Director General of Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman attends a press conference on the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 9, 2014. Director General of Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told a press conference Sunday evening that now the priority is to search and locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. (Xinhua/Chong Voon Chung)
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Director General of Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman told a press conference Sunday evening that now the priority is to search and locate the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.
A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships are now in the searching operation as the search area has been extended from the South China Sea to the Strait of Malacca, he said.
Regarding the earlier found oil slick strip off Malaysian coast, Rahman said that chemical test was being done on the oil slick to confirm whether it came from the missing aircraft.
He said the investigation was underway into a possible terror link after authorities said at least two passengers had boarded the plane using stolen passports. But he declined to give more details.
He told Xinhua that the video of the suspected passengers with false passport was being examined now by the investigators.
When asked about a Singapore searching team spotting a suspicious floating object near Vietnam's Tho Chu island, he said it was not from the ill-fated plane.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft operated by Malaysia Airlines left Kuala Lumpur International Airport for Beijing at 00:41 a.m. Saturday, and lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control at around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.
The aircraft was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers including 154 Chinese.
There has been no confirmed information about the fate of the plane yet.
News Analysis: Four mysteries about missing Malaysian plane
BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- More than 40 hours have passed since the missing Malaysian plane carrying 239 people, including more than 150 Chinese, lost contact with air traffic controllers.
Yet the fate of the China-bound Malaysia Airlines plane remains unknown, prompting speculations and worries. Full story
China makes all-out effort to locate missing flight
BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- China is making an all-out effort to locate and rescue Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that has been missing since Saturday morning as the whole country prays for the safety of the passengers on board.
As of 7 p.m. Sunday, the flight has been out of touch for over 39 hours, and search and rescue work for the missing jet is under way. Full story
Chinese vessel expands coverage in search of plane
BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese coast guard vessel in search of a missing Beijing-bound plane had covered a 200-sq-km area as of 7:00 p.m. Sunday but no suspected target had been found, according to the country's marine police.
Around 1:30 p.m. Sunday, the vessel, "China Coast Guard 3411," reached waters in the vicinity of the spot where the plane was believed to have been when it lost contact with ground control, according to the country's marine police bureau. Full story
No significant weather change over Malaysian waters when plane goes missing
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Xinhua) -- There was no significant weather change over Malaysian waters which could have threatened a missing Malaysian passenger jet carrying 239 people, said Khairul Najib, the Malaysian Meteorological Department's National Weather Center meteorological officer.
He said there were no significant changes in the weather pattern from midnight Friday to 3 am Saturday, which could threaten the safety of the plane, Malaysian state news agency Bernama reported on Sunday. Full story
Singaporean vessels searching for MH370 find suspicious floating objects: Vietnamese official media
PHU QUOC ISLAND, Vietnam, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Singaporean vessels searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines passenger plane have found some suspicious floating objects, Vietnamese official media outlets reported Sunday.
The objects, located about 100 km southwest of Tho Chu Island at 14:45 local time, were suspected to come from the Boeing 777 aircraft, reported the Tuoi Tre and Thanh Nien dailies in their online editions. Full story
Missing Malaysian plane not spotted yet: PH military
MANILA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Initial search by the Philippine military for the Malaysian aircraft that went missing Saturday morning had been unsuccessful by Sunday afternoon, Philippine military said later that day.
In a phone interview, Lieutenant General Roy Deveraturda, chief of the Western Command (Wescom) of the country's armed forces, said they have completed three sorties of aerial reconnaissance flights since the plane was reported missing. Full story
Chinese rescuers on way to salvage mission
SANYA, March 9 (Xinhua) -- An emergency response team assembled by the Ministry of Transport (MOT) set out early Sunday from south China's Sanya Port in Hainan Province to the sea area where it is thought the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 might have crashed.
Rescue vessel "South China Sea Rescue 101" is carrying 12 divers and salvagers, and will join another rescue vessel, "South China Sea Rescue 115," at the rescue site. Full story
Nothing suggests terrorism in missing flight: airline
BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- No information has been confirmed so far to suggest terrorism is behind the loss of contact with Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, still unlocated as of Sunday afternoon, said the carrier in Beijing.
Information currently available shows that the provided passenger list matches booking information for the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, said Ignatius Ong Ming Choy, representative of Malaysia Airlines, at a press conference. Full story
Malaysia finds large oil slick 100 nautical miles off Kalantan
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A large oil slick 100 nautical miles from Tok Bali, Kelantan was found on Sunday by Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency, Malaysian state news agency Bernama reported.
Mohd Amdan Kurish, the agency's director-general, told a press conference that a ship had been sent to collect samples. "Samples will be analyzed to determine if the oil came from MAS Flight MH370 or a passing ship," he said. Full story
Malaysian official says missing plane may have turned back
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Xinhua) -- The missing Malaysian jet may have turned back from its scheduled course to Beijing before disappearing, a military official said here Sunday.
General Rodzali Daud, the Royal Malaysian Air Force chief, told a press conference that the military radar indicated there was a possibility that the missing Boeing 777 jet made a turn-back, deviating from it set course. Full story
Malaysian airlines promises to provide families with timely help, asks for patience amid growing complaints
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian Airlines on Sunday promised to provide families of the passengers onboard the missing flight MH370 with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation and emotional support and asked for their patience and support.
Ahmad Jauhari Yahya, CEO of the airlines, said in the latest press conference Sunday afternoon that the company understands the need to provide regular updates on the progress of the search and rescue operations.Full story
Chinese force reaches suspected crash site, no sign of plane
BEIJING, March 9 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese coast guard vessel has entered the waters near the suspected site of the missing Malaysian plane to carry out a rescue mission.
However, there are still no signs indicating the whereabouts of the plane. Full story
2 passengers with false passports aboard missing plane: Malaysian official
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 (Xinhua) -- Two passengers with false passports got on board the missing Malaysian plane according to the closed-circuit television (CCTV) records, Malaysian Department of Civil Aviation Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman confirmed here Sunday in a latest press conference. Full story
Malaysian jet still unfound as two stolen passports prompt U.S. probe
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. Full story
Largest patrol vessel in S China Sea en route to rescue mission
GUANGZHOU, March 8 (Xinhua) -- The largest vessel in South China Sea "Haixun 31" is heading for Sanya city in south China's Hainan province, where it will standby for search and rescue mission for missing Malaysian Airline flight.
The vessel left Maoming Port in Guangdong at 9:00 p.m., where it will wait for orders of deployment, the Guangdong provincial bureau of marine affairs said. Full story