Day Eight: Classified data analysis, possible 'dark scenario'
[10.00 am local MYT, Saturday 15 March 2014]
- CNN reported earlier today that classified intelligence analysis of electronics and satellite data suggests that the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight may have crashed either in the Bay of Bengal or somewhere in the Indian Ocean.
- The United States has sent its guided missile destroyer USS Kidd into the Indian Ocean while Indian officials say they are expanding their search efforts in to the Bay of Bengal, according to CNN, which said the data "points toward speculation in a dark scenario in which someone took the plane for some unknown purpose, perhaps terrorism."
- In addition, The Guardian 's latest update said there were reports that Malaysian military radar indicated the plane made at least two distinct changes of course after apparently turning back from its route towards Beijing. US officials indicated that they believed the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean and said that an aerial search of the area would begin on Saturday. Malaysian officials said they were investigating the possibility that the plane's communications systems had been deliberately shut down.
A total of 57 ships, 48 aircraft and 13 nations are taking part in the search and rescue mission
Photo - Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak
Malaysian PM: MH340 flight was 'deliberately deviated'
[0200 pm local MYT, 15 March 2014] Update
SAR media briefing was headed by the Malaysian PM Dato Sri Mohd Najib Tun Razak (pic) who read a statement, which included:
- Seven days ago, MH340 disappeared. We realise this is excruciating time for the families of those on board. No words describe the pain they must be going through. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.
- I ordered the search area to be broadened and instructed the Malaysian authorities to share knowledge with the wider investigation team and invited friends and allies to join the search and rescue operation. The Malaysian authorities have worked hand in hand with neighbouring coutnries and experienced experts. We have been working non stop to assist the investigation and put our national security second to the search operation. This has been a situation without precedence.
- We acted on the basis at every stage of verified information and followed every credible lead. There has been intense speculation. We understand the desperate need for information. Our primary motivation has always been to find the missing plane.
- New information that shares further light on what happened to MH370. Based on new satellite communications, we can say with a high degree of certaintly that the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system (ACARS) was disabled just before the aircraft reached the East Coast of Peninsular Malaysia.
- Just before Vietnamese airspace, the aircraft transponder was switched off. From this point, Royal Malaysian Air Force military data showed (then unconfirmed) indications the plane turned back and turned north-west.
- These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.We can confirm that the aircraft shown was MH370 after much forensic work and verification by separate agencies on the same data.
- According to the new data, the last confirmed communication was at 0811am 8 March 2014. The team is making further calculations to indicate how far the aircraft may have flown. This will help us to refine the search.
- Due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the flight when it last made contact with satellites.
- However, we have determined that the plane's last communication with the satelllite is one of two corridors (a) a northern corridor from Kazakhstan to Northern Thailand or (b) a southern corridor stretching from Indonesia to the Southern Indian Ocean. We are working to further refine this information.
- As a result, Malaysian authorities are intensifying the investigation of the crew and all on board. We are still unable to confirm what was the cause of the deviation of the flightpath of MH340. We are ending our operations in the South China seas and redeploying our assets.
- As the two new corridors involve many countries, the relevant authorities have been invited to a new briefing with technical experts and the Malaysian Foreign Ministry. Families of passengers and crew have already been briefed.