MH370: Malaysian police search pilot's home for clues.

Malaysian Police Search Pilot's Home as Attention Turns to Crew

Malaysian Police Search Pilot's Home as Attention Turns to Crew

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March 15 2014 12:48 PM

Malaysian Police Search Pilot's Home as Attention Turns to Crew

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Pilots on board a Vietnamese Air Force Russian-made AN-27 aircraft search Vietnam's southern sea for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

Photo by HOANG DINH NAM/AFP/Getty Images

When Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 first vanished, attention quickly turned to two people who had used stolen passports to get on board. A week later, officials are taking a look at those who were working in the plane. "In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board," the country’s prime minister, Najib Razak, told reporters on Saturday. Shortly after the prime minister’s dramatic press conference in which he confirmed speculation that the Boeing 777 that was flying to Beijing was deliberately diverted and continued flying for more than six hours after last making contact with air traffic control, police began searching the homes of the pilot and co-pilot for any clues, reports the Associated Press.

Malaysian police had been outside the pilot’s home every day since the crash, according to CNN, but had not gone inside. The 53-year-old Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah is an experienced pilot with 18,365 flight hours in his record. He apparently posted a YouTube video in January that seems to show he had a flight simulator in his home that he built himself.  First Officer Fariq Ab Hamid was far less experienced, with 2,764 flying hours under his belt and had apparently recently made the transition to the Boeing 777. Some attention has turned to the co-pilot recently because of word that he allowed passengers to enter the cockpit during a 2011 flight.

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As Malaysian authorities look for clues within the flight crew, diplomatic efforts are also likely underway to get more countries to cooperate in the search. The latest satellite data is likely to unleash “what may be the biggest hunt ever for a missing plane,” notes the Guardian. Around 14 countries are already involved in the search, but the latest information confirmed by Malaysia means more countries will have to become involved. Malaysian Airlines confirmed on Saturday that the plane was carrying enough fuel to fly for eight hours, reports the Wall Street Journal.

Word from the prime minister that the plane kept flying for hours has raised hope among families of the passengers that their loved ones could still be alive, but there’s also general frustration that officials are still rather clueless about what happened, reports the Wall Street Journal. In Slate, Jeff Wise takes a detailed look at the prime minister’s statement and questions whether it’s at all possible the passengers may still be alive.

Daniel Politi has been contributing to Slate since 2004 and wrote the Today’s Papers column from 2006 to 2009. Follow him on Twitter.