U.S. investigators looking at theory that pilots of missing plane are behind the disappearance

Published 03/15 2014 08:33AM

Updated 03/15 2014 11:50PM

Malaysia Airlines
Malaysia Airlines/MGN Online/Malaysia Airlines

Malaysia (WSYR-TV/CNN) - The Malaysian Airlines Flight that went missing on a trip to Beijing was deliberately taken off course, according to Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak.

Officials said it appears that a communications system in the plane was disabled and the aircraft's transponder was later switched off in a zone between Malaysia and Vietnamese air traffic control.

"From this point onwards the Royal Malaysian Air Force's primary radar data showed that an aircraft, which was believed, but not confirmed to be MH370, did indeed turn back. It then flew in a westerly direction...before turning northwest," Razak told reporters. "Up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, these movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane."

Investigators have narrowed down the final communication with satellite to two areas. The first area extends from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand. A second possible corridor spreads from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

U.S. intelligence officials are leaning toward the theory that "those in the cockpit" -- the pilots of Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 -- were responsible for the mysterious disappearance of the commercial jetliner, a U.S. official with direct knowledge of the latest thinking told CNN on Saturday.

The plane was carrying 239 people when it took off last weekend. A final signal was captured 7 hours and 31 minutes after takeoff.

Dozens of ships and aircraft from across the world have been part of the search effort.

To read more of CNN's coverage, click here.

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