Missing Malaysia Airlines plane may have turned back

Last Updated: Sun, Mar 09, 2014 09:45 hrs

Kuala Lumpur: Authorities here today said they were looking into the possibility of an air turn back by the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that suddenly disappeared from radar with 239 people on board.

"We are also looking into the possibility of an air turn back that could have been undertaken by the missing plane," according to a top official.

In an air turn back, a plane returns to its airport of origin as a result of a malfunction in the aircraft.

Air force chief Rodzali Daud said the investigation was now focusing on a recording of radar signals that showed there was a possibility that the Boeing 777-200 Flight MH370 had turned back from its flight path.

A massive multinational search operation continued today for the second day to locate the missing plane, as authorities feared the worst for the aircraft that went missing over the South China Sea en route to Beijing from here.

Malaysia, Thailand, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the US have deployed a total of 22 aircraft and 40 ships to the area, besides Vietnam's fleet.

"The search and rescue teams are still unable to detect the whereabouts of the missing aircraft," Malaysia Airlines said in a statement.

The weather was fine, the aircraft was cruising and the pilots did not get time to send a distress signal unusual circumstance for a modern plane to crash, experts said.

The list of passengers on board includes 154 Chinese, 38 Malaysians, 7 Indonesians, 6 Australians, 5 Indians, 4 Americans and 2 Canadians.

"The Boeing 777-200 did not transmit any abnormalities before the ground control centre in Subang lost contact with it," Department of Civil Aviation Director-general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said.

Azharuddin said the plane had disappeared from radar detection at aboutנ1.30am, roughly an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur International Airport on Friday.

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