Conflicting reports indicate flight 370 changed course before disappearing

BY newsdesk  March 11, 2014 at 6:01 PM EST

The Associated Press reports that the head of the Malaysian Air Force says his agency uncovered radar evidence that Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 nearly reversed course before vanishing on Saturday. The evidence suggests the airliner traveled back across Malaysia and vanished as it approached the Strait of Malacca.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports that there is disagreement among Malaysian officials about the evidence, citing a statement from a spokesperson for the Prime Minister’s office:

Adding to the confusion, Tengku Sariffuddin Tengku Ahmad, spokesman for the prime minister’s office, said in a telephone interview that he had checked with senior military officials, who told him there was no evidence that the plane had recrossed the Malaysian peninsula, only that it may have attempted to turn back.

“As far as they know, except for the air turn-back, there is no new development,” Mr. Tengku Sariffuddin, adding that the reported remarks by the air force chief were “not true.”

The Malaysian-led search effort for the plane’s wreckage has been expanded and shifted to the west to encompass the new area of interest.

Tonight on the PBS NewsHour Judy Woodruff will speak with Peter Goelz, former director of the U.S. National Transportation and Safety Board, about the latest efforts to find the missing airliner.