Malaysian Airlines Flight 370: Malaysia Ends Search in South China Sea, Shifts Focus to Central Asia or Beyond Indian Ocean
By Vittorio Hernandez | March 15, 2014 9:03 PM EST
Malaysian authorities are apparently setting aside the hijack angle of the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 with no less than Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak declaring on Saturday afternoon that the Boeing 777 aircraft was deliberately deviated by the pilot, co-pilot or someone with knowledge of aviation.
Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak pledges to broaden race based policies (Photo: Reuters)
With this angle, Malaysia ended its search efforts in the South China Sea and will focus the search on two locations. One is far north such as Kazakhstan in Central Asia and the other is beyond the southern Indian Ocean.
The investigating team reached that conclusion based on the last signal from the plane picked at 8:11 am of Saturday, March 8, almost seven hours after ground control lost contact with the aircraft.
Mr Najib said the investigation indicate the jet's disappearance was not accidental, but deliberate because one of its communication system was disabled as the jet flow over Malaysia's northeast coast, while the second system, a transponder, stopped broadcasting data such as its location, altitude, speed and other information at 1:21 am.
Subsequent military radar data indicated the jet changed course and flew across Malaysia, headed for the Indian Ocean. The plane appeared to have reached 45,000 feet, which is beyond the approved altitude limits for a Boeing 777-200, and then it descended unevenly at an altitude of 23,000 feet as it approached Penang, the New York Times reported, quoting a person familiar with the data.
With this new leads, the U.S. Navy Seventh Fleet said it would search for the missing plane beyond the Bay of Bengal. Colonel Steven Warren, Pentagon spokesman, said that a P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a guided missile destroyer, the USS Kidd, would be searching the much larger area of the Bay of Bengal and the northern portion of the Indian Ocean.
Given the pursuit of deliberate deviation angle, police officers searched on Saturday afternoon the residence of the plane captain, Zaharie Ahmad Shah, to seek and take evidence that could aid their investigation.
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