In a press conference, the Malaysian PM not only confirmed that what happened was deliberate, but that the plane ended its flight in a volatile part of Central Asia.
From the press conference:
From this point onwards, the Royal Malaysian Air Force primary radar showed that an aircraft which was believed—but not confirmed—to be MH370 did indeed turn back. It then flew in a westerly direction back over peninsular Malaysia before turning northwest. Up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, these movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane.The area in question, as indicated by the red on the map, includes part of Kyrgyzstan and the province of Xinjiang, which is home to the Uyghurs:
Today, based on raw satellite data that was obtained from the satellite data service provider, we can confirm that the aircraft shown in the primary radar data was flight MH370. After much forensic work and deliberation, the FAA, NTSB, AAIB and the Malaysian authorities, working separately on the same data, concur.
The 777 is capable of landing on shorter runways, and on surfaces that are not smooth, relative to a runway.
Early this morning BBC reporter Jonah Fisher tweeted, "Being briefed by Malaysia officials they believe most likely location for MH370 is on land somewhere near Chinese/Kyrgyz border.”
If true, and the plane safely landed, the speculation begins in earnest: Are the passengers alive? Why haven't there been ransom demands?
The story grows each day.