Malaysian Prime Minister: Plane could have gone far as Kazakhstan, aloft 7 more hours

A Malaysian official told the Associated Press that “it is conclusive,” Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 was hijacked. Then the Malaysian Prime Minister got up and said they haven’t determined yet what happened.

The Malaysian Prime Minister Nazib Razak issued a statement at 2:20pm Malaysian time, or 2:20am Eastern time US Saturday morning.  A lot of it is about everything they’ve done to help, how they put their national security second to the search for the plane. They’ve determined that the plane was last reported in one of two corridors, that are pretty large.  He said the plane could be as far as Kazakhstan.

Another shocker, the PM said the last confirmed communication between the plane and a satellite was 8:11am. The plane did the initial u-turn right after it turned off its transponder around 1:21am. That means the plane flew for another 7 hours!  Which is a point I’d raised early on in this investigation, asking why everyone was assuming the plane crashed in the Straits of Malaca, between Malaysia and Indonesia after it did the u-turn, when it could have just flown on for another several thousand miles.

kazakhstan

 

kazakshatan-2

UPDATE: That means the plane was potentially in Chinese airspace, and for quite a bit of time at that. It’s difficult to imagine the Chinese would not have known that, and put a stop to it.
________

As none of the American TV networks have found this news important enough to interrupt programming, you can go watch the press statement on ABC online when it happens. (CNN is reportedly interrupting their programming for this when it happens.)

malaysia-prime-minister

The Malaysian Armed Forces chief is reportedly neither confirming nor denying that the plane was hijacked. Clearly he has to wait for his boss to speak.

malaysian-armed-forces-chief

CBS is reporting that the Malaysians have yet to come up with a motive, or where the plane was taken.

I’d written earlier this evening about new data suggesting the plane had made a series of turns, and altitude changes, that experts are saying must have been intentional.

malaysia-air-way-points

I will continue to update this story as it develops.  Below is the earlier estimate I made of the possible distance the plane could have been flown without running out of fuel. You’ll note that Kazakshstan (off the map) is right above Kyrgyzstan in the top middle left.

range-of-malaysia-air-flight


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Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+ | LinkedIn. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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  • Mark_in_MN

    Or the people responsible are all dead now, having been on the plane.

  • Mark_in_MN

    Which maneuvers? The huge changes in altitude? Why assume that the data there is correct, rather than entertain the possibility that the data is faulty, misinterpreted, or made up by someone?

  • mirror

    Also, John, there is way to little discussion about the total ethnic cleansing of Crimean Tatars in 1944, when Stalin had them, and the other non-Russians in the region, shipped to other parts of the USSR, during which process close to half of them died. This is on top of the estimated 50% population killed during the collectivization of 1922-33. There is a reason there is a majority of ethnic Russians there when there wasn’t in 1922.

    The primary strength of the argument put forward by Nicho is really based on this ethnic Russian population majority. The “Russian for centuries” part is just put in there to distract from the ethnic cleansing that led to that majority.

  • 2karmanot

    In other words: Malaysia—– totally clueless and desperate. Their incompetent BS may have cost the lives of over two hundred people.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Very good points. So many people forget how in geopolitics, culture always does play a part.

  • UFIA

    Annexed in 1783. Russian until 1917. Then from 1922 to 1954.
    166 years.
    It was Turkish from 1475 until 1783.
    308 years.

    What does it matter that it once was part of Russia?

    Currently Crimea is part of the Ukraine, which it became without an act of war.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Seems like there’s a lot of that going around these days, huh? Unexplained deaths and supposed suicides of people with unusual backgrounds and histories…

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    No clue. It’s a huge plane, so not easy to maintain or to fly. Only certain runways can handle it.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    Plus, there’s the chance that something catastrophic happens, and you want the ability to limit your onboard electrical use as much as possible to maintain other systems.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Oh, and Native American lands have been part of the US and its predecessor colonies for over 500 years, so i guess no harm no foul, right?

  • Indigo

    Suspected of being “drug related.” Oh, my!

  • Indigo

    I tell you, some folks are just clever that way. They didn’t do quite as well with the launch of the Affordable Car Act, but social mores do not dictate that everyone drive a Porsche. Oh, wait . . . that should read “the Affordable Care Act . . .” that’s running plausibly well, all part of the conspiracy to empower a moderately successful presidency.

  • Monophylos Fortikos

    The achievements of the Kenyan Konspiracy time machine are even more impressive than I thought. Not merely did the conspirators plant fake evidence of Obama’s birth in Hawai’i to pave the way for his illegitimate presidency decades later, they stopped over in Kiev in 1990 to forge the Ukrainian Declaration of State Sovereignty to pave the way for U.S. annexation twenty-five years down the line.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    And that’s okay, I know you need to toe the Soviet line on this, or the glorious revolution gets sullied, then you have to admit your buddies in the Kremlin killed tens of millions of their own people, and all sorts of inconvenient historical stuff that far outweighs what the evil black man did in the White House.

    Keep it up, girl.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    The maps I’m seeing are all showing up to the Kazakhstan border. And remember, the circles I drew were rough, based on average speeds, not knowing the wind, or altitude.

  • nicho

    Your patronizing attitude aside, the Crimea has been part of Russia for centuries, bit I know you need to toe the administration line in this. Those White House Christmas party invitations aren’t going to put themselves in the mail.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s what the past week has been, conjecture. Though actually the 7 hour flight after turning off the transponder is rather huge. Mysteries don’t usually get solved along the way with absolute answers. They only have absolute answers after they’re over. I like my news in real-time rather than after the fact :)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    See… ;-)

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    You’re so adorable.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I know

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    Also, I asked a correspondent about this who then asked about it on the air – the thing can malfunction in a bad way, as in pose a fire hazard. It never happens, but apparently you have to be able to turn off every piece of equipment just in case.

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    That’s weird.

  • nicho

    OT — but something that will certainly be ignored during all the non-stop attention on the missing plane.

    Two former Navy Seals are found dead about the Maersk Alabama, the ship featured in the Capt. Phillips movie. Cause of death, simultaneous “heart attacks.” Both were 44.

    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/moviesnow/la-et-mn-navy-seals-found-dead-captain-philips-ship-20140219,0,4241146.story#axzz2w2XtiJR5

  • nicho

    I read a piece from an airline pilot who had had some training in a 777 and he said that even he, with a few hours training, didn’t know enough about the aircraft to make those maneuvers.

  • nicho

    Pakistan chose not to see the Seals coming in. That was part of the deal. Pakistan would lead us to OBL, let us take him out, then scream and yell afterwards that they were deceived and that their airspace was violated. That would keep AQ off their back.

  • nicho

    Or more precisely, while Obama and NATO try to annex the Ukraine.

  • nicho

    Sometimes transponders — like all other electronic equipment — go bad and give you false information. Then, they need to be turned off.

  • Thom Allen

    General question that maybe someone with experience with aviation can answer. Why do the airlines or plane manufacturers allow the option to turn off the transponder? Wouldn’t you always want it active at least as long as the plane is flying?

  • MichaelS

    As a nuclear-payload delivery vehicle, maybe? Paint it, and it would go unnoticed longer than a military aircraft, and any nation would hesitate longer before shooting it down.

  • MyrddinWilt

    I think the pilot or copilot more likely responsible than an outside group. Whether that called hijack or not… depends.

    Pakistan did not notice the US coming in the Bin Laden raid and they flew right into the country’s main army base in the region.

    But what would be the point of stealing a 777? Its not like it could be sold or anything.

  • MyrddinWilt

    And this is all playing out while Putin tries to annex Crimea.

  • Indigo

    Conjecture is lots more fun than a plain we-don’t-know statement. We don’t know it was a close encounter of the third kind but we also don’t know that it wasn’t.

  • Thom Allen

    I lived in Singapore, neighbor to Malaysia, for a short while. There may be a couple of factors coming into play here that account for the confusion and contradictory statements by various government officials.

    Some officials try to “scoop” officials in the same, or other offices. It gets them a measure of publicity and could get them promoted. If the “scoop” turns out to be wrong, the official blames it on his source being unreliable. There may be a downside to that, but often it’s minimal. So the second undersecretary in the Ministry of Missing Planes hears from his third cousin’s brother-in-law in the Ministry of the Higgs Boson that HIS Ministry thinks the plane spontaneously disintegrated. Our hero, trying to get a leg up on his colleagues at Missing Planes and their rivals at the Ministry of UFO Kidnappings, gives this info to his Minister. The Minister, being aware that this information was gleaned from his arch political rivals, announces it without attempting to confirm it (because the rival Ministries would just deny it or lie.) Byzantine, yeah, but not all that uncommon.

    The other facet is one of honor. It’s very important for Malaysia to be seen as all -wise and protective of it’s citizens and territory. A large plane, with 200+ people disappears without a trace. The government doesn’t dare say “Huh?” it needs to respond forcefully, even if it’s response is misdirected or misinformed. So begins the “we have the situation in hand. Malaysian searchers from the Malaysian Navy and Malaysian Air Force are working on this. Malaysian radar is . . . ” For Malaysia to appear weak is not an option. When they realized that they were totally baffled and asked for help from the US and other countries, was a major strp forward for the search, but an embarrassment for the government. For the government to actually admit PUBLICLY that they had asked for international help means that they are totally clueless and desperate to get some kind of explanation that will get the mystery solved and get them off the hook. Things like cover your ass, putting the appropriate spin on an issue (or overt propagandizing), one-ups-manship, I got mine, deniability and others are not solely a part of American politics.

  • mirror

    I have to say, it has taken me a while to get very interested in this. So many people disappear or die everyday, and this event was clearly one I wasn’t by any stretch of the imagination going to have any impact on, but it is now getting so weird It has caught my interest. Conject away!

  • cole3244

    this is getting more bizarre by the minute, someone must not be able to decipher the info or they are making things up as they go.

    i really feel for the families and the roller coaster they are dealing with, i can only imagine their emotions.

  • pricknick

    Sorry John.
    Didn’t bother to read.
    Too much conjecture.

  • Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi

    KAZAKHSTAN? Was Borat on the flight with a stolen passport?

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    I don’t know, Naja. I still think it’s more mystery than solid answers.

    Hell, I can still spin out a version where the flight crew is disabled, maybe there are electrical faults and not deliberate switching off, and some passenger with a little flying experience is asked to take over — and botches it badly.

    I’m leaning towards a botched hijacking though. Maybe someone who learned just enough about the Trip-7 using MS Flight Simulator to turn off transponders and be able to follow nav beacons. But not enough to know how to calculate fuel consumption.

    Or else it was after 4 hours the passengers and remaining crew broke down the cockpit door and he took a header into the ocean on purpose.

  • http://www.americablog.com/ Naja pallida

    I find it strange that he was so adamant about not calling it a hijacking. What else could it possibly be with the evidence they have? Either it was an inside job, or an outside job. Either way, they hijacked the plane.

    Seems to me that flying over land would be the last thing they’d want to do. It would result in them being picked up by radar, and most likely intercepted by coastal defenses. I can’t imagine India would allow any unidentified aircraft to fly freely in its airspace… and they’re kinda right in the way of any easy path north. Not to mention, coming in range of cell phone repeaters and have passenger personal electronics sync up. They couldn’t possibly have managed to confiscate and disable electronics from over 200 passengers, even if they were all rendered unconscious by depressurizing the cabin at altitude.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    CNN is saying they have information that the search is now concentrating on the Bay of Bengal and other parts of the Indian ocean, based on when satellite telemetry was lost.

    http://www.cnn.com/2014/03/14/world/asia/malaysia-airlines-plane/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    Summary: Malaysian PM says they’re pretty sure the plane was somewhere over the Indian Ocean when the last satellite telemetry was lost. But he won’t commit to saying it was a hijacking. So now the big focus is on (1) crew and passengers and (2) trying to search in the two air corridors where they think the plane may have been.

  • AnitaMann

    So where is it? What was the point? With every new bit of info, more questions come up. Fiction writers are pissed that they didn’t come up with this storyline.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    HuffPo is running a live feed of the PM’s presser via CBS…

  • http://AMERICAblog.com/ John Aravosis

    I heard the other day that bin laden didn’t take credit for 9/11 for a few months. So who knows. Maybe part of the “fun” is leaving everyone wondering, wasting time, wasting money, hurting families even more, etc.

  • pappyvet

    I wonder if the

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