KUALA LUMPUR, April 8 – While information at hand does not suggest passenger involvement in the disappearance of a Malaysian airliner, the status of the probe can be revised upon receipt of fresh input, said acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein. He said there was nothing conclusive at the moment regarding the investigation of the passengers and crew of the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) flight, MH370. “We wish to reiterate that investigation is ongoing. The investigation has intensified in many areas with regard to the pilot, co-pilot and (other) crew members,” he told reporters after attending a meeting of the Assets Deployment Committee pertaining to search and recovery.
Hishammuddin reiterated that based on the background checks and intelligence received from both local and foreign enforcement and intelligence agencies, there was no diverse record or intelligence on any of the 227 passengers that could suggest their involvement in the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft. On what appeared to be signals akin to that emitted by black boxes received by search vessels in the southern Indian Ocean, the minister said he had not received any news of developments on that matter and was awaiting information from the search teams in Australia. Hishammuddin again advised the public not to make any inference or speculation against anyone with regard to the missing plane.
The search for the missing airliner entered its 32nd day today, and 11 military planes, three civil planes and 14 ships are looking for the aircraft in the southern Indian Ocean as they follow up on new leads. Flight MH370, carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew, left the KL International Airport at 12.41 am on March 8 and disappeared from radar screens about an hour later, while over the South China Sea. It was to have arrived in Beijing at 6.30 am on the same day. A multinational search was mounted for the aircraft, first in the South China Sea and then, after it was learnt that the plane had veered off course, along two corridors – the northern corridor stretching from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and the southern corridor, from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.
Following an unprecedented type of analysis of satellite data, United Kingdom satellite telecommunications company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) concluded that Flight MH370 flew along the southern corridor and that its last position was in the middle of the Indian Ocean, west of Perth. Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak then announced on March 24, seventeen days after the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200ER aircraft, that Flight MH370 “ended in the southern Indian Ocean”.