Malaysia Asks For Evidence After U.S. Satellite Data Reports

Image: Missing Malaysia Airlines flight lands in 2009.
Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-2H6/ER lands at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris on May 23, 2009. The plane, registration number 9M-MRO, disappeared during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing in March, 2014.Pascal Maillot FILE

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Malaysian investigators said Friday they were unable to confirm U.S. reports that the missing Boeing 777 sent signals to a satellite for four hours after its last known position - and issued an appeal for evidence to be passed on.

“As is standard procedure, the investigation team will not publicly release information until it has been properly verified and corroborated,” a statement from the country’s Ministry of Transport. “Any new evidence should be passed to the investigation team in Malaysia in order to assist the investigation.”

The signals sent to a satellite would indicate that the plane was still flying for hundreds of miles or more, a U.S. official briefed on the search told The Associated Press Thursday.

The U.S. official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the situation by name, told the AP the Boeing 777-200 wasn't transmitting data to the satellite, but was instead sending out a signal to establish contact.

Boeing offers a satellite service that can receive a stream of data during flight on how the aircraft is functioning and relay the information to the plane's home base. The idea is to provide information before the plane lands on whether maintenance work or repairs are needed.

Malaysia Airlines didn't subscribe to that service, but the plane still had the capability to connect with the satellite and was automatically sending pings, the official told the agency.

Boeing did not comment.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.