The search for the missing Malaysian flight MH370 has been significantly expanded, with officials admitting they are now scouring land as well as the sea.
Investigators say 25 countries are now involved in the search since the plane went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing eight days ago.
They are focusing on four theories, including sabotage, but insist they are yet to form any conclusions.
At a press conference today, Malaysian transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said: “Every day brings new angles, especially as we are focusing and expanding the search area.
“The search was already a highly complex, multi-national effort. It has now become more difficult.
“The search area has been significantly expanded, and the search area has changed. We are now looking at large tracts of land, crossing 11 countries as well as deep and remote oceans.
“The number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation has increased from 14 to 25, which brings new challenges to the search effort. This is a significant recalibration.”
It comes as Malaysian authorities have begun examining a flight simulator seized from the home of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah.
It had previously been established that whoever flew off with the Boeing 777 had intimate knowledge of the cockpit and knew how to avoid detection when navigating around Asia.
Mr Hussein said: “I cannot comment on speculative theories on what might have caused this deviation from the original flight path as I do not wish to prejudice the investigation. We do not want to jump to conclusions.
“Out of respect for the families and the process itself, we must wait for the investigation to run its course.
“The Malaysian authorities are re-focusing their investigations on all crew and passengers on board MH370, as well as all ground staff handling the aircraft.”
Investigators said the scale of the investigation was “unprecedented”, and that there was no suggestion Mr Shah and his co-pilot had specifically asked to fly together.
Inspector general Khalid Abu Bakar, of the Malaysian Police, said he would not comment on speculation, but added: “The four areas of focus on the investigation are hijacking, sabotage, personal problem and psychological problem - that includes the ground staff, everybody.”
Today’s news conference was the first for 24 hours, with the families of those on board spending yet another day with no news of the plane’s whereabouts.
Yesterday Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said that someone severed communications with the ground and deliberately diverted flight MH370 back over the Malay Peninsula after it departed on March 8 with 239 people on board.
Investigators now have a high degree of certainty that one of the plane’s communications systems - the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System (ACARS) - was partially disabled before the aircraft reached the east coast of Malaysia, Mr Najib said.
Shortly afterwards, someone on board switched off the aircraft’s transponder, which communicates with civilian air traffic controllers.
Mr Najib confirmed that Malaysian air force defence radar picked up traces of the plane turning back westwards, crossing over Peninsular Malaysia into the northern stretches of the Strait of Malacca. Authorities previously had said this radar data could not be verified.
The air force has yet to explain why it did not spot the plane flying over the country, and respond. The search was initially focused on the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, where the plane severed its communication links. That search has now ended.