U.S.: Malaysia plane’s on-board communications purposely shut down

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The latest in the investigation of the mysterious disappearance of the Malaysian aircraft is that U.S. authorities say two communications systems aboard the plane were purposely shut down, 14 minutes apart — bolstering beliefs that Flight 370 did not undergo a sudden and devastating mechanical failure.

First, the data reporting system was shut off at 1:07 a.m., The Daily Mail reported. Then, the transponder was turned off, at 1:21 a.m., right after the Malaysian Airlines pilot told traffic controllers: “All right, good night.” Shortly after, the craft, a Boeing 777, changed its path and headed west — toward the Indian Ocean, authorities said, ABC previously reported.

These details lead investigators to believe that the communications devices on board were “systematically shut down,” ABC reported. U.S. authorities are now “convinced there was manual intervention,” and the plane’s disappearance is not due to an accident or malfunction, The Daily Mail said.

Moreover, the plane still sent out “pings” from its service data system, or ACARS signals, that kicked to a satellite and alerted tracking authorities of its existence. These pings allowed trackers to note the plane’s location, speed and altitude for fully five hours after it was lost by radar, the Wall Street Journal reported.

U.S. officials didn’t release the exact location of the last transmission they received from Flight 370 — but surveillance planes have been sent to the Indian Ocean, along with the USS Kidd. The search operation is focused about 1,000 miles west of Kuala Lumpur, the capital of Malaysia, The Daily Mail reported.

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