March 14, 2014

Update: 10:30 PM A Malaysian official who is not authorized to speak on the record confirmed that authorities conclusively believe the plane was hijacked. If that is the case, I'm a little unclear on why they won't go on the record with it, so take that news for what it's worth.

Who among us hasn't considered the possibility that the plane was hijacked and spirited away somewhere or forced to crash? It looks like the experts are also looking at that.

The Guardian:

Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may have been deliberately flown west towards the Andaman Islands after it last made contact with air traffic control nearly one week ago, military radar-trafficking evidence now suggests, in a twist that Malay officials have said supports theories the plane might have been hijacked or sabotaged.

Sources told Reuters that the flight path of an unidentified aircraft, which investigators believe was MH370, followed a route with specific navigational waypoints, suggesting someone with aviation training was at the helm.

Separately the Wall Street Journal reported that the missing jet had transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites in the five hours after its last contact with air traffic control before abruptly shutting off, according to US military and industrial sources. It said it did not know the flight path to this point but noted that the US had moved surveillance planes into an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles (1,600km) west of the Malayasian peninsula.

The last known position of MH370 was at 1.21am at 35,000 feet roughly 90 miles off the east coast of Malaysia, as the Boeing 777 with 239 people on board made its way towards Vietnam, en route to Beijing.

If the unidentified aircraft picked up on the military radar reported by Reuters is indeed the missing jet, then data suggests the 777 veered dramatically and deliberately westwards, heading northeast of Indonesia's Aceh province towards a navigational waypoint used for carriers headed towards the Middle East.

New York Times:

Radar signals recorded by the Malaysian military appear to show the missing airliner climbing to 45,000 feet, above the approved altitude limit for a Boeing 777-200, soon after it disappeared from civilian radar and made a sharp turn to the west, according to a preliminary assessment by a person familiar with the data.

ABC News:

Two U.S. officials tell ABC News the U.S. believes that the shutdown of two communication systems happened separately on Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. One source said this indicates the plane did not come out of the sky because of a catastrophic failure.

The data reporting system, they believe, was shut down at 1:07 a.m. The transponder -- which transmits location and altitude -- shut down at 1:21 a.m.

This indicates it may well have been a deliberate act, ABC News aviation consultant John Nance said.

U.S. investigators told ABC News that the two modes of communication were "systematically shut down."

That means the U.S. team "is convinced that there was manual intervention," a source said, which means it was likely not an accident or catastrophic malfunction that took the plane out of the sky.

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