Flight MH370: Pilot’s son breaks silence, dismisses speculation

Zaharie Ahmad Shah, one of the pilots on the ill-fated Malaysia Boeing 777 Airlines flight bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpar which disappeared without trace over a week ago. AP Photo
TORONTO – The youngest son of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 pilot Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah has broken his silence and dismissed allegations that his father deliberately crashed the plane into the Indian Ocean.

“I’ve read everything online. But I’ve ignored all the speculation. I know my father better,” said Ahmad Seth in an interview with the New Strait Times. “We may not be as close as he travels so much. But I understand him.”

READ MORE: Thai satellite spots 300 objects in Indian Ocean

Shah is the first member of the pilot’s family to speak to media since the aircraft disappeared on March 8.

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He said he has been reading up on the numerous speculations surrounding the flight and his father and said he was “the strongest in his family in dealing with the crisis,” but did not elaborate on how his other family members were coping.

Zaharie Ahmad Shah is pictured here in a family photo posted by a member of his family. AP Photo/Handout

On Monday, Malaysia’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said there were no survivors and that the aircraft had plunged into the Indian Ocean.

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Shah’s 26-year-old son said that while he expected to hear that outcome, he and his family were “still clinging on to a glimmer of hope.”

“Now, we are just waiting for the right confirmation (for the wreckage or bodies),” he said. “I will believe it (that there are no survivors) when I see the proof in front of my eyes.”

Zaharie Ahmad Shah, one of the pilots on the ill-fated Malaysia Boeing 777 Airlines flight bound for Beijing from Kuala Lumpar which disappeared without trace over two weeks ago. AP Photo

 Malaysian authorities have reportedly not ruled out any possible explanation for what happened to the jet and have previously said they are considering all possibilities including terrorism, sabotage, catastrophic mechanical failure or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or someone else on board.

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On Wednesday, a law enforcement official involved in the investigation told USA TODAY that  investigators now believe that Capt. Shah was solely responsibly for the flight being taken hundreds of miles off course and “there is no evidence of a mechanical failure or hijacking by a passenger.”

The official also said that investigators have found no connection between Shah, 53, and any militant groups, and that the 27-year-old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid on the flight “did not have the experience to manage such a diversion.”

READ MORE:  FBI analyzing flight simulator data in Malaysia

Capt. Shah is said to have been left distraught by his wife’s decision to move out of the family home in an upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb, according to a friend of the pilot.

“He’s one of the finest pilots around and I’m no medical expert, but with all that was happening in his life Zaharie was probably in no state of mind to be flying,” he told the NZ Herald on the condition of anonymity.

A friend of Shah’s 27-year-old daughter has previously told media that what international media has been writing about the pilot is not true.

“He’s a nice man and loving father to his children,” she said. “What has been reported in the news by the international media …very frustrating.

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“They (are) waiting to blame the pilot. Speculation like this is killing the family.”

On Wednesday, FBI Director James Comey told members of Congress that his investigators’ analysis of electronics owned by the pilot and co-pilot should finish in a day or two, work that includes trying to recover files deleted from a home flight simulator used by Capt. Shah.

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

On Thursday, a Thai satellite detected about 300 objects of various sizes in the southern Indian Ocean in the search zone for the missing jet.

Thailand’s space technology agency said the images were captured Monday and relayed Wednesday to Malaysian authorities.

The agency said the objects were about 200 kilometres from the area off Perth, Australia, where a French satellite spotted 122 objects on Sunday.

It remains uncertain whether the objects are from Flight 370, which vanished more than two weeks ago with 239 people aboard, including two Canadians.

Bad weather has scrubbed Thursday’s air and sea search.

With files from The Associated Press

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