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Search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane is extended as stolen passports mystery deepens

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Search for missing Malaysia Airlines plane is extended as stolen passports mystery deepens

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The international search for wreckage of the missing Malaysia Airlines plane has been widened after radar signals showed it may have turned back before disappearing

Vast swathes of sea around Malaysia and off Vietnam are now being scoured for signs of the Beijing-bound Boeing 777, which vanished on Saturday with 239 people on board. There was no distress call.

Oil slicks but no wreckage have been found.

“We confirm that our search now has been extended to even wider areas because there is the possibility, we are looking at the possibility, of an aircraft air turn back in which case different locations will have to be identified,” Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters.

Eagle eyes are also scrutinising CCTV images of two passengers thought to have travelled on stolen Austrian and Italian passports. Reports suggest they bought they tickets together. Up to four potentially suspicious people on board the plane are being looked at.

Terrorism is only one possibility in the mystery surrounding Flight 370 from Kuala Lumpur. Passengers on the Malaysia Airlines plane, mainly Chinese but of 14 nationalities in total, are all presumed to have perished.