Wall Street Journal Reporter: U.S. Officials Believe Flight 370 Landed Somewhere

Jonathan Vankin

One of the Wall Street Journal reporters who wrote a bombshell article saying that Malaysian Airlines Flight 370 stayed in the air for up four hours after disappearing from radar told National Public Radio Thursday that U.S. officials now believe that whatever happened to the plane may be far stranger than anyone else involved with the search has yet contemplated.

The plane may have landed — somewhere.

Wall Street Journal aviation industry reporter Andy Pasztor told the NPR program Here & Now, "the debate among investigators is not whether the plane remained intact, but it's possible that it actually landed for some period, perhaps a short period during those additional four hours."

The Wall Street Journal reporter went on to tell Here & Now, "It's increasingly clear to these investigators that something weird and bizarre happened in the cockpit, and this plane did not fall out of the sky when it dropped off the radar scopes."

What that weird and bizarre occurrence might have been, the officials have no idea, but they are considering the possibility that the Boeing 777-200 may not be in the water, but may in fact still be safely on the ground at some unknown location, which raises the possibility that its 239 passengers and crew may yet be alive.

But where, and under what conditions?

The Wall Street Journal ran Pasztor's story Wednesday, reporting that Malaysia Airline Flight 370 flew on for up to four hours after it for some reason cut off communications with ground controllers. The revelation was a bombshell. If the plane flew for another 1,500 to 2,000 miles, where did it go — and why wouldn't it communicate with the ground?

The story was also flatly denied by Malaysian officials.

Now The Wall Street Journal has issued a correction to the story — but the paper is standing by its central premise that Flight 370 remained in the air for hours, invisible to flight trackers. The Journal said that the story was correct, but the reason why it is correct was different from what its reporters believed.

The original Wall Street Journal story based its conclusions on what it thought was the fact that the plane's Rolls Royce-manufactured engines continued to transmit information to the company after the plane vanished from radar and radio contact.

The Journal now says it was wrong about that. Instead, the conclusion was based on a signal sent from from the plane to an orbiting satellite. That conclusion brings The Wall Street Journal in line with a Washington Post report Wednesday that said the same thing.

The Post also quoted an expert saying that something strange may have happened in the plane, such as a person taking command of the plane and flying it to a mysterious location.

"The fact that a modern airplane with a huge amount of redundancy appeared to change course at the same time that the transponder was turned off, that suggests that someone unauthorized took control of that airplane, like an intruder or one of the pilots," the Post quoted the unnamed expert as saying.

Listen to the NPR interview with Wall Street Journal reporter Andy Pasztor, below.

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