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P. Divakaran
Friday, Feb 12, 2016

Malaysia

Fake report on MH370 pilot in Taiwan fools some people

The Star/ANN | P. Divakaran | Friday, Feb 12, 2016

Photo: The Star/ANN

PETALING JAYA - Some Malaysians have fallen for a fake news report that the captain of missing Malaysian Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 has "mysteriously reappeared" in Taiwan.

The satirical news report claiming Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah had reappeared went viral on social media after Malaysians began sharing it.

World News Daily Report (WNDR), which published the story on its website, had written that Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the pilot of the flight MH370, had "mysteriously reappeared" in a Taiwanese hospital on Monday and is suffering from "severe dehydration and some type of amnesia".

In the report, the 53-year-old (his age in 2014) Zaharie is said to be currently recovering at the Taipei Adventist Hospital after a couple of villagers from a nearby town found him lying unconscious on the banks of the "Tangshui River" (a reference to the Tamsui River in Taiwan).

Zaharie was said to have woken up almost 16 hours after arriving at the hospital, but is unable to remember his name or how he had ended up in Taipei.

The WNDR article also quoted a Dr Syed Boon Sulong who claimed that the pilot is suffering from amnesia brought about by a lot of stress.

"The doctors who have been treating since his arrival believe that he may be suffering from regressive amnesia, caused by a major stress or life-threatening situation," mentioned the article.

According to its website, WNDR is an "American Jewish Zionist" newspaper based in Tel Aviv that dedicated to covering "biblical archaeology news and other mysteries around the Globe".

The site also has a disclaimer that clearly states that "all characters appearing in the articles in this website - even those based on real people - are entirely fictional and any resemblance between them and any persons, living, dead, or undead is purely a miracle".

Following the disappearance of MH370, investigators had played close attention to Zaharie's state of mind leading up to the day. Data from a flight simulator taken from his home was also used during the investigation process.

MH370 took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8 heading for Beijing. It has since disappeared with its 239 passengers and crew.

The current search for the plane is centred on the southern Indian Ocean.

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