The missing Malaysia flight had changed course 12 minutes before the co-pilot calmly sent his last transmission, “all right, good night.”
During an interview with Megyn Kelly on “The Kelly File,” FAA spokesman Scott Brenner said Tuesday confirmed what one senior FAA source said earlier in the evening.
“One of the pilots clearly had the intention that he was going to take (the plane) in a different direction,” Brenner told Megyn Kelly. “It was 100 percent clear that this pilot or co-pilot was going to take this plane with the intent of doing something bad.”
At 1:19 p.m. on March 8, which was 12 minutes after the plane had already diverted from its original course and was heading toward the west, co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid sent what would be his final radio transmission.
The latest news of the missing Malaysia flight comes just one day after the New York Times reported that the route was programmed into a computer system onboard, meaning it was not executed manually by one of the pilots at the controls. Senior officials told the Times that someone must have entered a little-known code into a knee-high pedestal located between the pilot and co-pilot.
Interestingly, the Chinese ambassador to Malaysia announced Tuesday that China had just launched a new search mission within its territory to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. The announcement comes as growing uncertainty about exactly when it was the pivotal communications system was disabled on the Boeing 777.
“Factors involved in the incident continue to multiply, the area of search-and-rescue continues to broaden, and the level of difficulty increases, but as long as there is one thread of hope, we will continue an all-out effort,” China Premier Li Keqiang said.
Chinese officials said they will focus on what they believe to be a northern flight pattern believed by China to be a likely course.
The search for Flight 370, which seemingly vanished almost two weeks ago while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board, has expanded well-into the northern and southern hemispheres. Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said that the search area in the northern and southern “corridors” totals an astonishing 2.24 million square nautical miles (nearly 3 million square miles), or roughly the size of Australia. Twenty-six countries are involved in the hunt.
“We know the United States has got possibly the best ability to assist us in locating the aircraft in the southern corridor,” Hussein said Tuesday. Hussein told reporters that he asked Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel for help in the search efforts, though 26 countries are now participating in the search effort.
Previously, a U.S. destroyer, which already covered 15,000 square miles of water in its effort, has left the search.
Meanwhile, military officials in Thailand said Tuesday that its radar did detect a plane that may have been Flight 370 just minutes after the Malaysia Airlines flight communications went down. Unfortunately, the military is claiming that it didn’t share the information with Malaysia earlier because it wasn’t requested by investigators from Malaysia or any other country.
Air force spokesman Air Vice Marshal Montol Suchookorn said the Thai military doesn’t know whether the plane it detected was Flight 370. And that is, of course, true.
Whether or not the decision by Thailand not to share the radar event with other nations actually hurt the investigation, is unclear. However, it does show just how secretive and uncooperative nations have been with and toward each other since the investigation into the missing Malaysia Airlines flight had begun.
The latest developments are disturbing considering the Malaysian government had claimed they cleared both the pilot and the co-pilot of all suspicion. Of course, we now know that there is plenty of reason to suspect them now. FAA officials say they are leaning toward pilot suicide or terrorism.