Report: Malaysia Flight 370 Kept Flying 5 Hours After Disappearing
More evidence contradicts the possibility that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 exploded or crashed, as two individuals told ABC News that United States authorities believe the plane had its communications systems "systematically shut down" and several news agencies say the plane remained in the air for five hours after disappearing.
An analysis of the various communication methods on the plane, given that the plane is missing, is impossible. But researchers are looking into whether the last messages from the plane coincide. According to these sources, the data reporting system and the transponder sent their last messages at different times. The former appears to have been shut down at 1:07 A.M.; the latter, at 1:21 A.M. The latter tells airports and satellites the location and altitude of the plane. Investigators are concluding from this that the plane was "systematically shut down." If the plane had exploded or crashed, all communications systems would shut down simultaneously.
This information coincides with new developments regarding another modes of communication on the plane. According to Reuters, the plane was sending automatic "pings" to satellites in the area long after communications systems were found to have shut down. The pings are usually sent automatically about once an hour, which keeps the communication with the satellites without indicating where the plane actually is. Reuters' sources say about "five or six" pings were heard, meaning the plane could have been in the air up to five hours.
The Wall Street Journal also reports that the number of pings indicates the plane continued flying for five hours after disappearing. Such a flight could put the plane anywhere within a large scope of land very far off the course that would have taken it to Beijing, and raises questions about who shut down the communications mechanisms, why, and where the plane flew after losing contact with the outside world.
A different type of ping in the electrical systems made headlines earlier today. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier today that sources had said the engines, designed by Rolls-Royce and Boeing, had also sent pings to the manufacturers long after the plane disappeared. Rolls-Royce declined to comment, and Malaysian authorities refuted the report.
American authorities became involved in the search for the plane, which went missing last Sunday, after the scope of the search expanded far west into the Indian Ocean. American authorities have told the media that they believe the plane went down somewhere in the Indian Ocean and have begun to send search teams there.
The plane's disappearance has angered Chinese authorities, who have encouraged Malaysian government officials to "speed up" the search process. The plane, headed toward Beijing, had 154 Chinese nationals on board when it went missing.