The path of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was diverted from its planned path through a computer system, The New York Times reports.

The first turn to the west that diverted the missing Malaysia Airlines plane from its planned flight path from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing was carried out through a computer system that was most likely programmed by someone in the plane's cockpit who was knowledgeable about airplane systems, according to senior American officials.

The report also notes that officials believe whoever altered the path typed in seven or eight keystrokes into a computer inside the cockpit, instead of using the manual controls. Though it is unclear whether the computer system, which is pre-programmed with the flight plan before a flight, was changed before or after it took off.

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The jetliner carrying 239 passengers continues to elude an international search effort that has expanded on both land and water since the plane lost contact on March 8.

It is now believed that someone on the flight shut down the messaging system around the time the Boeing 777 disappeared from civilian radar, the Associated Press reports.

But an Inmarsat satellite was able to automatically connect with a portion of the messaging system that remained in operation, similar to a phone call that just rings because no one is on the other end to pick it up and provide information. No location information was exchanged, but the satellite continued to identify the plane once an hour for four to five hours after it disappeared from radar screens.

Authorities are hoping this satellite data can help them find the missing plane.