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Malaysian jet still unfound as two stolen passports prompt U.S. probe

English.news.cn   2014-03-09 11:03:18
 • Malaysia Airlines: search and rescue teams are still unable to detect the whereabouts of the missing jet.
 • The United States was reportedly investigating terrorism concerns over the missing plane.
 • Malaysian PM Najib Razak said, "We are looking at all possibilities but it is too soon to speculate."

 

Malaysia Airlines hold press conference in Beijing on missing flight MH 370 on March 9, 2014. (Xinhua/Jiang Kehong)

KUALA LUMPUR/BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian civil aviation authorities said Sunday that search operations continued overnight for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet but have so far failed to locate the Boeing 777 aircraft.

Officials from Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation said at a press conference that they have also dispatched three planes to join the hunt for Flight MH370, which has lost contact with traffic control for more than 30 hours.

In its latest statement, Malaysia Airlines said "the search and rescue teams are still unable to detect the whereabouts of the missing aircraft," which was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.

The company said it will set up a command center at Kota Bharu, Malaysia, or Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, as soon as the location of the aircraft is established.

"In fearing for the worst, a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, USA, will be assisting Malaysia Airlines in this crucial time," added the airline.

Meanwhile, the United States was reportedly investigating terrorism concerns over the missing plane as two people listed as passengers of the MH370 flight were found not on board and their passports were reported stolen in Thailand.

U.S. officials told NBC News that they were "aware of the reporting on the two stolen passports" and have found no clear link to terrorism, but they were checking into passenger manifests and going back through intelligence.

A senior U.S. official was quoted as saying that "we have not determined a nexus to terrorism yet, although it's still very early, and that's by no means definitive."

The Austrian Foreign Ministry confirmed to Xinhua on Saturday that the 61-year-old Austrian man listed in the MH370 manifest was currently not on board but lives in Austria and in good health.

The Austrian lost his passport in Thailand in 2012, said Austrian Foreign Ministry spokesman Martin Weiss, adding that obviously there is no Austrian citizen on board.

Earlier that day, the father of Luigi Maraldi, the Italian man who was thought to be on the same missing plane, told Xinhua that his 37-year-old son had his passport stolen last August at a vehicle rental shop in Thailand.

Maraldi phoned his father early Saturday morning to tell him that he was not on the missing plane and safe in Thailand.

However, a Malaysia Airlines spokesman said the stolen passport incidents have not been confirmed by Malaysian authorities.

Asked whether the incident was a terrorist attack at a press conference Saturday, Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said, "We are looking at all possibilities but it is too soon to speculate."

"The search and rescue operations will continue," Najib said, adding that the search area was expanded after international rescuers failed to locate the missing plane from its last point of contact.

Also on Saturday, Vietnamese Deputy Transport Minister Pham Quy Tieu said rescuers were expected to arrive at waters where two "suspicious" oil slicks were spotted.

With 154 Chinese on board, Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered that all-out efforts be made to help search and rescue the missing aircraft. Chinese divers, salvagers and warships are already on their way to the sea area where the jet is suspected to have crashed.

In addition, Singapore, Thailand, the United States and Vietnam have also offered help for the hunt.

Related:

In Pictures: Official of Malaysia Airlines meets relatives of passengers on missing jet

In Pictures: Head of CAAC answers questions on missing Malaysian plane in Beijing

Chinese rescuers on way to salvage mission

SANYA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- An emergency response team sent by the Ministry of Transport set out early Sunday morning from south China's Sanya Port in Hainan Province to sea area where missing Malaysia Airline flight MH 370 may have crashed.

The rescue vessel "South China Sea Rescue 101" is carrying 12 divers and salvagers, and will join another rescue vessel "South China Sea Rescue 115" to the rescue site. Full Story

China makes all-out effort to locate missing flight

BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China is making an all-out effort to search and rescue the Malaysia Airlines flight that has been missing since Saturday morning as the whole country continues to pray for the safety of the passengers onboard.

"As of now, the search and the rescue team has yet to determine the whereabouts of the MH370," said the airline's spokesman at a press conference in Beijing early Sunday, which lasted less than 30 minutes. Full Story

Still nothing able to be located: Malaysian DCA official

KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Rescue operations in hunt for a missing Malaysian jet have continued overnight, but nothing was able to be located so far, a Malaysian civil aviation official said here Sunday morning.

Department of Civil Aviation Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told a a press conference that they lost contact with the plane at 1:30 a.m. local time on Saturday. Full Story

Chinese warships on way to rescue mission

ZHANJIANG, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Two warships of the Chinese navy, "Jinggangshan" and "Mianyang", are on their way to sea area where missing Malaysia Airline flight MH 370 may have crashed, navy sources said.

The vessel "Jinggangshan", loaded with life-saving equipments, underwater detection facilities and supplies of water and food, set out from Zhanjiang city of south China's Guangdong Province at about 3:00 a.m. on Sunday for search and rescue mission. Full story

Xi urges Malaysia flight emergency response

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday urged emergency measures over the missing Malaysian flight bound for Beijing with more than 150 Chinese nationals on board.

Xi ordered the Ministry of Foreign Affairs as well as Chinese embassies and consulates to strengthen contact with departments of relevant countries and pay close attention to the search and rescue work for the plane, which lost contact with traffic controllers at 1:20 a.m. on Saturday. Full story

Chinese Premier asks Malaysia to act quickly over missing plane

BEIJING, March 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang held emergency talks over the phone Saturday with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak on the loss of contact of the Malaysia Airlines flight.

Premier Li said the Malaysia Airlines flight that went missing early Saturday morning carried 154 Chinese passengers and the Chinese government and people were deeply concerned about the safety of all 239 people onboard. Full story

Editor: Lu Hui
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