MH370: We didn't know he made a call, says pilot's brother

MH370: We didn't know he made a call, says pilot's brother
MH370 co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, who joined Malaysia Airlines seven years ago.

KUALA LUMPUR - Brother to missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 the first officer Fariq Abdul Hamid said he did not know about the phone call made by his sibling when it flew over Penang the night it disappeared.

Afiq Abdul Hamid, 20, said the last time he spoke to his brother was a week before the incident, adding that he did not know who Fariq could have been trying to contact and added that none of his family members were told of it by the authorities.

Afiq said the the revelation came as a surprise to him and his family.

The chemical engineering student at Universiti Teknologi Petronas said he understood the police were still carrying out investigations and could not reveal anything just yet as it might jeopardise investigations.

On Friday, the NST traced the source of a call made on board MH370 to Fariq's phone.

It was learnt that investigators had been poring over this discovery as they try to piece together what had happened moments before the Boeing 777-22ER twinjet went off the radar, some 200 nautical miles (320km) northwest of Penang, on March 8.

Sources say the aircraft with 239 people on board was flying at an altitude low enough for the nearest telecommunications tower to pick up Fariq's phone signal.

His call, however, ended abruptly, but not before contact was established with a telecommunications sub-station in the state.

However, the NST was unable to determine who Fariq was trying to call as sources chose not to divulge details of the investigation. The links that police were trying to establish were also unclear.

"The telco's (telecommunications company's) tower established the call that he was trying to make. On why the call was cut off, it was likely because the aircraft was fast moving away from the tower and had not come under the coverage of the next one," the sources had said.

It was also established that Fariq's last communication through the WhatsApp Messenger application was about 11.30pm on March 7, just before he boarded the aircraft for his six-hour flight to Beijing.

The NST was also told that checks on Fariq's phone history showed that the last person he spoke to was "one of his regular contacts (a number that frequently appears on his outgoing phone logs)".

This call was made no more than two hours before the flight took off at 12.41am from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

A different set of sources close to the investigations told the NST that checks on Fariq's phone showed that connection to the phone had been "detached" before the plane took off.

"This is usually the result of the phone being switched off. At one point, however, when the airplane was airborne, between waypoint Igari and the spot near Penang (just before it went missing from radar), the line was 'reattached'."

In Sintok, police were investigating the company involved in the cleaning of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370's cabin before it departed from KLIA to Beijing, China, on March 8.

Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar said police were looking into all angles, including loopholes, during the cleaning.

"We are looking at every possibility and investigation is on-going," he said yesterday.

On Friday, Khalid had said police were also investigating a catering company in charge of the preparation of food on board MH370 to ascertain if the dishes had been poisoned.

Khalid was reported as saying that police had to re-look at certain points in the probe to shed more light into the tragedy.

Purchase this article for republication.



Your daily good stuff - AsiaOne stories delivered straight to your inbox
By signing up, you agree to our Privacy policy and Terms and Conditions.