such a simulator and likened it to getting rid of unwanted files from a computer. Amin Said, who runs a commercial fight simulator in Kuala Lumpur and who recreated Flight MH370’s path for The Independent earlier this week, said such a move was usual. “It takes a bit of memory,” he said. “Sometimes it would just conflict.”

Mr Hussein said that while Malaysia was still coordinating the search for the missing plane, other countries were increasingly taking responsibility in their own territory, and in other sectors. He said that Australia and Indonesia were leading the search of the southern Indian Ocean.

He said some countries, but not all, had provided radar information and that he was hoping other countries would provide the data. He refused to reveal what data had been provided. There has been growing speculation that the search is being undermined to some extent by an unwillingness of some countries to hand over information they believe could be harmful to their national security.

READ MORE:  COURTNEY LOVE 'FINDS' MISSING PLANE  
SIMON CALDER ANSWERS YOUR QUESTIONS 
SUICIDE, PIRACY, TERRORISM: THE THEORIES SO FAR 
GRACE DENT: IF THIS IS TERRORISM, IT IS A NEW LEVEL OF TERRIFYING 
DID JETLINER FLY INTO AREA CONTROLLED BY TALIBAN? 
ORDINARY LIVES OF FLIGHT CREW

The Malaysia Airlines plane disappeared on 8 March on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanations, but have said the evidence so far suggests the flight was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca.

Investigators have identified two giant arcs of territory spanning the possible positions of the plane when it issued the last “ping” from its satellite communication system. The two arcs stretch northwards to Kazakhstan and deep into the southern Indian Ocean.

Mr Hussein said both areas of considered equally important but that the search of the southern corridor was more of a challenge because there were fewer countries over which the plane might have flown. However, an unidentified source said to be close to the inquiry told the Reuters news agency that it was most likely the missing plane headed south.

Pilots Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, left, and Fariq Abdul Pilots Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, left, and Fariq Abdul The US, Australia and New Zealand have begun searching 117,000 square miles of ocean, around 1,600 miles to the west of Perth. Merchant ships are also being asked to keep a look out.

Checks are being carried out on the background of all of those aboard the plane. Mr Hussein said that checks have been received for all the foreigners except those from Ukraine and Russia - which account for three passengers - and that nothing suspicious has turned up so far.

Before Wednesday’s news briefing at a hotel near the Kuala Lumpur airport, two Chinese relatives of passengers held up a banner saying “Truth” in Chinese and started shouting before security personnel escorted them out.

Journalists were prevented from speaking to them. “I want you to help me to find my son,” one of the two women said, according to the Associated Press.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA celebration of British elections
  • Get to the point
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

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£18000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Swiss Banking and Finance

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Uncapped commission: SThree: Can you speak German,...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - 6 month FTC - Central London

£25000 - £30000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: An exciting opportunity f...

Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application) - Agile

£215 per day: Ashdown Group: Junior Project Manager (website, web application ...

Day In a Page

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before