The vice-chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee revealed information Boeing had about their own equipment that further points to someone manually turning off the transponder on Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) told Fox last night, as crews were searching the south Indian Ocean for potential debris, that we can “absolutely not” rule out a hijacking or other malicious conduct.
“I will say that there doesn’t appear to be anything that points to either an act of terrorism or hijacking of some sort. But you just simply can’t rule that out at this point. We know, for example, that somebody manually turned that transponder off. We probably won’t know who did that until we are able to retrieve the black box, if we ever retrieve it. We know that after the transponder went off the plane flew for several hours. Some of that was maybe not totally in a normal flight pattern but it was not the type of erratic flying that would be associated normally with somebody who was committing an act of terrorism. So there are a number of things that they’re still analyzing. But there is nothing that points to terrorism or a hijacking. But you simply can’t rule that out at this point,” Chambliss said.
The senator said “the folks from Boeing, who obviously made the airplane, from what they have been told there just simply is no way that a catastrophic event turned that transponder off. Somebody had to manually turn it off.”
“…And that is why you know, the crew and all of the passengers, the manifest was given to the United States agencies immediately. Or I say immediately, within a day or two. And again, nobody has the capability outside the United States to review the background of those pilots, the crew, as well as the passengers like we do.”
The manifest review continues, “but nothing really jumped out at them which is really interesting and surprising.”
“I haven’t been given any concrete information about the speculation from the analysts. But it looks pretty clear that that plane is in the water somewhere,” Chambliss added.
The FBI is not only attempting to retrieve deleted files from the pilot’s flight simulator, he said, “but they also have some other assets that they are reviewing in great detail.”
“They are very focused on this. They refer to it as being laser focused, and they’re not going to stop. It will be 24/7 until they do all the forensics on the assets that they have including the information that they have from the simulator,” said Chambliss.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authority said Friday’s search west of Perth yielded no sightings.
“The Australian Defence Force, the US Navy, a commercial jet and merchant ships supported today’s search effort in a 23,000 square kilometre search in the Australian Search and Rescue Region. AMSA’s focus continues to be on locating any survivors on board the flight and searching for possible objects that could be connected to the missing aircraft or discounting them. Search conditions improved on Friday with visibility much better than on Thursday. The weather was fair,” AMSA said in an update.
“A number of military aircraft have assisted in the search to date, including four RAAF P3 Orions, one US Navy P8 Poseidon, and a New Zealand P3 Orion. The Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Success is en route to the search area. Two merchant ships are now in the search area.”