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Nation/World

March 20, 2014

Malaysia, FBI analyze missing pilot's simulator

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia — The FBI joined forces with Malaysian authorities in analyzing deleted data on a flight simulator belonging to the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane, while distraught relatives of the passengers unleashed their anger yesterday — wailing in frustration at 12 days of uncertainty.

The anguish of relatives of the 239 people on Flight 370 boiled over at a briefing near Kuala Lumpur’s airport. Two Chinese women who shouted at Malaysian authorities and unfurled a banner accusing officials of “hiding the truth” were removed from the room. In a heart-wrenching scene, one woman screamed in sorrow as she was dragged away.

“I want you to help me to find my son! I want to see my son!” one of the two unidentified women said. “We have been here for 10 days.”

Files containing records of flight simulations were deleted Feb. 3 from the device found in the home of the Malaysia Airlines pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, Malaysian police Chief Khalid Abu said.

It was not immediately clear whether investigators thought that deleting the files was unusual. The files might hold signs of unusual flight paths that could help explain where the missing plane went.

Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference that Zaharie is considered innocent until proven guilty. He said members of the pilot’s family are cooperating in the investigation.

A U.S. official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the official was not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation by name, said the FBI has been given electronic data to analyze.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in Washington that the FBI was working with Malaysian authorities.

“At this point, I don’t think we have any theories,” Holder said.

Flight 370 disappeared March 8 on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Malaysian authorities have not ruled out any possible explanations but have said the evidence so far suggests the flight was deliberately turned back across Malaysia to the Strait of Malacca, with its communications systems disabled. They are unsure what happened next and why.

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