Claims today that the missing Malaysian Airlines jet dropped to an altitude of 5,000ft to avoid radar lends credibility to reports by villagers that they saw bright lights and loud noises at about the time the aircraft is thought to have made a 'U-turn'.
Investigators told a Malaysian newspaper that the Boeing 777 had dropped to a lower altitude to avoid ground radar, using the surrounding terrain as a sonar barrier.
This type of flying is considered to be dangerous and risky, because it places tremendous pressure on the frame of the aircraft - and flying low at night without radar assistance could lead to the plane crashing into trees or mountains. At least nine people - fishermen, farmers and villagers - have made reports to police about seeing lights in the sky and some said they heard the loud noise of an engine.
These accounts appear to match the conclusions of investigators who say the jet flew low after making a sharp turn and heading west from its course over the South China Sea.
The first report of a 'bright light descending at high speed' came from Alif Fathi Abdul Hadi, 29, who said he saw the light heading towards the South China Sea at 1.45am on the night the aircraft disappeared.
The businessman lives in Kampung Kadok, in the far north west of the Malaysian mainland, close to the southern border of Thailand - and the light he witnessed would have been several miles to the north of the flight path the jet was on before it vanished.
Lending credibility to the account by Mr Alif is the claim by fisherman Azid Ibrahim, 55, who saw a bright light streaking overhead at 1.30am on Saturday, about 100 miles south of where Mr Alif had seen the light.
Mr Alif told the New Straits Times that the bright light was the type that aircraft use when taking off and landing at night - like a car uses its headlights.
'I was walking towards the rear of my house when I saw the light, and wondered where it was heading to,' he said. 'The airspace here is like a highway for aircraft and they usually travel in routine patterns.
'However, the light I saw was moving towards a completely different direction. It was going towards the sea, near Bachok (which lies to the south of Mr Alif's home).'
The MH370 Wall Of Hope.
His description tends to indicate that if the light he saw was on the doomed aircraft, it had turned north instead of continuing on its regular north-easterly flight path.
Mr Alif said the aircraft he usually sees fly across the sky for as far as his eyes could see but the light he saw in the early hours of Saturday vanished from view behind a line of coconut trees.
Meanwhile, researchers from Slade.com have pinpointed 634 runways where the place could have landed in the vast area now being searched.
It comes after the revelation that the last words from the cockpit of missing MH370 – 'all right, good night' – were uttered after someone on board had already begun disabling one of the plane's automatic tracking systems. A flight engineer who was a passenger on the missing Malaysia Airlines plane is being investigated as the suspicion that it was hijacked hardens.
The aviation engineer is Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, 29, a Malaysian who has said on social media he had worked for a private jet charter company.
The pilots are also under intense scrutiny, after it was revealed that the co-pilot said 'all right, good night', after someone had begun disabling one of the plane's automatic tracking systems.
Mohd Khairul (above), a flight engineer on board MH370
Yes, we are looking into Mohd Khairul as well as the other passengers and crew. The focus is on anyone else who might have had aviation skills on that plane,’ a senior police official with knowledge of the investigations told Reuters. 'The fact that there was no distress signal, no ransom notes, no parties claiming responsibility, there is always hope,' Hishammuddin said. No trace of the plane has been found more than a week after it vanished but investigators believe it was diverted by someone with deep knowledge of the plane and of commercial navigation. Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said on Saturday evidence pointed to a deliberate diversion of the flight, given the controlled way it was apparently turned around and flown far to the west of its original route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
MH370 Pictured In The Polish Airspace, February This YearA flight engineer is responsible for overseeing systems on a plane during flights to confirm they are working correctly and to make repairs if necessary. As an engineer specializing in executive jets, Khairul would not necessarily have all the knowledge needed to divert and fly a large jetliner. Khairul had said he worked for a Swiss-based jet charter firm called Execujet Aviation Group, but the company declined to say whether it still employed him. In a picture posted on Khairul's Facebook account in 2011, he identified himself as an employee of Execujet's Malaysian operations. Australia has taken the lead in the hunt for the missing Boeing 777 over the southern Indian Ocean as the list of countries providing assistance rose to 26 today which include Malaysia, Bangladesh, Brunei, China, France, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Laos, Myanmar, New Zealand, Pakistan, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand, Turkmenistan, UAE, UK, U.S., Uzbekistan and Vietnam. Malaysian authorities have said the satellite signal or 'ping' received from the jet carrying 239 people more than seven hours after it took off shows that it also may have entered a northern corridor stretching over land from south-east Asia north-west into central Asia. Lets keep praying for the crew and passengers that they would be found safe and sound. Lets not despair.