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Missing Malaysia Airlines plane: Search now focused on west of Peninsular Malaysia: Official

Published on Mar 11, 2014 12:26 PM
 
Military officers work within the cockpit of an aircraft AN-26 belonging to the Vietnam Air Force during a search and rescue mission off Vietnam's Tho Chu island March 10, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

The search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner is now focused on the west of Peninsular Malaysia in the Strait of Malacca, as no signs of the plane has been found in the South China Sea, officials said.

"The search and rescue teams have expanded the scope beyond the flight path. The focus now is on the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Strait of Malacca," Malaysia Airlines chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said in a statement on Tuesday.

He said the authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by flight MH370 to turn back to the Subang airport in Selangor, about 50km from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport.

"All angles are being looked at. We are not ruling out any possibilities."

The plane disappeared off the radar about 50 minutes after it took off from KLIA at 12.41am on Saturday for Beijing. After three days of extensive search by 10 countries using nine aircraft and 24 ships, no signs of it has been found in the South China Sea.

Land search is also being conducted.

"The search and rescue teams have analysed debris and oil slick found in the waters. It is confirmed that it does not belong to MH370," Mr Ahmad Jauhari said.

He said the Boeing 777-200 aircraft, which is 10 years old, had undergone maintenance on Feb 23, 10 days before the flight, and there were no issues with it. The next check was due on June 19.

The plane has flown 53,465.21 hours.

He also said the aircraft had a system to transmit data automatically but no information or distress call was relayed before it vanished.

Most of the 227 passengers on board were Chinese nationals. Some family members have arrived in Malaysia, as well as Chinese government officials who arrived late on Monday.

The Chinese officials are from their Department of Civil Aviation, police, Transportation and Foreign Ministries. Officials from the United States have also arrived to assist the investigations.

carolynh@sph.com.sg

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