KUALA LUMPUR, March 15 — Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 was hijacked, a local official who is part of the investigation into its disappearance confirmed today.
But the unnamed official said it was still unknown why the Beijing-bound plane with 239 onboard was taken over after it departed Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8.
“It is conclusive,” the official told the Associated Press when asked about a possible hijacking.
Hong Kong-based South China Morning Post today reported that the hijacker might be one of the pilots or at least someone else with flying experience.
This comes as news agency AFP quoted a senior military official saying that Malaysian officials now believe that MH370 may have been deliberately turned towards the Indian Ocean by someone with up-to-date knowledge of flying and radar positions.
Wall Street Journal (WSJ) also suggested that the technical expertise required to silence the many communications systems on MH370 may have been an inside job.
Consulting aviation experts and referring to manuals on the Boeing 777, WSJ noted that it was unlikely that a layperson would be able to the determine the specific circuit breaker needed to disable the plane’s transponders.
Putrajaya said again yesterday it has not ruled out hijacking as a possible cause behind the disappearance of MH370 as new leads suggest the plane may have been intentionally made to shift its course.
Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein refused to confirm the speculation but said Malaysian authorities are not dismissing the possibility that the Boeing 777-20ER bound for Beijing and carrying 239 people on board may have been hijacked.
Local and US sources are now also convinced the aircraft recorded by military radar flying west across peninsular Malaysia and headed for the Indian Ocean was MH370.
The latest revelations has also led search and rescue efforts to expand further, and now included the Indian Ocean where the plane would have had enough fuel to reach.