International search efforts have been unable to locate the missing Malaysia Airlines' Boeing 777-200 three days after it vanished. Finding the aircraft remains the top priority, but attention is also being paid to two passengers who boarded the flight using stolen passports.
Rescue teams widened their search area for the missing aircraft, operating as Flight MH370 from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, which disappeared in the early hours of March 8. It was carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew.
The aircraft lost contact with Subang Air Traffic Control less than two hours into the flight. Malaysia Airlines said the last known position of MH370 before it disappeared off the radar was 065515 north (longitude) and 1033443 east (latitude), south of Vietnam.
The US National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has sent a team of investigators to Asia over the weekend to be ready to assist with the investigation. “Once the location of the airplane is determined, International Civil Aviation Organization protocols will determine which country will lead the investigation. Because of the lengthy travel time from the United States, the NTSB has sent a team of investigators, accompanied by technical advisers from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration, to the area so they will be positioned to offer US assistance,” NTSB said.
At a weekend press conference, Malaysia’s civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said the search area had been widened to include the west coast of Malaysia and as far as Indonesia after radar signals indicated the possibility the aircraft may have turned back from its flight path.
There are dozens of ships from multiple countries taking part in the search as well as surveillance aircraft of the air forces of several countries, including Malaysia and the US. A couple of potential leads, in which oil slicks or aircraft parts were thought to have been sighted, proved false and as of the early hours of March 10, local time, no evidence of the aircraft’s location or what caused it to vanish had been found.
Another focus area is on two passengers who boarded with stolen passports and who were described as “suspect” by Malaysia’s transport minister. Officials were trying to establish the true identities of the two men, but again had no evidence linking them to the aircraft’s disappearance.