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Fariq Abdul Hamid, flight MH370's co-pilot, tried to make in-flight cellphone call, according to report



(Reuters) - Investigators probing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 suspect that the co-pilot of the jetliner tried to make a call with his cellphone after the plane was diverted from its scheduled route, Malaysia's New Straits Times reported sources as saying on Saturday.

The newspaper cited unidentified investigative sources as saying the attempted call from co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid's phone was picked up by a cellphone tower as the plane was about 200 nautical miles northwest of the west coast state of Penang. That was around where military radar made its last sighting of the missing jet at 2:15 a.m. local time on March 8.

"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," the New Straits Times cited a source as saying.

Government officials could not immediately be reached for comment on the report. The New Straits Times quoted acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that the report needed to be verified.

But he appeared to cast doubt on the report by saying: "If this did happen, we would have known about it earlier."

The New Straits Times cited separate investigative sources as saying that a signal had been picked up from Fariq's cellphone, but that it could have resulted from the device being switched on rather than being used to make a call.

Malaysia is focusing its criminal investigation on the cabin crew and the pilots of the plane -- 53-year-old captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and 27-year old Fariq -- after clearing all 227 passengers of any involvement, police have said.

Investigators believe that someone with detailed knowledge of both the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial aviation navigation switched off the plane's communications systems before diverting it thousands of miles off its scheduled course.

The search for the missing jetliner in the southern Indian ocean resumed on Saturday, amid fears that batteries powering signals from the black box recorder on board may have died. (Reporting by Stuart Grudgings; Editing by Stephen Powell)

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#1fisherman April 14 2014 at 6:15 PM

There was an airliner (Northwest Airlines) that crashed into Lake Michigan. Nothing found to this day.Nothing floating,no people, no plane.I'll use the word only. Very deep but only 925 ft deep. So don't say there has never been a plane crash in water,without things floating. There where no black boxes then. Thus they had no idea where to begain to search.The satelite tracked it to an area. Found the pings in that area.Have it narrowed down to a 50 x 50 mile grid,and or hay stack. The problem,15,000 ft down,and total blackness.Nothing they have on location could go that deep. They simply want to prove its 370,and they will ! They found the plane !

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3 replies
repfox April 14 2014 at 12:58 PM

Guess no-one did any fact checking . Flat out imposible for a cell phone at that range.

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4 replies
Anna April 14 2014 at 1:34 PM

Dont these pilots have family or friends that might know something?

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2 replies
swflhcpm Anna April 14 2014 at 1:37 PM

That would make too much sense to ask them!!! lol

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heart2survive Anna April 14 2014 at 1:40 PM

Doubtful. If I was any one of those two pilots friends or families..I would have done anything in my power to stop this from happening. No one wants to lose a loved one, but its far better to stop an act like this rather than take an entire plane down with innocent people aboard. I know I would have gone straight to the authorities no matter what.

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fourklines April 15 2014 at 1:01 AM

So who did the co-pilot try to call? Oh....its a secret? BREAKING NEWS....for a change... MH370 STILL NOT FOUND.

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gvpltcl April 15 2014 at 12:46 AM

If the intent was to steal the airplane, the most probable action they would take would be to start off indirections other than their intended course, then shut down all equipment that could expose their true heading and final destination. With all the possible tell tale electronics shut down they would have to follow a path that was easy to navigate without modern hi tech items such as GPS. Their starting point was very near to the Equator which if followed westward provides a great circle course to the coast of East Africa in the vicinity of Somalia, a place where they have been able to make prior arrangements for a place where to could land the aircraft that they were stealing. Dumping cargo and other items, and the short great circle route would have increase their range to reach someplace in Somalis where there are pirates and other renegades that are very experienced at highjacking and kidnapping for ransom . The heading along the Equator is easly followed with a ninety degree setting on a simple sextant

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2 replies
Sarah gvpltcl April 15 2014 at 3:38 PM

Interesting thinking, gvpltcl - (or just to make light of a NON LIGHT subject here - maybe someone carried a GSP along on the flight?) Just kidding, folks........

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1 reply
Sarah Sarah April 15 2014 at 3:39 PM

Whoops - make that GPS - no wonder I get lost, eh?

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SumBreezeHuh gvpltcl April 15 2014 at 11:13 PM

The only problem with that is that several countries' satellites were able to determine where the plane was last located before they would have run out of fuel. And it wasn't over land.

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robert.hall49 April 15 2014 at 12:22 AM

It took two weeks for them to realize where the plane went down and to start looking in that area. Anything that was left floating in the rough seas at that time is no longer floating. Military radar followed the plane to the search area where fuel would have run out, it is not possible for the plane to reach land from where it fell below radar. Someday we will know what happened but it might take decades to find the given the depth of the water. Look at how long it took to find the Titanic and they knew exactly where it sank. It may be 80 years from now but someday the truth will be known. I truly believe because of the high loss of life they will not stop searching until the plane is located. If not located in the next year I will guess that it will be between 10-20 years before it is located. For you silly conspiracy fools, if a weapon was used to destroy the plane the explosion would have been detected by several countries.

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lawshark78 April 14 2014 at 1:34 PM

The pilot probobally told the co pilot to get coffee..when the co pilot leaves the cockpit, the pilot door is now bolted and can only be opened from the inside,..when he returns with the coffee, he realizes that the pilot has locked him out ..and he and the rest of the passengers are in check mate...just my 2 cents

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JE WA ZA WI April 14 2014 at 1:03 PM

If in fact the tower that picked up the co-pilots signal ,than it would be assumed that one or more of the 200 + passengers cell phones would have reached the same tower ,unless they were all left unconscious from lack of cabin oxygen .The master mind of this entire mission had a plan so well worked out that even experienced aviators can't figure out .I don't think that plane is even close to where the signals were detected .A ploy to fool even the so called experts .

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1 reply
jmopar1 JE WA ZA WI April 14 2014 at 1:09 PM

whoever took the plane ---also took away all their phones----first----all planed ahead of time

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ChingOW Mango April 15 2014 at 12:06 AM

OK first I became terrified of sailing on a cruise ship that is not registered in the USA - now I am finding my flight plans have become very limited too. Luckily there is so much to do in the good old USA - which of course includes our Hawaii and Puerto Rico and a few little islands.

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2 replies
CHERYL ChingOW Mango April 15 2014 at 1:08 AM

Sounds like you won't be flying anymore.

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1 reply
SumBreezeHuh CHERYL April 15 2014 at 11:17 PM

I haven't flown since 9/11. Hated flying to begin with, a little acrophobic, I am. Problem is, I hate long drives too, lol.

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Carolyn ChingOW Mango April 15 2014 at 5:50 PM

It's true there is much to do, but how would you get to Hawaii? Take a cruise?

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NewKentNana4 April 14 2014 at 1:34 PM

Maybe he was trying to call a mayday. Why would 'authorities' assume either the pilot or the co pilot were guilty? If someone hijacked this plane, stands to reason that whoever did it had training to do so. That being the case, maybe they also had extensive training on what to do with all communications, etc. on the plane. I think its bad that they are placing blame when they don't know a thing. Stop blaming until you have reason to do so. It is not fair to the families.

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