The fate of Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight MH370 and the 239 people on board is still unknown, 36 hours after it vanished from thin air while on its way to Beijing early Saturday morning.
Forty ships and 22 aircraft are now searching an expanded area from the Straits of Malacca to the waters off Malaysia and Vietnam for the dependable Boeing 777-200ER, piloted by experienced Malaysia Airlines crew.
Here are the four definite things we know after 36 hours of the disappearance.
- 1. Military radar shows a trace of flight MH370 doing a turn-back near the point it vanished at 1.30am, Saturday morning. But MAS said the pilots did not indicate anything or send a distress signal throughout the flight.
Air force chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud said that based on the recoding of military radar, there was possible indication that the aircraft did a turn-back.
"We are still trying to make sense of this because it is corroborated by civil radar,” he said today.
- 2. Two passengers were travelling on passports stolen from Phuket. An Italian and an Austrian have come out to say that they were not on flight MH370 although their names were listed in the flight manifest.
The authorities are now checking CCTV footage from Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and liaising with foreign security agencies on the real identities of the two men.
Another two men are travelling on passports which have yet to be verified by the issuing authority.
- 3. Baggages of five passengers who checked in were offloaded as they did not board flight MH370.
Airlines officials said there was nothing suspicious as the five and their luggage were not on board the aircraft.
- 4. Malaysia Airlines code-share partner, China Southern Airlines, sold seven tickets for Flight MH370 that took off early Saturday morning.
Four of the tickets were sold to those using stolen passports and those whose identities cannot be verified with the issuing authorities.
It is also not known how they managed to get visas for China despite using such passports. – March 9, 2014.