Mystery about missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 deepens
nsnbc : Hopes of finding survivors of Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 dwindle by the hour. Meanwhile, the mystery about the flight from Kuala Lumpur International to Beijing that went missing over Vietnamese waters is deepening. Two passengers boarded the flight, together, with stolen Italian and Austrian passports, prompting fears about foul play and terrorism.
About 2:40 local time on Saturday morning, Malaysia Airlines (MA) Flight MH370 lost touch with Subang Air Traffic Control after departing from Kuala Lumpur International Airport with 239 souls on board at 00:41, reported MA. The Boeing 777-200 was scheduled to land in Beijing at 06:30 local time (22:30 GMT).
Vietnamese authorities fear that the plane may have crashed near Vietnam’s Tho Chu Island, where Vietnamese Air Force pilots spotted two oil slicks which they suspected may have come from the missing plane. No wreckage has yet been located, and the position of the plain remains unknown.
An international search effort with the participation of vessels and planes from China, Malaysia, Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, the United States, Australia, Britain, New Zealand and Indonesia. So far, the effort has not succeeded in locating wreckage or a crash site. nsnbc contacted a coast guard search and rescue expert who said:
“As long as the locator beacon from the plane’s flight data and cockpit voice recorders aren’t located, all that there can be done is to organize a transect pattern search along the flight path from the last known location and to the max distance the plane could have glided without engine power. That’s a vast area, at sea, and even with satellites, planes and ships, finding the plane is like looking for a needle in a haystack. … Chances to find survivors from a plane crash at sea are near zero after more than 24 hours, its tragic and hard on the families and loved ones”.
Malaysia Airlines reports that the airline is doing its utmost to provide support to the affected family members, this includes immediate financial aid. The airline has deployed a team of 94 caregivers consisting of well-trained staff and also Tzu Chi Foundation members to provide emotional support to the families. The airline has also deployed another set of caregivers to Beijing. Malaysia Airlines reports, that it is fearing for the worst, adding that a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, USA, will be assisting the airline.
False Passports and Terrorism. By early Sunday morning, Malaysia Airlines officials stated that they had tracked two passengers who were believed to have boarded the plane using stolen passports. Department of Civil Aviation Director-General Azaruddin Abdul Rahman said at a press conference, that the two were captured on camera from the time they checked in until boarding and departure. The CCTV footage has been handed over to investigators.
Chinese authorities reported shortly afterwards that the two passengers, who were travelling with stolen Austrian and Italian passports had bought their tickets together via China Southern Airlines at identical prices, using Thai baht. It was surmised that the two bought the tickets together because the tickets of the two passengers who travelled with the stolen passports had consecutive ticket numbers. The two tickets were both due to start from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. One of them included a flight onward to Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and one was booked to carry on via Frankfurt, Germany, to Copenhagen, Denmark.
Although it is premature to draw conclusions, the fact that two of the passengers on board were travelling with stolen passports prompts speculations about possible terrorism.
Ch/L - nsnbc 09.03.2014
Public Service Information: Malaysia Airlines provides regular updates and new information on its website. The website also contains contact information, for relatives of Flight MH370 passengers and the passenger manifest.
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