A Malaysian official told reporters that evidence that Malaysia Flight 370 was hijacked is "conclusive." The last satellite transmission from the flight has been traced to the Indian Ocean, somewhere off the coast of Perth, Australia. The official also said that only a skilled pilot could have navigated the plane in such a way as to avoid radar detection.
Earlier Friday evening, American officials has also said they were examining the possibility of human intervention, and possibly an act of piracy. Data suggests the plane dove 23,000 feet while approaching the Malaysian island of Penang, but then ascended once more over the Straits of Malacca.
Richard Healing of the National Transportatin Safety Board said "Increasingly, it seems to be heading into the criminal arena. The emphasis is on determining if a hijacker or crew member diverted the plane." Background checks are being done now for passengers and crew members.
Only minutes ago, Malaysia Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak made a statement to media at 2:20PM Saturday afternoon in Malaysia. He said he has requested all information to be turned over from government agencies and Malaysia Airlines to aid in the investigation. "It is widely understood that this has been a situation without precedent. We have acted on every credible lead. Sometimees these leads have lead nowhere. We understand the need for information but we have a responsibility to the families involved in the investigation."
Based on primary radar, the identity of which could not be confirmed, the aircraft made a turnback toward an area North of the Straits of Malacca.
Early this morning the Malaysian PM was briefed by authoriities on new info that sheds further light on what happened. He went on to say, "Based on new satellite communication data, we can say with a high degreee of certainty that ACARS was disabled just before the it reached the Malaysia Penninsula." It flew across the pennninsula then turned northwest. These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone controling the aircraft with hostility.
He confirmed the data showed the aircraft being tracked by satellites was MH370.
"Due to the type of data we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite. It was in one of 2 possible 2 corridors - to the north from Kazakstan to Thailand, or south from Indonesia to southern Indian Ocean. I wish to be very clear we are still investigating all possibilities as to when caused MH370 to deviate from its path."
Finally, a week after its disappearance, answers start to arrive as to the plane's location. We could still be days from finding the actual location, but narrowing the search to these two zones amounts to a major breakthrough after a week of speculative guessing.
Top photo: Mayalsia Airlines 777 by AeroIcarus on Flickr. Licensed for Creative Commons Commercial Use