The unprecedented mystery of a missing Malaysian plane on Monday deepened with no trace of wreckage found even after three days of multinational search operations, as hope faded for the relatives of the 239 people on board.
“Unfortunately, we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft itself,” Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, head of Malaysia’s Department of Civil Aviation, said at a news conference.
“This unprecedented missing aircraft mystery — it is mystifying and we are increasing our efforts to do what we have to do,” he said.
The Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200 Flight MH370 of Malaysia Airlines had 227 passengers aboard, including five Indians and one Indian-origin Canadian, and 12 crew members.
Rahman said investigators were pursuing “every angle” to explain its disappearance, including hijacking.
Malaysia on Sunday launched a terror probe into the disappearance of the plane that suddenly vanished from the radar one hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur Airport on Friday midnight.
The probe was launched after it emerged that two passengers boarded the flight with stolen passports of an Italian and Austrian. Preliminary investigation also indicated that plane may have turned back.
One of the two suspects, who travelled on the plane on stolen passports has been identified.
“I can confirm that he is not a Malaysian, but cannot divulge which country he is from yet,” Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said in Kuala Lumpur. He said both suspects had no record of entering the country legally.
Five passengers holding tickets had failed to board that flight, Rahman said.
“Their luggage was off loaded and would not have been in the plane. All check in luggage was screened,” he said.
Vietnam on Monday scrambled aircraft to check up if a lifeboat-like floating object found in Vietnamese waters was from the missing plane, official Chinese media reported.
Malaysia informed Vietnam that it spotted the lifeboat- like object in sea and asked Vietnam to verify if it belongs to the missing plane.
Vietnamese searchers on ships worked throughout the night but could not find a rectangle object spotted on Sunday that was thought to be one of the doors of the plane.
Rahman said Vietnamese officials had not confirmed to Malaysia, reports that debris believed to be from the plane had been found.
The Malaysian official said the authorities were as “puzzled” as others over the disappearance of the plane.