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One U.S. Theory: Plane's Disappearance 'Act of Piracy'

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Investigators probing the missing Malaysia Airlines jet are examining the possibility the plane's disappearance is "an act of piracy," and that the plane may have landed somewhere rather than crashed, the Associated Press reported.

The AP attributed the information to a U.S. official who wasn't authorized to speak publicly on the matter and spoke only if not identified. NBC News has not independently confirmed the information.

The official told the AP the key evidence for "human intervention" in the plane's disappearance is that contact with its transponder stopped about a dozen minutes before a messaging system quit.

Another communications system on the plane continued to "ping" a satellite for about four hours after contact was lost with the Boeing 777 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing — an indication the plane may have continued to fly on for hours.

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