Investigators said Wednesday they are trying to restore files deleted last month from the home flight simulator of the pilot of a missing Malaysian plane, but the wait for answers was too much for some relatives who disrupted a news conference.
Malaysia's Defense Minister and Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein cautioned reporters at a news conference that the deletion of the files of pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, may have nothing to do with the circumstances of the jet's disappearance 12 days ago.
Files containing records of simulations carried out on the program were deleted Feb. 3, Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu said. He said the files may have been deleted merely to free up memory space.
But investigators wanted to check the files for any signs of unusual flight paths of Flight 370, which appears to have veered hundreds of miles from its intended flight path after vanishing from civilian radar.
At least two relatives of passengers aboard the flight were forcibly removed Wednesday from the news conference at a hotel near Kuala Lumpur. Footage broadcast by the BBC showed a woman thought to be a Chinese relative of a missing passenger being knocked to the ground and then dragged away from journalists ahead of the daily news briefing by Malaysian officials.
The pair appeared to be trying to unfurl a banner expressing their dissatisfaction over the lack of progress in the investigation. Police escorted them out.
Of the 239 people aboard the plane that went missing March 8 on a night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, more than 150 were Chinese nationals. Malaysian authorities have been especially sensitive to any criticism of the investigation.
"One can only imagine the anguish they (relatives) are going through," Hishammuddin said. "Malaysia is doing everything in its power to find MH370 and hopefully bring some degree of closure for those whose family members are missing."
Police are continuing to consider a number of different scenarios that would explain the plane's disappearance, including the possibility of hijacking, sabotage, terrorism or issues related to the mental health of the pilots or anyone else on board. They have asked for background checks from foreign agencies on all foreign passengers.
Hishammuddin said background checks have been received for all the foreigners except those from Ukraine and Russia. Those two countries had three passengers on the flight. He said none of the checks have turned up anything suspicious.
Still, the theories about what happened to the Boeing 777 plane, and where it or its wreckage may now be located, have stacked up even as investigators have been able to offer relatives few concrete facts about how it vanished.
Authorities from 26 countries have expanded the search-and-rescue mission to an unprecedentedly large area stretching from central Asia to the southern Indian Ocean.
But with each passing day, the resentment by relatives over the lack of progress is building.
"It's really too much. I don't know why it is taking so long for so many people to find the plane," Subaramaniam Gurusamy, 60, said in an interview with the Associated Press from his home on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur. His 34-year-old son, Pushpanathan Subramaniam, was on the flight heading to Beijing for a work trip.
"He's the one son I have," Subaramaniam said.