However, according to Reuters, Malaysia’s Royal Malaysian Air Force [RMAF] chief General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud has since denied he told local media Berita Harian that the military last tracked a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with Subang air traffic control . “I wish to state that I did not make any such statements," Rodzali said in a written statement earlier roday. "What I stated was that the RMAF has not ruled out the possibility of an air turn back on a reciprocal heading before the aircraft vanished from the radar and this resulted in the Search and Rescue Operations being widen to the vicinity of the waters of Pulau Pinang.Our current efforts are focused upon on finding the aircraft as soon as possible."
- Stolen passports: During a media briefing in Lyon, France, Interpol secretary-general Ronald K Noble showed security stills of two Iranian men boarding a plane at the same time and said the men travelled to Malaysia on their Iranian passports, then are thought to have switched to the stolen Austrian and Italian documents.
- The international search and rescue team continues its search in a wider zone including the Andaman sea. China has deployed 10 high resolution satellites and vessels from India have been added to the air and sea fleet.
[05.35 pm local, 12 March 2014]
China's ambassador to Malaysia, Dr Huang Huikang attended the official media conference at KLIA led by Malaysia's defence and acting transport minister, Hishamuddin Hussein together with SAR [search and rescue] director Civil Aviation director-general Datuk Azharuddin Abdul Rahman.
Minister Hishamuddin read out a brief statement, which led with the assurance that international search and rescue efforts comprising 42 ships and 35 aircraft will be sustained across two areas across 27,000 square nautical miles in the South China Sea (about 14,440 sq nautical miles) and the Straits of Malacca (about 12,425 sq nautical miles).
The SAR operations now involve 12 countries with recent additions of resources from India, Japan and Brunei.
He iterated that "We have been consistent in what we have said so far," and confirmed the following:
- 'Turn back': Military radar's last signal was picked up at 02.15am local, 202 miles north west of Penang, but it is confirmed whether this is MH340 as we are analysing data from both civil and military radar, said Hishamuddin.
Hussein added: "We welcome more expert assistance. We are now working with experts from Boeing, Federal Aviation Administration [FAA], and US National Transportation Board."
SAR director said the chances of survival "depends on different criteria depending on where the aircraft is."
Responding to questions from the media on speculations, Hishamuddin said the prime focus is on finding the craft and the 'black box" in order to find out what happened and "we have been very transparent with the media and everyone concerned. The primary focus is on finding the aircraft."
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