Malaysia: Someone Diverted Plane Deliberately
Final signal picked up 7 hours after it went missing
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 15, 2014 6:58 AM CDT
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, center, speaks at a news conference.   (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)
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(Newser) – They still have no idea where the missing plane is, but Malaysia authorities now say they're certain that whatever happened was no accident, reports the Washington Post. At a news conference, the prime minister said Flight 370 went off course because of the "deliberate action by someone on the plane," though Najib Razak did not go so far as to call it a hijacking. Investigators are now taking a closer look at the passengers and crew. What's more, Razak revealed that the final signal picked up from the plane came nearly eight hours after takeoff, reports AP. But authorities don't know whether it might have gone north as far as Kazakhstan (which would be tricky given all the land-based radar systems to evade) or south over the Indian Ocean.

The New York Times has details from radar signals suggesting that the plane rose to 45,000 feet, above the normal altitude for a Boeing 777-200, just after it disappeared from flight controllers' radar and turned west. It then dropped to 23,000 feet, below normal, as it passed above the island of Penang on Malaysia's west coast, before turning yet again to the northwest and rising to a higher altitude as it passed over the Strait of Malacca. All of which suggests that the plane was being deliberately manipulated. “Everything we have heard is consistent with the plane flying under the control of someone with at least some flying experience,” an aircraft exec tells the newspaper.