News / Asia

    Malaysia Military Denies Tracking Missing Jetliner

    A Vietnamese Air Force crew member checks a map while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight off Vietnam's island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014.
    A Vietnamese Air Force crew member checks a map while searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines flight off Vietnam's island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014.
    VOA News
    The Malaysian military is backing away from reports that it tracked a missing passenger jet far away from its intended flight path, casting further doubt on the plane's whereabouts. 
     
    In a statement released Wednesday, Air Force chief Rodzali Daud said he could not rule out that the Malaysia Airlines jetliner veered drastically off course. But he said a media report that claimed the military tracked the jet over the Strait of Malacca was "clearly an inaccurate and incorrect report."
     
    The Strait of Malacca is off the west coast of the Malaysia peninsula and is hundreds of kilometers from where civilian air traffic controllers lost contact with the Boeing 777. The initial search for the plane had focused mainly on the South China Sea, which lies off the east coast. 
     
    The plane, with 239 people on board, disappeared from civilian radar without any distress calls about an hour after leaving Kuala Lumpur en route to Beijing early Saturday.
     
    The Boeing 777 was flying from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing when it vanished early Saturday, less than an hour after takeoff, without sending a distress signal.

    Turning off the transponder would make the aircraft unidentfiable to civilian controllers, but it would remain visible to the type of radar used by militaries.

    No apparent terror link

    The head of Interpol says the jet's disappearance does not appear to be related to terrorism. However, the director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency said Tuesday that terrorism could not be ruled out.

    "You cannot discount any theory,"' CIA Director John Brennan said in Washington.

    Interpol Secretary-General Ronald Noble says new information about two Iranian men who used stolen passports to board the plane makes terrorism a less likely explanation for the jet's disappearance.

    The international police agency released photos showing the two boarding the plane at the same time.  They are identified as Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29.

    Malaysian Police Inspector General Khalid Tan Sri says the 19 year old was likely trying to migrate to Germany.

    These images released by Interpol show Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, (left) and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29, who allegedly boarded the missing Malaysia Airlines jet with stolen passports.These images released by Interpol show Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, (left) and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29, who allegedly boarded the missing Malaysia Airlines jet with stolen passports.
    "We have been checking his background.  We have also checked him with other police organizations on his profile, and we believe that he is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group," the inspector told reporters. "And we believe that he is trying to migrate to Germany."

    Khalid said Nourmohammadi's mother knew he was traveling on a stolen passport.

    The other man's identity is still under investigation.  But the development reduces the likelihood they were working together as part of a terror plot.
     
    Meanwhile, an extensive review of all of those on board continues.

    • A Malaysian police official displays a photograph of 19-year-old Iranian Pouri Nourmohammadi, one of the two men who boarded missing Malaysia Airlines MH370 flight using stolen European passports.
    • A Malaysian police woman holds up a picture of Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, an Iranian who boarded the now missing Malaysia Airlines jet MH370 with a stolen passport.
    • This combination of images released by Interpol and displayed by Malaysian police in Sepang, Malaysia, on March 11, 2014, shows Pouri Nourmohammadi, 19, (left) and Delavar Seyedmohammaderza, 29, who allegedly boarded the now-missing Malaysia Airlines jet
    • Military officer Duong Van Lanh works onboard a Vietnamese airforce AN-26 during a mission to find the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 off Tho Chu islands March 11, 2014.
    • A Chinese relative of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane looks out as she waiting for the latest news inside a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard the missing airplane in Beijing, China, March 11, 2014.
    • Family members comfort Chrisman Siregar, left, and his wife Herlina Panjaitan, the parents of Firman Siregar, one of the Indonesian citizens registered on the manifest of the Malaysia Airlines jetliner flight MH370 that went missing, Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia, March 9, 2014.

    • Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation's Director General Azharuddin Abdul Rahman briefs reporters at a press conference on search and recovery efforts within existing and new areas for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane,Sepang, Malaysia, March 10, 2014.




    • A family member of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane wipes her tears at a hotel in Putrajaya, Malaysia, March 10, 2014. 
    • Chinese relatives of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane wait for the latest news inside a hotel room, Beijing, China, March 10, 2014. 
    • CEO of Malaysia Airlines Ignatius Ong, center, gestures as he prepares to speak to the media near a hotel room for relatives or friends of passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines airplane, Beijing, China, March 10, 2014. 
    • People hold a banner and candles during a candlelight vigil for passengers aboard a missing Malaysia Airlines plane in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, March 10, 2014. 
    • Malaysia's Department of Civil Aviation director general Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, second from left, speaks during a press conference at a hotel in Sepang, Malaysia, March 10, 2014. 
    • Italian Luigi Maraldi, left, whose stolen passport was used by a passenger boarding a missing Malaysian airliner, shows his passport as he reports himself to Thai police Lt. Gen. Panya Mamen, right, at Phuket police station in Phuket province, southern Thailand, March 9, 2014.
    • A U.S. Navy helicopter lands aboard Destroyer USS Pinckney during a crew swap before returning to a search and rescue mission for the missing Malaysian airlines flight MH370 in the Gulf of Thailand, March 9, 2014. 

    ​Khalid says authorities are looking into four possible scenarios in connection with the plane's disappearance: hijacking, sabotage, personal disputes and the psychological condition of those on board.
     
    "There may be somebody on the flight who has bought huge sums of insurance. Who wants the family to gain from it. Or somebody who owes so much money and you know," he said, adding that they are looking at all possibilities.

    Air Malaysia says it is in negotiations regarding financial aid with relatives of the Chinese passengers on board.

    Cockpit visitors

    Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines is also looking into an Australian television report that the co-pilot of the missing plane once invited two women into the cockpit during a flight.

    Jonti Roos said she and her friend stayed in the cockpit during the one-hour flight on Dec. 14, 2011, from Phuket, Thailand, to Kuala Lumpur. She also said the crew smoked during the flight.

    "Malaysia Airlines has become aware of the allegations being made against First Officer Fariq Ab Hamid which we take very seriously. We are shocked by these allegations. We have not been able to confirm the validity of the pictures and videos of the alleged incident,'' the airline said.

    Some information in this report was provided by Reuters news agency and VOA's William Ide in Beijing.

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    Comment Sorting
    Comments page of 2
        Next 
    by: rizwana from: uk
    March 12, 2014 6:42 AM
    Haven't got any words to say what happened with 229 people on board.its 4th day today.

    by: Anonymous
    March 12, 2014 3:06 AM
    no in water I think

    by: Dr. Q. Lickme from: D.C.
    March 11, 2014 9:18 PM
    "You cannot discount any theory,"' CIA Director John Brennan said in Washington.

    And the American people know for a FACT that the CIA funds Al Qaeda from offshore banks, so go screw yourself, Brennan, you FREAK!

    by: jr from: br
    March 11, 2014 7:57 PM
    a great mistery. i thougt things like that does not occur anymore, save in films. i regret it.

    by: Fred Zepellin from: USA
    March 11, 2014 6:20 PM

    I hate to say it but the search needs to be expanded to airfields that can handle a 777 in Pakistan, Afghanistan, possibly Iran or other like minded countries. The aircraft will be weaponized and used against western interests somewhere in the world. Lets face that possibility and get something done.

    by: Daniel Marrin from: New York, NY
    March 11, 2014 5:30 PM
    The two of them most likely knew each other if they got seats next to each other, and were on both that flight and the connecting flight to Amsterdam. Whatever the intention was, it was probably the same one.

    by: Tynne from: South Africa
    March 11, 2014 4:52 PM
    I read on another site that the plane would have had about 7.5hrs of fuel, perhaps they should extend their search by 7.5hrs going all directions. I thought this is the kind of story that happened on 'Lost' the TV series. At this moment, no-one knows for sure what happened and all possibilities should be considered. I hope they do search the entire perimeter 7.5hrs of Kuala Lumpur. Maybe they are searching in the wrong place. Hoping for the best, this is a disturbing story. I feel sad about all those people and their loved ones on the ground

    by: meanbill from: USA
    March 11, 2014 4:42 PM
    CRAZY isn't it? ...... I said from the first day, to check the old WW2 British airfields in Burma and Thailand..
    Why the high-jacking? .. unknown? ...... REALLY

    by: Fahim from: Colombo
    March 11, 2014 3:54 PM
    From the capacity of a telecom engineer, I can comment that if the phone rings combination of Telecom switch (The device which switch the calls - MSC and the HLR (Home location register)) will have the Cell ID informaation, in layman terms the telecom devices have the knowledge of which Cell tower currently the phones are connected to, Hence the operators clearly can confirm, whether the missing phones either really connected to the network or is it just the Early ringing before connecting to the real handset.

    The VAS services (Value Added services) also have the information of this kind.

    QQ or online services can confirm from which IP address the logins of the missing persons connected and all the IP addresses can be traced back to (Geo Location, the end device location and the access last mile portion) hence it can be simply verified within couple of minutes.

    I don't know why the operators and the online services do not confirm it yet.

    by: Mark from: Virginia
    March 11, 2014 3:35 PM
    beginning to sound a lot like a Hitchcock movie...so many unknowns coming into the picture after a devastating event. There will probably be a twist at the end to throw EVERYONE off, like a sudden cabin depressurization and/or mechanical malfunction that crippled the plane, the rest of the 'coincidences' being just that, coincidence. Then again, it may still be an act of terrorism, but carried out by none of the 'usual suspects'. No one may be taking responsibility because no one may have known it was going to happen. Or, it may have been a plot to draw attention away from the problems in the Crimea, or....
    you get the idea....
    It could have been anything.. the unfortunate part of it all, is that 200+ people had to die.
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