The search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has been extended to include Burmese airspace, according to several media reports on Friday, although Burma’s Department of Civil Aviation (DCA) is yet to make an official statement.
On Thursday, Burmese news group The Irrawaddy quoted DCA director-general Tin Naing Tun saying that his office had granted permission for Malaysian authorities to search Burmese airspace for seven days, beginning Wednesday, for the Boeing 777 plane that went missing last Saturday while flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board.
Tin Naing Tun is reported to have said that a Burmese rescue committee had been formed to offer assistance but would not participate in the search without a request from Malaysia.
Rangoon-based Myanmar Times cited the deputy director-general of the DCA, Win Swe Tun, saying that permission had been granted to search Burmese waters around Kawthaung in Tenasserim Division, officially known as Tanintharyi Region.
Then on Friday, a Reuters report suggested that sabotage and hijacking had still not been ruled out.
“Military radar-tracking evidence suggests a Malaysia Airlines jetliner missing for nearly a week was deliberately flown across the Malay peninsula towards the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the investigation told Reuters on Friday,” the report said.
Reuters cited two sources who claimed that an unidentified aircraft that investigators believe was Flight MH370 was following a route between navigational waypoints – indicating it was being flown by someone with aviation training – when it was last plotted on military radar off Malaysia’s northwest coast.
The last plot on the military radar’s tracking reportedly suggested the plane was flying toward India’s Andaman Islands, which if true could have taken the aircraft into Burmese airspace.
Waypoints are geographic locations – worked out by calculating longitude and latitude – that help pilots navigate along established air corridors.
“A third source familiar with the investigation said inquiries were focusing increasingly on the theory that someone who knew how to fly a plane deliberately diverted the flight, with 239 people on board, hundreds of miles off its intended course from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing,” the Reuters report said.
Burma’s DCA had not responded to requests for comment at the time of press.