KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia’s military has traced what could have been the jetliner missing for almost five days to an area near Andaman and Nicobar islands, hundreds of miles from its last known position, the country’s air force chief said on Wednesday.
After a series of at times conflicting statements, the latest revelation underlined that authorities remain uncertain even where to look for the plane, and no closer to explaining what happened to Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 or the 239 people on board.
Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said Malaysia would “never give up hope” of finding the plane’s 239 passengers and crew, dismissing allegations that efforts were mired in confusion after a series of false alarms, rumours and contradictory statements.
The hunt for Malaysia Airlines flight 370 now encompasses nearly 27,000 nautical miles (over 90,000 square kilometres) — roughly the size of Portugal — and involves the navies and air forces of multiple nations.
The Beijing News has reported that a source claiming to be local volunteer assisting in the search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has found a dead body wearing a lifejacket in an area of the Malacca Strait. In a single-paragraph report, the website of the Chinese-language newspaper said that it was seeking to establish the reliability of the claim.
Malaysia Airlines said it was “shocked” over allegations that First Officer Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27, along with a fellow pilot violated airline rules in 2011 by allowing two young South African women into their cockpit during a flight.
Vietnam initially suspended its air and sea search Wednesday as it waited for Malaysia to clarify the new direction of the hunt.
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