Malaysia PM says missing plane was deliberately diverted

By Daniel Levine,

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went off course because of a deliberate action. Investigators are still trying to figure out potential flight paths and they have narrowed it down to two possibilities.

Najib said that the search in the South China Sea is over, as investigators no longer believe that the plane went down in that region. According to the New York Times, Najib said that there are now two possible zones - Kazakhstan in Central Asia and, in the opposite direction, the southern Indian Ocean. This is based on a satellite signal that was suddenly received from the plane just seven hours after contact was lost on March 8.

According to USA Today, Najib confirmed that communications were disabled due to a “deliberate action by someone on the plane.”

Flight MH370 left Kuala Lumpur at 12:40 a.m. local time for Beijing. The plane hasn’t been heard from since the satellite signal was picked up. The plane is a Boeing 777 and has 239 people onboard. Fourteen countries are now taking part in the search effort, but nothing has been found.

American sources did tell the Times on Friday that the plane had experienced rapid changes in altitude just after ground control lost contact. It changed course as if a pilot was still commanding the plane.

The Seventh Fleet of the United States Navy has said that its search area now includes the Strait of Malacca to the Bay of Bengal.

Najib said that they are still looking into all possibilities, including a hijacking. CNN notes that he said investigators are looking into the backgrounds of the pilots, crew and passengers. “Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, we are investigating all major possibilities on what caused MH370 to deviate,” he said.

image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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