The captain of the doomed Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 was heartbroken after separating from his wife and may have taken the plane on a "last joyride" before crashing it into the Indian Ocean, a friend and fellow pilot told a New Zealand newspaper.
Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah was not in the right state of mind to fly the Boeing 777 the day it vanished, due to the devastating breakup of his marriage and relationship problems with a new girlfriend, said the longtime associate who wished to remain anonymous.
He told The New Zealand Herald
that Zaharie was "terribly upset" when his wife,
Faiza Khanum Mustafa Khan, told him she was moving out of the family home, and the friend believed he may have decided to take the aircraft to a part of the world he’d never flown in before and fly risky maneuvers.
"He's one of the finest pilots around, and I'm no medical expert, but with all that was happening in his life, Zaharie was probably in no state of mind to be flying," said the friend.
His shocking claims came as a French satellite scanning the Indian Ocean for remnants of a missing jetliner found a field of possible plane debris containing 122 objects.
Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the objects were more than 1,550 miles southwest of Australia, in the area where a desperate, multinational hunt
has been going on since other satellites detected possible jet debris.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has said that satellite data showed the plane, carrying 239 people, crashed into the southern Indian Ocean on March 8 eight hours after leaving Kuala Lumpur. With nowhere to land, the jet is presumed to have crashed, killing everyone on board.
The friend told the newspaper that he’d had several conversations with Zaharie after meeting him through work and said the pilot was a fanatic for "the three Fs" — food, family, and flying.
He said Zaharie spent countless hours cooking and using his homemade flight simulator while practicing conditions he could face at the helm of a commercial airliner, such as flying at high or low altitudes. The simulator was seized by authorities, and is being examined by the FBI.
According to reports, the aircraft made a sharp turn soon after the co-pilot had told Malaysian air traffic controllers, "All right, good night." Military radar has since shown that it flew as high as 45,000 feet and as low as 12,000 feet before vanishing and starting a worldwide mystery.
The associate also told the Herald that he believed that somehow the co-pilot, Fariq Abdul Hamid, other members of the crew, and the passengers may have been prevented from entering the cockpit.
"It is very possible that neither the passengers nor the other crew onboard knew what was happening until it was too late," added the friend.
He also pointed out that the troubled captain may have taken Flight 370 on a joyride while trying high-risk maneuvers he'd perfected on his flight simulator, according to the Daily Mail.
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