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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/14/2014 (4 months ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

According to US officials, last 'ping' was sent as plane was still flying at 35,000 feet over water

In the deepening mystery surrounding the missing Malaysian passenger plane, some officials now believe that two communications systems aboard flight 370 were shut down deliberately - and separately, 14 minutes apart. This indicates that the plane didn't sink on account of sudden, catastrophic failure. 

Friends and relatives of passengers on the vanished flight anxiously await word during the search.

Friends and relatives of passengers on the vanished flight anxiously await word during the search.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/14/2014 (4 months ago)

Published in Asia Pacific

Keywords: Malaysia, missing flight, investigation, pings


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The pilot signed off to Malaysian air traffic controllers with "All right, good night," and before the Boeing 777 apparently changed course and turned west.

Previously, the data reporting system was shut down at 1.07 a.m. The transponder was then turned off at 1.21 a.m. 14 minutes afterwards.

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This indicates that the switch-off could have been a deliberate act. Officials say that the two communications devices were "systematically shut down."

The U.S. investigating team has since been "convinced there was manual intervention." This means that there was not an accident or massive malfunction that caused the plane to cease to be airborne.

While these two crucial tracking devices were inoperative, the plane still sent signals to a satellite after the aircraft went missing in the form of "pings" -- rather like a cell phone does, even if it is not switched on.

The "pings" sent from missing flight 370 provided the plane's location, speed and altitude for at least five hours after it vanished from radar.

The final message was sent to satellites operated by British Telecommunications Company Immarsat over water at what officials say was a normal cruising altitude, 35,000 feet.

U.S. officials declined to reveal the location of the last ever transmission sent by flight 370 and admitted they do not know why they stopped.

The U.S. is currently moving surveillance planes to an area of the Indian Ocean 1,000 miles or more west of Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur.

One theory proffered by investigators is that the "pings" to the satellite were intentionally disabled by somebody on board the aircraft. These pings reveal that the aircraft was at least 2,200 nautical miles from its last known position and was still flying - potentially widening the search parameters for the craft.

It also tells us that the Boeing 777 carrying 239 passengers remained intact throughout these hours and was not destroyed, nor had suffered a sudden catastrophic event.

Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr said that a senior U.S. official believes flight 370 crashed into the sea. "There is a strong likelihood that the flight is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean," she says.

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