Vanished Jet Seemed to Be Following Waypoints

Sources: Military radar data suggests an experienced pilot was following flight path

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 14, 2014 6:53 AM CDT | Updated Mar 14, 2014 7:48 AM CDT

(Newser) – It's looking more and more like sabotage, at least according to Reuters' sources: Military radar data suggests the missing Malaysia Airlines jet was, in fact, flown hundreds of miles off course—deliberately. The sources say Flight 370 appears to have diverted west, then followed an airline flight corridor typically used to fly to the Middle East or Europe. The data shows an unidentified jet believed to be Flight 370 was following "a route between navigational waypoints," which are used to help pilots navigate, suggesting someone who knew how to fly a plane was at the helm. The plane's final appearance on that radar indicated it was on a path toward India's Andaman Islands. "We are looking at sabotage, with hijack still [in] the cards," says one of the sources, a senior Malaysian police official. More:

  • Evidence also continues to mount that the plane flew for hours after it was last in contact with ground controllers. All of the new information has led some searches to be redirected to the Indian Ocean, the New York Times reports. A senior Pentagon official says that both Malaysian and US authorities are "looking pretty closely" at the possibility the jet crashed in that ocean.
  • The plane's two communication systems (a data reporting system and transponder) appear to have been shut down separately, 14 minutes apart, indicating they were shut off deliberately and not as the result of a catastrophic failure, two US officials tell ABC News. The AP explains further: Had the plane suffered a catastrophic failure, all communications, including the satellite pings, the data messages, and the transponder, should have ceased simultaneously; instead, the pings went on for hours.
  • Meanwhile, Vietnam, which up til now "has been heavily involved in the search," as the AP puts it, downgraded its search from emergency to regular today.

Lt. Col Bambang Sudewo examines a map following a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that was conducted over the Strait of Malacca, at Suwondo air base in Indonesia today.
Lt. Col Bambang Sudewo examines a map following a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that was conducted over the Strait of Malacca, at Suwondo air base in Indonesia today.   (AP Photo/Binsar Bakkara)
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