SEPANG/PATAYA : The search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner made little headway on Monday: rather some of the leads like the sighting of aircraft debris, which were reported on Sunday, proved to be false.
According to the New York Times, a suspected life raft spotted in the Gulf of Thailand turned out to be the lid of a large box. Likewise, an oil slick in Malaysian waters was found not to contain jet fuel. And what was initially thought to be an aircraft tail floating in the Gulf of Thailand was actually “logs tied together.”
Even as all kinds of theories did the rounds, the Daily Mail reported that an Iranian businessman known only as ‘Mr Ali’ booked the tickets for the two passengers who used stolen passports to travel in the missing plane.
A Thai travel agent who arranged the tickets for the two passengers has said she had booked them on the flight via Beijing because they were the cheapest tickets. The travel agent in the resort of Pattaya said an Iranian business contact she knew only as ‘Mr Ali’ had asked her to book the tickets for the two men on March 1.
She had initially booked them on other airlines but those reservations expired and on March 6, Mr Ali had asked her to book them again.
In another development, Malaysian authorities said that the two passengers who boarded the aircraft on forged passports were not Asian-looking men.
Malaysia’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman described the disappearance of the plane as an ‘unprecedented aviation mystery’. He said a hijacking could not be ruled out as investigators explore all theories to explain the loss of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 en route to Beijing.
Meanwhile, the search for aircraft debris was expanded by ships from six navies and dozens of military aircraft. The failure so far to locate any trace of the aircraft has raised questions about whether the ships, planes and helicopters searching the waters south of Vietnam, some of them using highly sophisticated equipment, were looking in the right place, reported the New York Times.