U.S. Investigators Suspect Missing Airplane Flew On for Hours - WSJ.com
Missing Airplane Flew On for Hours
Engine Data Suggest Malaysia Flight Was Airborne Long After Radar Disappearance, U.S. Investigators Say
U.S. investigators suspect that Malaysia Airlines 3786.KU -2.04% Flight
370 stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its
last confirmed location, according to two people familiar with the
details, raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for
hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky.
But the huge uncertainty about where the plane was headed, and why it
continued flying so long without working transponders, has raised
theories among investigators that the aircraft may have been
commandeered for a reason that appears unclear to U.S. authorities. Some
of those theories have been laid out to national security officials and
senior personnel from various U.S. agencies, according to one person
familiar with the matter.
At one briefing, according to this person, officials were told
investigators are actively pursuing the notion that the plane was
diverted "with the intention of using it later for another purpose."
As of Wednesday it remained unclear whether the plane reached an
alternate destination or if it ultimately crashed, potentially hundreds
of miles from where an international search effort has been focused.
A total flight time of five hours after departing Kuala Lumpur means the
Boeing 777 could have continued for an additional distance of about
2,200 nautical miles, reaching points as far as the Indian Ocean, the
border of Pakistan or even the Arabian Sea, based on the jet's cruising