Missing MH370: Simulator files deleted after Feb 3, CNN reports

PETALING JAYA - US investigators found files on hard drives recovered from a simulator built by flight captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah to have been deleted after Feb 3, CNN reported.

The investigations came after the simulator, built to replicate a 777's cockpit, had been taken from Zaharie's home and reassembled at Bukit Aman.

However, Inspector General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar had said that the game logs on the simulator were deleted on Feb 3 this year - over a month before the Boeing 777 went missing.

CNN said several reasons for the deletion were suggested, such as the large size of files for flight simulation software which take up room on hard drives, adding that investigators believed that this could be the reason behind the deletion of files.

The investigators, who are working on a copy of the hard drives at the Federal Bureau of Investigation's forensics lab at Quantico, Virginia, also suggested the possibility of the files being damaged during the first examination by the Malaysian authorities.

On the deletions, CNN reported that law enforcement personnel are not drawing conclusions about the deletions after Feb 3, or the earlier deletions two days into the investigation.

It pointed out that Malaysian authorities waited six days to search the homes of both Zaharie and his co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid - enough time for someone with access to the homes to tamper with evidence.

The simulator had been made with off-the-shelf computer hardware, including an ASUS Direct CUII and Rampage IV Extreme motherboard and flat-screen monitors.

Khalid said there were three games found on Zaharie's simulator - Flight Simulator X, Flight Simulator 9 and X Flight Simulator.

MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport in the early hours of March 8 heading for Beijing. It has since disappeared with its 239 passengers and crew.