Communications system of missing jet disabled, investigation refocused on crew, passengers: Malaysian PM


KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said Saturday that the communications system of the missing Malaysian Airlines jet was disabled just before it reached the east coast of peninsular Malaysia.

“Based on new satellite communication, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the aircraft communications, addressing and reporting system was disabled just before the aircraft reached the east coast of peninsular Malaysia,” he said at a press conference here.

“Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft’s transponder was switched off.”

From this point onwards, the Malaysia airforce radar data showed an aircraft, which was believed but not confirmed to be MH370 did indeed turn back, it then flew in a west direction, back over peninsular Malaysia before turning northwest, he said.

“These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane,” the PM said.

Based on the 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 — a northern corridor stretching approximately from the boarder of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to southern India Ocean.

In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board the plane, which vanished shortly after it departed from Kuala Lumpur on March 8 to Beijing carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members.

“Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear, we’re still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path,” he said. PNA


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