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Malaysia to check on oil slicks, 'mysterious' passenger who used stolen Italian passport

Published on Mar 8, 2014 10:46 PM
 
A Vietnamese Air Force officer takes photos from a search and rescue aircraft in the search area for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane, 250km from Vietnam and 190km from Malaysia, on March 8, 2014. Malaysian authorities have reviewed all CCTV recordings including those of the airport's baggage handling area, and was satisfied about its security. -- PHOTO: REUTERS/THANH NIEN NEWSPAPER

SEPANG - Malaysian authorities have reviewed all CCTV recordings including those of the airport's baggage handling area, and was satisfied about its security.

The Department of Civil Aviation director-general Azaruddin Abdul Rahman said at a late press conference on Saturday that they are looking at all recordings as part of the investigation.

He was asked if foul play could be a reason for the lost Beijing-bound Malaysia Airlines jet that went missing over the South China Sea at 1:30am on Saturday.

Asked again about possible terrorism, Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said they have not ruled out anything. It was still too early to tell, he said.

So far, there is still no news of the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 which lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control 50 minutes after departing KLIA at 12:41am on Saturday.

It was due to land in Beijing at 6:30am, and had enough fuel to fly up to 8:30am. The plane did not issue a distress signal nor was there bad weather when it disappeared.

The flight was carrying a total number of 239 passengers and crew - comprising 227 passengers (including 2 infants), 12 crew members.

There were 15 nationalities on board, the majority Chinese nationals and Malaysians. No Singaporeans were on board.

Mr Azaruddin also said they had read reports of a 20km oil slick said to be found in the region where the plane went off the radar but had no further information yet.

"We heard the news but there's nothing officially confirmed. We have requested information (from Vietnam) but there's no response yet," he said.

The search is going on through the night, over a widened area that covers not just the east coast but also the west coast of Malay Peninsula after a search in the last reported position of the plane proved fruitless.

The plane was last on the radar at approximately 120 nautical miles off Kota Baru, in the South China Sea, in the airspace bordering Vietnam. Malaysian air traffic control had just handed over control to the Vietnamese authorities when they lost contact.

The Vietnamese authorities are searching in their waters while Malaysia scoured their own.

Malaysia said the search would expand go on round the clock until a decision was made to call it off.

Asked about reports in the Italian media that an Italian by the name of Luigi Maraldi was not on the plane despite his name appearing on the manifest, deputy transport minister Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the authorities are still looking into the matter.

Italian Foreign Ministry confirmed on Saturday that Mr Maraldi did not board the missing aircraft, reported Xinhua News Agency.

His father Walter, a resident in the city of Cesena in Italy, told Italian media that he had received a phone call from his 37-year-old son who now lives in Thailand.

Mr Maraldi's passport was stolen in Thailand last August, prompting questions about the real identity of the person who boarded the flight using his passport.

Flight MH370 was operated on a Boeing 777-200 aircraft, a codeshare with China Southern Airlines. The plane was 11 years 10 months old.

carolynh@sph.com.sg

 

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