KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Malaysia’s defence minister says files were recently deleted from the home flight simulator belonging to the pilot aboard the missing Malaysian jetliner.
Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference Wednesday that investigators are trying to retrieve the files. He also said that the pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, is innocent until proven guilty of any wrongdoing.
Files are often deleted from flight simulators to free up space because they are usually very large.
Hishammuddin said background checks have been received from overseas agencies for all foreign passengers on the plane except for those from Ukraine and Russia — which accounted for three passengers. He says none of the checks has turned up anything suspicious.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 with 239 people aboard went missing March 8 on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Hishammuddin added that claims by residents of remote islands in the Indian Ocean that they saw what seemed to be the missing aircraft are false.
He said authorities had checked out the eyewitness reports of a “low flying jumbo jet” over the Maldives the morning Malaysia Flight 370 disappeared, and found they were “not true.”
Several Maldives residents told the local Haveeru Daily newspaper they saw a large white aircraft with red stripes, matching the livery on the missing jet.
The reported sightings did not match with the final satellite communication from the plane, which indicates it turned west, into the Strait of Malacca.
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