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Missing Malaysia Jet May Have Turned Back

Radar shows it may have diverted, but precious few clues as search continues
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 9, 2014 7:30 AM CDT
Missing Malaysia Jet May Have Turned Back
Malaysian maritime official Mohd Amdan Kurish, left, checks radar in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane off Kelantan, Malaysia, Sunday, March 9, 2014.   (AP Photo/Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency)

(Newser) – The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has so far yielded nothing more than a pair of oil slicks and suspicions over two passengers' passports, but authorities today said that radar indicates that Flight MH370 may have diverted its course or turned back before losing contact. "We are trying to make sense of this," said the head of Vietnam's air force, which spotted the two oil slicks but no wreckage. "The military radar indicated that the aircraft may have made a turn back and in some parts, this was corroborated by civilian radar." Officials didn't say in which direction the Boeing 777 might have turned, notes the BBC, but the search has expanded to include Malaysia's west coast.

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What could have gone wrong remains an utter mystery: The weather was clear, the plane was cruising, and pilots gave no indication that the plane had diverted as they were supposed to, reports the AP. "From what we have, there was no such distress signal or distress call per se, so we are equally puzzled," says Malaysia Airlines' chief exec. Meanwhile, Interpol is checking its database on passengers' passports, and the number of names considered suspicious has risen to four. (Read more Malaysia stories.)

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