A child leaves a message of support for family members and passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. REUTERS/Samsul Said
The families of passengers missing on Flight 370 for more
than 11 days are being pushed out of their Kuala Lumpur
hotel, as they wait for news of their loved ones.
Angry relatives labelled Malaysia Airlines "heartless"after
being told their rooms at a 5-star resort hotel in Cyberjaya
where they had been staying since last week were pre-booked
for the Malaysian Formula 1 Grand Prix from this weekend.
It also emerged last night that a flight simulator taken from
the home of one of the missing pilots held software for five
practice runways scattered around the Indian Ocean - where
the search is now focused.
About 15 relatives had taken up the offer by Malaysia
Airlines to travel to Kuala Lumpur to wait for news on the
missing flight, including three relatives of Auckland man
Ximin Wang. Mr Wang's family have since returned to New
The New Zealand Herald understands that relatives are
now deciding whether to go to relocated hotels yet to be
booked by the carrier.
"It is hard enough waking up every day, and now they want to
move us," said one woman. "They are really so heartless."
Hotel rooms are hard to come by in Kuala Lumpur due to the
influx of international media covering the missing plane and
people there for the race.
A support worker said it was tough for the families to be
split up because they relied heavily on each other for
Auxiliary police and guards have been seconded to watch over
the entrance of the hotel in a bid to block the media from
accessing the relatives, but one woman spoke to the Herald
briefly when she stepped outside the hotel.
She felt like a prisoner, she said, and was being monitored
all the time and being instructed not to speak to the media.
As suspicions harden that the plane was hijacked,
investigators have been examining virtual flight paths used
on a simulator built by Zaharie Ahmad Shah, one of the two
pilots on board the flight.
Malaysian news outlet Berita Harian reported that software
found included the Male International Airport in the
Maldives, three airports in India and Sri Lanka, and one
belonging to the United States military base in Diego Garcia.
All have runways of 1000m.
At the weekend investigators confirmed that the Boeing 777
was deliberately diverted during its overnight flight.
They established the jet continued flying for six hours, but
there has been no sign of it, its 227 passengers or 12 crew
The turn was programmed into the aircraft's computer
navigation system, probably by someone in the cockpit, the
New York Times reported last night.
Rather than manually operating the plane's controls, whoever
altered the path typed seven or eight keystrokes into a
computer situated between the captain and the co-pilot,
according to officials.
The computer is called the Flight Management System.
It directs the plane from point to point specified in the
flight plan submitted before a flight.
It is not clear whether the plane's path was reprogrammed
before or after it took off, the Times said.
Hijacking, sabotage, or pilot suicide have not been ruled
Backgrounds of passengers and staff associated with the
flight are being checked but the investigation is still
heavily focused on pilots Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 57, and Fariq
Abdul Hamid, 27.
Neighbours of Captain Shah yesterday remained staunchly
supportive and described him as jovial and generous.
One neighbour said he loved to cook.
"We all know he's really good at making rendang and other
Malay dishes and would share it around," she said.
"None of us believe any of the reports that he's responsible
for the plane's disappearance."
The pilot's 27-year-old daughter has just flown back from
Australia, where she now lives, to be with the family.
Security guards said the family had moved out of the house.
At least 26 countries are now assisting in the ground, sea
and aerial search for the plane.
An RNZAF P-3 Orion has also joined the search and was
yesterday concentrating on an area in the Indian Ocean, about
3000km southwest of Perth.
- Lincoln Tan of the New Zealand Herald