Zaharie Ahmad Shah ID’d as Pilot of Missing Malaysia Airlines Plane; Fariq Ab Hamid First Officer
Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old Malaysian, has been named as the pilot of the Malaysian Airlines plane that went missing on Saturday.
Shah joined the airline in 1981 and has 18,365 hours of experience, the airline said in a statement.
The first officer on board was another Malaysian, Fariq Ab Hamid, 27 years old.
He joined the airline in 2007 and has 2,763 hours of experience.
The airline is still searching for the plane, which lost contact with air traffic controllers about two hours following a take-off around 12:30 a.m.
Chinese, Filipino, and Vietnamese officials are assisting in the search.
The plane may have been over the water between Malaysia and Vietnam when communication was lost. Officials aren’t sure if it went into the ocean or reached land somewhere.
Pham Hien, a Vietnamese search and rescue official, said the last signal detected from the plane was 120 nautical miles (140 miles; 225 kilometers) southwest of Vietnam’s southernmost Ca Mau province, which is close to where the South China Sea meets the Gulf of Thailand.
Lai Xuan Thanh, director of Vietnam’s civil aviation authority, said air traffic officials in the country never made contact with the plane.
Malaysia’s transport minister emphasized that officials have “no sign” of the plane wreckage and have not confirmed its location.
He also said that there are military planes, Navy ships, and helicopters involved in the search for the missing flight. That appears to include three planes and ships from the Philippines, as well as two Chinese ships and a number of Vietnamese Navy vessels.
The 227 passengers who were on board include 14 different nationalities, including Chinese, Indonesian, Australian, and American.
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