LONDON (REUTERS) - Rolls-Royce said on Friday that it concurred with the Malaysian government on engine data, after Malaysia denied reports that a Malaysia Airlines passenger jet may have flown on for hours after it vanished from radar screens.
The Wall Street Journal said US aviation investigators and national security officials believed the plane flew for a total of five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent to the ground from the Boeing 777's Rolls-Royce engines as part of a standard monitoring programme.
Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Thursday that the reports were not true. He said the last transmission from the aircraft was at 01.07am on March 8, indicating that everything was normal. The plane took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.41am on March 7.
"Rolls-Royce concurs with the statement made on Thursday, 13 March, by Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein regarding engine health monitoring data received from the aircraft," said a spokeswoman for the company.
"Rolls-Royce continues to provide its full support to the authorities and Malaysia Airlines."
The investigation into the disappearance of the jetliner is focusing more on a suspicion that the flight was deliberately diverted, as evidence suggests it was last headed out over the Andaman Islands, sources familiar with the Malaysian probe said.