Pilot suicide a taboo topic in past probes, as Malaysia seeks answers to Flight 370 mystery

The Associated Press

Security guards stand at a main gate of the missing Malaysia Airlines pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah's house in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Saturday, March 15, 2014. Malaysian police have already said they are looking at the psychological state, the family life and connections of pilot Zaharie, 53, and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27. Both have been described as respectable, community-minded men. The Malaysian jetliner missing for more than a week had its communications deliberately disabled and its last signal came about 7 1/2 hours after takeoff, meaning it could have ended up as far as Kazakhstan or into the southern reaches of the Indian Ocean, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

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Malaysia's government said police on Saturday searched the homes of both the pilot and the co-pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. It said police were examining an elaborate flight simulator taken from the home of 53-year-old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah.

Police also are investigating engineers who may have had contact with the plane before it took off.

Mike Glynn, a committee member of the Australian and International Pilots Association, said a pilot rather than a hijacker is more likely to be able to switch off the communications equipment, adding that he thinks suicide was to blame in the EgyptAir and SilkAir crashes.

"The last thing that I, as a pilot, want is suspicion to fall on the crew, but it's happened twice before," Glynn said.

Still, there is no explanation why the pilot of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane would spirit the jet away to an unknown location and not crash it soon after taking off if he had wanted to commit suicide.

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Perry reported from Wellington, New Zealand.

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