Kuala Lumpur, March 10: The director general of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation said Monday that all the objects spotted in the sea have not been confirmed as debris from the Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines aircraft that went missing Saturday. “Unfortunately… we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft itself,” Xinhua quoted Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, director general of the Department of Civil Aviation, as saying at a press conference here.
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with 239 people on board vanished without a trace about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur early Saturday. The Boeing 777-200ER was presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast into the South China Sea. Vietnamese authorities, Rahman added, have not confirmed the reported finding of some objects believed to come from flight MH370, which lost contact with traffic controls in the early hours of Saturday, Xinhua reported.
Rahman said at present 34 aircraft and 40 ships from different countries, including China, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the US, Thailand, Australia, and the Philippines are participating in the search and rescue operations over a wide area. He added that Malaysia has collected samples of the oil slicks found in the sea earlier and sent these to laboratory to verify if it was from the missing plane. The lab report will be put out immediately after it comes, he said.
Rahman said that every aspect of what could happen should be considered as it was speculated that maybe the plane was hijacked. As for reports about two passengers boarding the plane with stolen or false European passports being Asian looking, he said investigation was going on and all the relevant videos will be gone through.
Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, chief executive of Malaysia Airlines, said the company would arrange for two to five family members of each passenger to come to Kuala Lumpur, all of whom will be accommodated by the airline. Rahman said he felt puzzled as well about what happened to the plane and more concrete evidence was needed to conclude about the fate of the aircraft. Thus, a lot of work has to be done.
Search and rescue missions are going on in the South China Sea. A Vietnamese Navy aircraft spotted a few objects, one looking like a door of an airplane and floating some 50 nautical miles off southwestern Vietnam. The Malaysian authorities have suspected that international terrorists might possibly have been involved, given the reported uses of fake and invalid passports by some passengers of the missing plane.
Two European nationals who were falsely identified as passengers on the Malaysia Airline flight had reportedly lost their passports while in Thailand while a few others on the plane were believed to have used invalid passports. The plane took off from Kuala Lumpur at 12.41 a.m. Saturday and was due to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers on the flight included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.