KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia Airlines on Tuesday said it was "shocked" by allegations aired by media against the co- pilot on its missing jetliner of a cockpit security breach in the past.
"Malaysia Airlines has become aware of the allegations being made against First Officer, Fariq Ab Hamid, which we take very seriously," the carrier said in its latest statement issued late Tuesday. "We have not been able to confirm the validity of the pictures and videos of the alleged incident."
Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370, a Boeing 777-200 carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members, went missing early Saturday on its way from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. No trace of the plane has been found so far in spite of all-out multinational search efforts over the past couple of days.
Photos of Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, along with a fellow pilot have emerged showing they entertaining two young female tourists in an aircraft cockpit during a previous flight. Passengers are not allowed to enter the cockpit during a flight.
The images came to light on the day Malaysian officials said they were investigating potential "psychological problems" of the crew or passengers for possible reasons as to why the aircraft could have disappeared.
"We do not want our attention to be diverted. We also urge the media and general public to respect the privacy of the families of our colleagues and passengers," the company said in the statement.
"The welfare of both the crew and passenger's families remain our focus. At the same time, the security and safety of our passengers is of the utmost importance to us," it added.