Malaysia’s transport minister has confirmed that a route to the Southern Ocean was found on the personal flight simulator of MH370 captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
“Yes there is simulation showing it flew to many parts of the world and it (southern Indian Ocean) is one of many,” said Liow Tiong Lai.
Liow, however, stressed that this confirms nothing about the cause of the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER aircraft on 8 March 2014.
"There is no evidence to prove that Captain Zaharie piloted the aeroplane to that area. The simulator was used by the pilot for trial and error in many areas. There are thousands of simulations to many destinations.”
Reports first emerged in late July about Zaharie’s simulator, suggesting that investigators had discovered the southern route. At the time, these were downplayed by Malaysian officials.
The aircraft, originally operating the Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight, mysteriously flew to the southern Indian Ocean, where it crashed with 239 passengers aboard. One week after the crash, Malaysia’s prime minister declared that the aircraft’s disappearance appears to have been deliberate.
In the last two years, scattered pieces of the aircraft have washed up on the western side of the Indian Ocean, but an extensive undersea search has yet to divulge any trace of the jet.
On 22 July, Australia, China and Malaysia said they will suspend the hunt for the missing jet after completing the search of a 120,000km² area in the far reaches of the Southern Ocean west of Australia.
In a joint statement by the Joint Agency Co-ordination Centre, transport ministers from the three countries reiterated that the search for the aircraft will resume “should credible new information emerge which can be used to identify the specific location of the aircraft”.
“The suspension does not mean the termination of the search,” added the JAAC. “Ministers reiterated that the aspiration to locate MH370 has not been abandoned.”