Missing plane hijacked by trained fliers, says Malaysia

Malaysia's Prime Minister Najib Razak today virtually confirmed earlier reports that the missing Flight MA370 was probably hijacked and steered off-course.

Malaysia AirlinesSpeaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Razak said all known information suggested deliberate action had been taken to switch off the aircraft's signalling systems somewhere between the Malaysian and Vietnamese borders.

The prime minister said he could say with a ''high degree of certainty'' that the aircraft's communications were disabled, and added that the movements of the Boeing 777 were ''consistent with deliberate action by someone on board''.

Earlier today, it became increasingly clear that the aircraft that vanished into thin air exactly a week ago last Saturday with 227 passengers and 10 crew on board, was hijacked by persons with aviation experience.

''Investigators have concluded that one or more people with significant flying experience hijacked the missing Malaysia Airlines jet, switched off communication devices and steered it off-course, a Malaysian government official involved in the investigation said this morning.

No motive has been established and no demands have been made known, and it is not yet clear where the plane was taken, said the official.

He said evidence that led to the conclusion were signs that the plane's communications were switched off deliberately, and data about the flight path and indications the plane was steered in a way to avoid detection by radar.

The Boeing 777's communication with the ground was severed a little before an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for Beijing. Around two-thirds of the passengers were Chinese, but there were several Indians on board as well.

Earlier, an American official told the Associated Press that investigators are examining the possibility of "human intervention" in the plane's disappearance, adding it may have been "an act of piracy."

The plane had enough fuel to fly for at least five hours after its last know location, meaning a vast swath of South and Southeast Asia would be within its reach. Investigators are analysing radar and satellite data from around the region to try and pinpoint its final location, which will be vital to hopes of finding the plane.

Further details are awaited.