UPDATE: Missing Malaysian Airliner May Have Strayed To West, Malaysia Military Says; WSJ Report Cites US Investigators Saying Flight MH370 Could Have Flown 4 Hours From Last Known Location

 
on March 12 2014 10:03 PM
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A Malaysia Airlines flag is seen at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 8, 2014. Reuters/Samsul Said

Update as of 12:30 a.m. EDT: A Wall Street Journal report, citing U.S. investigators, reported that based on engine data Flight MH370 could have flown on for about four hours from its last confirmed location, which means it could have traveled thousands of miles since vanishing from radar. According to Boeing, a 777-200 aircraft's cruising speed is 0.84 mach, which is about 640 miles per hour, while flying at an altitude of 35,000 feet.

 

The Malaysian military has traced what might have been Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 -- which has been missing for nearly five days -- to a locale south of Phuket, a Thai holiday island, Reuters reported. The area is hundreds of miles west of the jetliner's last known location, Malaysian Air Force Chief Rodzali Daud said Wednesday.

His statement arrived following several conflicting accounts of the flight path of the Boeing 777-200ER, which was carrying 239 people. 

The last sighting of the aircraft on civilian radar came a little before 1:30 a.m.  Saturday -- less than an hour after the plane took off from Kuala Lumpur, Reuters reported. The 777-200ER came up on radar while it headed northeast over the mouth of the Gulf of Thailand as it made its way toward Beijing.

The Malaysian air force chief told a news conference Wednesday that an aircraft was plotted on military radar at 2:15 a.m. on Saturday, 200 miles northwest of Penang Island off the west coast of Malaysia, Reuters wrote.

However, Rodzali said there hasn't been confirmation that the unidentified aircraft was Flight MH370, the news agency added. Malaysia was sharing the data with international civilian and military authorities, including those from the United States.

"We are corroborating this," Rodzali said.  "We are still working with the experts."

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