MH370 MH370 co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid had attempted to make a phone call as his aircraft flew low over Penang, a news report claimed.
According to anonymous sources quoted by The New Straits Times today, criminal investigators found that his phone had been connected to a telecommunications sub-station in the state, before ending abruptly.
“The telco’s tower established the call that he was trying to make. On why the call was cut off, it was likely because the aircraft was fast moving away from the tower and had not come under the coverage of the next one,” the report quoted the source as saying.
The source reportedly refused to divulge details, such as who Fariq was trying to contact on March 8 the morning, when the plane was mysteriously and deliberately diverted off its original Beijing-bound course towards the Indian Ocean.
Phone switched on
The report also quoted a second set of sources supposedly close to the investigations saying that Fariq’s phone was disconnected from the telco’s network just before the plane took off.
According to this source, the phone reconnected to the network somewhere between Waypoint Igari, off the coast of Terengganu, where air traffic controllers lost contact with the aircraft, and a location near Penang.
However, he says this does not necessarily mean that a call was made, but only that the phone was switched on.
Malaysiakini has contacted inspector-general of police Khalid Abu Bakar on the veracity of this morning’s report and is awaiting a response.
The report names the co-pilot ( above ) as ‘Fariq Abdul Rahman’, instead of Fariq Abdul Hamid. It also mentioned the aircraft’s model as a Boeing 777-22ER - the missing aircraft is a Boeing 777-200ER.
Meanwhile when asked at a press conference today, Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein declined to comment on the alleged phone call, saying curtly, "You have to ask NST 's comments about that."
At a function in Kluang later today, he casted doubt on the report.
“I can’t comment (on the report) because if it were true, we would have known earlier on,” Bernama quoted him as saying.
Separately, the AFP said the Ministry of Transport was examining NST’s report and will issue a response.