Malaysia launches terror probe over missing plane, debris may be spotted

Passengers queue up for customs checks at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang March 9, 2014

Malaysia has launched a terror attack probe into the disappearance of the passenger plane carrying 239 people, which vanished from radars en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early Saturday.

Malaysian authorities are checking CCTV footage at the airport and investigating the identities of four passengers, at least two of whom got on the flight using stolen passports.

At this point, no further developments regarding MH370 has been confirmed. We are waiting for new updates from DCA on the SAR efforts.

Malaysia Airlines (@MAS) March 9, 2014

The country’s Prime Minister Najib Razak said airport security procedures were being reviewed.

“We will enhance them if necessary, because we still do not know the cause of the incident,” he told reporters, Reuters cited.

Meanwhile, Interpol is “examining additional suspect passports.”

The agency confirmed on Sunday that at least two passports – an Austrian and Italian – recorded in its database were used by passengers on board the missing Malaysia Airlines flight. Both passports were stolen in Thailand in 2012 and 2013 respectively, the agency said in a statement.

No checks of the stolen passports were made by any country between the time they were entered into Interpol’s database and the departure of flight MH 370, according to Interpol. Therefore, Interpol said, it is currently unable to determine on how many other occasions these passports were used to board flights or cross borders.

“Whilst it is too soon to speculate about any connection between these stolen passports and the missing plane, it is clearly of great concern that any passenger was able to board an international flight using a stolen passport listed in Interpol’s databases,” said Secretary General Ronald K. Noble, the agency’s press service reports.

As the search for the missing Boeing 777 continues – with a total of 40 ships and 22 aircraft from an array of countries including China and the US involved – Interpol criticized loose security measures at international airports.

“For years Interpol has asked why should countries wait for a tragedy to put prudent security measures in place at borders and boarding gates,” said Noble. “Now, we have a real case where the world is speculating whether the stolen passport holders were terrorists,” the agency said, adding that it would like to know why“only a handful of countries worldwide are taking care to make sure that persons possessing stolen passports are not boarding international flights.”

Hunt for debris, ‘mid-air disintegration’ suspicions

Almost two days after the flight MH370 lost touch with Subang Air Traffic Control, no wreckage has been found.

On Sunday, a floating object was spotted 100km south-southwest of Vietnam’s Tho Chu island. However, Vietnamese vessels sent to the site discovered it was not wreckage from the missing flight.

#MH370 Vietnam search and rescue aircraft spotted new floating object. Authorities are not sure what it is. pic.twitter.com/m0peec6DVm

— Vu Trong Khanh (@TrongKhanhVu) March 9, 2014

Soon after, Vietnam’s Civil Aviation Authority said a navy plane found parts suspected of belonging to the missing jet. But it was too dark to be certain so officials are waiting until daylight in Vietnam to send more aircraft.

“The fact that we are unable to find any debris so far appears to indicate that the aircraft is likely to have disintegrated at around 35,000 feet,” a source involved in the investigations in Malaysia, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, China has sent two more navy ships to join the search, reported China Central Television. Earlier, the US was also reported to have dispatched additional aircraft.

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