UK & World News

  • 14 March 2014, 22:12

Plane Sent Signals 'Hours After Contact Lost'

Satellites received signals from the Malaysia Airlines flight up to five hours after contact was lost, according to Sky sources.

A statement issued by satellite operator Inmarsat said: "Routine, automated signals were registered on the Inmarsat network from Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 during its flight from Kuala Lumpur.

"This information was provided to our partner SITA, which in turn has shared it with Malaysia Airlines."

The signals are 'pings' sent by the plane to confirm it is still there and to allow the network to determine its position. 

According to Sky sources these automated signals were still received up to five hours after ground control lost contact with the aircraft.

Sky's Niall Paterson said: "If this information is accurate, for those five hours at the very least, that flight was not crashed, it was in some sense flying through the air.

"This information does not tell us what was going on in the plane at that time, we don't know the direction it was travelling and we certainly don't know what happened after those five hours.

"However some are connecting the fact this information is now coming out with the fact the search area has been expanded significantly."

It was earlier reported that radar-tracking evidence showed the aircraft was deliberately flown towards India's Andaman Islands.

Malaysia's acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein has confirmed the search had been expanded into the Indian Ocean - on the opposite side of Malaysia from where contact with the jet was lost nearly a week ago.

He also said there was evidence of a plane turning back, but it may not have been the missing flight.

"What we can say is we are looking at sabotage, with hijack still on the cards," a Malaysian police source said.

There has been no sight of flight MH-370 or the 239 people on board since contact was lost with it last Saturday.

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