Malaysian officials have refused to confirm the latest reports suggesting a possible hijacking or sabotage of missing MH370 flight.
At a news conference on Friday morning, the Malaysian transport minister again denied claims that the plane could have flown for several hours after disappearing from radars on Saturday. Those reports have quoted sources at Rolls Royce, the company that manufactured the plane’s engines.
Officials have decided to expand the search as the US navy explores new waters in the Indian Ocean.
Military radar-tracking evidence suggests the Malaysia Airlines plane was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday.
Two sources said an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 followed a route between navigational waypoints – indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training – when it was last plotted on military radar off the country’s north-west coast.
The last coordinates on the military radar’s tracking system suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, a chain of isles between the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, they said. Waypoints are geographic locations, worked out by calculating longitude and latitude, that help pilots navigate along established air corridors.
A third source familiar with the investigation said inquiries were increasingly focusing on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight, with 239 people on board, hundreds of miles off its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
“What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards,” said that source, a senior Malaysian police official.