Pilot's hobby: Capt Zaharie pictured with the flight simulator at his residence.
SEPANG: The authorities will search the home of the pilot of the missing Flight MH370 if it is necessary to do so, said Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein.
The Acting Transport Minister said the search could not be ruled out in efforts to gather as much information as possible about the missing aircraft.
“If the investigation leads us to that direction (the need to search the house) and it is within the law, we will do it,” he said during yesterday’s media conference on the multinational search for the missing jet.
He was responding to a question on the pilot Capt Zaharie Ahmad Shah, who had posted several photos of him with a Boeing 777-200ER flight simulator at his home, on his Facebook page.
Asked why police had not searched the home of the pilot and whether he was a suspect, Hishammuddin said the “whole passenger” manifest was being examined.
Hishammuddin said investigators were also looking at several possibilities as to why the plane’s transponder and the Aircraft Communication Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) did not transmit any data after 1.07am on Saturday.
“We are trying to find out whether they were shut down intentionally, shut down under duress or if an explosion occurred.
“We are looking at various possibilities, thus that is why I refuse to speculate,” he said.
Police sources confirmed that an investigation on pilots was mandatory in any incident involving aircraft in addition to crew members and passengers.
The profiles of crew members and passengers are usually being scrutinised to check if they are linked to radical groups or if they are frequent travellers to specific destinations associated with terrorism cells.
The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar has been quoted as saying that police were looking at four areas in the probe – hijacking, sabotage, psychological or financial problems involving the crew and passengers.
Malaysia Airlines’ (MAS) chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said there was nothing wrong with pilots having flight simulators at their homes.
“It is normal. Everyone is free to have their own hobbies,” he said, adding that a few pilots of the national carrier owned simulators.