Today marks the seventh day since Malaysia flight 370 went missing during a late night flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Now, after a week of searching, investigators suspect the plane’s disappearance may not have been an accident.
Here is what you need to know about the evidence contributing to these theories:
1. Plane Knowledge Is Needed to Turn Off Locators
Above you can watch flight 370 as it disappeared from the radar at around 1:30 a.m. early Saturday morning. The disappearance initially made investigators believe the plane crashed in the ocean at the location where the signal died. However, automatic data recorded via satellite from the engine suggests that the Boeing 777 flew for an additional five hours in the opposite direction after the “disappearance.”
If there was a legitimate technological catastrophe on the plane, it’s unlikely that it would continue to fly for so long. This leads some investigators to believe the tracking equipment was deliberately shut off.
2. The Plane Appears to Have Hit Navigation Waypoints
The plane did not fly straight in one direction after the sudden turn that took it off its intended course between Kuala Lumpur and Beijing. As you can see in the map above, it traveled back over Malaysia and then traveled northwest toward the Andaman islands.
Reuter’ exclusive report suggests that whoever was flying the playing was flying between designated navigation waypoints designating flight lanes. This means whoever was flying is likely an experienced or knowledgeable pilot.
3. The Earthquake Is Not Related
When news emerged that Chinese researchers had recorded a seismic “seafloor event” around Malaysia, investigators began weighing the possibility that it was somehow involved with the disappearance of flight 370 — a violent crash. However, the U.S. Geological Survey told CNN that it was most likely a naturally occurring 2.7-magnitude earthquake, a common even in this region.
4. Malaysian Authorities Are Finally Considering Foul Play
After a week of searching the South China Sea, Malaysian officials are finally ready to consider the possibility that the plane’s disappearance was not an accident. A Malaysian police official told Reuters today, “What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards.”
Meanwhile, the international search efforts that scoured the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, are slowly transitioning toward searching the Andaman Sea and the Indian Ocean.
5. The Area Has Pirates
The waters around Malaysia have had a considerable pirate presence for centuries and they’ve been making headlines as recently as late 2013.
In November 2013, 10 armed pirates boarded an oil tanker in the Strait of Malacca, one of the search locations for the missing plane. Bloomberg reports that the number of piracy attacks are on the rise in the area around Indonesia.