SEPANG, March 8 – Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said today the search for a missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) aircraft would be widened as nothing was found in the area where contact with the plane was lost. “We have not found any wreckage,” he told a news conference after MAS Flight MH370 went missing over the South China Sea at 2.40 am when flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing with 239 people on board.
Najib said it was decided to widen the area of the search following a discussion among him, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein and heads of agencies involved in the search-and-rescue operation.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with all the affected passengers and crew as well as for their family members,” he said. The prime minister said more aircraft and ships had been deployed to conduct the search. These involved 15 aircraft of the Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF), including four C130 aircraft, one CN325 aircraft, four EC725 helicopters and one Beechcraft King Air aircraft, he said.
He also said that two Bombardier aircraft and two Agusta helicopters as well as three ships of the Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency (MMEA) and six vessels of the Royal Malaysian Navy (RMN) were also being used. The MAS flight took off from the KL International Airport at 12.41 am and went missing about two hours later over the South China Sea between the Malaysian and Vietnamese airspace. It was to have landed in Beijing at 6.30 am (Beijing time).