The captain of the vanished Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was planning to settle in Australia after retiring, a family member claims.
The Australian reports captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s brother in law Asuad Khan Mustafa believes the pilot had his heart set on retirement at Geelong in Victoria.
“He wanted to migrate to Australia. He even asked his daughter to buy a house there and gave her money to do it,” Mustafa told the paper.
“The moment he dis¬appeared, that plan ended. He wanted the daughter to work in Australia and they (wife Faizah and Zaharie) would go there.”
The flight from Beijing to Kuala Lumpur vanished on March 8, 2014, with 239 people on board.
An enormous search effort involving the Australian, Malaysian and Chinese governments has been underway ever since but, to date, the doomed plane has not been found.
Several fragments believed to be a part of the aircraft, however, have turned up in the two and a half years since the mystery began.
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As captain of the flight, Zaharie Ahmad Shah’s movements, beliefs and conversations in the lead up the disappearance have been repeatedly scrutinised, despite Malaysian authorities clearing him of fault in a report in 2015.
This week relatives of passengers presumed dead this week appealed the governments not to abandon the search after Australia, China and Malaysia agreed to wind up their efforts.
Dutch search company Fugro is due to completes its current 120,000 square kilometre search zone in December.
The appeals come as Malaysia authorities warn against judging Captain Zaharie based on evidence of practice routes recovered from his home flight simulator.
AFP reports Malaysia’s Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai saying Shah used the simulator to plot a very similar course to MH370's presumed final route.
But he stressed Zaharie had stored thousands of practice routes on a hard drive.
"There is no evidence to confirm that [the pilot] flew the plane into the southern Indian Ocean," the minister told reporters at a press conference Thursday.
The simulated route terminated about 1,500 kilometres from the area in the Indian Ocean in which MH370 is believed to have crashed.