Two U.S. officials believe the shutdown of two separate communications systems from the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 happened at different times, indicating the disappearance was less likely the result of a catastrophic failure and more the result of a “deliberate act,” according to a new report from ABC News.
Sources speaking with ABC believe the data reporting system was shut down at 1:07 a.m., while the transponder — sending out location and altitude data — was shut down at 1:21 a.m.
U.S. investigators are “convinced that there was manual intervention,” one source told ABC, indicating an accident is not the reason the plane vanished.
If the disappearance of the plane were a result of a catastrophic failure, such as an explosion or engine malfunction, the systems likely would have stopped transmitting at the same time or within a much shorter period. But a 14-minute delay raises even more questions.
Further, investigators suspect the missing flight stayed in the air for about four hours after it reached its last confirmed location, according to Andy Pasztor of The Wall Street Journal.
With an accident becoming less likely, the scenarios for what happened are a hijacking or actions by rogue crew members. One person close to the investigation told The Wall Street Journal that there could be a third possibility: The plane could have been diverted “with the intention of using it later for another purpose.”
“That’s been a possibility right from the start,” Patrick Smith, an airline pilot and author, told Business Insider’s Michael Kelley. “It’s very unlikely, but I suppose it’s conceivable.”
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