February 21, 2012 By

Search Beefed up to Trace Malaysian Jet

3_9Speculations continue to escalate as massive search and rescue operations by different countries involving ships, planes and search crew failed to trace the Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which vanished three days ago. The passenger jet disappeared over the skies of South East Asia, early on Saturday. The incident has left the investigators totally clueless about how a plane could vanish into thin air. The officials have warned the relatives and family members of the victims to expect the worst.

The Boeing 777-200 took off from Kuala Lumpur, the Malaysian capital, at 12:41 a.m. on Saturday. It was scheduled to arrive in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. the same day, after a 2,700-mile journey. Around 1:30 a.m., air traffic controllers in Subang, outside Kuala Lumpur, lost contact with the plane as it was flying over the sea between Malaysia and Vietnam. Malaysian military officials said that the radar data suggested the plane might have changed course and returned to Kuala Lumpur before it vanished. The weather conditions were good according to reports and the pilots neither indicated any problems to the tower nor issued any distress signal. There were 239 people on board, with 227 passengers of different nationalities such as the Asia-Pacific region, Europe and North America and twelve crew members.

Two people who boarded the plane under the guise of an Italian and an Austrian citizen were using stolen passports, officials said. The tickets for both the passengers were brought in Thailand, on Thursday according to ticketing records and were one-way with itineraries continuing on from Beijing to Amsterdam. One ticket’s final destination was Frankfurt, Germany and the other’s was Copenhagen, Denmark. The original owners of the passports were not on the missing plane, authorities say.  One of these men was later identified by the Malaysian authorities as nineteen year old Iranian who the officials said, had wanted to migrate to Germany. They also said that the person had no terror links. The pilot of the missing plane is Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, a 53-year-old with 18,365 flying hours and First officer, Fariq Ab Hamid.

Thirty-four planes, forty ships and search crews from ten countries are continuing the search and rescue operations in a large portion of the South China Sea near where the plane was last detected. Malaysian Airline has given the last location of the flight as 065515 North (longitude) and 1033443 East (latitude) before it vanished off the radar. The airline said that search was also being carried out in land area that lies between the water bodies. “The next check is due on 19 June 2014. The maintenance was conducted at the KLIA hangar and there were no issues on the health of the aircraft,” Malaysia Airlines said. It added that a Response Coordination Centre would be established once the aircraft is located. Reports say that Vietnam air force planes have found two oil slicks that are suspected to be from the missing Malaysian jetliner.

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