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Final words from jet came after systems shutdown

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A note paper with messages for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, is pasted on a message board at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Malaysian authorities Sunday were investigating the pilots of the missing jetliner after it was 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. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

A note paper with messages for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, is pasted on a message board at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Malaysian authorities Sunday were investigating the pilots of the missing jetliner after it was 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. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

A woman walks past a banner filled with signatures and well wishes for all involved with the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370 at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, Sunday, March 16, 2014 in Sepang, Malaysia. Malaysian authorities Sunday were investigating the pilots of the missing jetliner after it was 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. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E)

Malaysia’s acting minister of transport Hishamuddin Hussein, second from right, speaks during a press conference as director general of the Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, second from left, and Malaysia Airlines Group CEO Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, left, and Malaysia Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar, right, looks on at a hotel in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Malaysia’s acting minister for transport Hishamuddin Hussein answers queries from the media during a press conference regarding missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner MH370, Sunday, March 16, 2014 in Sepang, Malaysia. Malaysian authorities Sunday were investigating the pilots of the missing jetliner after it was 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. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)

Motorists drive past an electronic board displaying “Pray for MH370″ in Shah Alam, outside Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Malaysian authorities Sunday were investigating the pilots of the missing jetliner after it was 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. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

Flowers and a card with messages for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, are placed below a message board at a shopping mall in Petaling Jaya, near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Sunday, March 16, 2014. Malaysian authorities Sunday were investigating the pilots of the missing jetliner after it was 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. (AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin)

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KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — The final words from the missing Malaysian jetliner’s cockpit gave no indication anything was wrong even though one of the plane’s communications systems had already been disabled, officials said Sunday, adding to suspicions that one or both of the pilots were involved in the disappearance.

As authorities examined a flight simulator that was confiscated from the home of one of the pilots and dug through the background of all 239 people on board and the ground crew that serviced the plane, they also were grappling with the enormity of the search ahead of them, warning they needed more data to narrow down the hunt for the aircraft.

The Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 took off from Kuala Lumpur at around 12:40 a.m. on March 8, headed to Beijing. On Saturday, Malaysia’s government confirmed that the plane was deliberately diverted and may have flown as far north as Central Asia, or south into the vast reaches of the Indian Ocean.

Authorities have said someone on board the plane first disabled one of its communications systems — the Aircraft and Communications Addressing and Reporting System, or ACARS — at 1:07 a.m. Around 14 minutes later, the transponder, which identifies the plane to commercial radar systems, was also shut down. The fact that they went dark separately is strong evidence that the plane’s disappearance was deliberate.

On Sunday, Malaysian Defense Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference that that the final, reassuring words from the cockpit — “All right, good night” — were spoken to air traffic controllers after the ACARS system was shut down. Whoever spoke did not mention any trouble on board, seemingly misleading ground control.

Air force Maj. Gen. Affendi Buang told reporters he did not know whether it was the pilot or co-pilot who spoke to air traffic controllers.

Given the expanse of land and water that might need to be searched, the wreckage of the plane might take months — or longer — to find, or might never be located. Establishing what happened with any degree of certainty will likely need key information, including cockpit voice recordings, from the plane’s flight data recorders.

The search area now includes 11 countries the plane might have flown over, Hishammuddin said, adding that the number of countries involved in the operation had increased from 14 to 25.

“The search was already a highly complex, multinational effort. It has now become even more difficult,” he said.

The search effort initially focused on the relatively shallow waters of the South China Sea and the Strait of Malacca, where the plane was first thought to be. Hishammuddin said he had asked governments to hand over sensitive radar and satellite data to try and help get a better idea of the plane’s final movements.

“It is our hope with the new information, parties that can come forward and

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