One of the world’s most baffling aviation mysteries deepened on Tuesday when it was revealed that the missing Malaysian Airlines jet turned and flew hundreds of kilometres to the west after its last contact with civilian air traffic control off the country's east coast, a senior officer told Reuters on Tuesday.
A massive search operation for the Boeing 777-200ER has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.
Malaysian authorities have previously said flight MH370 disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for the Chinese capital Beijing.
"It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait," a senior military officer, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.
That would appear to rule out sudden catastrophic mechanical failure, as it would mean the plane flew around 500km at least after its last contact with air traffic control, although its transponder and other tracking systems were off.