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Sunday, March 9, 2014

Reports on debris of missing aircraft not true, says civil aviation chief

The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has not yielded any results, said the Department of Civil Aviation (DCA), dismissing reports that parts of the aircraft had been located by the Vietnamese authorities.
DCA director-general, Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said they verified the reports of the "finds" with the Vietnames authorities who denied it.
Despite an extensive search and rescue operation by an international team, there is still no sign of flight MH370 which had 12 crew members and 227 passengers on board.
It was reported that there had been unverified reports of sightings of aircraft parts and oil slicks in the South China Sea.
"This unprecedented disappearance of a Malaysia Airlines aircraft is both perplexing and puzzling," said Azharuddin.
"More than 1,000 hours have been spent searching for the missing MH370 in both the South China Sea and the Straits of Malacca," he told a press conference at KLIA today.
He acknowledged that there had been widespread speculation about what had happened to MH370, including hijacking and terrorism links.
"We do not discount any possibilities or angles, but until MH370 is located, we will not be able to discover the truth," Azharuddin said.
"I understand that the media wants answers, just like the next-of-kin of the crew members and passengers.
"But authorities will not be able to provide any answers until the aircraft has been located and investigations have been carried out," he said.

Azharuddin (pic, right) said the probe had not been narrowed down to any particular angle as the investigating team was still carrying out its work.
"Various sightings have been reported by numerous media organisations but nothing concrete has been found," he said, adding that claims that Vietnamese search and rescue forces had found an aircraft door had not been verified.
"We contacted Vietnamese authorities and they have denied any such finding by their SAR forces," Azharuddin said.
He said the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (APMM) had also spotted oil slicks in the South China Sea and taken samples.
"The samples have been taken to the laboratory and hopefully, the test results will be released soon."
Azharuddin said aviation and aircraft experts from around the world had contributed their opinions and expertise.
"However, nothing concrete can be concluded until we actually locate MH370," he added.
He insisted that both MAS and the DCA have properly handled the case of the missing aircraft.
On the subject of two passengers who boarded the flight using stolen passports, Azharuddin said nothing had been reported by investigators yet.
"We cannot release closed-circuit television video footage of the two individuals yet until we have consulted the investigating team."
Azharuddin also declined to elaborate when asked about security procedures at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA).
The missing Boeing 777-200 aircraft left KLIA for Beijing at 12.41am on Saturday, but contact with the plane was lost at 1.20am when it was flying over airspace manned by air traffic control in Ho Chi Minh City.
The aircraft was carrying 239 people, including 154 Chinese and Taiwanese passengers, and 12 crew members. – March 10, 2014.
@Malaysia Insider

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