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Monday 22 September 2014

Searchers to probe if jet MH370 landed in hijacking

Published 23/04/2014 | 02:30

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Manhunt: HMS Echo is among the ships searching for plane. Photo: PA
Manhunt: HMS Echo is among the ships searching for plane. Photo: PA
Manhunt: HMS Echo is among the ships searching for plane. Photo: PA
Manhunt: HMS Echo is among the ships searching for plane. Photo: PA
A relative of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is carried by medical personnel and policemen after collapsing during a briefing Lido Hotel in Beijing. Reuters
A relative of a passenger aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is carried by medical personnel and policemen after collapsing during a briefing Lido Hotel in Beijing. Reuters

International investigators probing the mystery of missing flight MH370 are close to concluding that the plane might not have crashed in the ocean after all.

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The 'New Straits Times' in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, said the search team was exploring the possibility of starting the investigation from scratch, including whether or not the jet was hijacked and landed somewhere instead of plunging into the Indian Ocean.

Sources cautioned: "The possibility of a specific country hiding the plane when more than 20 nations are searching for it, seems absurd."

They added that it was possible the jet could have crash-landed at a remote site.

Yesterday, sources from the investigation team said they had after all used data from satellites to conclude that the plane might have crashed in the ocean.

The sources said that the theory of 'crash', however, might have to be scrapped altogether, as the information seemed to hold no truth.

So far desperate attempts to locate the debris and the black box from the plane – which until now has been assumed to have crashed in the southern Indian Ocean – has yielded no trace of the aircraft.

The lack of any evidence about the fate of the jet has provoked a series of far-fetched reports on what might have happened.

The team will now focus its attention on the various internet theories and rumours that the plane could have been hijacked and landed somewhere.

"We may have to regroup soon to look into this possibility if no positive results come back in the next few days," sources within the team, based in Kuala Lumpur, said.

"The thought of it landing somewhere else is not impossible, as we have not found debris that could be linked to MH370," the source said.

Some weeks ago a member of Russian intelligence was quoted as saying that the passengers were alive after the plane was hijacked by a terrorist called 'Hitch', and had landed in Afghanistan.

A source in Russia's FSB secret service reportedly said all on board were being held hostage.

The source added that the passengers were divided into seven groups and were living in mud huts with almost no food.

Yesterday bad weather stalled the search for debris in an area of the Indian Ocean covering 49,500 sq km, 1,600km north west of Perth, Australia.

Ten ships were searching the ocean surface, while the US Navy's Bluefin 21 robotic submarine was scanning the seafloor since the search for wreckage shifted beneath the waves on April 14. Nothing of interest has been found.

Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein has said that even if no debris was recovered, the scope of the search may be broadened.

Radar and satellite data showed the jet, carrying 239 people, veered far off course on March 8 during a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Analysis indicates it would have run out of fuel in the remote section of ocean where the search has been focused.

Irish Independent

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