Latest: Malaysia Airlines jet climbed high briefly, then descended

Latest: Malaysia Airlines jet climbed high briefly, then descended

Latest: Malaysia Airlines jet climbed high briefly, then descended

Written by Staff Writer

19 Apr, 2014 | 12:20 pm

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 drastically changed course then soared to near its peak altitude, a senior Malaysian aviation source said — adding yet another wrinkle to the enigma of the plane’s last flight.

Before disappearing from radar screens on March 8, the commercial airliner deviated from its planned route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing by turning leftward over water while it was still inside Vietnamese airspace, the Malaysian aviation source told CNN’s Nic Robertson.

The aircraft then climbed to 39,000 feet, just short of the Boeing 777-200ER’s 41,000-foot safe operating limit, and maintained that altitude for about 20 minutes over the Malaysian Peninsula before beginning to descend, the source said.

Why? That and so much else — including where the plane is now — remains a mystery. Investigators have been trying for weeks to piece together bits of information trying to get the answers being demanded by relatives of the 239 people aboard the plane, not to mention millions more around the world who have been captivated by this ordeal.

In addition to this newly revealed development, investigators have determined that the missing jet was equipped with four emergency locator transmitters, or ELTs, which are designed to transmit a plane’s location to an emergency satellite when triggered by a crash or by contact with water, the source added.

The ELTs were at the plane’s front door, its rear door, in the fuselage and in the cockpit, said the source, who was puzzled over why they appear either not to have activated or, if they did activate, why they were not picked up by the satellite.

Relatives of the 239 passengers and crew have raised questions about the ELTs with Malaysian authorities, suggesting there were at least three aboard the plane, including two portable units and one fixed device.

-CNN

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