In Hunt for Malaysia Jet, Many Questions, Few Clues

Stolen passport holders spotted on CCTV
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 10, 2014 6:51 AM CDT
Updated Mar 10, 2014 7:59 AM CDT
Ships are seen from a flying Soviet-made AN-26 of the Vietnam Air Force during a search operation for the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 over the South China Sea Monday, March 10, 2014.   (AP Photo/Na Son Nguyen)
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(Newser) – The fate of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight and the 239 onboard continues to stump officials. Authorities are considering every possible explanation for the disappearance, says Malaysia's civil aviation boss, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman. Among those explanations are engine failure, pilot error, or possibly suicide. But so far, searches have yielded little information—even with 40 ships and 34 aircraft investigating a radius of 50 nautical miles around where the plane dropped off radar screens, the AP reports. Nine countries are involved in the search, and they're working "every hour, every minute, every second," Rahman adds, per the Guardian. It's now after dark in the area, and the search will resume tomorrow. In other search news:

  • As for hijacking, "we are not discounting this," says Rahman, via the AP. Malaysia says it has CCTV visuals of two people traveling with stolen passports. Officials said today at a news conference that the two were not "Asian-looking people," as per the BBC.
  • One-way tickets under the names on the stolen passports—Luigi Maraldi and Christian Kozel—were issued at a Thai travel agency. Passengers traveling under those names were also booked on a one-way flight from Beijing to Amsterdam Saturday, says a rep for Royal Dutch Airlines. Maraldi was then due to fly to Copenhagen, while Kozel was set to go to Frankfurt, Germany.
  • Malaysia is now downplaying reports suggesting Vietnam had discovered possible debris. "We have not found anything that appear to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft," says Rahman, per CNN.
  • Officials had believed they'd spotted a life raft in the water, and helicopters were rushed to the spot—only to find a "moss-covered cap of a cable reel," NBC News reports.
  • Meanwhile, oil slicks discovered in the South China Sea are not connected to the aircraft, Sky News confirms via AFP.
(Read more Malaysia stories.)

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