The hunt for answers to what happened to Malaysian Airlines flight MH370 continues as conflicting information and denials are throw in by the various countries involved in the incident and search efforts.
Malaysia’s Air Force chief, General Rodzali Daud, was reported by a Berita Harian newspaper to have said an air base detected the missing plane in Malacca Strait. However, he denied having said that yesterday.
"It would not be appropriate for the Royal Malaysian Air Force to issue any official conclusions as to the aircraft’s flight path until a high amount of certainty and verification is achieved," Daud emphasised in an e-mailed statement. (Source: Bloomberg)
Since the MH370’s disappearance five days ago, Malaysia Airlines had issued a number of statements to the media, including full flight manifests and details of its search and rescue efforts. However, Malaysian authorities are in hot water for “incompetence” in the way it’s handled the potential tragedy, and criticised for contradictory statements, delayed reaction time, lack of information, and at times an “abrasive” or “flippant” attitude. (AFP)
While the search continues, a senior Vietnamese official said earlier today that Vietnam is going to scale back its search for the vanished plane in Vietnamese waters.
"We still have plans to search with a few flights today,” said Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu, who heads the Vietnam search. “(However), other activities are suspended," (Reuters)
On Tuesday, the search had widened to include a major land search. Forty ships and 34 aircrafts are involved in the operations so far, and China’s defence ministry has set up 10 satellites for weather monitoring, communications, and search operations in the seas off of Vietnam and Malaysia.
A total of 10 countries have joined the search, including China, Malaysia, Vietnam and the United States. (Source: BBC)
MH370 had undergone maintenance just 10 days before it vanished on Saturday, and was reported to have no health issues, Malaysian Airlines confirmed in a statement.
Further, Malaysian authorities confirmed the two passengers who boarded the plane with stolen passports are “non-Asian” looking.
Malaysia's Civil Aviation Chief Azaharuddin Abdul Rahman indicated that one of the men is black, but offered no further descriptions of the two passengers.
It is revealed the two tickets were purchased by an Iranian going by the name of Mr Ali, who booked the tickets through a Thai travel agent. This agent shared that Mr. Ali, who regularly booked tickets with her, had insisted he wanted “cheap” flights. Also, that she didn’t feel he was linked to terrorism. (Financial Times)
During a press conference with Malaysian aviation authorities, Malaysia’s inspector general of police Khalid Abu Bakar said, ““We have identified (one of the passengers flying on MH370 on stolen passports as) an Iranian by the name of Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad. He is 19 years old…We have been checking his background (and) with other police organisation on his profile, and we believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group. We believe that he is trying to migrate to Germany.” (The Guardian)
Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing vanished over waters somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam early Saturday about an hour after taking off.
Fears of a terror attack surfaced after it was revealed that at least two passengers boarded the plane with stolen passports: one from Italy and one from Austria. The true passport owners have been found to be safe.
“I am still puzzled how come (immigration officers) cannot think: an Italian and Austrian but with Asian facial features,” Home Minister Zahid Hamidi was quoted as saying late Sunday by Malaysia’s national news agency Bernama.
“We will conduct an internal probe, particularly on the officers who were on duty at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) immigration counter during flight MH370,” Zahid said.
On Sunday, Malaysia’s transport minister said the government was looking into the possibility of a terror incident. Also, that they were working with intelligence agencies of other countries, including the US Federal Bureau of Investigation.