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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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andibossert March 17 2014 at 11:30 AM

Just horrible that so many people are missing, I feel for the families and can't imagine what they are dealing with.

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1 reply
plansmaker andibossert March 17 2014 at 11:34 AM

This is why world has to unite together to fight terrorism.. No country will be spared.

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3 replies
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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persiarezeli March 17 2014 at 9:40 AM

Further I am sure if you investigate each passenger u will find who worked this scheme out. I don't believe there was violence on this plane . There as one person said may be a plan for the plane . Where would the ppl be ? Not so much dead -because that's extra. These ppl may have clear intent to use that plane.

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cdlogan2002 March 17 2014 at 9:41 AM

I find it quite interesting that the government officials quickly concluded that the two passengers who were traveling on stolen passports were not terrorists. How did they come to that conclusion so quickly? I mean seriously, if someone steals a passport he is a criminal. So why were the government officials so quick to assume these two thieves wouldn't do anything else criminal? Maybe the authorities know something about those two guys they aren't telling us ?

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persiarezeli March 17 2014 at 9:43 AM

Intent, of course, by who took the plane, not wrong doing by all parties on the plane. This event is beyond the results of two calculating or three calculating minds.

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adestefano2 March 17 2014 at 11:16 AM


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plansmaker March 17 2014 at 11:10 AM

Some how terrorists ( plural ) has confiscated all the passenger's cell phones during flight...There is not one call made out of Malaysian Jetliner 777.

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5 replies
sfmjr March 17 2014 at 11:07 AM

What is a 777 worth on the black market these days?

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Scott Schaffner March 17 2014 at 9:47 AM

Ever see the James Bond movie Thunderball??

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Albanese March 17 2014 at 9:48 AM

Flight engineer since the age of 19??? Whom are you kidding? Straight from high school? That is one of the reason plane vanished. Yup, I became Federal judge at the age of 18, eat your hearts out!!! :-P

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