The missing Malaysia jetliner flew for hours longer than first reported and has been tracked by radar over the Strait of Malacca, far from where making last contact, according to a military source, as crowdsourcing is urged for public involvement in solving the unprecedented vanishing plane mystery.
“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.
Search for missing jet is now focused ‘on the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca, according to Malaysia Airlines. The Strait of Malacca runs along Malaysia’s west coast. The airline said Saturday that radio and radar contact with Flight MH370 was lost off Malaysia’s east coast, near the town of Kota Bharu.
Police were investigating four possibilities: whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems, a hijack, sabotage, and mechanical failure.
Co-pilot enetertained passengers in cockpit
One of the most interesting new clues is that Malaysia Airlines co-pilot of the missing plane had previously let passengers sit in the cockpit during flight, according to A CurrentAffair 9 and ninemsn.com.au
Fariq Ab Hamid, the co-pilot of missing flight MH370 had a lax attitude to security, to say the least. South African Jonti Roos, who flew with Hamid on a 2011 Malaysia airlines flight, told the Wall Street Journal that both he and the captain of that earlier flight invited her and a friend into the cockpit with them:
“My friend and I were I invited into the cockpit by (the) pilot and co-pilot, Fariq Ab Hamid, and sat there for the duration of the flight from takeoff until landing,” Ms. Roos said in a Facebook message sent to The Wall Street Journal. She said at least one of the pilots was smoking during the flight.
“My friend and I were allowed to take photos in the cockpit without intervention, but didn’t in any way distract the pilots from their duties,” she said.
Ms. Roos said she didn’t question the flight crew’s professionalism; didn’t feel unsafe during the flight; and wasn’t trying to imply Mr. Fariq had any role in the disappearance of Flight MH370. She expressed sympathy to the families of those aboard.
Satellite Imaging Company Crowdsources Search
ABC News reports satellite-imaging company DigitalGlobe is collecting photos taken Saturday from the region where Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was last heard, and making them available to the public to crowdsource the search for flight MH370.
The Colorado-based company is publishing the images on a website, Tomnod for anyone to sift through and flag any photo that looks suspicious from a collection gathered by five satellites.
“For people who aren’t able to drive a boat through the Pacific Ocean to get to the Malaysian peninsula, or who can’t fly airplanes to look there, this is a way that they can contribute and try to help out,” said Luke Barrington, senior manager of Geospatial Big Data for DigitalGlobe. (ABC News report)
Tomnod has issued a statement on Facebook: “Help search DigitalGlobe satellite images to find signs of the plane or its 239 passengers here: http://bit.ly/MalaySar. The invitation has generated so much traffic from around the world by people wanting to help, there are technical difficulties, according to comments on Facebook.
Facebook user Chiit Chaat commented about the technical problem, “totally disheartening. tried to help, yet your servers arent anywhere near good enough. cant you get more some how , any how? thousands want to help !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! dooooooooooooooooooooooooo something !!!!!”
The plane left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early Saturday morning, vanishing from civilian radar screens about an hour after takeoff, over the sea between eastern Malaysia and Vietnam’s southern tip.
There was no distress signal, no radio contact indicating a problem, no wreckage, nor flight data.
Two Stolen Passports Used by Non-terrorist Iranians, Possibly Others With Stolen Passports
“At least two passengers,” according to Reuters, had used stolen passports, confirmed by Interpol. This raised suspicions of foul play. Southeast Asia, however, is known as a hub for false documents that are also used by smugglers, illegal migrants and asylum seekers. (Emphasis added)
Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad and Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, young Iranian males. were traveling on false passports.
Photo: Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad is second from the left. Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza is on the far right. Both passengers were travelling with stolen passports on the missing plane. (Credit: Malaysia Police
Police chief Khalid said one had been identified as a 19-year-old Iranian, Pouria Nour Mohammad Mehrdad, who appeared to be an illegal immigrant.
“We believe he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group, and we believe he was trying to migrate to Germany,” Khalid said of the teenager. His mother was waiting for him in Frankfurt and had been in contact with authorities, he said.
Asked if that meant ruling out a hijack, Khalid said: “(We are giving) same weightage to all (possibilities) until we complete our investigations.”
Tuesday, Interpol named Delavar Seyed Mohammadreza, 29, as the second Malaysia Airlines jet passenger traveling on a stolen passport.
Both young men entered Malaysia on Feb 28, eight days before boarding the flight to Beijing, according to immigration chief Aloyah Mamat at a news conference.
Both had reservations to travel onward to Western Europe.
Malaysia’s police chief, Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar, said the younger Iranian was “not likely to be a member of a terrorist group”, adding that the authorities were in contact with his mother in Germany, who had been expecting her son to arrive in Frankfurt.
Speaking in Paris later on Tuesday, Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said the two men had travelled from Qatar’s capital Doha on their Iranian passports, and switched to stolen Italian and Austrian passports to board the Malaysia Airlines flight.
“These two individuals were probably not terrorists,” Interpol secretary general Ronald Noble.“The more information we get, the more we are inclined to conclude it is not a terrorist incident.”
Nevertheless, the possibility would exist that this tragic event is a false flag for the U.S. to go to war against Iran, as planned for years.
Police in Thailand, where the passports were stolen and the tickets used by the two men were booked, said they did not think they were linked to the disappearance of the plane.
“We haven’t ruled it out, but the weight of evidence we’re getting swings against the idea that these men are or were involved in terrorism,” Supachai Puikaewcome, chief of police in the Thai resort city of Pattaya, told Reuters.
While officials have all but ruled out terrorism, CNN’s National Security reporter Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) says US officials tell him the stolen passports used to board MH370 fit the pattern of human trafficking.
Left with few other clues, investigators have been scrutinizing passenger and crew lists for potential leads.
“Maybe somebody on the flight has bought a huge sum of insurance, who wants family to gain from it or somebody who has owed somebody so much money, you know, we are looking at all possibilities,” Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference.
“We are looking very closely at the video footage taken at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), we are studying the behavioral pattern of all the passengers.”
Sources: Reuters, BBC, CNN, Current Affairs, MSN
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