The wife of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 pilot Zaharie Shah has remained out of public view since the plane took its mysterious journey to an unknown destination on March 8. But now, two New Zealand journalists say they have scored an exclusive interview with Faizah Khanum Mustafa Khan, the pilot's wife and presumed widow
And they say she dropped a bombshell that could help clear up the mystery of the missing plane.
The two writers are Geoff Taylor, who is deputy editor of New Zealand's Waikato Times newspaper, and Ewan Wilson, a commercial pilot. They say that though no other journalists have been able to speak with Faizah, they reached her through her brother.
"In the three months-plus since the flight went down no-one in the media has been able to get close to Zaharie's widow," said Taylor.
On Sunday, reports surfaced in the media saying that the pilot, Shah, had been named as the chief suspect in the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines plane. Those reports were quickly denied and harshly condemned by Malaysian officials.
But Taylor and Wilson say that what Shah's wife told them points a finger squarely at the pilot after all.
According to the two New Zealand journalists, who are working on what they say will be the first comprehensive book about Flight MH370, Faizah told them that the final words heard from the plane by ground controllers, "Good night Malaysian three seven zero," were in fact her husband's voice.
Those words were spoken just before the ground lost contact with Flight MH370 — before the plane veered wildly from its pre-planned course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, flying instead far out over the Indian Ocean for reasons that remain utterly baffling to investigators.
The words were originally believed to have been spoken by the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid. Investigators later backtracked and said they did not know who spoke the final words.
But if the voice heard on radio by ground controllers was indeed Zaharie Shah, the authors say it points to a deliberate act by Shah to divert the plane.
"We were lucky to get confirmation from her that it was him who was at the helm," said Taylor, in his own paper, the Waikato Times. "It's a breakthrough, because that was an unknown until now. It puts Zaharie right in the mix."
The New Zealand writers say their book, Good Night Malaysian 370: The Truth Behind the Loss of Flight 370, which is set to be released in e-book form July 30, contains the "one shocking and unbelievable conclusion" that they were forced to draw from their three months of research.
That conclusion, according to the Waikato Times, is that whatever happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 disappearance "was no accident, with the finger of blame pointing squarely at the pilot."
Investigators have found deleted files on the home flight simulator owned by the Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 pilot, showing that Shah practiced flying routes well out over the Indian Ocean. But they also found numerous other simulated flights practiced by the Flight 370 pilot, with no apparent connections among any of them.