Last updated Sunday, December 21, 2014 11:26pm

Screencap of former deputy director of the US Central Investigation Agency (CIA) Mike Morell, who was interviewed yesterday on US broadcast programme, CBS This Morning.Screencap of former deputy director of the US Central Investigation Agency (CIA) Mike Morell, who was interviewed yesterday on US broadcast programme, CBS This Morning.KUALA LUMPUR, March 18 ― Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 would have triggered the military alarms of numerous nations if it had flown a northerly course as some investigators suspect, a former US intelligence agent said.

Mike Morell said the passenger plane carrying 239 people onboard had most likely gone the southern route where it would have better chances of escaping radar detection.

“There are a lot of defence radars up there with China and India and the US and Afghanistan.

“So again, it is most likely the southern route,” the former deputy director of the US Central Investigation Agency (CIA) said in an interview yesterday on US broadcast programme, CBS This Morning.

Investigators have charted two divergent paths for MH370 after the aircraft was last traced to be airborne over the Indian Ocean after making an air turn-back 200 nautical miles off the coast of Kelantan, based on a final “electronic handshake” detected by satellite at 8.11am on March 8.

From the data, investigators used the plane’s available speed range to deduce that it could be in one of two corridors: a northern arc from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan in central Asia, or a southern one from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

In the CBS interview, Morell also said the Boeing 777-200 would have faced great difficulty in maintaining an altitude below 5,000 feet needed to to stay off radars, especially if it flying over land.

“I'm not an aviation expert but the 777 pilots I've talked with say that would be very, very difficult to do. So again, possible but not likely,” he said in response to reports that the plane could have hidden its trail by adopting a technique known as “terrain masking”.

Several  central Asian nations that lie along the northern corridor have bolstered Morell’s view, saying none of their military radars have picked up signals from any unidentified aircraft encroaching on their airspace.

India had said it last Saturday, followed by Pakistan a day later and yesterday, Kazakhstan and al Qaeda militants, making it unlikely that a jumbo jet had flown off course along a northern route via Thailand.

In the Gallery


  • A Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency pilot studies the map onboard a Japan Coast Guard aircraft searching for the missing MH370 plane over the South China Sea March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Messages of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 are placed at the departure hall of Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Japan Coast Guard personnel conduct a briefing outside their Gulfstream V Jet aircraft, customised for search and rescue operations, at Subang Airport March 15, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Subramaniam Gurusamy, 60, on March 14, 2014 shows a portrait of his son Puspanathan who was onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight at his home near Kuala Lumpur. — AFP pic

  • A child is cuddled as relatives of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 attend a meeting with Malaysia Airlines at Lido Hotel in Beijing, March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Relatives of passengers aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 chat after a meeting with representatives from the airline at Lido Hotel in Beijing, March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Passengers have their belongings screened by airport security at the departure hall of the Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A hotel security personnel tries to keep the distance between a relative of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 from MAS representatives as the relative asks questions during a meeting at Lido Hotel in Beijing, March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A journalist from France films the entrance of the compound where the home of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the captain of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, is located in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A police car is seen coming from the compound of the home of pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah, the captain of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A journalist films the home of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid in Shah Alam, near Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Navy officer puts his signature on a 'Sign for MH370' banner at the viewing gallery in KLIA, on 16 March, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • Some women and children write messages and signatures on a 'Sign for MH370' banner at the viewing gallery in KLIA, on 16 March, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A woman writes well wishes on a banner for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 16, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A Malaysian Army paratrooper patrols past banners of well wishes at the viewing gallery of the departure hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman writes well wishes on a banner for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman holds up a sticker in support of the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as she poses for a camera at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A Malaysian Army paratrooper patrols at the viewing gallery of the departure hall at Kuala Lumpur International Airport March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A message for pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah (centre), captain of the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, is pictured at an event to express solidarity to the family members of passengers onboard the plane, in Subang Jaya March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • Women look at messages and well-wishes for family members of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at an event to express solidarity in Subang Jaya March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman uses her mobile phone as she stands against a chalkboard with messages for family members of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370, at an event to express solidarity in Subang Jaya March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A person holding a smartphone takes a picture of the MH370 press conference at Sama Sama Hotel in Sepang, on March 16, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • MAS CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, DCA chief Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein and IGP Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar at the MH370 press conference at Sama Sama Hotel, on March 16, 2014. — Picture by Saw Siow Feng

  • A woman leaves a messages of support and hope for the passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 as others pose for picture in central Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

  • A woman places a lighted candle on a poster with messages expressing hope for passengers of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane MH370 during a candlelight vigil in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur March 16, 2014. — Reuters pic

Malaysian officials have also dismissed as speculation reports that the jet may have flown at low altitude to avoid detection.

But news agency Reuters reported last night that the scenario was not wholly implausible.

Citing several unnamed commercial pilots, Reuters reported that the 250-tonne aircraft could have been hiding in plane view of military radars without triggering any alarm.

“The military radar controllers would have seen him moving on a fixed line, figured that it was a commercial aircraft at a high altitude, and not really a danger especially if he was on a recognised flight path,” one pilot told the international news wire.

Another pilot was quoted saying that defence scouts manning a country’s borders were least likely to pay attention to a plane if it were on the red-eye flight and steered clear of any military target point.

Ten days after MH370 fell off civilian radar,  the mystery of its whereabouts and the motives for its disappearance remain no closer to being resolved.

Malaysian authorities have steadfastly resisted calling the incident a hijack, without a clear terror link or ransom note received for the lives of the 227 passengers of its 12 crew onboard.

Putrajaya’s silence in the face of concrete developments however, have fuelled speculation that one of the two MH370 pilots could have deliberately turned off the plane’s transponder ― which relays information about its location, altitude and speed ― as he plotted a suicide mission.