Search For Flight MH 370 Enters A ‘New Phase’, The missing Malaysian jetliner was deliberately diverted and continued flying for more than six hours after severing contact with the ground, meaning it could have gone as far northwest as Kazakhstan or into the Indian Ocean’s southern reaches, Malaysia’s leader said Saturday.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s statement confirmed days of mounting speculation that the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to Beijing more than a week ago was not accidental. It also refocused the investigation into the flight’s crew and passengers, and underlined the complicated task for searchers who already have been scouring vast areas of ocean.
“Clearly the search for MH370 has entered a new phase,” Najib said at a televised news conference.
Najib stressed that investigators were looking into all possibilities as to why the Boeing 777 deviated so drastically from its original flight path, saying authorities could not confirm whether it was a hijacking. Earlier Saturday, a Malaysian official said the plane had been hijacked, though he added that no motive had been established and no demands had been made known.
“In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board,” Najib told reporters, reading from a written statement but not taking any questions.