MH370 LANDED – Pic credit Malaysian Insider / Mirror UK
The news sparked hopes it may have been flown to a remote spot by hijackers who at some point will outline their demands
Relatives of the 239 passengers and crew on board missing Flight MH370 are clinging to every shred of evidence their loved ones are still alive.
And tonight they were given a major boost after the authorities admitted for the first time the missing Malaysia Airlines jet may have landed rather than crashed.
As the search, widened a senior official in Kuala Lumpur confirmed it was “possible” satellite signals from the plane could have been sent while it was on the ground.
That sparked hopes it may have been flown to a remote spot by hijackers who at some point will outline their demands.
But there were also fears for the safety of those on board after the FBI described the disappearance as “an act of piracy”.
The revelations came as pictures emerged of captain Zaharie Ahmed Shah, 53, and 27-year-old co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid being searched before they boarded the flight at Kuala Lumpur airport on March 8, the day it vanished. The pair were routinely frisked then allowed to proceed.
American teacher Sarah Bajc’s partner Philip Wood, 50, was on the ill-fated flight to Beijing. The 48-year-old said she is refusing to give up hope the IBM executive is alive.
She added: “My gut feeling is that it landed. I still feel his spirit. I don’t feel he is dead.”
Sarah Weeks, whose brother was also on the jet, said: “The possibility the plane has been hijacked rather than crashed does raise your hopes because you think the potential is there that my brother is still alive.
“But I also find that very scary as well because if someone has deliberately taken this plane then they’ve taken it for a reason, and I think we know that often that’s not good.”
Other relatives posted their hopes online. One wrote: “It is the first time it is good news that a plane was hijacked.”
The parents of one woman passenger added: “There’s still hope for my daughter and her husband.”
Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation chief Abdul Rahman revealed satellite “pings” were picked up from the jet six hours after the country’s military radar last detected it over the Malacca Strait at 2.15am on March 8. That means Flight MH370 could have reached as far north as Kazakhstan in Central Asia.
Police continue to probe the background of captain Mr Shah, who was once pictured wearing a T-shirt declaring “Democracy is Dead”.
Officers today examined a home-made flight simulator found at his house in Kuala Lumpur.