Last updated Saturday, October 25, 2014 04:35pm

Police have confiscated a home-made flight simulator from Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s house in Shah Alam. — Reuters picPolice have confiscated a home-made flight simulator from Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s house in Shah Alam. — Reuters picKUALA LUMPUR, March 18 ― Investigators have discovered the runways of five airports near the Indian Ocean loaded into Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s home-made flight simulator, a Malay daily reported today.

An unnamed source told Berita Harian that while it was too early to make any conclusions on the new finding, it was still considered an important element in the probe on the whereabouts of the plane and its 239 people.

“The simulation programmes are based on runways at the Male International Airport in Maldives, an airport owned by the United States (Diego Garcia), and three other runways in India and Sri Lanka, all have runway lengths of 1,000 metres.

“We are not discounting the possibility that the plane landed on a runway that might not be heavily monitored, in addition to the theories that the plane landed on sea, in the hills, or in an open space,” the source was quoted as saying.

Although Defence Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein denied yesterday that the plane had landed at US military base Diego Garcia, the source told the daily that this possibility will still be investigated based on the data found in Zaharie’s flight simulator software.

The police had seized the flight simulator from the 53-year-old pilot’s house in Shah Alam on Saturday and reassembled it at the police headquarters where experts are conducting checks.

The Transport Ministry has said that the police also searched the home of Zaharie’s co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, on the same day.

Also on Saturday, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said MH370 was diverted deliberately after someone on board switched off the Boeing 777’s communications systems.

He said investigations were now being refocused at the crew and passengers aboard the plane.

After MH370 disappeared from civilian radar in the early hours of March 8, the plane was flown westward from its intended path to Beijing, turning around at Checkpoint Igari in the South China Sea.

In the Gallery


  • Messages of hope and support written for missing MH370 are seen at the KLIA viewing area in Sepang, March 17, 2014. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • People looking at Malaysia Airlines planes through the window of the KLIA departure hall viewing area in Sepang, March 17, 2014. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • People write messages of hope and support for missing MH370 at the KLIA viewing area in Sepang, March 17, 2014. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A child writes a message of hope for missing MH370 at the KLIA viewing area in Sepang, March 17, 2014. ― Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A Royal Australian Air Force pilot of an AP-3C Orion maritime patrol aircraft scans the surface of the sea near the west of Peninsula Malaysia on March 18, 2014 in this handout picture. ― Reuters pic

  • A visitor looks at a screen showing weather updates and flights departure information (right) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A family member of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 fingers prayer beads as he listens to a briefing from the airline company with other family members in Beijing, March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 reads a statement from Malaysia Airlines at a hotel in Beijing March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 shows a paper with a message from family members at a hotel in Beijing March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A relative of a passenger onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 waits at a hotel in Beijing March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Foreign Minister Datuk Seri Anifah Aman answers questions during a press conference in Sepang March 18, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein answers questions during a press conference in Sepang March 18, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • People pose in front of messages of hope for missing MH370 at the KLIA viewing area in Sepang March 18, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • A man prays in front of messages of hope for missing MH370 in the KLIA viewing area in Sepang March 18, 2014. — Picture by Choo Choy May

  • Peter Chong holds up his smartphone to show a photo of himself with missing MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah in Sepang March 18, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • People participate in the ‘Unite for MH370’ event at The Curve shopping mall in Petaling Jaya March 18, 2014. — Picture by Mohd Yusof Mat Isa

  • A man cries during the ‘Unite for MH370’ event at The Curve shopping mall in Petaling Jaya March 18, 2014. — Picture by Mohd Yusof Mat Isa

From there, it flew on to Checkpoint Vampi, northeast of Indonesia’s Aceh province and a navigational point used for planes following route N571 to the Middle East.

Subsequent plots indicate the plane flew towards Checkpoint Gival, south of the Thai island of Phuket, and was last plotted heading northwest towards another checkpoint, Igrex, used for route P628 that would take it over the Andaman Islands and which carriers use to fly towards Europe.

The complexity involved led aviation experts to set their sights on the pilots and crew.