With the increasing likelihood that Flight 370 was purposefully diverted and flown possibly thousands of miles from its planned route, Malaysian officials faced more questions about how the investigation, marked by days of contradictory government statements, might have ballooned into a global goose chase for information. [New York Times]
WATCHING THE news media and aviation experts scramble, as well as Malaysian officials bumble around attempting to get a grip on the phenomenal events that have now been called a probable hijacking, has been an international spectacle of incompetence. There is no excuse for there to be such confusion, followed by incoherent statements by Malaysian officials, with family members of the passengers left in limbo so many days, as Malaysian officials grapple on how to respond.
If you’re like me, you’ve been following this story. What began as reporting that turned into a media head scratcher, then finally a “global goose chase,” as the New York Times rightly calls it, which is confounding on all levels.
Commander William Marks of the United States Navy Seventh Fleet told the Times he’d never seen anything like this search before, “it’s it’s like looking for a person somewhere between New York and California. It’s that big.” Marks stated further he hasn’t a clue how you search an entire ocean.
And on Sunday, Malaysia’s defense minister added a critical detail about investigators’ understanding of what transpired in the cockpit in the 40 minutes of flight time before ground controllers lost contact with the jet. The determination that the last verbal message to the control tower “” “All right, good night,” someone said “” came after a key signaling system had stopped transmitting, perhaps having been shut off, appeared likely to refocus scrutiny on the plane’s veteran pilot, Capt. Zaharie Ahmad Shah, and his young first officer, Fariq Abdul Hamid. [New York Times]
In a 21st century era of global snooping and security, it’s obvious Malaysia is operating in a alternate space and time. There are reports revealing plenty of clues that the pilot had extremists tendencies, with plenty of questions remaining, even if you can never predict a hijacking.
Yesterday, Malaysian police searched his house in the upmarket Kuala Lumpur suburb of Shah Alam, where he had installed a home-made flight simulator. But this newspaper can reveal that investigators had already spent much of last week examining two laptops removed from Shah’s home. One is believed to contain data from the simulator
Confirming rising fears, Malaysia’s prime minister Najib Razak announced yesterday that MH370 was deliberately steered off course after its communication system was switched off. He said it headed west over the Malaysian seaboard and could have flown for another seven hours on its fuel reserves.
It is not yet clear where the plane was taken, however Mr Razak said the most recent satellite data suggests the plane could have been making for one of two possible flight corridors. The search, involving 43 ships and 58 aircraft from 15 countries, switched from the South China Sea to the Bay of Bengal in the Indian Ocean.
In another dramatic twist early Sunday Indian officials however, said the search was on hold until ‘fresh search areas’ were defined by Malaysia. It is unclear what the reason was for the delay.