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Various theories including Pakistan hiding the plane and sabotage claims gain credence over missing Malaysian plane

Monday, 17 March 2014 - 9:51am IST | Place: Vietnam | Agency: ANI
  • PRAY-FOR-MH.jpg Various theories including Pakistan hiding the plane and sabotage claims gain credence over missing Malaysian plane RNA Research & Archives

As the search for the missing Malaysia Airline passenger jet enters its 10th day, it has been reportedly suggested that the plane dropped to very low altitudes of 5000 feet using a dangerous flying technique called 'terrain masking' to avoid radar in at least three countries.

After experts indicated that the plane's communication systems were deliberately switched off to make the plane undetectable on civil radar, investigators were now looking at the possibility of the plane being flown to Taliban bases on the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan.

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, terrain masking is used by military pilots for stealth flights and as the missing plane continued to fly for several hours after getting off radar, authorities believe MH370 would have passed over two additional countries besides Malaysia.

Investigators have also revealed that after the satellite data indicating the deliberate action of switching off the plane's transponders to make it undetectable, they have expanded their search to 22 countries.

Investigators also believe that by following commercial routes the plane did not raise the suspicion of people monitoring radar of the countries it overflew.

Malaysia has asked countries to make data on their satellites available to assist the search but some have not because of sensitivities sharing information that involves national security, the report said.

The report said that the plane had enough fuel for the almost six hour flight to Kuala Lumpur plus 45 minutes of fuel to spare in case of diversion to another airport.

However, since the pings or satellite signals that the plane gave out after disappearing from the radar stopped after the sixth ping, indicating that either the plane's engine was shut off or it simply crashed.

The ill-fated Flight MH370 is being searched since 8th March, when it was first reported missing soon after take off from Kuala Lumpur and a number of theories have emerged about the mysterious disappearance, including sea crash, hijack and pilot suicide.

Missing Malaysian jet could have been flown to Taliban-controlled regions

Ten days of the frantic search and there still has been no clue about the missing Malaysian Airline passenger jet and now the investigators are reportedly looking at a possibility of the plane being flown to Taliban-controlled bases.

The Flight MH370 went off civil radar just after 40 minutes after take off from Kuala Lumpur on 8th March, carrying 239 people.

After numerous theories of a possible sea crash, hijack and pilot suicide, Malaysian authorities are seeking diplomatic permission to scrutinize Taliban-controlled bases on the borders of Afghanistan and North West Pakistan, the Independent reports.

According to the report, experts said that the plane's transponders were deliberately disabled by someone of expertise on board, as the plane continued to give out 'pings' or satellite signals despite getting off radar.

Based on this theory, the authorities searched the homes of captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, and located the self-made simulator at Shah's place.

Meanwhile, the satellite data pointed that the plane was on one of two possible arcs, one stretching north from Thailand to Kazakhstan and crossing more than 10 countries, and one to the south over Indonesia and out across the southern Indian Ocean.

Large areas of the southern half of Afghanistan are ruled by the Afghan Taliban, while some areas of north-west Pakistan, adjacent to or near to the Afghan border, are controlled by the Pakistani Taliban, the report said.

Malaysian officials said that the search area has been significantly expanded and changed, as they were now looking at large tracts of land, crossing 11 countries as well as deep and remote oceans and have also requested help from a dozen Asian countries and asked them to provide radar data.

Pakistani civil aviation officials said they had checked their radar recordings and found no sign of the missing jet.

The report added that after a background check of all the crew and passengers on board the ill-fated Malaysian Airline MH370, no trace had been found about any possible terrorist link.

Missing Malaysian jet could be `first cyber-hijack` using mobile phone, says expert

 An anti-terror expert has reportedly observed that the ill-fated Malaysia Airline passenger jet could have been hijacked using a mobile phone or a USB stick.

A former scientific adviser in Britain's Home Office, Dr Sally Leivesley, opined that it might well be the world's first 'cyber hijack'.

According to news.com.au, the expert said that with new data emerging it was more likely that the control of some systems was taken over in a deceptive manner, either manually by someone sitting in a seat overriding the autopilot, or via a remote device turning off or overwhelming the systems.

She pointed that mobile phone or a USB stick could have been used by the hacker to potentially change the plane's altitude, speed and direction by sending radio signals to its flight management system.

Leivesley explained that it was possible for hackers to get into main computer network of the plane through the in-flight, on-board entertainment system, adding that whoever was responsible for the plane's disappearance likely has a 'very sophisticated systems engineering understanding'.

The report said that such an exploit was demonstrated at a security conference last April by security expert and former pilot Hugo Teso, who claimed that a plane could be hijacked using an Android smartphone.

Teso had revealed that one could use the system to modify approximately everything related to the navigation of the plane.

Meanwhile, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has confirmed that flight MH370's disappearance was 'consistent with deliberate action' and said that authorities were refocusing their investigation into the crew and passengers on board, the report added.




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