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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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cjtoy7 April 14 2014 at 12:32 PM

quit screwing around with your damn logic and find the damn plane

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1 reply
jejozi cjtoy7 April 14 2014 at 1:07 PM

Yeah, just rush out there like a chicken with its head cut off. No need to go about this logically!

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rwitchwoman63 April 14 2014 at 12:24 PM

Way too many cooincidences and too many unanswered questions!

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fun.inthe.sun April 14 2014 at 12:44 PM

this could all be avoided with a dual black box... one is automatically ejected from the plane when it hits water then floats at surface... voila' ! no more costly searches...

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1 reply
itakeitlikeaman fun.inthe.sun April 14 2014 at 12:49 PM

How about just removing the swich on the transponder!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! So it CAN NOT be turned off in flight!

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sam1191161 April 14 2014 at 12:50 PM

Probably just another a surprise software update from his cell phone carrier...Completely explains connect & disconnect without a 'call' being made. Where was that location again?

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Becky April 14 2014 at 12:40 PM

Every week its something......its sad to say and realize but no one knows where or why a plane full of people just disappeared. They have assumed it went into the water, they have assumed it was hi-jacked to land. They have assumed it was a terrorist act, and have assumed it could have been a mechanical failure. We have no more info then when the plane disappeared. My heart goes out to the families that wait, and hope, and feel like the investigation wasn't really started with concern.

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2 replies
wlesassier Becky April 14 2014 at 12:46 PM

perfectly stated

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AREK Becky April 14 2014 at 12:48 PM

They just simply do NOT have any CLUE! Technolgy Experts are just jerks...Another story for HP to publish for next month.

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Leonid April 14 2014 at 12:27 PM

Pick up a signal from cell phone 200 miles away? I cannot get signal around my house some time. It has to be much closer then 200 miles.

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sakwyc April 14 2014 at 12:19 PM

Wait. They have passengers using stolen passports, but their investigation centers around the pilots and crew?

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3 replies
{A-BEARS} April 14 2014 at 12:33 PM

please find the plane I'm getting tired of all the speculation!!! that way the news can have
something else to talk about!!!!!

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sallywieck April 14 2014 at 12:26 PM

One more "bit of news" that has "just" been discovered. How long will this circus play?

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kay April 14 2014 at 12:46 PM

So they're telling us after a month no one has checked his cell phone records? TOO much information and incorrect news stories on this, making everyone weary of hearing about it

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1 reply
nyjok46 kay April 14 2014 at 12:52 PM

I bet the NSA could help with THAT request !!!!

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