‘Deliberate act’ indicated in lost Malaysia plane

Information offers first real clues to the fate of Flight MH370, which officials believe was diverted off course

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Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday that the movements of the missing flight MH370 were consistent with a deliberate act by someone who turned the jet back across Malaysia and onwards to the west.

Najib told a press conference that investigators had confirmed that an aircraft tracked by military radar was the lost Malaysia Airlines flight after its communications were likely switched off before it reached the east coast of Malaysia a week ago.

"Despite media reports the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear, we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate," Najib said.

It was revealed on Friday that military radar-tracking evidence suggested that the missing Malaysia Airlines plane had been deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, according to sources quoted by Reuters.

Indian authorities began searching the islands, Reuters reported as two sources said an unidentified aircraft, that investigators believe was Flight MH370, was following a route between navigational waypoints - indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training - when it was last plotted on a military radar off the country’s northwest coast.

"It has to be a skilled, competent and a current pilot," said the official, who is involved in a vast international search and rescue operation and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The last plot on the military radar’s tracking suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, the sources said.

Another possibility not being ruled out is the airliner running out of fuel.

The source familiar to the investigation of the plane’s disappearance explained to Reuters news agency that the plane might have ran out of fuel and crashed into the Indian Ocean after it flew hundreds of miles off course, an analysis of electronic pulses has shown.

The data obtained from pulses the plane sent to satellites had been interpreted to provide two different analyses because it was ambiguous, said the source, who declined to be identified because of the ongoing investigation.

(With Reuters and AFP)

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