Malaysia refuses to confirm report of call from missing plane

Malaysia refuses to confirm report of call from missing plane

Malaysia refuses to confirm report of call from missing plane

Amid reports that the co-pilot of missing Malaysian plane made a desperate call from his mobile phone moments before the jet went off the radar, Malaysia today said it cannot be confirmed unless the information can be verified by the authorities.

"Unless we can have verifications, we can't comment on these reports," Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters here.

He said the authorities have received several reports and leads, including from local and foreign media organisations, but when probed, they turned out to be baseless.

When asked if any calls had been made from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 cockpit, he said: "As far as I know, no."

However, he said that he did not want to speculate on "the realm of the police and other international agencies" investigating the case.

"I do not want to disrupt the investigations that are being done now not only by the Malaysian police but the FBI, MI6, Chinese intelligence and other intelligence agencies."

The New Straits Times, citing sources, yesterday reported that co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid made a desperate call which ended abruptly, possibly "because the aircraft was fast moving away from the (telecommunications) tower".

The call was made as the jet was flying low near Penang island on Malaysia's west coast, the morning it went missing.

The Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 - carrying 239 people, including five Indians, an Indo-Canadian and 154 Chinese nationals - had mysteriously vanished on March 8 after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.

Fariq and Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah have come under intense scrutiny after the plane mysteriously vanished.

Investigators last month indicated that the flight was deliberately diverted and its communication systems manually switched off as it was leaving Malaysian airspace.

The probe into the missing plane have been focused on four possible areas - hijack, sabotage, as well as personal and psychological problems.

The FBI has been assisting police, including sharing intelligence and expertise.

Police have not cleared the 227 passengers of the flight MH370 of possible foul play. Clearance has also not been given to the crew.

Local media reports today said police are investigating a company involved in the cleaning of flight MH370 cabin before it departed from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).

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