Diversion of MH370 was deliberate: Malaysian PM

Malaysian Airline - MH370

The Malaysian Prime Minister said investigators now know that the missing Malaysian airliner’s communications were deliberately disabled and that it turned back from its flight to Beijing and flew across Malaysia.

The search for the plane is now being extended across a vast area extending from Kazhakstan in central Asia to the southern Indian ocean, Najib Razak revealed in a dramatic press conference today.

After new satellite information became available, he said dozens of countries across the region would now become involved in the search for Kuala Lumpur-Beijing flight MH 370 which went missing a week ago with 239 crew and passengers on board.

The new satellite information also revealed that the last communication with the plane was at 8.11am on Saturday March 8, much later than previously believed.

He said the movements of the plane tracked until it left the coverage of military radar were consistent with “deliberate action” by someone on the plane who turned the jet back across Malaysia and onwards to the west.

A Malaysian official, speaking anonymously, had told AP that the authorities were convinced that the plane had been hijacked by experienced fliers who had disabled the communications and diverted the plane.

But Razak told the press conference in Kuala Lumpur: “Despite media reports the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear, we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate,” Najib said.

The search operation in the South China Sea would be abandoned, Razak said, and the focus changed to two possible flight corridors based on the new information.

The first stretches from Kazhakstan to north Thailand, while the second south corridor, stretching from Indonesia to southern Indian ocean. (The Guardian)