Written by Staff Writer
09 Mar, 2014 | 11:46 am
Radar signals show a Malaysia Airlines plane that has been missing for more than 24 hours may have turned back, Malaysian officials have said. Rescue teams looking for the plane have now widened their search area.
Investigators are also checking CCTV footage of two passengers who are believed to have boarded the plane using stolen passports.Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing disappeared south of Vietnam with 239 people on board.
Air and sea rescue teams have been searching an area of the South China Sea south of Vietnam for more than 24 hours.
But Malaysia’s Civil Aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told a press conference in Kuala Lumpur that the search area had been expanded, to include the west coast of Malaysia.
He also said five passengers booked on to the flight did not board, though their luggage was removed.
Twenty-two aircraft and 40 ships are now involved in the search, armed forces chief Gen Zulkefli Zin said.
Air force chief Rodzali Daud said the investigation was now focusing on a recording of radar signals that showed there was a “possibility” that the aircraft turned back from its flight path.
Vietnamese navy ships which reached two oil slicks spotted earlier in the South China Sea found no signs of wreckage.
Meanwhile, Al Jazeera also reports,
Malaysian authorities announced that they were now investigating the possibility a missing Malaysian Airlines plane had turned back before disappearing, and were widening the search area accordingly.
As the search of the Malaysia Airlines flight continues into a second day on Sunday, Malaysian aviation authorities said it was “fearing the worst” and that radar displays indicated the plane could have turned around.
Al Jazeera’s Scott Heidler, reporting from Kuala Lumpur, said the search would now be extended to the west coast of Malaysia.
“This raises a lot of unanswered questions,” he said. “If the pilots had the wherewithal to turn around why did they not communicate with any of the towers. Still the officials saying there wasn’t a distress call.”
No weather problems had been reported in the area before the plane dropped out of contact, and the pilots did not send a distress signal – something that has been highlighted by experts as unusual for a modern jetliner.
There was still no confirmed sighting of wreckage from the Boeing 777 in the seas between Malaysia and Vietnam where it vanished from screens early Saturday morning en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur.
The identities of four passengers on board the missing jetliner are being investigated over ‘airline security fears’ as planes and ships from across Asia resumed the hunt for the plane that disappeared with 239 people on board.
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