Kuala Lumpur: Missing plane "was hijacked, reasons still unknown"
Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 "was hijacked by a person with a lot of flying experience, who knowingly interrupted radar communications and diverted the route of the aircraft". This was stated by an official from the Malaysian government this afternoon (local time). Prime Minister Najib Razak also held a press conference in which he confirmed, albeit indirectly, the hijacking: "The reasons for this act are unclear". The Chinese government, instead, has declared that such statements "must be verified".
The Boeing disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board, mostly Chinese. So far the massive search campaign involving dozens of ships, helicopters and fighter jets from at least eight different nations has failed to find any indications of its whereabouts: the latest information claims the plane flew for "at least seven more hours " after its last contact with the control tower.
Search operations in the South China Sea have been suspended. According to the Malaysian Prime Minister, the aircraft is now being sought along two possible flight paths that it might have taken after its disappearance from the radar, one that leads north to Kazakhstan and the other pointing south to Indonesia and India.
The Boeing 777-200 carried 239 people, including a crew of 12, disappearing over the sea, just south of Vietnam. The passenger list included 153 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, as well as some Australians, Europeans and Americans. Malaysia Airlines has had a good safety record, with nearly four decades without an accident. Its worst accident occurred in 1977 when one accident left 100 people dead. In recent years, the company lost revenues due to the competition from low-cost airlines, including Air Asia, another Malaysia-based company. Every day, Malaysia's national carrier flies nearly 37,000 passengers to some 80 destinations worldwide.