New information from the Thai government bolsters the belief that missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 took a sharp westward turn after communication was lost. The Thai military was actually receiving normal flight path and communication data from the Boeing 777 on its planned March 8 route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing until 1:22 a.m., when it eventually disappeared from its radar.
Six minutes later, the Thai military detected an unknown signal, a Royal Thai Air Force spokesman told CNN. This unknown aircraft, possibly the missing plane, was heading the opposite direction.
Malaysia says the evidence gathered so far suggests the plane was deliberately flown off course, turning west and traveling back over the Malay Peninsula and out into the Indian Ocean.
“The unknown aircraft’s signal was sending out intermittently, on/off and on/off,” the spokesman said. The Thai military lost the unknown aircraft’s signal because of the limits of its military radar, he said.
The Plane “turn” was made by computer in the cockpit?
Supporting the case that whoever took the plane off course had considerable aviation expertise, The New York Times reported that the aircraft’s first turn to the west was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by somebody in the cockpit
The person who programmed the change of course would have been somebody “knowledgeable about airplane systems,” The Times reported, citing unidentified American officials.
The information has increased investigators’ focus on the pilot and first officer, the newspaper reported.
But investigators don’t know who was at the controls or why whoever it was took the plane far away from its original destination before it disappeared. The Thai latest data is the second radar evidence that the plane did indeed turn around toward the Strait of Malacca.
It follows information from the Malaysian Air Force that its military radar tracked the plane as it passed over the small island of Pulau Perak in the Strait of Malacca.
The radar data is an encouraging sign that investigators are on the right track, but they still are not sure where the plane ended up.
The latest findings say the plane’s last known location detected by a satellite is somewhere along two wide arcs: one stretching north over Asia and the other south into the Indian Ocean. The plane’s last electronic connection with the satellite was about six hours after it last showed up on Malaysian military radar.