Maldives probes reported spotting of missing Malaysian jet

Last Updated 19 March 2014, 09:02 IST

Maldives police have launched an investigation into reports that residents of the remote island of Kuda Huvadhoo in Dhaal Atoll saw a "low flying jumbo jet " on March 8 morning after a Malaysia Airlines plane went missing. The police did not reveal any details.

While the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet carrying 239 passengers and crew has left the whole world bewildered, several residents of Kuda Huvadhoo told local media Tuesday that they saw a "low flying jumbo jet" at around 6.15 a.m. March 8.

Aviation Security Command head Mohamed Ziyad told Xinhua Wednesday morning that it was a white aircraft, with red stripes across it which is what the Malaysia Airlines flights typically look like.

Eyewitnesses from the Kuda Huvadhoo concurred that the plane was traveling north to southeast, towards the southern tip of the Addu atoll. They also spoke about the incredibly loud noise that the flight made when it flew over the island.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City.

Earlier reports indicated that the Maldives' neighbour, Sri Lanka, had opened up its air space on a request by the Malaysian government to search for the missing plane.

Planes from Malaysia, the US, New Zealand and Australia had flown over the island for several days but no sign of the flight was seen. Ad of now, 26 countries are searching for the missing jet.

(Published 19 March 2014, 09:00 IST)

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