Flight MH370: FBI analyzing flight simulator data in Malaysia

WATCH: Pilot under scrutiny over deleted data from flight simulator. Susan McGinnis has the story.


The Malaysian government is seeking help from the FBI after some flight data was reportedly deleted from the home flight simulator of the pilot of the missing Malaysian plane.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity to the Associated Press and reportedly said that the FBI has been provided electronic data to analyze.

Malaysia’s defence minister says investigators are trying to restore files deleted Feb. 3 from the simulator used by the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

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Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people aboard disappeared March 8 on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

Files recently deleted from flight simulator of pilot

Malaysia’s defence minister says the pilot of the missing Malaysian plane is innocent until proven guilty.

But, in the meantime, investigators are trying to restore files deleted from his in-home flight simulator.

READ MORE: Flight MH370: Thai Air Force says radar signal may have been missing plane

Deleting files would not necessarily represent anything unusual, especially if it were to free up memory space, but investigators would want to check the files for any signs of unusual flight paths that could help explain where the missing plane went.

‘Not ruling out any explanations’

Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanations, but have said the evidence so far suggests the flight was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca.

They are unsure what happened next.

MORE: Flight MH370: What if missing plane is never found?

Investigators have identified two giant arcs of territory spanning the possible positions of the plane about 7 1/2 hours after takeoff, based on its last faint signal to a satellite. The arcs stretch up as far as Kazakhstan in central Asia and down deep into the southern Indian Ocean.

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VIDEO: Malaysia Airlines search expands again

Police are considering the possibility of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board, and have asked for background checks from abroad on all foreign passengers.

No trace of plane despite massive search

Aircraft from Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand on Wednesday scoured a search area stretching across 305,000 square kilometres of the Indian Ocean, about 2,600 kilometres southwest of Perth, on Australia’s west coast. Merchant ships were also asked to look for any trace of the plane.

Nothing has been found, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority said.

READ MORE: Flight MH370: Why do airplane transponders have an ‘off switch?’

China has said it was reviewing radar data and deployed 21 satellites to search the northern corridor of the search area stretching as far as Kazakhstan, although it is considered less likely that the plane could have taken that route without being detected.

Those searches so far have turned up no trace of the plane, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said Wednesday.

Thai Air Force says radar signal may have been missing plane

Thailand’s military says its radar detected a plane that may have been Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 just minutes after the missing jetliner’s communications went down.

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A Thai air force spokesman says the plane followed a twisting flight path to the Strait of Malacca, which is where Malaysian radar tracked it early on March 8th.

He says the air force didn’t share the information before because it wasn’t specifically asked for it.

WATCH: Aviation expert wonders how missing Malaysia airlines plane could have evaded radar

No terror links found during background checks

According to officials, background checks  for all the foreigners except those from Ukraine and Russia – have been received, and none of the checks  turned up anything suspicious.

READ MOREFlight MH370: What we know about the missing pilots of Malaysia Airlines jet

Relatives of passengers demand answers

Frustrated Chinese families of passengers from missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 said on Wednesday they will set up a “self-help” committee, urging the Malaysian government to send representatives to Beijing to brief them.

A Chinese relative of a passenger aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane is carried out by security officials as she protests before a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, Wednesday, March 19, 2014.
A Chinese relative of a passenger aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane is carried out by security officials as she protests before a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, Wednesday, March 19, 2014. AP Photo/Vincent Thian

The development comes after daily meetings between the airline and relatives in Beijing have left families frustrated at the lack of new information.

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READ MORE: Anger, heartbreak as families of missing jet passengers demand answers

“We want Malaysia to send government representatives to attend the meeting with families,” said Mr Wen, the father of one of the missing passengers.

VIDEO: Hundreds gather in vigil for victims for missing Malaysian jet passengers

“Only the government can answer our questions about where the plane is and where our families are,” he added.

Plane’s off-flight path reportedly diverted through computer system

The missing plane was diverted from its path not by autopilot, but by a computer system on the plane.

The turn that diverted the missing jet off of its scheduled route to Beijing was programmed into a computer system on board, the New York Times reported Monday.

“The fact that the turn away from Beijing was programmed into the computer has reinforced the belief of investigators — first voiced by Malaysian officials — that the plane was deliberately diverted and that foul play was involved,” said theTimes. “It is not clear whether the plane’s path was reprogrammed before or after it took off.”

– with files from The Associated Press

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