Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Missing Malaysia Airlines Aircraft: What's Known So Far

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Missing Malaysia Airlines Aircraft: What's Known So Far

Article excerpt

It could be months or even years before the mystery behind a missing Malaysia Airlines plane is solved - if ever.

Flight MH370, carrying 239 passengers and crew from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, simply disappeared from its flight path Saturday. The crew had radioed no distress report. There was no adverse weather that might have been a factor. The type of aircraft - a Boeing 777- 200 - has one of the best safety records; Malaysia Airlines has a good safety record as well.

Amid speculation involving reports that at least two passengers boarded the flight using stolen passports, authorities have not ruled out terrorism.

"Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol databases," the agency's Secretary General Ronald Noble said in a statement.

But using a system that looks for flashes around the world, the Pentagon reviewed preliminary surveillance data from the area where the plane disappeared and saw no evidence of an explosion - terrorist or caused by mechanical failure - an American government official told The New York Times. Five ticketed passengers did not check in for boarding, but their luggage was removed from the aircraft before departure.

By nightfall Sunday local time, some 40 ships and three dozen ships from nine countries, including the US, had joined in the search effort. Vietnamese military aircraft reported seeing an oil slick, but a "strange object" spotted by a Singaporean search plane late Sunday afternoon is not debris from the missing jetliner, an American official familiar with the issue told CNN.

Vietnamese navy ships that reached two oil slicks spotted earlier in the South China Sea found no signs of wreckage, the BBC reported.

Malaysia's Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said international agencies including the FBI had joined the investigation and all angles are being examined. …

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