The fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 remains ‘a mystery’ nearly three days after it disappeared.
Malaysia’s civil aviation chief said that all sightings of debris in
the sea near Vietnam were unconfirmed as eight nations combined 40
ships, 34 aircraft and a submarine to continue the search for wreckage.
Azharuddin Abdul Rahman admitted the location of the Boeing 777
carrying 239 people remained completely unknown, and that he could not
rule out hijacking as a possibility.
‘Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects
from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,’ Mr Azharuddin explained to
reporters in Kuala Lumpur.
‘We are every hour, every second looking at every area of the sea,’ he added.
The lack of debris means the aircraft is thought likely to have
disintegrated at about 35,000ft. ‘If the plane had plunged intact from
close to its cruising altitude, breaking up only on impact with the
water, search teams would have expected to find a fairly concentrated
pattern of debris,’ said a Malaysian investigator.
Flight MH370 lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between
Malaysia and Vietnam after leaving Kuala Lumpur on Friday evening, our
time, en route to Beijing.
MORE: Terror fears over two passengers with stolen passports
Patrol jets spotted an oil slick on Saturday just south of the
Vietnamese mainland and what appeared to be a wing and a door were seen
in the Gulf of Thailand, 130km (80 miles) to the north-west.
Radar recordings suggested the aircraft might have tried to turn
around before it disappeared. But pilots are supposed to notify air
traffic controllers if they intend such a manoeuvre, and there was no
The airline said 14 nationalities, including Chinese, Malaysians,
Indonesians, six Australians, four French and three Americans were on
‘I was told passport had been cancelled’
The Italian whose stolen passport is at the centre of the investigation into flight MH370 said he thought it had been cancelled.
Luigi Maraldi revealed he had left it with a Thai motorbike hire
company – but when he returned to collect it in July he was told it had
been given to a fellow Italian who had claimed to be his husband.
The 37-year-old reported the theft to both the Thai and Italian
police and has since returned to Phuket on a replacement passport.
‘I spoke to Italian police and they said no one could use it again,’ he said.
Mr Maraldi’s father, Walter, added: ‘The whole thing is a mix-up – we
have no idea who the person was that used my son’s passport. The
foreign ministry rang to say that he was on the passenger list. They
were amazed when I said they were mistaken as I had just spoken to him
and he was fine.’
Families’ anguish as they pray for relatives
Families spoke of their anguish as they waited to find out the fate
of those on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. In China, home
of most of the 239 passengers, relatives wept as they gathered at a
hotel in Beijing. American Sarah Bajc, desperate for news of her
boyfriend Philip Wood, said: ‘There just has to be a chance we will find
survivors and that we will find the plane.’
Earlier, the family of Mr Wood, one of three missing Americans,
issued a statement which said: ‘Though our hearts are hurting, we know
so many families around the world are affected just as much by this
Another distraught woman was led inside the hotel. ‘My son, my son, what am I going to do? He was only 40 years old,’ she said.
Malaysia’s minister of transport Hishammuddin Hussein described
meeting family members desperate for news. ‘Most difficult for me
meeting the families,’ he wrote as he tweeted a picture of two children
whose parents and the elder brother were on flight 370. Earlier, he
tweeted a picture of a distraught man and wrote: ‘As a father myself, I
understand what he is going through as his son is on #MH370.’ He
finished with another tweet: ‘It has been another long day. Thank you
all for your prayers. Hope will get us through the days ahead.’