TODAY   |  March 15, 2014

Missing jet was deliberately diverted, Malaysia says

Prime Minister Najib Razak said data indicated that someone on the missing jet took “a deliberate action” to take the plane off course. There is now a new focus on where the plane could’ve potentially gone down, with teams concentrating searches in the Bay of Bengal and the Indian Ocean. NBC’s Kerry Sanders reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> you right to today's top story, and that, of course, is topped by that breaking news coming in overnight involving the disappearance of malaysia airlines flight 370. that development, that the disappearance was intentional. malaysia 's prime minister made that shocking statement earlier this morning.

>> the plane has now been missing for eight days, and investigators are finally getting some more details about at least the track of the airplane, some of the initial movements. they now know for sure that the plane did make a deliberate u-turn and that someone intentionally disabled the communication devices that would allow them to see the aircraft on radar.

>> and our team is covering this story from all the angles, and frankly, from all points of the globe. we begin in washington this morning with kerry sanders with the very latest on this investigation. kerry, good morning.

>> reporter: well, good morning, erica. malaysia 's prime minister now says it's clear this was an intentional act, but he stopped short of calling this a hijacking. but with words this was a deliberate act also comes new focus on where the plane may have gone down. it's still a vast search area. as we take a look at the map here, teams from malaysia , india and the united states are now concentrating their searches here, which is in the bay of bengal , and here, down in the indian ocean . together, that would be like searching an area the size of the continental united states , so it's still a huge area. the u.s. has orion-class planes, both p-3 and p-8, designed for antisubmarine warfare, but those planes with their high-tech gear can see day or night if something is floating on the surface. and while their range is limited by how much fuel they can carry, each mission can scan about 10,000 square miles . now, investigators say those pings coming from the boeing 777 , so called acar system, is a big reason they believe this is intentional. had the plane gone down right away, those pings would not have continued for four to five hours. malaysia 's prime minister says that that would mean the plane could have gone down in the indian ocean or may have made it as far as kazakhstan. lester?

>> all right, kerry sanders , thanks.