Massive multi-national rescue operations continue for second day
Press Trust of India
Kuala Lumpur/Beijing, 9 March
A massive multi-national search and rescue operation continued for the second day today to locate a missing Malaysia airlines plane, as authorities feared the worst for the aircraft carrying 239 people and did not rule out the possibility of a terror link.
The Boeing 777-200 Flight MH370 that went missing over the south China Sea en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur had 227 passengers on board, including five Indians and one Indian-origin Canadian, and 12 crew members.
Planes and ships from six countries resumed the hunt today for the plane that suddenly disappeared from the radar one hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur airport on Friday.
Officials from Malaysia's department of civil aviation today said they have dispatched three jets to join the massive search and were working with a US company that specialises in disaster recovery to locate the aircraft. They said the search effort continued overnight to locate the missing plane. But the mission made little progress as they have not traced any wreckage or debris afloat.
“The search and rescue teams are still unable to detect the whereabouts of the missing aircraft” en route to Beijing from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia airlines said in a statement.
“The airline is continuously working with the authorities in providing assistance. In fearing for the worst, a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, USA, will be assisting Malaysia Airlines in this crucial time."
“Malaysia Airlines reiterates that it will continue to be transparent in communicating with the general public in all matters affecting MH370,” it said.
A command centre would be set up either in Kota Baru, in Kelantan state or in Ho Chi Minh, Vietnam, as soon as it could establish the location of the missing aircraft, it added.
Malaysian authorities, said Intelligence agencies are probing how four persons with fake identities boarded the aircraft and counter-terrorism agencies of other countries have been alerted about it. The red flags were raised yesterday when it was found that four passengers with suspect identities were able to board the ill-fated flight.
The weather was fine, the aircraft was cruising and the pilots did not get time to send a distress signal unusual circumstance for a modern plane to crash, experts said. On two impostors who boarded the flight using passports lost by an Italian and an Austrian, defence minister and acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, adding authorities would screen the entire manifest of the flight. He did not mention the nationalities of the other two but said Intelligence agencies were in contact with their international counterparts, including the FBI, on the issue.