KUALA LUMPUR - A missing Malaysian aircraft was flown for hours in a fashion "consistent with deliberate action" after dropping off primary radar, but hijacking could not be confirmed, the country's prime minister said Saturday.
Final satellite communication with the Boeing 777 came more than six and a half hours after it vanished from civilian radar at 1:30am on March 8, Prime Minister Najib Razak told a nationally televised press conference.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak (C) addresses the media alongside Malaysia's Minister of Defence and Acting Transport Minister, Hishammuddin Hussein (L) and Director General of Civil Aviation Department (DCA) Azharuddin Abdul Rahman (R) . AFP PHOTO
The movement of the plane in the interim period, during which it changed direction and passed back over the Malaysian peninsula towards the Indian Ocean, was "consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane," Najib said.
He also said Malaysia was ending a search in the South China Sea for a vanished jetliner after investigations indicated the missing plane likely turned far to the west.
"We are ending our operation in the South China Sea and reassessing the deployment of our assets," Najib told reporters.