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MH370 off course: Co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid smoked in cockpit, took girls in

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MH370 went off course hundreds of miles and away from Beijing after the captain’s last words with Malaysian air traffic controllers informing the pilots that they were entering Vietnamese airspace. After the captain said “good night,” many are wondering whether co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid took over the control and if his actions contributed to the mysterious disappearance of Flight MH370. According to a March 11, 2014, The Guardian report, Malaysian officials said they were investigating potential "psychological problems" of the crew for possible reasons as to why the aircraft could have gone missing.

The information that there was an intense investigation into the background of 27-year-old Fariq Abdul Hamid came on the same day that pictures of the co-pilot came to light.

In pictures taken in 2011, the co-pilot of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is shown entertaining teenage girls in the cockpit on a flight from Phuket to Kuala Lumpur.

While having passengers in the cockpit during a flight is not prohibited in all airlines, it does raise the question of what exactly happened in the cockpit once the captain said his last words -- “all right, good night” -- to Malaysian air traffic controllers.

Jonti Roos, who was one of the girls in the cockpit with Hamid in 2011, said that she, along with another girl, was invited into the cockpit by an air steward and that they spent the whole time “from takeoff to landing,” in the cockpit with the two pilots that had been on board.

"They were actually smoking throughout the flight, which I don't think they're allowed to do. At one stage, they were pretty much turned around the whole time in their seats talking to us. They were so engaged in conversation that he [Hamid] took my friend's hand, and he was looking at her palm and said, 'your hand is very creased – that means you're a very creative person', and commented on her nail polish."After the flight and after the “slightly sleazy” encounter, the girl was invited for a night out in Kuala Lumpur with Hamid.

In lieu of the news that Flight MH370 went off course, the girl did not think that the co-pilot had anything to do with it, but she did mention that the fact that he smoked in the cockpit had concerned her. “But you can't exactly tell a pilot to stop smoking,” she said.

According to the Guardian report, Hamid had joined Malaysia Airlines in 2007 as a first officer and had clocked up 2,763 hours. Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had joined the airline in 1981 and had flown about 18,000 hours. The captain was known as an “aviation tech geek” who spent his weekends at home “going through drills on a Boeing 777 flight simulator and flying remote-controlled miniature aircraft,” as described by his colleagues.

In regard to the news that MH370 flew off course and that the co-pilot could have had anything to do with it due to his potentially unprofessional behavior in the cockpit, Malaysia Airlines issued a statement. "Malaysia Airlines has become aware of the allegations being made against First Officer, Fariq Ab Hamid which we take very seriously. We are shocked by these allegations. We have not been able to confirm the validity of the pictures and videos of the alleged incident. As you are aware, we are in the midst of a crisis, and we do not want our attention to be diverted.”

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