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Malaysia Air update: Officials says plane hijacking likely

A member of the Malaysian Air Forces searches the water for signs of debris from the missing Malaysian Airline System Bhd. jet on March 13, 2014, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
A member of the Malaysian Air Forces searches the water for signs of debris from the missing Malaysian Airline System Bhd. jet on March 13, 2014, in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Rahman Rosian/Getty Images

A week after Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 appeared to disappear into thin air, a Malaysian official said whatever happened to the aircraft and its passengers was likely "deliberate."

According to CBS News, Prime Minister Najib Razak addressed the international press Saturday. Razak said the investigation has refocused onto the crew and passengers aboard the missing plane. Growing evidence suggests a possible hijacking or sabotage.

Even so, Razak added that all possibilities are still being explored.

The prime minister also said that authorities are now trying to trace the plane across two possible "corridors." The first, a northern corridor from northern Thailand through to the border of Kazakstan and Turkmenistan; the second, a southern corridor from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. Search efforts in the South China Sea would end.

"Clearly the search for MH370 has entered a new phase," Razak said.

Earlier, a Malaysian government official involved in the investigation, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said investigators have concluded that one of the pilots or someone else with flying experience hijacked the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

The official said no motive has been established, and it is not yet clear where the plane was taken.

Piracy and pilot suicide have been among the scenarios under study as investigators grew increasingly certain that the plane reversed course and headed west after losing radio contact with air traffic controllers.

Two communication systems on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 were reportedly shut down separately in the moments before the aircraft disappeared from radar on Saturday: a data system and two transponders that relayed information about the jet's speed, altitude and location.

Originally, experts thought the aircraft may have experienced a catastrophic event over the South China Sea. Others theorized that one of the pilots, or someone else with flying experience, hijacked the plane or committed suicide by plunging the jet into the sea.

A U.S. official said Friday in Washington that investigators were examining the possibility of "human intervention" in the plane's disappearance, adding it may have been "an act of piracy." The official, who also wasn't authorized to talk to the media and spoke on condition of anonymity, said it also was possible the plane may have landed somewhere.

In the meantime, crews from several countries are searching for clues by air and by sea. And families and friends of those on board MH370 continue to pray, waiting — along with the rest of the world — for answers.