Dramatic turn of events as hijack now possible reason behind missing MH370

KUALA LUMPUR - In a dramatic turn of events, the focus of investigations over the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has shifted to a hijack.

Prime Minister Najib Razak stopped short of confirming this during a hastily-arranged media briefing on Saturday afternoon, but these facts are clear.

One, satellite information has confirmed that the Boeing 777-200 aircraft was in the air until at least 8.11am last Saturday- seven hours after it lost contact with air traffic control.

Two, experts have confirmed that the transponder and other communication devices on the aircraft were deliberately switched off.

The authorities do not know yet where the plane could be, but there are two possibilities - a northern corridor spanning from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and a southern corridor from Indonesia to south of the Indian Ocean.

The other big question is who did it? If not the pilot or co-pilot, the question is did any of the crew members or passengers -who were mainly China nationals - have aviation expertise?

There is a possibility the hijacking of MH370 could be linked to ongoing tensions between the Uighurs, a minority Muslim group from Xinjiang in north-west China, and the Chinese government, one security expert has said. Xinjiang shares a border with Kazakhstan, among other countries.

Prime Minister Najib made his statement and left without taking any questions.

At 5.30pm on Saturday, Malaysian authorities will hold another media briefing.

It is unlikely that answers to the many questions will be revealed.

For the family members and loved ones of those who were on board MH370, the ordeal is far from over.