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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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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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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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buckeyesone April 14 2014 at 9:57 PM

this cell phone lead might be the best yet. you gotta be stupid to commit a crime now a days. your"re busted by either a cell phone, e-mail, or video camera.

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1 reply
lgvxl42 buckeyesone April 14 2014 at 10:06 PM

................Smoke signals! Only way to pull it off, these days.

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Hello Gorgeous April 14 2014 at 9:48 PM

I love James Bond movies; the Golden Eye movie... the "enemy" built his hiding place underneath a man-made lake. It was difficult to locate. I pray for the families who are wondering where their love ones at.

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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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lgvxl42 April 14 2014 at 9:09 PM

.............And will you hold the anchovies? My co-pilot is picky...............

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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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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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bleustorm April 14 2014 at 1:05 PM

to all who perished,,, god love you

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In-T April 14 2014 at 1:05 PM

Keep in mind the material used to build this airliner are mostly composites which on a high heat, high energy explosion could be basically vaporized or turned into millions of fragments, its sad to even think of somethink as such

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