Pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah Anwar IbrahimPolice are investigating the possibility that the pilot of missing Flight MH370 hijacked his own aircraft in a bizarre political protest. The Mail on Sunday has learned that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was an ‘obsessive’ supporter of Malaysia’s opposition leader, Anwar Ibrahim. And hours before the doomed flight left Kuala Lumpur it is understood 53-year-old Shah attended a controversial trial in which Ibrahim was jailed for five years. Campaigners say the politician, the key challenger to Malaysia’s ruling party, was the victim of a long-running smear campaign and had faced trumped-up charges.
Police sources have confirmed that Shah was a vocal political activist – and fear that the court decision left him profoundly upset. It was against this background that, seven hours later, he took control of a Boeing 777-200 bound for Beijing and carrying 238 passengers and crew. Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak announced yesterday that MH370 was deliberately steered off course after its communication system was switched off. He said it headed west over the Malaysian seaboard and could have flown for another seven hours on its fuel reserves.
Ascent And Dive Point Before Take OverIt is not yet clear where the plane was taken, however Mr Razak said the most recent satellite data suggests the plane could have been making for one of two possible flight corridors. The search, involving 43 ships and 58 aircraft from 15 countries, switched from the South China Sea to the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.
US investigators say faint ‘pings’ were being transmitted for several hours after the flight lost contact with the ground. Meanwhile, military radar showed the jet climbed to 45,000ft – above its service limit – which could have been a deliberate attempt to knock out the passengers and crew. the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System was disabled just before it had reached the east coast of Malaysia. ACARS is a service that allows computers aboard the plane to relay in-flight information about the health of its systems back to the ground.Shortly afterwards, near the cross-over point between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic controllers, the plane’s transponder, which emits an identifying signal, was switched off or, less likely, failed. According to a military radar, the aircraft then turned and flew back over Malaysia before heading in a north-west direction. DM.