Missing Flight MH370’s Hijack Confirmed? Airplane Still Flying Till 8:11am; Transponders 'Deliberately Disabled'; Pilots' Home Searched
By Gopi Chandra Kharel | March 15, 2014 5:58 PM EST
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has hinted that the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 was almost certainly hijacked. [READ: Missing Flight MH370 Hijacked; Was it Flown to Pakistan?]
Malaysians Prime Minister Najib Razak has hinted that the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 was almost certainly hijacked.
Speaking in a news conference on Saturday, Razak said citing military sources, that what happened to the transponders are "consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane."
"Despite media speculation that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear that all possibilities are being investigated," he said
Although the Prime Minister refused to take any questions from journalists, he confirmed citing various military and satellite data that the plane was still flying definitely until 8:11 am (local time, 9 March). Until now, the plane was reported to have vanished from radar at around 1:21 am.
Razak said that the setellite signals continued to pick up until several hours after it lost radar contact.
This development indicates that the plane had flown thousands of miles away from what was earlier reported to have been the last point of contact.
Consistent with the latest revelation, it was earlier reported that the missing Malaysian Airlines MH370 was deliberately diverted towards Andaman Sea and Bay of Bengal.
Check the list of airports/airstrips in the area where the plane could have possibly landed HERE.
Saying that the investigation has entered a new phase, Razak was very careful not to use the word hijacked. He, however, confirmed with a high degree of certainty that the communication system was disabled, in an indication that was consistent with deliberate action.
He added that the newly acquired satellite data indicated that MH370 either flew towards Kazakhstan or South Indian Ocean. New corridors for search has now been added, he said, including areas north from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan through to northern Thailand. Search will also continue towards south from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. He said that authorities were, however, unable to confirm the exact location of the plane.
"There has been intense speculation. We understand the desperate need for information on behalf of the families and those watching. But we have a responsibility to release the information that has been corroborated," he said.
"Data showed that the plane went north of the straits of Malacca and thus we extended search to the North, and later to Andaman," he added.
Pilot's Home Searched
What was initially an international search for a jet, has now become a criminal investigation. Shortly after the Malaysian Prime Minister spoke with reporters and said that the plane might have been deliberately veered off its course, Malaysian police searched the home of the airplane's pilot Zahari Ahmad Shah, 53.
Police made no comments about what they were looking. They were approached by journalists as they came out of the home of co-pilot, Fariq Ab Hamid, 27. Two vans exited the home with authorities taking small bags that reportedly looked similar to shopping bags, although CNN reports that it was unclear if the bags were taken from home.
Meanwhile, Malaysian authorities said on Sunday that the two pilots had not decided to fly the plane together. They also said that ground staff background checks are also being conducted while police haven't received all passenger background checks.
Confusion, Puzzle, Mystery
While the mystery surrounding the missing plane has only continued to raise confusion and frustration, the latest revelation raises a spate of new questions and possibilities on a story that has continued to make major international headlines for two weeks after the plane's disappearance under mysterious circumstances.
The wide-body jet, carrying 239 people onboard, was reported to have vanished from the civilian air-traffic control radar in the wee hours of Saturday, only about an hour into its journey from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
While the inability to solve the puzzle surrounding the bizarre disappearance of the plane has become a breeding ground for uncanny theories and explanations doing their rounds on the Internet, the event has prompted a massive international air and water search, which so far has not produced any tangible results.
Malaysian Prime Minister's statement that the plane was flying until 8:11 am, tends to confirm the earlier claims made by the US investigators that the airplane continued to fly for four additional hours from the time of what was initially announced as the last point of contact.
The evidence, indicating possible terrorism or sabotage, tends to make more sense in a theoretical point of view at a time when there is nothing more scientific and plausible one could think about.
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