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‘The lost airliner was diverted deliberately’

| 15/03/2014
 

KUALA LUMPUR | Missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is in two possible corridors that span from Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to Thailand in one and Indonesia to the south of the Indian Ocean in the other, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak revealed at a press conference on Saturday.

Mr Razak said new information showed that while the transponders and Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) were turned off shortly into the flight, MH370 made a final satellite communication at 8.11am on March 8, nearly eight hours after it departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport. “Based on this new data, the aviation authorities of Malaysia and their international counterparts have determined that the plane’s last communication with the satellite was in one of two possible corridors,” he said.

As he explained, the first was a northern corridor stretching from the borders of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, with a second southern corridor ranging from Indonesia to the south of the Indian Ocean. “Investigators are working to further refine the data to locate the aircraft,” he said.

Mr Razak confirmed the plane with 239 on board was taken off course through “deliberate action”, but maintained that a hijacking was only one of the possibilities still being pursued. He also said that the search effort in the South China Sea will now be called off and the assets re-deployed after consulting with data and assisting nations. “This new satellite information has a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search operation. “We are ending our operations in the South China Sea and reassessing the redeployment of our assets,” Najib said.

After Najib spoke with reporters, Malaysian police had searched the home of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, in a gated community in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur. Police made no comment about their activities at the home of co-pilot, Fariq Ab Hamid, 27. Two vans exited the home carrying small bags, similar to shopping bags, but it was unclear whether the bags were taken from the home (see photo above).

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