Hijacking not ruled out in missing Malaysian jet, says chief investigator

Flight MH370 disappeared from Kuala Lumpur after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.

Reuters/afp March 10, 2014
Selamat Omar, 60, the father of Mohd Khairul Amri Selamat, a 29-year-old aviation engineer who was travelling to Beijing on the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200 plane. PHOTO: AFP

KUALA LAMPUR: Hijacking could not be ruled out and all possibilities were being investigated into why a Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 239 people went missing enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, the chief Malaysian investigator said on Monday.

Flight MH370 disappeared early Saturday about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 feet.

An international search and rescue effort still had not found any confirmed debris from a Malaysia Airlines jet more than two days after it mysteriously went missing, an official said Monday.

"Unfortunately, ladies and gentleman, we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft itself, said Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, head of Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation.

In the absence of any firm clues as to what happened to Malaysia Airlines flight 370, Azharuddin had few answers in a press conference for any of the burning questions surrounding what befell the plane.

It vanished early Saturday with 239 people aboard. No distress signal was ever sent, authorities said.

"We understand that you want answers from us. We are as eager as you are," he said.

Vietnamese authorities had said earlier that two floating objects were seen from the air late on Sunday some 80 kilometres (50 miles) off Tho Chu island.

But Azharuddin said Vietnamese officials had not yet confirmed to Malaysia whether any reported sightings were indeed debris from the plane.

"There are various objects that we have seen, but none of them at this moment (have been confirmed to be) from this aircraft," he said.

Azharuddin also confirmed reports that five passengers who had purchased tickets and checked baggage did not make the flight.

He said Malaysia Airlines had removed those passengers' baggage once it learned they did not board the plane, in accordance with standard procedure.

"But we have to remove the baggage that they checked in... we have done so on this aircraft," he said.

He also said authorities were still waiting for an analysis of oil samples taken from a slick in the sea to determine whether it was from the plane. Another official had said results could come Monday afternoon.

"We are looking at every angle. We are looking at every aspect of what could have happened," he said.

"Again, we have to get concrete evidence... we have to find the aircraft."


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