Who called the pilot of missing plane right before takeoff?
While the search for Flight 370 continues, and debris of some kind has been spotted from the air off the coast of Australia, investigators are looking closely at new information about a phone call the pilot received from a burn phone bought using the stolen identity of a woman.
Investigators are examining the phone call made to Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, a few hours before take-off from a fake number.
The phone number, from which the phone call was made, was bought under the stolen identity of a woman, Malaysian authorities told Mail Online.
The telephone conversation, between Shah and the unidentified person before the flight, lasted for about two minutes and it was one of the last conversations.
The authorities appear to be giving much weight to the phone call as it was made from an unknown pay-as-you-go SIM card number in Malaysia.
Meanwhile, the investigators are also trying to examine Shah's family including his estranged wife Faizah Khan. Though separated, she shares the same roof with Shah. She has not been approached by the police for the past two weeks, but the Malaysian authorities are increasingly under pressure from FBI officials to question her.
"Faizah has been spoken to gently by officers but she has not been questioned in detail to establish her husband's behaviour and state of mind in the days leading to the incident. This is partly for cultural reasons. It is not considered appropriate in Malaysia to subject people in situations of terrible bereavement to the stress of intensive questioning," a source told Mail.
While suspicious, the Daily Mail points out that the use of a false identity to purchase a burn phone is also done by political activists in Malaysia:
Investigators were keen to trace the caller and interview them, although they have stressed that the fact the SIM card was registered to a non-existent ID card does not necessarily indicate a criminal or terrorist connection.
Political activists in Malaysia sometimes use SIM cards bought with bogus identity cards if they fear that their phones may be bugged by the country’s authoritarian ruling party.
The Mail on Sunday revealed last week that Zaharie is an avid supporter of opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim, a distant relative, and may have attended a controversial court hearing where Anwar was jailed for five years. It took place only a few hours before the flight.
So in the end, another tantalizing clue may not reveal much at all.