Missing MH370 plane could have landed on a runway based on data, says journalist

Could Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 have landed on a runway in a remote area somewhere?

Wall Street Journal airline industry reporter Andy Pasztor said in an interview with Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson that while it is not clear where the plane is, the consensus among US investigators is that the plane did not crash but had landed on a runway.

He said that data had indicated that the plane remained intact and flew for up to four hours and during that time it could have landed.

"Satellite transmissions indicated that it could have landed for some period, perhaps a short period," he told Hobson.

Pasztor had created a stir worldwide with his story that missing Malaysian Airlines flight 370 could have flown for four more hours after its last confirmed contact, based on information routinely relayed from its Rolls Royce engines.

Pasztor said that while it was not clear what had happened on the plane, something weird and bizarre had happened in the cockpit and the plane did not drop out of the sky.

"What the pilot or someone else was doing is unclear but data indicated that the plane was intact and that it could have landed," he said in the radio interview which is available on Here & Now’s website.

Asked by Hobson about the denial by Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein on his earlier report that the plane could have flown for up to another four hours based on data routinely sent from its Rolls Royce engine, Pasztor said what the Malaysian authorities were denying was that the information was from the engine monitoring system.

"What I am saying is that there are other sources of information, and so far they have not denied the central point, that is the plane could have gone on for up to four hours before it dropped out of the sky."

When asked by Hobson what he thought of Malaysia's handling of the crisis, Pasztor said it was a difficult situation due to the investigation's high profile and complex nature.

However, he said the Malaysian authorities tend to contradict themselves.

"The Malaysians have had a pattern of saying one thing one day and saying something the next.

“They are giving contradicting statements and they had not done the best job of getting organised," Pasztor said in the interview, adding that as of now, the authorities are not sure of whether the plane is on land or in the sea.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 transmitted its location repeatedly to satellites in the space of five hours after it disappeared, the Wall Street Journal had reported earlier today.

It said MH370 sent a series of “pings” about its speed and altitude, the paper quoted people briefed on the matter as saying.

This comes as the search for the missing jet expanded to the Indian Ocean today.

The paper added that “the final ping was sent from over water, at what one of these people called a normal cruising altitude”. No one could explain why the final pings stopped.

The unaccountable four hours of possible flying time necessitated the search and rescue operations to expand their coverage to the Indian Ocean. – March 14, 2014.