WASHINGTON — The chairman of the
"One thing we know: This was not an accident. It was an intentional, deliberate act to bring down this airplane," Rep.
The investigation has turned to the passengers and crew of the plane that went missing from radar more than a week ago after departing Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, en route to Beijing, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.
Amid reports that Malaysian authorities have searched the homes of the plane's pilot and co-pilot, the congressman said that "all the evidence ... is pointing toward the cockpit, toward the pilot and the co-pilot."
Malaysian authorities have indicated that someone aboard the plan disabled one of its communications systems, called the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS, about 27 minutes after takeoff and turned off the transponder, which links the plane to ground radar systems, about 14 minutes later.
On Sunday, Malaysia's acting transportation minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, said at a news conference in Kuala Lumpur that that the final, reassuring words from the cockpit — "All right, good night" — were spoken to air traffic controllers after the ACARS system was shut down, the Associated Press reported. Whoever spoke did not mention any trouble on board.
Malaysian air force Maj. Gen. Affendi Buang told reporters he did not know whether it was the pilot or co-pilot who spoke to air traffic controllers, the AP reported.
Malaysian officials said they are not yet classifying the incident as a hijacking and are considering the possibility of a suicide mission by one of the passengers or crew.
The Malaysian government on Sunday said it was searching a wide swath of Asia for the
“We are looking at large tracts of land. We are crossing 11 countries and as well as deep and remote oceans,” Hishammuddin said.
In Washington, another top Republican, Rep.
Rogers, chairman of the
"The most probable circumstance is, that in fact it is at the bottom of the Indian Ocean," he said.