Malaysia Airlines plane missing: Hijacking not ruled out, says chief investigator

Mar 10 2014, 19:14 IST
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A patrol vessel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane at Tok Bali Beach in Kelantan, Malaysia. (AP) A patrol vessel of Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane at Tok Bali Beach in Kelantan, Malaysia. (AP)
SummaryQuestions mount whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down Malaysia Airlines jetliner.

Search and rescue planes scoured waters off the southern tip of Vietnam on Monday, searching for any trace of a Malaysia Airlines jetliner 48 hours after it vanished from radar screens with 239 people on board.

A Vietnamese official says searchers on ships worked throughout the night but could not find a rectangle object spotted Sunday afternoon that was thought to be one of the doors of a missing Boeing 777.

Meanwhile, the chief investigator in the case said that the probe team has not not ruled out hijacking and all possibilities are being looked at in disappearance of plane.

Questions mounted over possible security lapses and whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down the Beijing-bound plane, after Interpol confirmed at least two passengers used stolen passports and said it was checking whether others aboard had used false identity documents.

Flight MH370 disappeared in the early hours of Saturday, about an hour into its flight from Kuala Lumpur, after climbing to a cruising altitude of 35,000 ft (10,670 metres).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam said on its website late on Sunday that a Vietnamese navy plane had spotted an object in the sea suspected of being part of the Boeing 777-200ER, but that it was too dark to be certain.

"We sent two boats to where the navy plane reported seeing that object but the boats couldn't find it," Admiral Ngo Van Phat told Reuters early on Monday. "We are sending more planes there this morning."

Shares in Malaysia Airlines fell as much as 18 percent to a record low on Monday morning.

No distress signal was sent from the lost plane, which experts said suggested a sudden catastrophic failure or explosion, but Malaysia's air force chief said radar tracking showed it may have turned back from its scheduled route before it disappeared.

A senior source involved in preliminary investigations in Malaysia said the failure to find any debris for two days, despite dozens of vessels and aircraft crisscrossing the sea below the flight path, indicated the plane may have broken up mid-flight.

"The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet," said the source.

Asked about the possibility of an explosion, such as a bomb, the source said there was no evidence yet of foul play and that the aircraft could have broken up due to mechanical causes.

Still, the

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