Accessibility links

Malaysian PM Says Someone on Missing Plane Turned Off Communications

  • VOA News

Officer Lang Van Ngan of the Vietnam Air Force looks out the window onboard a flying AN-26 Soviet made aircraft during a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane over the southern sea between Vietnam and Malaysia, March 14, 20
Malaysia's prime minister says there is "a high degree of certainty" that someone deliberately shut off communications in the missing Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 people on board.

Prime Minister Najib Razak said at a news conference Saturday that search efforts in the South China Sea are ending and officials are reassessing the deployment of assets.

He added that when Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 stopped communicating with satellites, it was in one of two corridors: northern from a border region of Kazakhstan to northern Thailand, and southern from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean. Najib said the "search has entered a new phase."

He said the disappearance of the aircraft was "consistent with a deliberation action," and that authorities are refocusing their investigation on the crew and passengers.

The prime minister said a communication system was disabled as the aircraft left Malaysia, then the transponder was switched off as the plane neared the border with Vietnam.

Najib did not take questions from reporters.

U.S. officials have said the jet may have crashed into the Indian Ocean.

Flight 370 disappeared one week ago and investigators have yet to find any firm evidence of what happened.

The U.S. officials tell American broadcast networks they have indications the jet is in the Indian Ocean, far west of its intended flight path.

White House spokesman Jay Carney said Friday the United States may expand its search into the ocean because of what he called "new information."

Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Friday "circumstances" have already expanded the search into the Indian Ocean.

Indian military aircraft have also flown over the Andaman and Nicobar Islands -- more than 500 mostly uninhabited, heavily forested land masses.

Investigators believe the plane may have flown for several hours after disappearing from radar. They say the jet was sending electronic pings to a communications satellite.

The Boeing 777 was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it disappeared.

Forty-three ships and 58 aircraft from 14 countries are involved in the search.

About two-thirds of the people on board were Chinese. Other passengers included Europeans and Americans.