“It is conclusive” and no longer a theory, said the unnamed Malaysian government official, who is involved with the investigation into the disappearance of the Malaysian Airlines jetliner on March 8.
The official said no motive had been uncovered, no demands for ransom had been made and it was unclear where the plane — with 239 passengers and crew members aboard — was taken.
He said evidence that led to the conclusion included signs that the plane’s communications were switched off deliberately, data about the flight path and indications the plane was steered in a way to avoid detection by radar.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak did not confirm the plane was hijacked, but said that investigators believe the missing Malaysian airliner’s communications were deliberately disabled, that it turned back from its flight to Beijing and flew for more than seven hours — meaning it could have ended up as far as Kazakhstan or deep in the southern Indian Ocean.
Najib also said Saturday that authorities are now trying to trace the airplane missing for more than a week across two possible “corridors” — a northern corridor from northern Thailand through to the border of Kazakstan and Turkmenistan, and a southern corridor from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
“Clearly the search for MH370 has entered a new phase,” he said. “We hope this new information brings us one step closer to finding the plane.”
The Boeing 777’s communication with the ground was lost less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
Malaysian officials had earlier said radar data showed it may have turned back and crossed back over the Malaysian peninsula westward, after setting out toward China.