Fariq Abdul Hamid, the co-pilot of missing flight MH370, attempted to make a phone call from his mobile phone while the aircraft was flying over Penang, the New Straits Times reported today.
In an exclusive, the daily reported that Fariq's (pic) attempt ended abruptly as MH370 was flying away from the telecommunications tower.
This is the latest breakthrough in the ongoing criminal investigation as police traced the source of the call to Fariq's mobile phone.
The NST reported that the aircraft was flying at an altitude low enough for the nearest telecommunications tower to pick up Fariq's phone signal.
However, it has not been ascertained who he was attempting to call, as sources declined to divulge the information, the daily reported.
The daily also reported that Fariq's last communication was via the WhatsApp messenger application at 11.30pm on March 7, just before he boarded Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 for the journey to Beijing.
"Checks on Fariq's phone history showed that the last person he spoke to was one of his regular contacts (a number that frequently appears on his outgoing phone logs).
"This call was made no more than two hours before the flight took off at 12.41am from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport," the NST reported.
The daily quoted different sets of sources, one saying Fariq's phone showed the connection to the phone had been detached before the flight took off.
"This is usually the result of the mobile phone being turned off.
"At one point, however, when MH370 was airborne, between the Igari waypoint and the spot near Penang (just before the aircraft dropped off the radar), the line was reattached," the NST reported.
A reattachment did not necessarily mean that a call was made. It can also be the result of the phone being switched on again, according to the report.
Fariq's cousin Nursyafiqah Kamarudin, 18, told the NST that if there was one person Fariq would call before MH370 disappeared, it would be his mother, with whom Fariq, who turned 28 on April 1, was very close.
Although investigations have been ongoing since March 8, police have not cleared either the crew members or the passengers.
The NST quoted sources close to the probe as saying their findings had not been made public as they could disrupt their investigations. – April 12, 2014.