Malaysia Prime Minister Najib Razak declared on Saturday that "deliberate" actions were likely taken by someone on the missing Malaysia Airlines jet. He informed the press that authorities are confident the plane's transponder was disabled.
Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 left Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, for Beijing, China, at 12:40 a.m.on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Evidence is "consistent with the deliberate action of someone on the plane," Razak said, adding that the investigation is "entering a new phase," with search operations ending in the South China Sea.
There is 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," the prime minister stated.
The radar then indicates that the plane turned 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." The prime minister confirmed the aircraft on the radar was flight MH370.
Aviation authorities now believe the plane’s last communication with the satellite was either in a northern corridor between the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, or a southern corridor from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean, Razak said.
Despite speculation about a hijacking, Razak reiterated that "we are still investigating all possibilities as to what caused MH370 to deviate from its original flight path."
This story is developing... check back for updates.