Speculation that Flight 370 landed has gained traction after Malaysian investigators made the official announcement yesterday that Flight 370 appears to have been pirated or hijacked from within, and that “deliberate actions” is the cause for the jet’s mysterious disappearance, now entering its second week.
According to a breaking report this morning from The Associate Press, the missing Malaysian jetliner was “deliberately diverted and continued flying for more than six hours after losing contact with the ground, meaning it could have gone as far northwest as Kazakhstan or into the Indian Ocean's southern reaches, Malaysia's leader said Saturday.”
Dozens of questions and theories have been spawned since the jetliner disappeared one week ago on an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Officials were investigating why Flight 370 made radical adjustments in altitude and bearing after vanishing from civilian radar shortly after takeoff. The alteration of the flight path had raised concerns about who was at the controls of the flight, and why they would lead the Boeing 777 hundreds of miles astray.
According to NBC News on Friday, “investigators probing the missing Malaysia Airlines jet are examining the possibility the plane's disappearance is 'an act of piracy,' and that the plane may have landed somewhere rather than crashed.”
One official, who wished to remain anonymous, said: “The more we learn about the flight pattern, the more difficult it is to write off the idea that some type of human intervention was involved.”
Electronic data and satellite “pings” – which continued for approximately five hours after the plane ceased all radar transmission – suggested the jet may have been seized by passengers in an “on board incident.”
That speculation was confirmed today by Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, who said the investigation must now refocus on the flight's crew and passengers.
“Clearly the search for MH370 has entered a new phase,” Najib said at the televised news conference as seen in the video above.
The AP picks up the story:
Police on Saturday drove into the residential compound where the missing plane's pilot lives in Kuala Lumpur, according a guard and several local reporters who were barred from entering the complex. Authorities have said they will investigate the pilots as part of their probe, but have released no information about how they are progressing.
Experts have previously said that whoever disabled the plane's communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience.
“These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane,” Najib said.
The jetliner was flying “a strange path,” an unnamed investigating official said. The details of the radar readings were first reported by The New York Times on Friday.
Malaysian military radar also tracked the missing jet for a time, and showed the aircraft varying in altitudes from 45,000 feet, to as low as 23,000 feet.
The question of what happened to the jetliner has turned into one of the biggest mysteries in aviation history, befuddling industry experts and government officials. Suggestions have ranged from a catastrophic explosion to sabotage to hijacking to pilot suicide. – CNN
Previous theories thought the jet landed somewhere in the Andaman Islands – an archipelago in the Bay of Bengal between India and Burma. But Denis Giles, editor of the Andaman Chronicle newspaper, says that it’s impossible that a 240 foot jet could have landed somewhere on the islands without notice.
“There is no chance, no such chance, that any aircraft of this size can come towards Andaman and Nicobar islands and land,” Giles said.
Investigators have closed their search in the South China Sea and are now scouring the Indian Ocean.