Now the it has been somewhat confirmed, we can start dissecting openly why we had always suspected that flight MH370 could have been hijacked when it mysteriously disappeared in the early hours of March 8th 2014. We as well as a lot of media channels have tried to avoid looking too deep into this scenario as it was unclear what the motives behind the hijacking was, and reporting on it would have been detrimental to the safety of the passengers and crew.
There were a lot of obvious clues pointing towards a possibility that it was a premeditated act instead of a mechanical failure or human error. There were too many coincidental probabilities that would easily equate to winning the lottery twice, in the space of two days.
Firstly, the location where the plane disappeared is too convenient to have been a co-incidence. It is a very strategic location that would have to be pre-meditated. It was a small window when the plane left Malaysian Airspace, said its good night to Subang Air Traffic Control (ATC) and went off radar 3 minutes later – deliberately. What’s so strategic about the location you may ask.When a plane left Malaysian Airspace, Subang ATC assumes that Vietnam ATC would take up the next communication with the aircraft. By not entering Vietnamese air space and swiftly turning around, the people who had control of MH370 bought themselves a massive window of opportunity to plot a new course across the Peninsular. Vietnamese ATC would have followed Standard Operating Procedure when they were not able to locate the aircraft. They sent out a message to all planes in the sector to hail flight MH370. This is where we believe that the people in control of MH370 who would have turned off their primary SATCOM communication channels, were hailed on the much lower range VHF channels by another 777 pilot which was flying 30 minutes ahead of MH370. There were claims that the pilot heard mumblings from MH370, and believed it to the the co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid.
Vietnamese authorities would have continued to hail the aircraft before informing Subang ATC that they have lost contact with the plane. With its main transponders turned off, flight MH370 would have by now flown almost all the way across the northern end of Peninsular Malaysia at 29,500 feet. Military radar would have picked up the flight, but as a commercial flight, it would not have raised any immediate alarms. This is also an unprecedented event and most Air Traffic Control personal would have been briefed and trained on the Standard Operating Procedure to handle this situation, would have checked and double checked their readings before making a call to the Military. There were rumours that Subang ATC issued a Tango call, indicating that they suspected that the aircraft had been hijacked. Unfortunately, by the time this information was confirmed and relayed to the Military, the plane would have been close to leaving Malaysian Airspace on the west.
At 29,500 ft, the plane was flying below the 30,000ft that would have been busy with other commercial flights. With its transponders and ADS-B switched off, it would have needed to maintain a safe altitude to avoid any kind of mid-air disaster and 29,500ft would have been set by someone with enough flying experience, not something that could have been accidental or randomly punched in.
The first press release by Malaysia Airlines was a dead giveaway.
The original press release was made at 7.24am Malaysian time, almost an hour after the plane should have landed in Beijing. But the giveaway was the time MH370 lost contact with Subang ATC. It was not 1.30am when they lost contact with the flight over the Igari Waypoint over the South China Sea, but it was 2.40am when they lost contact with the flight when it left Malaysian Airspace on the West, 1 hour 10 minutes after the transponder was turned off. They later corrected the loss of signal time to 1.30am, but when Primary Radar data came to light, the authorities claimed that they had an unidentified radar blip 200 nautical miles of Penang, at you guessed it, 2.40am!
The Vietnamese authorities have always reiterated that the plane never crossed into their air space.
While this is going to prolong the mystery of what happened with flight MH370, it does give the families of those on board a huge boost of hope that their loved ones are still alive. While the hunt continues for MH370, lets keep the hope and prayers coming. There might still be a very happy ending for all those on board MH370!
Full text of statement by Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak on March 15th 2014.
“Seven days ago Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 disappeared. We realise this is an excruciating time for the families of those on board. No words can describe the pain they must be going through. Our thoughts and our prayers are with them.
I have been appraised of the on-going search operation round the clock. At the beginning of the operation, I ordered the search area to be broadened; I instructed the Malaysian authorities to share all relevant information freely and transparently with the wider investigation team; and I requested that our friends and allies join the operation. As of today, 14 countries, 43 ships and 58 aircraft are involved in the search. I wish to thank all the governments for their help at such a crucial time.
Since day one, the Malaysian authorities have worked hand-in-hand with our international partners – including neighbouring countries, the aviation authorities and a multinational search force – many of whom have been here on the ground since Sunday.We have shared information in real time with authorities who have the necessary experience to interpret the data. We have been working nonstop to assist the investigation. And we have put our national security second to the search for the missing plane.
It is widely understood that this has been a situation without precedent.
We have conducted search operations over land, in the South China Sea, the Straits of Malacca, the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean. At every stage, we acted on the basis of verified information, and we followed every credible lead. Sometimes these leads have led nowhere.
There has been intense speculation. We understand the desperate need for information on behalf of the families and those watching around the world. But we have a responsibility to the investigation and the families to only release information that has been corroborated. And our primary motivation has always been to find the plane.
In the first phase of the search operation, we searched near MH370’s last known position, in the South China Sea. At the same time, it was brought to our attention by the Royal Malaysian Air Force that, based on their primary radar, an aircraft – the identity of which could not be confirmed – made a turn back. The primary radar data showed the aircraft proceeding on a flight path which took it to an area north of the Straits of Malacca.
Given this credible data, which was subsequently corroborated with the relevant international authorities, we expanded the area of search to include the Straits of Malacca and, later, to the Andaman Sea.
Early this morning I was briefed by the investigation team – which includes the FAA, NTSB, the AAIB, the Malaysian authorities and the Acting Minister of Transport – on new information that sheds further light on what happened to MH370.
Based on new satellite information, we can say with a high degree of certainty that the Aircraft Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) was disabled just before the aircraft reached the East coast of peninsular Malaysia. Shortly afterwards, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft’s transponder was switched off.
From this point onwards, the Royal Malaysian Air Force primary radar showed that an aircraft which was believed – but not confirmed – to be MH370 did indeed turn back. It then flew in a westerly direction back over peninsular Malaysia before turning northwest. Up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, these movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.
Today, based on raw satellite data that was obtained from the satellite data service provider, we can confirm that the aircraft shown in the primary radar data was flight MH370. After much forensic work and deliberation, the FAA, NTSB, AAIB and the Malaysian authorities, working separately on the same data, concur.
According to the new data, the last confirmed communication between the plane and the satellite was at 8:11AM Malaysian time on Saturday 8th March. The investigations team is making further calculations which will indicate how far the aircraft may have flown after this last point of contact. This will help us to refine the search.
Due to the type of satellite data, we are unable to confirm the precise location of the plane when it last made contact with the satellite.
However, based on this new data, the aviation authorities of Malaysia and their international counterparts have determined that the plane’s last communication with the satellite was in one of two possible corridors: a northern corridor stretching approximately from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern corridor stretching approximately from Indonesia to the southern Indian ocean. The investigation team is working to further refine the information.
In view of this latest development the Malaysian authorities have refocused their investigation into the crew and passengers on board. Despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, I wish to be very clear: we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path.
This new satellite information has a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search operation. We are ending our operations in the South China Sea and reassessing the redeployment of our assets. We are working with the relevant countries to request all information relevant to the search, including radar data.
As the two new corridors involve many countries, the relevant foreign embassies have been invited to a briefing on the new information today by the Malaysian Foreign Ministry and the technical experts. I have also instructed the Foreign Ministry to provide a full briefing to foreign governments which had passengers on the plane. This morning, Malaysia Airlines has been informing the families of the passengers and crew of these new developments.
Clearly, the search for MH370 has entered a new phase. Over the last seven days, we have followed every lead and looked into every possibility. For the families and friends of those involved, we hope this new information brings us one step closer to finding the plane.