(FOXNEWS, March 15,2014)- Malaysian police searched the home of the pilot of the missing jetliner Saturday after it was revealed at a press conference that the flight tracker was turned off from inside the plane’s cockpit on the day it disappeared.
Investigators trying to solve the disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner have sharpened their focus on passengers and crew after concluding that the Boeing 777 had its communications deliberately disabled.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said at a press conference that investigators now know that the airliner’s last signal came about 7 1/2 hours after takeoff, meaning it could have ended up as far as Kazakhstan or deep in the southern Indian Ocean.
“In view of this latest development, the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board,” Najib said, stressing they were still investigating all possibilities as to why the plane deviated so drastically from its original flight path.
“Clearly the search for (Flight) MH370 has entered a new phase,” Najib told a televised news conference.
Najib also said that authorities are now trying to trace the airplane across two possible “corridors” — a northern corridor from the border of Kazakstan and Turkmenistan through to northern Thailand, and a southern corridor from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
The prime minister said that searching in the South China Sea, where the plane first lost contact with air traffic controllers, would be ended. He said the new search corridors were based on the latest available satellite data.
Najib also confirmed that Malaysian air force defense radar picked up traces of the plane turning back westward, crossing over Peninsular Malaysia into the northern stretches of the Strait of Malacca. Authorities previously had said this radar data could not be verified.
He said the jetliner’s “movements are consistent with the deliberate action of someone on the plane,” BBC News reported.
The Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was carrying 239 people when it departed for an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing at 12:40 a.m. March 8. The plane’s communications with civilian air controllers were severed about 1:20 and the plane went missing in one of the most puzzling mysteries in modern aviation history.