MH370's Captain Ran Simulations of Remote Airstrip Landings Days Before Takeoff
Zaharie Shah, the captain of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 that vanished on March 8, was at home practicing takeoff and landings in remote locations before he piloted the plane. Some of the locations Shah used as targets included airstrips in the southern Indian Ocean.
Shah is now the “chief suspect” in Malaysia's official police investigation, according to The Sunday Times. The police interviewed more than 170 people and finished intelligence checks on every person on board; the only suspicious person, and the only person without any future social or career plans, was Shah.
The files on Shah’s computer revealing his simulator data were recovered by the police despite being deleted before police arrived.
Details of the investigation’s results have only been shared with foreign governments and their investigators. Malaysian police stated, “The police investigation is still ongoing. To date no conclusions can be made as to the contributor to the incident, and it would be sub judice [a legal term referring to not commenting on ongoing cases] to say so. Nevertheless, the police are still looking into all possible angles.”
Shah was alleged to be a “fanatical” and “obsessive” supporter of Anwar Ibrahim, Malaysia’s opposition leader who was jailed for homosexuality a few hours before the plane disappeared. Only hours before the flight took off, Shah, 53, was at a trial in which Ibrahim was jailed for five years. Police assert that Shah was a vocal supporter of Ibrahim, and they surmise that Ibrahim’s imprisonment left Shah deeply disturbed. The plane left seven hours later.
Shah’s family has described his instability the few weeks before the flight and also denied rumors that he had recently separated from his wife and family.