KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — Someone deliberately diverted Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 and shut down communications with the ground, and the jetliner continued flying for six hours, Malaysia’s prime minister said yesterday. The announcement shifted the focus of the investigation to the crew and passengers on the plane, which has now been missing for more than a week.
Prime Minister Najib Razak’s statement also meant the flight path of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 to Beijing could have strayed as far as the southern Indian Ocean or northwest to Kazakhstan, complicating the work of search crews who already have been scouring vast stretches of ocean seeking the plane’s 12-person crew and 227 passengers.
“Clearly the search for MH370 has entered a new phase,” Najib said at a televised news conference. “It is widely understood that this has been a situation without precedent.”
Experts have previously said that whoever disabled the plane’s communication systems and then flew the jet must have had a high degree of technical knowledge and flying experience. One possibility they have raised was that one of the pilots wanted to commit suicide.
Najib stressed that investigators were looking into all possibilities as to why the Boeing 777 deviated so drastically from its original flight path, saying authorities could not confirm whether it was a hijacking. Earlier yesterday, a Malaysian official said the plane had been hijacked, though he added that no motive had been established and no demands had been made known.
Publicist: Comedian David Brenner dies at 78
LOS ANGELES (AP) — David Brenner, the lanky, toothy-grinned “Tonight Show” favorite whose brand of observational comedy became a staple for other standups, including Jerry Seinfeld and Paul Reiser, died yesterday. He was 78.
Brenner, who had been fighting cancer, died peacefully at his home in New York City with his family at his side, according to Jeff Abraham, his friend and publicist.