MALAYSIAN FLIGHT 370 POS­SI­BLY HI­JACKED

Re­ports hints at ‘third party’

The Province - - NEWS | WORLD - EILEEN NG

PUTRAJAYA, Malaysia — A Malaysian-led in­de­pen­dent in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port re­leased Mon­day, more than four years af­ter Malaysia Air­lines Flight 370 dis­ap­peared, high­lighted short­com­ings in the gov­ern­ment’s re­sponse and raised the pos­si­bil­ity of “in­ter­ven­tion by a third party.”

The re­port, pre­pared by a 19-mem­ber in­ter­na­tional team, re­it­er­ated Malaysia’s as­ser­tion the plane was de­lib­er­ately di­verted and flown for over seven hours af­ter sev­er­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Chief in­ves­ti­ga­tor Kok Soo Chon said the cause of the dis­ap­pear­ance can­not be de­ter­mined un­til the wreck­age and the plane’s black boxes are found. He said there was no ev­i­dence of ab­nor­mal be­hav­iour or stress in the two pi­lots that could lead them to hi­jack the plane but all pas­sen­gers were also cleared by po­lice and had no pi­lot train­ing.

“We can­not rule out un­law­ful in­ter­fer­ence by a third party,” such as some­one hold­ing the pi­lots hostage, he said. But he added that no group has said it hi­jacked the plane and no ran­som de­mands have been made, com­pound­ing the mys­tery.

He said the in­ves­ti­ga­tion showed lapses by air traf­fic con­trol, in­clud­ing a fail­ure to swiftly ini­ti­ate an emer­gency re­sponse and mon­i­tor radar con­tin­u­ously.

The plane car­ry­ing 239 peo­ple from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing van­ished March 8, 2014, and is pre­sumed to have crashed in the far south­ern In­dian Ocean.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

An air­craft searches for Flight MH370 in 2014. In­set, Sarah Nor, cen­tre, mother of Flight MH370 pas­sen­ger Nor­li­ak­mar Hamid, cries af­ter lis­ten­ing to Mon­day’s in­ves­ti­ga­tion re­port.

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