Missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370's initial turn from its planned flight route was reportedly scheduled on a computer system and programmed by someone with access to the cockpit, casting further suspicion on the plane's pilots and crew.
The New York Times, citing "senior American officials," reports that whoever programed the system used a computer located between the flight's captain and first officer. The officials said it was unlikely that a passenger would have known enough about Boeing aircraft to have reprogrammed the system.
The officials weren't sure if the system was programmed before or after the flight departed Kuala Lumpur, though the changes were made sometime before the Acars communications system was shut off.
One American safety expert, John Cox, a former airline union safety official, said that someone taking such pains to divert the plane does not fit the pattern of past cases when pilots intentionally crashed and killed everyone on board.
"There's an inconsistency in what we've seen historically," he said, comparing the disappearance of Flight 370 with two murder-suicides, on an Egyptair flight off Nantucket Island in 1999 and a SilkAir jet in Indonesia in 1997. In those crashes, he said, the pilot involved simply pushed the nose of the plane down and flew into the water.
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