Authorities rush to spike theory Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane flew well after 'vanishing'

Mar 13 2014, 21:18 IST
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A reporter waits at KL airport news of missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane. Reuters A reporter waits at KL airport news of missing Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane. Reuters
SummaryWSJ made sensational claim Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane could have reached Pakistan.

Authorities said on Thursday there was no evidence that a Malaysia Airlines MH 370 plane, now missing for almost six days, flew for hours after losing contact with air traffic controllers and continued to transmit technical data for a long time, which would allow it to reach Pakistan, or even Saudi Arabia.

The Wall Street Journal said that U.S. aviation investigators and national security officials believed the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 flew for a total of five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from its Rolls-Royce Trent engines as part of a standard monitoring programme.

"Those reports are inaccurate," Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a news conference. "As far as both Rolls-Royce and Boeing are concerned, those reports are inaccurate. The last (data) transmission from the aircraft was at 01:07 a.m.(local time) which indicated that everything was normal."

Boeing and Rolls-Royce have yet to comment.

Reuters has previously reported that the plane's transmission of the so-called ACARS technical data ceased after it lost contact with air traffic control.

Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, with 239 people on board, dropped off air traffic control screens at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, less than an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. There were no reports of bad weather or mechanical problems.

It is one of the most baffling mysteries in the history of modern aviation - there has been no trace of the plane since nor any sign of wreckage despite a search by the navies and military aircraft of over a dozen countries across Southeast Asia.

"It's extraordinary that with all the (satellite and telecommunication) technology that we've got that an aircraft can disappear like this," Tony Tyler, head of the International Air Transport Association that links over 90 percent of the world's airlines, told reporters in London.

"It will trigger a desire to see how can we avoid this from happening again... I wouldn't be surprised that the technology didn't exist already but is not being used."

The last definitive sighting on civilian radar screens came as the plane flew northeast across the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand.

On Wednesday, Malaysia's air force chief said military radar had traced what could have been the jetliner to an area south of the Thai holiday island of Phuket in the Malacca Strait, hundreds of miles to the west of its last known position. However, he stressed the plotting had not been corroborated.

The multi-national

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