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Malaysia police probe flight engineer on missing plane

KUALA LUMPUR, March 17 (Reuters) - Malaysian police are investigating a flight engineer who was among the passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane as they focus on the pilots and anyone else on board who had technical flying knowledge, a senior police official said.

The aviation engineer is Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, 29, a Malaysian who has said on social media he had worked for a private jet charter company.

"Yes, we are looking into Mohd Khairul as well as the other passengers and crew. The focus is on anyone else who might have had aviation skills on that plane," a senior police official with knowledge of the investigations told Reuters.

Malaysian investigators are trawling through the backgrounds of the pilots, crew and ground staff who worked on the missing Boeing 777-200ER for clues as to why someone on board flew it hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of miles off course.

No trace of the plane has been found more than a week after it vanished but investigators believe it was diverted by someone with deep knowledge of the plane and of commercial navigation.

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday evidence pointed to a deliberate diversion of the flight, given the controlled way it was apparently turned around and flown far to the west of its original route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

A flight engineer is responsible for overseeing systems on a plane during flights to confirm they are working correctly and to make repairs if necessary. As an engineer specializing in executive jets, Khairul would not necessarily have all the knowledge needed to divert and fly a large jetliner.

Khairul had said he worked for a Swiss-based jet charter firm called Execujet Aviation Group, but the company declined to say whether it still employed him. In a picture posted on Khairul's Facebook account in 2011, he identified himself as an employee of Execujet's Malaysian operations.

"We can't disclose anything. We want to protect the family's privacy," an official at the company's Malaysian office said.

Khairul, a father of one daughter, had recently bought a house on the outskirts of the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, and had more than 10 years experience as a flight engineer, his father Selamat Omar told Reuters. He declined to say whether he believed his son could have been involved in any foul play.

Selamat said he and other family members were supposed to visit Khairul's new house this month. But Khairul had told his father on Thursday he had to go for a job in Beijing and that they would reschedule. That was the last time they spoke.

"Khairul was doing well in his job and was a good son. He would come visit us at least once a month," Selamat said.

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redrdstr March 17 2014 at 9:05 AM

Hardly any aircraft use flight engineers anymore. The cockpits are so automated and reliable they just aren't needed, at least on commercial airliners. The Boeing 727 may have been the last mass produced airliner that required one. Not sure maybe the L1011 or DC10 and early 747's. Right now it seems almost anything's possible with this disappearance.

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1 reply
patrick58k redrdstr March 17 2014 at 9:27 AM

ned to stop hiring "Camel Jockey" Rag-head idiot pilots..I won't fly in any plane with Rag-head crew! Allah Akbar, MY ASS!!

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1 reply
eastorbuny patrick58k March 17 2014 at 9:30 AM

Who is Ned? ;-)

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josephn126 March 17 2014 at 9:26 AM

As a retired airline Captain and Senior rated Air Traffic Controller I have to comment on the "turned off transponder" and the ability of 370 to avoid radar detection. 370 could have altered its flight path, intercepted and flown directly overhead another aircraft, with operating transponder, to the aircraft being "piggybacked" destination. 370 could have turned to a desired destination anytime but would have suddenly popped up on a radar when it left the coverage provided by the other aircraft.
Radar would have painted the transponder operating aircraft without any ping of the aircraft (370) that was directly above it

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Gregg March 17 2014 at 10:22 AM

Maybe they're looking in all the wrong directions. I notice every direction except south...to Australia. Maybe it landed down there. Lord knows, they have enough room. At this point, anything is possible.

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mahobay7 March 17 2014 at 9:31 AM

I dont get it. If a terrorist put a gun to the pilots heads why would they need anyone else with flight experience. They already have two.??

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Mel's Dell March 17 2014 at 10:22 AM

A plane that was turned around headed for another direction. A plane that had it's controls shut off so it couldn't be followed. Wouldn't you think if a plane was flying in various parts of the country someone from ground control or people on the ground could see this plane? It only had enough fuel for 8 hours of flying. Hopefully the plane has landed on a remote island for some unusual reason and it hasn't gone down in the ocean. Pray for the families the passengers in this plane are safe.

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craybrain March 17 2014 at 9:32 AM

Anyone take out a large life insurance policy before the flight?

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1 reply
xpphil12 craybrain March 17 2014 at 10:37 AM

I took out a large life insurance policy before the flight in Malaysia .But it was in 1976 in Tulsa..Maybe if they can't find out who did it, they will try to pin it on me.

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Hi March 17 2014 at 9:34 AM

I hope by now they know who has the plane and are working on a rescue mission. Time will tell.

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persiarezeli March 17 2014 at 9:35 AM

I have a feeling they went to India its also close to the area. Then yes there was another person involved beside who was flying. The elaborate equipment found suggest the pilot was real Educated. I also believe India because I watched this show that Muslim religious men speak on. The guy made a comment at like 1am . I was up late surfing to find something to watch. I just happen to catch the man saying India will be the next super power in the world. Yea like I immediately, thought back to my first vibe/intuition what have you - and I said that plane was hijacked , I looked up the area , pirates came to mind. I checked on line yep pirates in the area. So I was thinking 2nd India primarily due to damage in the area (ppl can be bought) then being so close to Pakistan? I say, if, the plane had fuel to go 7hrs that's a lot of land covered . Yes the plane got past air traffic control due to technical genius not accident. One more thing that young pilot had room to be influenced-chilling out in the cockpit with chicks, but devote good boy Muslim type smiling in the communities face, First off all if you study the personality types of Muslim radicals gone bad-THE first rule is they must be sneaky & humble - these ppl are trained to ACT yes ACT . Which the other fundamentals of radicals THEFT & follow orders of the elders.

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gary March 17 2014 at 10:22 AM

i still think their going to find it on land somewhere hidden

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1 reply
Taylors gary March 17 2014 at 10:29 AM

It could be in Iran.

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Beautiful March 17 2014 at 10:20 AM

It makes me cry to think none of those children will ever see Disneyland or ever have an ice cream cone.
They have probably had a very short and strict life of sharia law, then death.

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2 replies
Colon Beautiful March 17 2014 at 10:34 AM

There has been no proof of any kind that anyone has died........yet.

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Nancy Beautiful March 17 2014 at 10:41 AM

Why do you think the children on the flight are Muslim or of the Sharia sect?

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