New reports indicate that the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 may have flown off-course to the west for up to an hour before it disappeared, which would place the plane’s last known position in the Strait of Malacca (between Malaysia and Indonesia) instead of the easterly South China Sea (between Malaysia and Vietnam).
These reports come from Malaysia’s Berita Harian newspaper, which quoted a Malaysian Air Force chief. If true, then the last several days of vigorous searching in the South China Sea may have been all for naught, and the plane’s wreckage (or, at the very least, its last known location in the sky) may be “near the island of Pulau Perak at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca.”
Reuters cited a Malaysian military official who explained that the flight, “changed course after Kota Bharu [on the east coast] and took a lower altitude. It made it in to the Malacca Strait,” but such a move would raise more questions than it answered; why did the flight unexpectedly drop altitude and change course? Why were there no distress calls or contact with air traffic control? If the plane was hijacked, why did no passengers manage to contact anyone on the ground?
In a statement that contradicted the Malaysian military official, a representative of the Malaysian PM’s office claimed that “there was no evidence that the plane had recrossed the Malaysian peninsula,” and into the Strait of Malacca, so perhaps this isn’t a new development after all.
In short, we still have no idea what’s going on, but now we think that the thing we don’t know anything about might be somewhere else, maybe.