Malaysia police probe flight engineer on missing plane

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Malaysia police probe flight engineer on missing plane
A Chinese relative (C) of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reacts as he attends a meeting at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 21, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris.. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
A man stands in front of a billboard in support of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as Chinese relatives of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have a meeting at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 23, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris.. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
A Chinese relative (C) of passengers on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reacts as he attends a meeting at the Metro Park Hotel in Beijing on April 21, 2014. The hunt for physical evidence that the Malaysia Airlines jet crashed in the Indian Ocean more than three weeks ago has turned up nothing, despite a massive operation involving seven countries and repeated sightings of suspected debris.. AFP PHOTO / WANG ZHAO (Photo credit should read WANG ZHAO/AFP/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 18: A relative of a passenger onboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 answers media questions at the Lido Hotel on March 18, 2014 in Beijing, China. The search area for Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 has increased again to include both land and water from Kazakhstan to the southern Indian Ocean following reports the airliner flew for seven hours after last contact. The missing aircraft disappeared one week ago carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew on route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. All passengers and crew are currently under investigation and 22 countries are involved in the search. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
BEIJING, CHINA - MARCH 16: A family member of a passenger from the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 reacts during a phone call at Lido Hotel on March 16, 2014 in Beijing, China. During the press conference the Prime Minister said that investigators had discovered evidence from satellite and radar systems indicating that the communication systems of the aircraft had been intentionally disabled. The search for the plane in the South China Sea has now been abandoned with the focus switching to two flight corridors, the first stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand and a second stretching from Indonesia to the South Indian Ocean. The missing aircraft was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew. (Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images)
Students light candles as they hold placards in solidarity with families of the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane during a candle light vigil at the university belt in Manila on March 13, 2014. Malaysia said on March 13 that satellite images of suspected debris from a missing jet were yet another false lead, and debunked a report the plane had flown on for hours after losing contact -- leaving the nearly week-old mystery no closer to being solved. AFP PHOTO/TED ALJIBE (Photo credit should read TED ALJIBE/AFP/Getty Images)
Visitors write on a banner carrying messages for the passengers of missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur on March 16, 2014. Investigators probing the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines MH370 piloted an identical Boeing 777-200 on the missing plane's suspected flight path, in a re-enactment confirming their belief that it banked west, a senior Malaysian military official said on March 16. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH: MALAYSIA-CHINA-VIETNAM-MALAYSIAAIRLINES-TRANSPORT-ACCIDENT,FOCUS BY SHANNON TEOH This picture taken on March 15, 2014 shows crew members preparing on a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a search and rescue (SAR) operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane over the Strait of Malacca in Subang. The disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet is a potential disaster for a national flag carrier already struggling to cauterise severe financial hemorrhaging in the face of intensifying industry competition, raising the spectre of costly lawsuits and a drop in bookinngs. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH: MALAYSIA-CHINA-VIETNAM-MALAYSIAAIRLINES-TRANSPORT-ACCIDENT,FOCUS BY SHANNON TEOH This picture taken on March 15, 2014 shows crew members talking to each others onboard a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft working during a search and rescue (SAR) operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane over the Strait of Malacca. The disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet is a potential disaster for a national flag carrier already struggling to cauterise severe financial hemorrhaging in the face of intensifying industry competition, raising the spectre of costly lawsuits and a drop in bookinngs. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
In this picture taken on March 14, 2014, Subramaniam Gurusamy, 60, shows a portrait of his son Puspanathan who was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight at his home in Teluk Panglima Garang, outside Kuala Lumpur. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that Malaysia was ending a search in the South China Sea for a vanished jetliner after investigations indicated the missing plane likely turned far to the west. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
An Indonesian student writes a message expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 in Medan, North Sumatra, on March 15, 2014. Investigators now believe the Malaysian jet that vanished was commandeered by a 'skilled, competent' flyer who piloted the plane for hours, a senior Malaysian military official said, as Prime Minister Najib Razak addresses the nation. AFP PHOTO/ ATAR (Photo credit should read ATAR/AFP/Getty Images)
A ground worker carries out maintenance works on a Vietnam Air Force's Russian-made AN-26 aircraft that was used along with other types of aircrafts at finding the missing Malaysia Airlines plane at Tan Son Nhat airport in Ho Chi Minh city on March 15, 2014. A Malaysian jet that vanished a week ago appears to have changed course and continued flying for hours, a senior Malaysian military official said, citing radar data indicating a 'skilled, competent' pilot was at the controls. AFP PHOTO/HOANG DINH NAM (Photo credit should read HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images)
Crew members from the Royal Malaysian Air Force install live jackets onboard a Malaysian Air Force CN235 aircraft during a search and rescue (SAR) operation to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane over the Strait of Malacca on March 14, 2014. Malaysia confirmed on March 14 that the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane had been expanded into the Indian Ocean, but declined to comment on US reports that the jet had flown for hours after going missing. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
Putrajaya, Malaysia. 9th Mar, 2014. A Malaysian Muslim man prays at a mosque during a mass prayer gathering for the Malaysian Airlines missing plane, MH370 in Putrjaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 9, 2014. Military radar indicates that the missing Boeing 777 jet of Malaysia Airlines may have turned back, Malaysia's air force chief said Sunday as scores of ships and aircraft from across Asia resumed a hunt for the plane and its 239 passengers. © Joshua Paul/NurPhoto/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. 10th Mar, 2014. Men offer prayers during a candlelight vigil for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with 239 people on board went missing early March 8, while on its way to Beijing, China. Malaysia will expand search and rescue operations to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger jet with 239 people on board, as the third day of searching yielded no results, a senior Malaysian aviation official said. © Firdaus Latif/NurPhoto/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News
Putrajaya, Malaysia. 9th Mar, 2014. A Malaysian Muslim woman prays at a mosque during a mass prayer gathering for the Malaysian Airlines missing plane, MH370 in Putrjaya, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 9, 2014. Military radar indicates that the missing Boeing 777 jet of Malaysia Airlines may have turned back, Malaysia's air force chief said Sunday as scores of ships and aircraft from across Asia resumed a hunt for the plane and its 239 passengers. © Joshua Paul/NurPhoto/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News
Security blocks journalists from the meeting with relatives of passengers from the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane and the Malaysian ambassador at the Metro Park Lido Hotel in Beijing on March 12, 2014. Malaysia's air force chief said authorities have not ruled out the possibility a missing airliner inexplicably changed course before losing contact, but denied reports the jet had been detected far from its planned flight path. AFP PHOTO/Mark RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Workers inspect a Malaysia Airlines plane on the tarmac at Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang on March 13, 2014. Planes searching an area where Chinese satellites spotted possible debris from missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have found no sign of wreckage, officials said on March 13, dimming hopes of a breakthrough in the mystery. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN (Photo credit should read MOHD RASFAN/AFP/Getty Images)
A tourist offers a prayer after writing a message expressing prayers and well-wishes for passengers onboard missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 outside a mall in Kuala Lumpur on March 13, 2014. Malaysia said on March 13 it dispatched an aircraft to investigate the site where Chinese satellites photographed three 'suspected floating objects', near an area where several nations have been hunting for wreckage from the missing passenger plane. AFP PHOTO/ MANAN VATSYAYANA (Photo credit should read MANAN VATSYAYANA/AFP/Getty Images)
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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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