Satellite transmissions suggest the plane was on a course leading in two possible corridors

Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday that the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 had been “deliberately” diverted from its course and it had flown for seven hours after its last known point of contact over the Gulf of Thailand.

Mr. Najib, in his first statement on the plane’s disappearance, said satellite transmissions had suggested that the plane’s last communication was from two possible corridors. A map released by Malaysian officials showed those as a curved northern arc from Thailand, through southern and western China and west to Kyrgyzstan and the Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan border, but not passing over India; and a possible southern arc, from Indonesia deep into the southern Indian Ocean.

The findings from satellite transmissions have prompted a substantial adjustment and widening of the search operations being conducted by more than 50 aircraft and vessels from 10 countries. Search efforts had largely focused on the Gulf of Thailand and the Strait of Malacca since the plane disappeared on March 8.

The aircraft last made contact with civilian air traffic control at 1.22 a.m. local time last Saturday, 40 minutes after taking off from Kuala Lumpur. It emerged on Thursday that Malaysian military radars had picked up the aircraft an hour later, and tracked it heading west to the Strait of Malacca, and then north, towards the Andaman Sea.

Mr. Najib said satellite transmissions were received till 8.11 a.m., more than seven hours after the flight had gone missing. “These movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane,” he said.

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