Shortly before Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 mysteriously disappeared in 2014 when en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, the jet’s co-pilot may have tried to use his phone mid-flight, the Australian newspaper cited a leaked secret report as suggesting.
The report claimed that a telecommunications tower at Bandar Baru Farlim Penang in Malaysia tracked a mobile number registered to Fariq Abdul Hamid just minutes before the Boeing 777 disappeared from radars.
Mike Keane, a former chief pilot of Britain's largest airline, Easyjet, was quoted as saying that the report confirms the theory that flight MH370’s Captain Zaharie Shah forcefully took control of the aircraft before plunging it into the sea with 239 people on board.
According to Keane, Shah may have told Fariq to go to the cabin before he locked the cockpit and depressurised the aircraft.
“The first officer would have been skilled in responding to depressurisation due to regular training. If Fariq had his mobile phone with him, he would have grabbed an oxygen bottle before taking his phone off flight mode or switching it on”, Keane suggested.
The hypoxia case, which remains the current official theory of the Malaysian government and the Australian Transport Safety Bureau, claims that Shah was unconscious at the end of the journey as the plane continued on autopilot over the Indian Ocean before running out of fuel and crashing.
The theory points to Shah as a possible culprit who was allegedly unhappy due to marital issues and deliberately took the airliner off course to elope with his mistress and start a new life, but to no avail.
The pilot’s family and friends vehemently rejected such claims as groundless, saying that Shah “loved life”, had a flawless flying record and would never deliberately crash the plane.