The mystery of the Malaysian Airlines co-pilot and his final message

Published: March 17, 2014

Fariq Abdul Hamid, the first officer of Flight MH370, poses with a female guest during a flight in 2011.  A Current Affair/ NineMSN , Dailymail.co.uk

JONATHAN PEARLMAN
THE DAILY TELEGRAPH

The co-pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has been identified as the last person to communicate from the cockpit, apparently after the communications system was shut off.

Clarification that the voice was most likely that of First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid came as Malaysian officials hit back at “irresponsible” suggestions that they had misled the public – and passenger’s relatives – over what happened to Flight MH370.

As land, air and sea searches fanned out across two vast corridors totalling 30 million square miles and reaching from Uzbekistan to Australia, Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah and his co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid have become a primary focus of the investigation, with one of the key questions being who was in control of the aircraft when it veered off course about an hour into its flight to Beijing with 239 passengers and crew on board.

The cause of the plane’s unusual change of course and subsequent silent flight for up to eight hours turns on the crucial minutes around 1.19am, when Hamid gave his final nonchalant message: “All right, good night”.

Two minutes later – and 40 minutes after take-off – the plane disappeared from the screens of air traffic controllers.

Adding to speculation that the flight was hijacked, media reports in Malaysia said the Boeing 777 flew as low as 5,000 feet and used “terrain masking” to avoid radar detection for almost eight hours after it was apparently seized.

Using a manoeuvre typically deployed by combat aircraft, the plane dropped altitude to avoid commercial radars but would have burnt far more fuel flying in the denser lower air, according to Malaysia’s New Straits Times, a newspaper with close connections to the government.

The Malaysian authorities insisted the report was unconfirmed and it was not aware whether the plane was flying low.

Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, was the oldest of four children from a well-to-do family in Kuala Lumpur. His father is a senior civil servant who is a devout attendee of the nearby Surau Al Mawaddah mosque.

Hamid had plans to marry his girlfriend, Nadira Ramli, 26, a pilot with the budget airline AirAsia and the daughter of another Malaysia Airlines pilot. The couple studied at the same pilot school.

He appears to have been heavily focussed on his cars – a new BMW and a four-year-old Audi – and his high-flying job.

Last week it emerged that in 2011 he invited two blonde South African tourists into the cockpit for a flight.

A neighbour of the Hamid family, a taxi driver, told The Daily Telegraph last night: “I don’t think Fariq can hijack the plane. He loves cars so much just like I do… I didn’t see anything strange happening in his family, for example before the plane went missing,”

Authorities in Malaysia still believe the communications system was disabled prior to Hamid’s final message but appeared to throw their finding into doubt yesterday when they confirmed that the system could have been disabled at any time between its last regular signal at 1.07am and 1.37am, when it failed to emit its next scheduled update.

The aircraft’s final hourly satellite ping was received at 8.11am and it had enough fuel to fly for a further 30 minutes, according to Malaysia Airlines.

“We don’t know when the ACARS [Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System] system was switched off,” said Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, the head of Malaysia Airlines.

But the admission seemed to refute the claim on Sunday by Hishammuddin Hussein, the defence minister, who had said the system was disabled at 1.07am. Asked to clarify, Mr Hussein said: “What I said yesterday was based on fact, corroborated and verified.”

Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the 53-year-old veteran pilot and father of three has been described by a former fellow pilot as “always smiling and very cheerful”.

He was known to support Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s opposition leader, and yesterday Mr Anwar denied any strong link to Zaharie, telling the South China Morning Post that he had only seen the pilot at party meetings. He added that Chinese complaints about the handling of the search were “absolutely justified.”

Related stories:

 

The Daily Telegraph
172012 GMT Mar14

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,





Featured

india flag2

Sporting fans disappointed as Indian flag depicted upside down in Commonwealth Games promotional video

VANCOUVER DESI India is already making headlines as the Commonwealth Games officially kick off in Glasgow – but not for sporting-related reasons. In an official…
Continue Reading »

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

INDIA_RAPE_PROTEST_217126232

Angry villagers mob alleged suspects after another girl found hanging from tree in India

KOUSHIK DUTTA HINDUSTAN TIMES A 7-year-old girl was found raped, murdered and hanging from a tree in West Bengal on Thursday, resurfacing horrific memories from…
Continue Reading »

LOCAL NEWS

CABS1

Heaving, hurling taxi patrons will now be charged a $75 cleanup fine

THE CANADIAN PRESS If you’re feeling queasy, step away from the cab. That’s the advice from taxi drivers across British Columbia after the province’s Passenger…
Continue Reading »

Homicide investigators are on scene at a stabbing in Surrey.

Homicide investigators on scene of stabbing in Surrey

VANCOUVER DESI A man is dead following an early morning stabbing in Surrey. Surrey RCMP were called to the 10600-block 135A Street in Whalley shortly…
Continue Reading »

Vancouver restaurateur Vikram Vij poses with Barinder Rasode at his new South Surrey restaurant My Shanti at an event Thursday night. Submitted photo.

Will Vikram Vij’s ‘support’ be enough to push Barinder Rasode into Surrey mayoralty ring?

LARISSA CAHUTE VANCOUVER DESI Still yet to officially announce a bid for mayor this fall, Surrey city councillor Barinder Rasode had an endorsement party of…
Continue Reading »

Don't Miss...

child abuse

Indian kidnappers agree to handover boy to parents on condition of swapping him for his sister

CEN AGENCY In a bizarre demand, parents of an Indian boy who has been kidnapped, were told that they could have youngster back if they…
Continue Reading »

232-teeth tumour gum

Indian teen boy gets 232 teeth removed from “very rare” tumour in his jaw

VANCOUVER DESI A 17-year-old boy in India underwent a seven-hour long operation on Monday to have a whopping 232 teeth removed from a “very rare”…
Continue Reading »

basketball

Indian minister criticizes ‘no-headgear’ rule after Sikh basketball players told to remove turbans during Asia Cup

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS NEW DELHI — India’s sports minister has criticized the ‘no-headgear’ rule of basketball’s world body FIBA after two Sikh players on the…
Continue Reading »

Greece

Tipsy British tourist asked to leave church after mistaking it for a disco

CEN AGENCY A tipsy British tourist had to be asked to leave a church in Crete where he started dancing after local kids told him…
Continue Reading »

Surrey-weight lifter-Commonwealth Games-Glasgow

Surrey weightlifter Parm Phangura bound for Commonwealth Games

MICHAEL BOOTH SURREY NOW FLEETWOOD — 163+205=368. That stark equation scrawled in the top corner of a chalkboard means little to a casual observer, but…
Continue Reading »


Bollywood Latest

Priyanka Chopra

Priyanka Chopra fought with professional boxers while shooting Mary Kom

IANS Mumbai  – Actress Priyanka Chopra fought with real boxers in Mary Kom, a biopic on the five time World Champion boxer. She says it…
Continue Reading »

Bollywood

Akshay Kumar to host dance reality show Dare 2 Dance

IANS Gurgaon  – Bollywood action hero Akshay Kumar, who has played host of TV adventure reality series Fear Factor: Khatron Ke Khiladi in the past,…
Continue Reading »

INDIA-ARTS-CINEMA-BOLLYWOOD

What stunt scared Jacqueline Fernandez the most while filming Kick?

IANS Mumbai — Superstar Salman Khan has done a lot of action and stunts in Kick and the film’s leading lady Jacqueline Fernandez says that…
Continue Reading »