The sister of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah spoke out for the first time in a new TV documentary. During the interview, she defended her brother and said there is no chance that he is responsible for the plane’s baffling disappearance.
The Malaysia Airlines Flight vanished on March 8 and not a trace of the Boeing 777-200 has turned up since, despite a multi-million dollar, multinational search effort that is scheduled to resume in August.
The pilot was recently named by Malaysia police sources in the media as the chief suspect in the Flight MH370 disappearance. Malaysian officials have denied the report, but investigators say that the plane appears to have been deliberately diverted from its Kuala Lumpur to Beijing course.
The investigators also say that someone shut off the plane’s communication systems in an apparent effort to mask its location as it flew thousands of miles off course.
Not only is the pilot the most likely person to have tampered with the Malaysia Airlines plane’s communications systems, his voice was confirmed to be the final voice heard in air-to-ground transmissions. The confirmation was made by Shah’s own wife.
But in the documentary The Mystery of MH370 on the network Channel NewsAsia, the pilot’s sister, Sakinab Ahmad Shah, denied that her brother could have had anything to do with somehow hijacking Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 — the plane that he was flying.
“If it was done, if he was the one who planned it, he has to be some kind of Einstein, which he was not,” Sakinab Shah told the documentary filmmakers. “We couldn’t figure out why somebody who would want to commit suicide would prolong the agony of flying for four, five, six hours just to land down there.”
Investigators believe that the Malaysia Airlines flight continued flying for several hours after turning inexplicably off course, finally ditching in the Indian Ocean when it ran out of fuel and went into a death spiral.
An Egypt Air plane crash off the United States East Coast in 1999 was blamed on the suicide of the co-pilot, but in that case, the co-pilot — who was left alone in the cabin — deliberately pointed the plane straight down and plunged the plane into the ocean.
As many as eight aviation crashes have been attributed to pilot suicide in the past decade.
But Sakinab Shah says that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 was not a victim of a suicide attempt by her brother.
“He was just a man who took so much to aviation. He loved aviation, he spent a lot of his funds buying model airplanes,” she told Channel NewsAsia. “If he could, I think he would attach wings to himself and fly — he loved flying that much.”
The new documentary on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, which was carrying 239 passengers and crew when it vanished, aired Sunday on the Singapore-based channel.