A senior official in the Malaysian government revealed Saturday that investigators have verified that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which mysteriously disappeared exactly a week ago with its 239 passengers, was hijacked by a lone person or group.
The official, involved in the investigation, stressed the findings of hijacking by someone with flight experience who turned off the plane's communications devices was "conclusive," and not merely another theory.
Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak also discussed the disappearance Saturday, noting that military radar showed the flight doubling back towards Malaysia before heading northwest towards the Bay of Bengal or southwest to the Indian Ocean, reports CNN.
"Evidence is consistent with someone acting deliberately from inside the plane," acknowledged Razak.
"Up until the point at which it left military primary radar coverage, these movements are consistent with deliberate action by someone on the plane," added Razak. "Shortly afterward, near the border between Malaysian and Vietnamese air traffic control, the aircraft's transponder was switched off."
The disappearance of the plane with no trace has sparked a frantic search. Hijacking has been suspected given that, in addition to the plane turning around, it continued sending satellite signals for four hours, indicating hundreds of miles or more of continued flight-time.
Suspicions deepened after Interpol found two Iranian nationals had boarded the plane on stolen Austrian and Italian passports, with Thai police reporting the passports were sold to both of them and the tickets booked for them by a third Iranian national.
Razak did not go as far as to rule out other scenarios however, saying "despite media reports that the plane was hijacked, we are investigating all major possibilities on what caused MH370 to deviate."