Update: 03.17.14: The Star Online has debunked the Daily Mail story as tabloid chicanery. If the pilot did attend the trial, it proves nothing.
Update: 10/16/14: The pilot Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah (pictured left below), is being described as an ‘obsessive’ political activist by a tabloid, the Daily Mail. Hours before taking control of the flight, he attended the trial of jailed Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim (right below). He was allegedly very upset about the situation.
The FBI is not ruling out that the passengers are being held somewhere.
Update: 10/15/14: Flight MH370 is now believed to have flown nearly 8 hours, at least 6 hours after contact was severed. The search for MH370 enters a new phase based on new satellite data received, according to the Nation. The search now includes Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, to a southern corridor from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.”
Boston Globe reports that Malaysian authorities believe the plane was deliberately diverted.
The Malaysian prime minister said the last confirmed signal between the plane and a satellite came at 7 hours and 31 minutes after takeoff. This was more than five hours later than the previous time given by Malaysian authorities as the possible last contact.
Airline officials have said the plane had enough fuel to fly for up to about eight hours.
via the Globe:
He said authorities had determined that the plane’s last communication with a satellite was in one of two possible arcs, or ‘‘corridors’’ — a northern one from northern Thailand through to the border of the Central Asian countries Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, and a southern one from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
The northern route might theoretically have taken the plane through China, India, Pakistan, Afghanistan — which hosts U.S. military bases — and Central Asia, and it is unclear how it might have gone undetected. The region is also home to extremist Islamist groups, unstable governments and remote, sparsely populated areas.
Flying south would have put the plane over the Indian Ocean, with an average depth of 3,890 meters (12,762 feet) and thousands of kilometers (miles) from the nearest land mass.
Malaysian officials searched the homes of the pilot and co-pilot again:
Home of the co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid’s house in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
Original Story: 10/14/14: It is unlikely that the MH370 flight of Malaysian Airlines came down because of catastrophic failure and it is now believed the plane was hijacked. Sharp changes in altitude point to something far more sinister, possibly air piracy. It’s last known location was 35,000 feet above water. The Iranian men, rather than being terrorists, might have been smugglers.
After the missing Malaysian plane lost contact with the Tower, it climbed to 45,000 feet, which is above the approved altitude limit, It then made a sharp turn to the west, the NY Times reported.
Data was provided to the US and the Chinese by Malaysian authorities which is now being interpreted.
The plane then descended unevenly to an altitude of 23,000 feet, below normal cruising levels, as it approached the densely populated island of Penang. There, the plane turned from a southwest-bound course, climbed to a higher altitude and flew northwest over the Strait of Malacca toward the Indian Ocean, the Times reported.
Data shows that it also descended 40,000 feet in a minute though that data is believed to be inaccurate because the plane would have needed more time than that to make such a descent.
Twos sources now indicate that the plane traveled 4 or 5 hours after it lost contact with control.
Malaysian officials, who admit their military radar might have picked up pings, did not intervene, they said, because they did not believe the actions taking place were hostile. Malaysian officials are not sharing all he information available with US investigators.
Military radar last recorded the aircraft flying at an altitude of 29,500 feet about 200 miles northwest of Penang and headed toward India’s Andaman Islands.
There is little doubt that the airliner flew near or through the southern tip of Thailand, then back across Peninsular Malaysia, near the city of Penang, and out over the sea again.
Officials are considering the possibility that the Iranian men were smugglers. They don’t seem to have terrorist connections.
The idea that the plane was hijacked for use at a later date has been all but dismissed. The belief now is that the plane crashed into the Indian Ocean shortly before or as it ran out of fuel. Officials don’t believe a plane of that size could have gone through Indian air space without being picked up.
Additionally, two communications systems on the missing jet were deliberately shut off 14-minutes apart one hour after takeoff at 1:07 and 1:21 a.m. just after the pilot signed off and said good night to controllers, according to Fox News. The transponders were turned off manually and could not have been turned off accidentally because of a malfunction.
The aircraft was able to send signals from the service data system, known as ACARS signals to a satellite.
The last ping was heard while the plane was at 35,000 ft. over water. There is a possibility that someone went into the hold and shut down the last transponder at the time. Either that or they crashed at that time.
The USS Kidd is traveling to the Indian Ocean. The plane has been missing 7 days. If the plane crashed in the Indian Ocean, it will have sunk and will be hard to locate.
There are 239 people, two of them very young children, aboard this plane.