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AirDisaster.Com News
Discuss this story in our forum! Posted: March 13, 2014 at 0:56 U.S. Central Time

Report: Missing Malaysia jet flew four hours after lost contact.
AirDisaster.Com
 
American investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, the Wall Street Journal reported today.

The business paper said this raised the possibility that the Boeing 777-200ER jet could have flown on for hundreds of additional kilometres under conditions that remain murky.

Aviation investigators and national security officials believe the plane flew for a total of five hours based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing Co 777's engines as part of a routine maintenance and monitoring programme, the paper said.

That raised a host of new questions and possibilities about what happened aboard the wide-body jet carrying 239 people, which vanished from civilian air-traffic control radar over the weekend, about one hour into a flight to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.

Six days after the mysterious disappearance prompted a massive international air and water search that so far hasn't produced any results, the investigation appears to be broadening in scope.

United States counter-terrorism officials are pursuing the possibility that a pilot or someone else onboard the plane may have diverted it towards an undisclosed location after intentionally turning off the jetliner's transponders to avoid radar detection, according to one person tracking the probe.

The investigation remains fluid and it was not clear whether investigators have evidence indicating possible terrorism or espionage.

So far, American national security officials have said that nothing specifically points towards terrorism, though they have not ruled it out.

But the huge uncertainty about where the plane was headed, and why it apparently continued flying so long without working transponders, has raised theories among investigators that the aircraft may have been commandeered for a reason that appears unclear to US authorities, said the WSJ.

Some of those theories have been laid out to national security officials and senior personnel from various American agencies, according to one person familiar with the matter.

At one briefing, according to this person, officials were told investigators were actively pursuing the notion that the plane was diverted "with the intention of using it later for another purpose".

As of yesterday, it remained unclear whether the plane reached an alternate destination or if it ultimately crashed, potentially hundreds of kilometres from where an international search effort has been focused.

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