Relatives of missing passengers from Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stormed the press conference of Defense Minister and acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein demanding answers that authorities are still unable to give. One upset woman was surrounded by reporters as she was dragged out crying and screaming.
Hishammuddin released one new thing at the press conference, that some information had been deleted from a flight simulator discovered in the home of pilot Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, but it's unclear how that might have anything to do with the investigation.
Officials had seized the flight simulator from the pilot's home yesterday, hoping that the home-made contraption would lead to clues. The presence of such a home-made device, however, shouldn't by itself raise any red flags, per CNN:
For many in the airline industry, however, the fact that Captain Zaharie had an off-the-shelf -- albeit elaborate -- flight simulator at home is nothing out of the ordinary."Realistically speaking, having a simulator means absolutely nothing," Julian D'Arcy, the flight operations and training manager at Pacific Simulators, told CNN. "The only reason I can see that the simulator is under investigation is just to see if he happened to fly that route on his simulator history which might point to where it is."
D'Arcy added that it's not unusual for pilots to use flight simulators at home to hone their skills or indulge a passion for flight. Indeed, Shah had posted a video of himself discussing the device on a flight simulator forum, calling attention to its features and adding that he was "looking for buddies to share his passion."
Hussein warned the press not to jump to conclusions about the pilot of the still-missing flight, adding that investigators are trying to retrieve the files. He also said that Malaysia has received the conclusions of passenger background checks from every country except for Ukraine and Russia, and that none of these have pointed to anything suspicious. That leaves just three passengers unaccounted for.
The official further reported that accounts from Maldives residents, who claimed to have spotted a large plane flying over the remote southern island of Kuda Huvadhoo, were probably not accurate. He said, "I can confirm that the Malaysian Chief of the Defense Force has contacted his counterpart in the Maldives, who has confirmed that these reports are not true." Hussein also said that Malaysia has received some additional data from foreign radar systems, but that "we are not at liberty to release information from other countries."
Some new slivers of information on the missing flight emerged yesterday and today. U.S. sources claimed that someone aboard the plane reprogrammed the flight on the on-board Flight Management System, instructing it to follow an altered path at least 12 minutes before someone, believed to be the co-pilot, sent a final message to ground control. And a source close to the investigation told Reuters that the plane most likely crashed somewhere in the southern Indian Ocean. Still, the details on the case are far outweighed by what we don't know about. The search parameters have grown since the hunt began last Saturday, and now span a region of nearly 3 million square miles — roughly the size of the Australian continent.
However, it's hard to pin down the size of the area search as individual countries continue to alter tactics, frustrated by a lack of results.