Police refocus investigation on crew of missing Malaysian jet

Authorities search homes of pilots in week-old hunt for Boeing 777 that is now suspected of being hijacked.

Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines. (photo credit: REUTERS)
Boeing 777 Malaysian Airlines.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
KUALA LUMPUR - Police investigating the disappearance of a Malaysian passenger jet more than a week ago have searched the home of the co-pilot, a senior official said, after the prime minister said the aircraft had been deliberately flown way off course.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday that the investigation would refocus on the crew and passengers of Flight MH370, after confirming that someone aboard appeared to have shut off the plane's communication systems before turning it away from its scheduled route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
A senior police official with knowledge of the investigation said special branch officers had searched the home of 27-year-old First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid on Saturday evening.
Hours earlier, police had searched the house of the aircraft's 53-year-old captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
"We are not ruling out any sort of motivation at the moment," the police official said.
The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER vanished in the early hours of March 8 with 239 passengers and crew aboard.
Meanwhile, India on Sunday put on hold its search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, at the request of the government in Kuala Lumpur, which wants to reassess the week-old hunt for the Boeing 777 that is now suspected of being hijacked.
India had been searching in two areas, one around the Andaman and Nicobar Islands and a second further west in the Bay of Bengal. Both searches have been suspended, but may resume, defense officials said.
"It's more of a pause," said Commander Babu, a spokesman for the country's Eastern Naval Command.
"The Malaysian authorities are reassessing the situation. They will figure whether they need to shift the area of search."