Malaysian Maritime Agency via Getty Images(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- The last recorded words spoken by the pilot of the doomed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 gave no hint that anything was wrong with the jetliner that disappeared from radar just a short time later.
An air traffic controller told the pilot, “We have to hand you over to Ho Chi Minh City," a Malaysian civil air department representative said on Wednesday, referring to air traffic control in Vietnam. The pilot responded, “All right, good night.”
The Malaysian authorities revealed that exchange in a briefing for Chinese media, and the Chinese press relayed that information to ABC News.
Flight MH370 never made contact with air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh City and what happened to the plane and its 239 passengers has baffled searchers.
The conversation details emerged as officials announced they’re expanding the search to cover 27,000 nautical miles over two separate areas: 14,440 square nautical miles in the South China Sea along the plane's designated route as well as 12,425 square nautical miles in the Strait of Malacca, which is hundreds of miles to the west of the plane's flight path.
Authorities ran down another lead this week, but came up empty. A New Zealand man working on an oil rig emailed authorities after he said he spotted a burning object in the water east of Vietnam on Saturday morning, the day the plane disappeared. Vietnamese officials sent a plane to the area to investigate the man’s claims, but the search was fruitless, naval officer Le Minh Thanh told ABC News.
Malaysia's Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said in a press conference Wednesday that the search now includes 42 ships and 39 aircraft.
"We will never give up hope," he said.
Malaysia is seeking to bring in more experts -- officials from the plane's manufacturer Boeing, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration, National Transportation Safety Board and Rolls Royce, which built the plane's engines -- to analyze civil and military data. The search now includes 12 countries, including India, Japan and Brunei.
Vietnam, meanwhile, scaled down its search to a “less intensive” format, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs told ABC News.
ALEXANDER JOE/AFP/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- Oscar Pistorius' defense questioned the police handling and storage of his bathroom door, a key piece of evidence in his murder trial that was brought into court Wednesday for a demonstration.
A police officer got on his knees to demonstrate that the marks on a bathroom door suggest that Pistorius, a legless paralympian known as Blade Runner, was on his stumps when he used a cricket bat to bash his way into the bathroom after shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, through the door.
An exact replica of Pistorius' bathroom, complete with toilet, was used in court Wednesday for the re-enactment.
The officer's testimony would contradict Pistorius' account in his bail application that after shooting Steenkamp, mistaking her for an intruder, he went to his bed, put on his prosthetic legs, and then battered his way into the bathroom to reach her.
The actual door was hinged onto this structure and Col. Johannes Vermeulen used the markings on this door and Pistorius' cricket bat, which is covered with signatures, scratches and dents, to demonstrate that the height and angle of the bat strikes show Pistorius was on his stumps.
The colonel got onto his knees in court as he placed the bat in the position it struck the door. Members of the police's forensic team used a measuring tape to measure his shoulder height -- 1.25 meters (4.1 feet) -- which is Pistorius' shoulder height measure when he is on his stumps.
He also testified that whoever made a second strike on the door was in a different position to when the bat first struck the door. He said he could not determine whether a third mark on the door was caused by the bat.
Pistorius' defense attorney Barry Roux suggested the South African Police Service improperly stored the door and said they neglected to test a third mark on the door that he said was caused by Pistorius kicking it with his prosthetic leg.
Media reports last year claimed that the door was not properly secured but was kept in the Boschkop Police Station Commander's office for quite some time.
Vermuelen said "something" happened to the door after it was photographed on March 8 last year but he was unable to say what exactly occurred.
The colonel was also shown a photo of what appeared to be a police boot print on the door, suggesting the key piece of evidence had been tainted by sloppy police storage.
Vermuelen is expected to return to the stand on Thursday for cross-examination.
The trial of Pistorius, 27, is being billed as the "trial of the century" in South Africa. If the athlete is convicted of murder, he could be sentenced to at least 25 years in prison before he is eligible for parole.
Sasha Mordovets/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- The crisis in Ukraine became even more tense Tuesday when ousted President Viktor Yanukovych called upon the country's military to defy the new government's orders.
Yanukovych, who fled Kiev in late February, is seeking to return to power with the backing of Moscow. He made his appeal from the southern Russian city of Rostov-on-Don.
Accused by the interim Ukrainian government of mass killing following public demonstrations that turned deadly, Yanukovych nevertheless condemned the U.S. and its Western allies for backing his ouster.
He said it was illegal for Washington to pledge $1 billion to the new government, citing a U.S. law that bans financial aid to regimes that come into power as the result of a coup.
It's likely that Yanukovych's words are falling on deaf ears as interim Ukrainian Prime Minister Arseniy Yatsenyuk will meet with President Obama at the White House Wednesday, which will solidify U.S. support for the post-Yanukovych government.
Washington's resolve to back the new leadership has only grown since the Russian occupation of Crimea following Yanukovych's departure from Ukraine.
How Foo Yeen/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- U.S. authorities have run the identities of the Iranian men who used stolen passports to board the doomed Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 through available terrorism and criminal databases and have come up with no “hits” on either of the two men, U.S. officials told ABC News.
Interpol identified the two earlier Tuesday as 29-year-old Seyed Mohammad Reza Delavar and 18-year-old Pouria Nourmohammadi. Each used European passports stolen in recent years in Thailand to board the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with separate final destinations in Europe.
While the discovery of the forged passports this weekend prompted speculation that terrorism may have played a role in the disappearance of the plane, both American and Interpol officials said Tuesday the two men do not appear to be linked to any militant groups. The younger of the two was reportedly headed to Germany to see his mother.
Still, CIA Director John Brennan said that his agency has “not at all” ruled out terrorism as possibly having played a part in the growing mystery.
FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images(YEVPATORIYA, Crimea) -- Along the base’s low-slung cement wall, gloved Ukrainian soldiers unspooled wheels of barbed wire, running strands through eyelets banged into the wall and pickets hammered into the ground, creating a zig-zagging web of wire.
It’s the latest effort by the command of the 55th Anti-Aircraft Artillery Regiment in the Crimean town of Yevpatoriya to dissuade the pro-Russian forces that have seized Crimea from coming over the wall to capture the base.
The strategy goes like this: If they try to climb over, they’ll get ensnared in the barbed wire, allowing the Ukrainian forces to pick them off from behind sandbags a short distance away. But the base’s deputy commander quietly admits that the new defenses would do little to slow well-trained Russian soldiers, as the mysterious men outside the front gate are believed to be.
Across Crimea, unidentified troops believed to be Russian have seized Ukrainian military bases with little or no resistance. Several bases have so far refused to surrender, but nor are they showing any willingness to fight if pushed to.
At Yevpatoriya, a solitary Russian truck is parked out front with a handful of armed, camouflaged “green men,” as Dr. Sergei Medinsky, a base medic, has taken to calling them.
“They are there, we are here and we’ve lived with this about a week,” he said as he stood guard at the base’s command headquarters. “Everyone is afraid of this but it’s normal to be afraid, but I think everything will be fine.”
He, along many others in Crimea, laugh about the efforts of the troops outside to pretend that they’re not Russian.
They have “good equipment and weapons. And they say that they can buy that in any market. I don’t understand it, who believes them?”
Upstairs in his office, the base’s commander, Col. Andrey Matvienko, is not in a joking mood. He has been given an ultimatum of sorts, a demand from the green men to hand over his base and weapons to the Russian Black Sea Fleet.
“How can I leave this base if there is technical equipment and weapons and I’m responsible in front of the law for it?” he asked. “Our unit has sworn an oath. So this is the situation.”
For Matvienko, it’s not just about the chain-of-command or pride. The weapons and equipment housed on this anti-aircraft base are not your standard fare: around 200 rockets, 16 tons of TNT and 500 tons of rocket fuel.
“I’m not scared of anything but at present I’m afraid for the citizens of Yevpatoriya,” Matvienko said.
If the Russian forces use their weapons and “if this is detonated, the town of Yevpatoriya will be wiped off the face of the earth.”
Then, the phone rings. Matvienko’s face drains, growing serious and worried. On the line is the new prime minister of Crimea who wants to see the region join Russia after a referendum Sunday.
“We all swore an oath and at present my command is Ukrainian,” the commander tells Prime Minister Sergei Aksyonov. “The ones who can give me orders to surrender weapons, to take them out … resolve this with them.
“I guarantee you personally that if you don’t interfere, we will not leave the perimeter of the base,” he adds.
After hanging up the phone, Matvienko explains: “I agreed so there is no storming of this base. They will not touch the base until the [referendum on the] 16th of March. I will not be touched by the Russian Black Sea Fleet. I don’t know if they’ll keep their word. I can only give my word.”
(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- Malaysia has extended the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner hundreds of miles to the west of the plane's normal course, officials told ABC News Tuesday.
The search for Flight MH370 had been concentrated in the Gulf of Thailand between Malaysia and Vietnam because the plane with 239 people aboard had been bound for China and the last contact with the plane was just off Malaysia's east coast, officials had said.
According to a senior U.S. official, American authorities were informed by Malaysian officials on Monday that they have information suggesting the plane went west. The reason for the possible turn was not known. Consequently, the search area has been expanded to include west coast of Malaysia.
In a statement Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines said "search and rescue teams have expanded the scope beyond the flight path. The focus now is on the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca."
For the jetliner to reach the west coast of Malaysia, it would have to travel more than 300 miles off course.
The airline says the pilots didn't send any distress signals and radio any change of course.
The news of the expanded search came as officials identified the two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports as a pair of Iranian men.
Kevin Sutherland/AFP/Getty Images(PRETORIA, South Africa) -- One of Oscar Pistorius' friends testified in court Tuesday how the Blade Runner yelled at a police officer at a traffic stop for touching Pistorius' gun and angrily told the cop that he would be liable if anything happened with the weapon because the officer's fingerprints were now on the gun.
After driving away from the police, Pistorius surprised the driver by firing the gun through the car's sunroof.
The testimony by Darren Fresco at Pistorius' murder trial was apparently meant to demonstrate that Pistorius had a bad temper and liked guns.
Pistorius, 27, is on trial for the alleged murder of his model girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp. He could face at least 25 years in prison if convicted of murder.
The court also heard testimony from the pathologist who did the autopsy on Steenkamp and his testimony raised questions about Pistorius' version of what happened that night.
Fresco told the court about an incident in 2012 in which he, Pistorius and Pistorius' ex-girlfriend Samantha Taylor were pulled over for speeding. Fresco said one of the police officers picked up Pistorius’ gun from the car seat.
"And because it was ‘one up,’ [a round in the chamber] the officer cleared it, causing the bullet in the chamber to be ejected into the car,” Fresco said.
The officer's actions angered Pistorius, according to Fresco.
"You can't just touch another man's gun," Pistorius told the officer, Fresco testified.
The court heard that Pistorius screamed at the policeman, "Your fingerprints are now all over my gun, so if something happens, you will be held liable."
After driving away from the traffic stop, Pistorius fired the gun through the car's sunroof.
"Without prior warning, he shot out of the sunroof. I flinched...It was right next to my ear. I asked him, 'Are you f****** mad?’ He just laughed," Fresco testified.
Taylor testified about this same incident when she took the stand last week. But in contrast to her evidence, in which she said that Pistorius and Fresco talked about shooting out a traffic light, Fresco said the shot took him completely by surprise.
While these discrepancies might seem insignificant, the defense has already latched on to them to try and paint Fresco as an unreliable witness.
Fresco also told the court that Pistorius once asked him to take the blame when Pistorius dropped a gun that Fresco had passed to him under a table in a restaurant. The gun discharged when it was dropped.
Earlier, pathologist Dr. Gert Saayman estimated the food found in Steenkamp’s stomach during the autopsy was eaten two hours before her death. The doctor’s testimony conflicted with the account Pistorius gave in his bail application of the night he shot Steenkamp.
Pistorius had said he was in bed at 10 p.m. while Steenkamp did yoga in his bedroom. In his version of events, he also states that, “After Reeva finished her yoga exercises she got into bed and we both fell asleep.”
Other testimony by neighbors has described hearing an argument in the hours before Steenkamp was shot.
Courtesy Mohammad Mallaeibasir(NEW YORK) -- A man claiming to be the friend of two Iranians who used fake passports to board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight told ABC News that the men stayed at his home the night before the flight vanished.
Mohammad Mallaeibeasir told ABC News that he is an 18-year-old student living in Malaysia who went to high school with one of the men who is believed to have used a fake passport to board the missing flight. He said the other man was a friend of the friend's, and the pair stayed at Mallaeibeasir's the night before the flight took off.
Mallaeibeasir identified the men as Pouria Nour Mohammadi and Reza Devalar, both around age 18 or 19 and both from Iran. He said he went to high school with Pouria, but had not seen him for a couple of years.
They stayed with Mallaeibeasir and his roommate Friday night, and then Mallaeibeasir drove them to the airport, where they used stolen Italian and Austrian passports to board Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 on Saturday morning, he said.
The plane lost contact with air control and radar approximately an hour into its flight and disappeared without a trace. A massive search operation is under way for any sign of the plane in the waters between Malaysia and Vietnam.
Mallaeibeasir said he did not know the men were using fake passports until the news stories broke and Pouria's mother called him and told him about it. Mallaeibeasir says he then called Malaysia Airlines and told them all of the information he knew.
On Tuesday, Malaysian Police Chief Khalid Abu Bakar identified one of the two men with stolen passports as Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, and said he was likely trying to enter Germany to seek asylum. His mother contacted authorities after he didn't arrive in Frankfurt.
Interpol later identified the other man as Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, 29.
Law enforcement sources told ABC news on Tuesday that the men's tickets were purchased by an Iranian man known as "Mr. Ali."
Mallaeibeasir said that when Pouria and Reza were staying at his house, he heard them briefly talking to an "Ali" on the phone.
"The last night when they were in my home they were talking on the phone for a long time. They were talking in Persian, in their room, and I heard them say 'OK Ali' like that in Persian. I didn't understand because it was like, five seconds. I went into the room to take water from my fridge and I came out and they said, 'Be quiet, we're talking,'" Mallaeibeasir said.
Besides the hushed phone conversations, Mallaeibeasir said that the pair just hung out with him and his housemate and watched movies. Then Mallaeibeasir drove them to the airport.
"They stayed here only the last night before the flight. They were supposed to stay in Malaysia for three days but I think they stayed for one week," Mallaebeasir said. "They were with me because I had a car and I told them I will take you to the airport. They came to my house."
Mallaeibeasir and Pouria went to high school together in Tehran two years ago, before Mallaebeasir moved to Malaysia to study business information technology. He said he did not know Reza until the two arrived at his home for a quick night's stay.
Mallaeibeasir said he did not ask Pouria or Reza why they were in Malaysia. Pouria said he was heading to Germany or Copenhagen after Malaysia in order to visit his mother because they were having family problems, Mallaeibeasir said.
The two men traveled lightly, Mallaebeasier said. Pouria had a mountain climbing-type backpack and a laptop, while Reza carried a suitcase and a laptop, he said.
After he dropped them at the airport, Mallaebeasier called the men on their cellphones. Pouria answered but hung up quickly, and Mallaebeasier ended up talking to Reza for about three minutes, he said.
How Foo Yeen/Getty Images(KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia) -- The two men who boarded Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 with stolen passports have been identified as Iranians, authorities said on Tuesday.
Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said the first man, named Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, 19, was likely trying to enter Germany to seek asylum. His mother contacted authorities after he didn't arrive in Frankfurt.
Interpol later identified the other man as Delavar Syed Mohammad Reza, 29.
The investigation into the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet with 239 people on board has centered so far around these two passengers. The plane, which left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Saturday, was headed for Beijing.
Authorities have not ruled anything out. Malaysian police said they are looking into four possibilities: hijacking, sabotage, psychological problems of the passenger and crew, and personal problems among the passengers and crew.
In a statement Tuesday, Malaysia Airlines said "search and rescue teams have expanded the scope beyond the flight path. The focus now is on the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca."
The carrier added that authorities are also looking into the possibility that Flight MH370 attempted to turn back toward Malaysia.
"All angles are being looked at. We are not ruling out any possibilities," the airline said.
Potential clues discovered so far during the search have failed to bring authorities closer to the missing plane. Samples from an oil slick -- as well as an orange object spotted floating in the ocean -- had nothing to do with the plane wreckage, authorities said.
Uriel Sinai/Getty images(JERUSALEM) -- Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday accused the international community of being hoodwinked by Iran's new leadership as he displayed an arsenal of weapons that was intercepted by Israel before reaching the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu appeared on Israeli TV from the southern city of Eilat to announce Israel had seized a ship carrying 40 Syrian-made M-302 rockets that he said came from Iran. Mortars manufactured by Iran and hundreds of thousands of bullets were also intercepted near Sudan last week.
Had the ammunition reached its intended target in Gaza, Netanyahu said "terrorist organizations would have made murderous use of them against Israeli citizens."
The prime minister used the seizure to demonstrate the international community's lack of interest in what he alleges is the duplicitous nature of the Iranian regime, which is currently involved in negotiations with six world powers to scale back its nuclear ambitions.
Netanyahu, who met with President Obama at the White House last week, has said repeatedly that Tehran is determined to build a nuclear weapon despite what appears to be cooperation in a six-month pact that is designed to lead to a permanent deal.
Responding to Netanyahu’s latest assertions about the captured weapons stockpile, Iran called them "fabrications" while Hamas claimed Israel is simply trying to justify its blockade of the Gaza Strip.
iStock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Fingerprints and photos of two men who boarded the doomed Malaysia Airlines passenger jet are being sent to U.S. authorities so they can be compared against records of known terrorists and criminals.
The cause of the plane's disappearance has baffled investigators and they have not said that they believed that terrorism was involved, but they are also not ruling anything out.
The investigation into the disappearance of the jetliner with 239 passengers and crew has centered so far around the fact that two passengers used passports stolen in Thailand from an Austrian and an Italian. The plane, which left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, was headed for Beijing. Three of the passengers, one adult and two children, were American.
Malaysia's Civil Aviation Chief Azaharuddin Abdul Rahman said officials had reviewed surveillance tape of the plane's boarding "from check-in right to departure."
When asked about the two men who used the stolen passports, Rahman replied, "We confirmed now they are not Asian-looking males."
When pressed to describe them, he indicated that one of the men is black, but refused to further describe the two men.
U.S. authorities plan to run the photos and fingerprints of the two men against databases of known criminals and terrorists in hopes of finding a match, a senior official said. Another senior counter-terrorist official said that finding out more about those two men could be the key to understanding how and why the flight suddenly disappeared mid-flight Saturday.
“Until we get more information on the two people using the stolen passports and ascertain whether they were involved, or they [search parties] find the debris and do forensics, it’s all just conjecture,” the counter-terrorism official said.
While there has been rampant speculation about the possible role of terrorism in the missing plane, the counter-terrorism official and other high-level U.S. officials have said so far there is no evidence to indicate that’s the case, beyond an unverifiable claim of responsibility by a little-known Asian extremist group.
“The U.S. is not picking up any intel, no chatter,” the counter-terrorism official said, referring to communications often intercepted by American intelligence in the wake of a terrorist attack that can often lead to clues about suspects. “The bad guys aren’t even discussing it....It’s an awkward situation. There is nothing from which to draw any firm conclusion yet.”
Rahmam, speaking about the surveillance video, also said, "I can confirm that all security protocols had been complied with."
Rahman indicated that investigators were not any closer to determining what happened to the Boeing 777 jet, a plane with an excellent safety record, or where the plane was. Samples from an oil slick off the southern coast of Vietnam determined it was not from the plane.
And Vietnam’s National Committee for Search and Rescue told ABC News that an orange object spotted floating in the ocean over the weekend originally thought to be a life raft from the plane had nothing to do with the plane wreckage.
During a press briefing, a reporter asked Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein about reports that a media personality received an open letter from the leader of Chinese Martyr Brigade claiming responsibility for the incident. When asked about the letter, a Malaysian official said, "Yes, there is sound ground to say it is true, but again, we have said from the beginning that we are not taking anything for granted."
But at a later news conference, Rahman said, "We don’t know what happened to the aircraft, so we cannot speculate....We cannot do guess work."
He said the search area was being expanded to include an additional expanse of ocean as well as land at the northern tip of Malaysia. The search grid was divided into boxes with individual ships assigned to each box. Nighttime in Asia brought a search by air to a halt. But he said planes would resume crisscrossing the search grid for signs of the plane at daybreak.
Dozens of aircraft and ships have contributed to the search, including crews from Vietnam, China, Singapore, Indonesia, the United States, Thailand, Australia and the Philippines, Rahman said at a press conference.
The U.S. Navy’s 7th Fleet is using a P-3C Orion marine surveillance aircraft to search in the northern section of the Strait of Malacca Monday, according to the group’s Facebook page.
iStock/Thinksatock(NEW YORK) -- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur on the morning of March 7, but lost contact with air traffic control an hour later and disappeared off the radar.
No trace of the plane and the 239 people on board have been found and few details about what could have happened to the plane have been released.
Here's what we know now as of now about the investigation into missing flight MH370.
12:41 a.m. (Malaysia): Flight MH370 departs Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Malaysia headed for Beijing, China.
12:43 a.m First time the flight shows up on radar
1:20 a.m. Air traffic control and radar lose contact. The last signal from the flight showed the plane at 35,000 feet. It went off the radar about 140 miles off the coast of Vietnam.
Hijack: Investigators are "not discounting" the possibility of a hijack, but there is no evidence pointing to it.
Separatist Group Claiming Responsibility: A Chinese media personality received an open letter allegedly from a group of Chinese separatists called the "Chinese Martyr Brigade" that claimed responsibility for the incident. The letter said it was revenge for Malaysia persecuting them and for China suppressing the Uigurs. The Uigars are an ethnic minority in China. Last week, an extremist Uigur group allegedly perpetrated a knife attack in a Chinese train station that left 29 dead and more than 100 injured.
Plane May Have Turned Back: A radar recording indicates that the plane may have turned back toward Malaysia after taking off, but the pilots made no such indication on the radio.
Oil Slicks Tested: Oil slicks spotted off the Vietnam coast were thought to be signs of the downed plane, but tests have come back showing they had nothing to do with the aircraft and were not related to the disappearance. Also, a piece of debris thought to be from the plane also proved to be unrelated.
Fake Passports Used By Two Passengers
Investigators discovered that two passengers used stolen passports, one from Austria and one from Italy, to board the flight.
Interpol criticized Malaysia for not checking the men's passports against the international database of stolen passports, where they would have seen that the passports had been reported stolen in 2012 and 2013. Both were stolen in Thailand.
The two individuals who used the stolen passports were identified on CCTV footage and described by a Malaysian official as "not Asian-looking."
The Search for Flight #MH370
Nine countries are now searching for the plane or any sign of it: Vietnam, China, Singapore, Indonesia, USA, Thailand, Australia, New Zealand and the Philippines. The U.S. Navy has sent the 7th Fleet's USS Pinckney, carrying two search and rescue helicopters and a maritime surveillance aircraft.
40 ships and 34 aircraft are involved in searching.
The search for evidence of the flight, including any debris or wreckage, was expanded today and now spans 100 nautical miles around the west coast of Malaysia.
The plane was a Boeing 777-200 with a clean flight history; Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record, according to the Flight Safety Foundation.
239 people were on board the flight, made up of 227 passengers and 12 crew members.
Three Americans, including two children, are among the missing. Philip Wood, a 50-year-old IBM executive, had just come from Texas where he was visiting family on his way to Beijing.
A total of 14 different nationalities, though 152 passengers were Chinese.
Twenty passengers on the plane worked for the Austin, Texas, company Freescale Semiconductor. Another passenger, Chng Mei Ling, worked as an engineer for the Pennsylvania company Flexsys America LP.
Pilot Zahari Ahmad Shah, 53, was a veteran pilot who joined Malaysia Airlines in 1981 and had over 18,000 flying hours.