The hunt for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 has widened and become more difficult, Malaysia’s defence and acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Sunday.
During a news conference in Kuala Lumpar the Malaysian official confirmed some 25 countries are now taking part in the huge operation to locate the missing aircraft, which disappeared more than a week ago on the 8 March.
He also outlined the extent of the challenge facing those trying to find the Boeing 777 and the 239 passengers and crew on board.
“We are now looking a large tracks of land crossing 11 countries as well as deep and remote oceans. The number of countries involved in this search and rescue operation has increased from 14 to 25 which brings new challenges of coordination and diplomacy,’‘ Hussein said.
Like MH370’s location, the mystery surrounding the plane’s disappearance also continues to thicken, with a host of possible scenarios being considered, including a terrorist plot.
Following Saturday’s disclosure that the plane had been deliberately disabled and diverted, Malaysian authorities have also revealed someone on board the missing airliner sent a text message to Kuala Lumpar air traffic control just after the plane’s communications systems had been switched off. The message said, ‘All right, good night’ adding to the theory that the missing jet was hijacked.
As a result, investigations into those on the plane or in close contact with it before its last take off are being re-examined.
“The Malaysian authorities are refocusing the investigations on all crew and passengers on board MH370 as well as all ground staff handling the aircraft,” Hussein said.
The political and religious leanings of MH370’s flight crew seem to be gaining increasing importance into what happened to the jetliner.
Police are probing the lives of the plane’s pilot and co-pilot with reports that the two crewmembers had requested not to fly with each other.
As for the search for MH370 itself, that now covers a massive area in two large corridors from Central Asia to the Indian Ocean.
For the moment, however, Malaysian authorities appear to have no concrete leads as to where the Boeing 777 might be.