Search for missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner - update

Thanh Nien/Reuters

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- Vietnam, Malaysia send planes to check latest report of debris sighting

- Chinese satellite finds three "suspicious floating objects" south of Vietnam

-  The last radio transmission from the cockpit of missing Malaysia Airlines flight 370 was "Alright, good night", Kuala Lumpur's ambassador to Beijing reportedly said Wednesday during a meeting with Chinese relatives. 
Iskandar Sarudin was speaking to passengers' relatives and friends at a Beijing hotel. A total of 153 of the 239 people on board the aircraft are Chinese.

The "alright, good night" comment from one of the pilots came as the flight switched from Malaysian to Vietnamese airspace, Singapore's Straits Times newspaper quoted the ambassador as saying.

- Lt. Gen. Vo Van Tuan, Vice Chief of Staff, said search and rescue efforts are not scaled back, but are even expanded. The search will only finish when the jetliner is found, he said.

Eight airplanes and nine boats, including the ocean surveillance ship HQ-888 of Vietnam are participating in the search.

Vietnam's ocean surveillance ship HQ-888 participates in the search and rescue mission

- The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet expands to an area stretching from China to India, as authorities struggle to answer what had happened to the aircraft that vanished almost five days ago with 239 people on board.
- Vietnam said on Wednesday it was scaling back the search in Vietnamese waters for the Malaysian Airlines jetliner.

- A Colorado-based company has put "crowdsourcing" to work in search for a missing jet, enlisting Internet users to comb through satellite images of more than 1,200 square miles (3,200 square km) of open seas for any signs of wreckage.
- At 18:40, Pham Quy Tieu, Deputy Minister of Transport, said Vietnam's search and rescue efforts would continue as planned, despite media reports which cited Malaysian military as saying that the jetliner may have turned and flew hundreds of kilometers west to the Strait of Malacca.
Vietnam has not been advised by Malaysian authorities about the issue, he said.
- At 18:30:  In a breakthrough revelation, Malaysia's military says its radar has managed to track the missing Malaysia Airlines jet to the Strait of Malacca. 

According to a Reuters report, the Malaysian military radar tracked the missing jet to the Strait of Malacca, far from the area where the plane had last made contact with the civilian air traffic control. 

"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. 

The Strait of Malacca is a narrow stretch of water running along the western coast of Malaysia and it lies far from the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu along east coast, the area where the plane had last made contact. 

The Strait of Malacca is one of the most strategic and busiest shipping lanes between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. 
- Malaysian investigators identified one of the two persons who boarded Flight 370 with a stolen passport as a 19-year-old Iranian and said he wasn’t believed to be a member of any terror group.
- At 12:30, a Vietnamese Air Force plane spotted a white object some 80 sea miles southeast of Vietnam's Tho Chu Island. A sea plane was sent to the area.


- Malaysian investigators looking for a jet that went missing more than three days ago broadened their search to the western part of the country and land areas, after scouring the sea near Vietnam yielded no clues.
- China has deployed 10 satellites to help in the massive air and sea search for a missing Malaysian airliner, the People's Liberation Army Daily said.
- An oil tanker reported seeing a "strange object" some 80 kilometers from Tho Chu Island.

- At 4:30 p.m.: The Search and Rescue Agency under the Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam quoted the Hong Kong Air Traffic Control as saying that a Hong Kong civil jetliner has spotted several debris at sea when it passed through the waters 60 kilometers (37 miles) southeast of Vung Tau beach in southern Vietnam.
The Vietnam Maritime Search & Rescue Co-ordination Center has been asked to notify seafaring vessels which can help spot and verify the debris.

- At 3:20 p.m., a Vietnamese naval boat found an object 130 km southwest of Vietnam's Tho Chu Island. According to Vietnamese search and rescue authorities, that was a "moss-covered cap of a cable reel," ", and not a life raft as previously thought.

- A Singaporean C-130 airplane participating the the joint search and rescue mission reported seeing an object which appeared to be a life raft 140 kilometers southwest of Vietnam's Tho Chu Island. Two Vietnamese naval boats have been sent to the area to retrieve the object. They are expected to reach the area by 4:30 p.m.
- At 10 a.m., a Vietnamese seaplane spotted a floating object of orange color some 177 kilometers Southwest of Vietnam's Tho Chu Island. Boats have been mobilize to the area to find the object.


- The disappearance of the Malaysian airliner could dent the national carrier's plan to return to profit by end-2014, equity analysts said. Shares in MAS hit a record low on Monday.

- Hijacking could not be ruled out, said the head of Malaysia's Civil Aviation Authority, Azharuddin Abdul Rahmanthe, adding the missing jet was an "unprecedented aviation mystery".

- As dozens of ships and aircraft from seven countries scour the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, questions mounted over whether a bomb or hijacking could have brought down the Boeing airliner.

- The United States review of American spy satellite imagery shows no signs of mid-air explosion.

- Vietnam’s Ministry of Transport has ordered local airports and airlines to tighten their security. Vietnam is now on the first level of a three-level security alert system, according to Dinh Viet Thang, deputy chief of the Civil Aviation Administration of Vietnam (CAAV).
- France's air accident board, which led a three-year investigation into the 2009 loss of an Air France jet in the Atlantic, has offered to help Malaysia and Vietnam with the recovery of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane.
- Doan Huu Gia, the chief of search and rescue coordination center of Vietnam, said that searchers on ships worked throughout the night but could not find a rectangle object spotted Sunday afternoon that was thought to be one of the doors of a missing Boeing 777. Six planes and seven ships from Vietnam were searching for the object, he said.

- Vietnamese navy plane spots an object suspected of belonging to the airliners. Too dark to be certain the object is part of plane. More aircraft to be dispatched to investigate the site, in waters off southern Vietnam, in the morning.
- Investigators narrow focus of inquiries on possibility plane disintegrated in mid-flight, a source who is involved in the investigations in Malaysia tells Reuters.
- Malaysia's state news agency quotes Home Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi as saying the passengers using the stolen European passports were of Asian appearance.
- Interpol says at least two passports recorded as lost or stolen in its database were used by passengers, and it is "examining additional suspect passports".
- Malaysian authorities pore over CCTV footage and question immigration officers and guards at Kuala Lumpur's international airport, concerned that a security breach may be connected to incident.
- Malaysian rescue teams expand their search to the country's western coast.
- Radar indicates flight may have turned back from its scheduled route to Beijing before disappearing.
- Malaysian Transport and Defence Minister says Malaysian investigators meet counterparts from the U.S. FBI.
- Malaysian authorities investigate identities of at least two other passengers in addition to two who were found to be using stolen passports.
- The U.S. National Transportation Safety Board dispatches team to Asia to help investigate incident. Technical advisers from the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration and Boeing also fly to Asia.
- Malaysia Airlines says fears worst and is working with U.S. company that specializes in disaster recovery.

- Two men from Austria and Italy, listed among the passengers on a missing Malaysia Airlines flight, are not in fact on board. They say their passports were stolen.
- Vietnam says giant oil slick and column of smoke seen in its waters.
- Chinese Premier Li Keqiang calls Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak, urges Malaysia quickly and vigorously push search and rescue work.
- Airline says flight was carrying 154 people from China and Taiwan, 38 Malaysians, seven Indonesians and six Australians. Manifest shows other nationalities as being from: India, France, United States, New Zealand, Ukraine, Canada, Russia, Italy, the Netherlands and Austria.
- Malaysia search ships see no sign of wreckage in area where flights last made contact.
- Malaysia and Vietnam conduct joint search and rescue operation. China says dispatches two maritime rescue ships to the South China Sea to help in search and rescue. U.S. says also sends ships and plane to help.
- Flight tracking website shows plane flew northeast over Malaysia after takeoff and climbed to altitude of 35,000 feet. The flight vanished from website's tracking records a minute later while still climbing.
- Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) says plane failed to check in as scheduled at 1721 GMT while flying over sea between Malaysia and Ho Chi Minh City.
- Missing plane last has contact with air traffic controllers 120 nautical miles off the east coast of the Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.
- No distress signal is given, and weather is clear at the time.
- Airline loses contact with plane between 1-2 hours after takeoff.
- On board the Boeing 777-200ER are 227 passengers and 12 crew.
- Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 Flight departs at 12:21 a.m. (12.21 p.m. ET Friday), and is due to land in Beijing at 6:30 a.m. (6.30 p.m. ET) the same day.

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