Malaysia military tracked missing jet to Strait of Malacca: source
Malaysia’s military believes it tracked the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner by radar over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country’s east coast, a military source told Reuters.
The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast. The airline said on Saturday that the flight carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew last had contact off the east coast Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.
“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters.
Malaysian police said Tuesday they had identified one of two men who boarded a missing Malaysian jet with fake passports as a 19-year-old Iranian believed to be seeking to emigrate to Germany.
“We believe he is not likely to be a member of any terror group and we believe he was trying to migrate to Germany,” said Malaysia’s national police chief Khalid Abu Bakar.
Khalid said authorities had not yet identified the other man.
The so-far fruitless search for a missing Malaysian airliner entered its fourth day on Tuesday, as sources in Europe, the United States and Asia voiced growing scepticism that the flight lost with 239 people on board was the target of an attack.
The massive search has drawn in navies, military aircraft, coastguard and civilian vessels from 10 nations, but failed to turn up any trace of the Boeing 777-200ER that vanished about an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early on Saturday.
“Until now, with all of our efforts, there is very little hope for any good news about this plane,” said the head of Vietnam’s search and rescue effort, Pham Quy Tieu.
The search was widened on Tuesday to a larger swathe of the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, around where the plane lost radio contact and vanished from radar screens.