A Malaysia airlines plane is being pulled at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang.
A Malaysia airlines plane is being pulled at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang. EPA - Ahmad Yusni

FBI to recover deleted data on pilot’s home flight simulator

MALAYSIA has asked the FBI to try to restore data deleted from the flight simulator found in the home of the pilot of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet.

Officials hope that if data can be recovered it may help pry open the mystery surrounding Flight MH370.

Twelve days after the Boeing 777 and its 239 passengers and crew disappeared without trace, Malaysia's Transport Minister also said additional efforts were being made to search one of two air corridors possibly flown by the plane after it disappeared from civilian radar.

Hishammuddin Hussein said it was important that the pilot, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 57, the other members of the crew and the passengers should be considered innocent until something was found to the contrary. He also stressed that Mr Zaharie's family were co-operating with police.

"Local and international expertise has been recruited to examine the pilot's flight simulator," Mr Hussein told reporters. "Some data had been deleted from the simulator and forensic work to retrieve this data is on-going."

The data was deleted on 3 February, a full five weeks before the flight disappeared. Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said: "The experts are looking at what are the logs, what has been cleared."

The FBI's involvement was confirmed by officials in Washington. One unidentified US official told the Associated Press that the bureau had already been provided the electronic data to analyse.

But other pilots said there was nothing suspicious about deleting data from such a simulator and likened it to getting rid of unwanted files from a computer.

Amin Said, who runs a commercial fight simulator in Kuala Lumpur and who recreated Flight MH370's path for The Independent earlier this week, said such a move was usual. "It takes a bit of memory," he said. "Sometimes it would just conflict."

Mr Hussein said that while Malaysia was still co-ordinating the search, other countries were increasingly taking responsibility in their own territory, and in other sectors. He said Australia and Indonesia were leading the search of the southern Indian ocean.

He said some countries, but not all, had provided radar information and that he was hoping others would assist.
Flight MH370 disappeared on 8 March on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

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

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