In a sensational development the Wall Street Journal reports that the last satellite ‘ping’ from missing 777 flying Malayasia Airlines flight MH370 came at least five hours after take off at a normal cruising altitude over water.

The story doesn’t identify the location of those ‘pings’ emanating from the flight, with 239 people on board, which disappeared early on Saturday morning 8 March.

However it makes the denials from Malaysia’s authorities look false and misleading.

At this early stage, it is important to keep in mind that the jet may not have flown in a straight line from where it was last known to be 42 minutes after takeoff from Kuala Lumpur, at 35,000 feet over the Gulf of Thailand, heading as planned for Vietnam and then onwards to Beijing.

The course followed may have been erratic. We just don’t know yet, although it is very likely, intelligence in the US or China may well know where it went with considerable precision.

Today’s earlier announcement by the White House that warships are being deployed to the Indian Ocean because of information that the 777-200 may have crashed into it somewhere to the east of India is now highly significant.

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