THE co-pilot of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was flying the Boeing 777 for the first time without a 'check co-pilot' looking over his shoulder, the airline has revealed.
The revelation comes as the Malaysian Government announced overnight that the plane plunged into the southern Indian Ocean, killing all 239 people on board.
On social media, there has been mixed reaction with some still doubting the final outcome, accusing Malaysian authorities of cover-ups and deceptions all along.
There has also been widespread condemnation of the way relatives were informed.
The following SMS message was sent to relatives: "Malaysia Airlines deeply regrets that we have to assume beyond any reasonable doubt that MH370 has been lost and that none of those on board survived ... we must now accept all evidence suggests the plane went down in the southern Indian Ocean."
The plane's co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid has come under intense scrutiny, along with Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, after Malaysian authorities said the plane's disappearance was due to "deliberate" action in the cockpit.
Malaysia Airlines said Mr Fariq, 27, had come through his initial outings in the 777 model with no issues.
A per normal protocol, a First Officer's first five flights in a new model of plane are done under the watchful eye of a "check co-pilot".
"The first five flights, the co-pilot normally flies with what we call the check co-pilot. He actually passed the first five flights. We do not see any problem with him," the airlines' chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya told a press conference.
Capt Zaharie, 53, was himself an experienced 777 examiner, reporters were told.
"You must realise that he (Fariq) is flying with an examiner. The captain is a 777 examiner," he added.