(FOX NEWS) U.S. aviation investigators and national security officials now believe that a missing Malaysia Airlines plane remained in the air for hours after it lost contact with air traffic controllers and disappeared from radar screens.
The Wall Street Journal reported Thursday that investigators think the plane flew on for between four and five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent from the plane's engine to its manufacturer as part of a routine maintenance agreement. If true, the plane could have flown hundreds of miles away from where it was last seen over the Gulf of Thailand, where the multinational search effort has been concentrated.
Malaysia's acting Defense Minister denied the report Thursday, claiming that both engine maker Rolls Royce and airplane manufacturer Boeing had said that the Journal report was incorrect.
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