PORTLAND -- An Oregon man is defending one of the pilots from the missing Malaysian airliner. He said they were longtime friends.

It just wouldn't make any sense that he would have anything to do with any sort of deliberate action, said Chris Nissen.

The Portland man was neighbors with Captain Zahiri Ahmed Shah for six years. Nissen worked in Malaysia as a tech consultant in the airlines industry.

He was hired by Malaysia Airlines directly out of school and trained by Malaysia Airlines, said Nissen. I think he would do anything he could to preserve the lives of his passengers.

This weekend, investigators in Malaysia seized a flight simulator from Zahiri's home. The captain's friend says Zahiri bought the simulator several years ago.

He had his flight simulator going, even when we were there. He enjoyed showing the kids how to fly airplanes on the simulator, Nissen said.

The pilot was not an extremist, according to his friend.

Zahari was a very fun-loving, nice, family oriented guy, said Nissen.

Nissen has been in contact with Zahari's family, including the pilot's adult son. He says they are upset about not knowing what has happened to their father. The pain is compounded by accusations and suspicions.

Read or Share this story: