Updated: Malaysia Airlines: ‘None Of Those On Board Survived’, The families of passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines jet have been sent text messages telling them that the plane has been “lost.”
Malaysia Airlines Found, Malaysian authorities Thursday expanded their hunt for a vanished airliner westward to the Indian Ocean, where a U.S. destroyer was expected to arrive soon to assist in search efforts. The latest search site emerged after U.S. aviation investigators and national security officials said earlier Thursday that the Malaysian Airlines plane with 239 aboard remained in the air for hours after it lost contact with air traffic controllers and disappeared from radar screens last Saturday. It had been enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The Wall Street Journal reported that investigators think the plane flew on for between four and five hours, based on data automatically downloaded and sent from the plane’s engine to its manufacturer as part of a routine maintenance agreement. If true, the plane could have flown hundreds of miles away from where it was last seen over the Gulf of Thailand, where the multinational search effort has been concentrated.
Malaysia’s acting Defense Minister denied the report Thursday, claiming that both engine maker Rolls Royce and airplane manufacturer Boeing had said that the Journal report was incorrect.
But asked if it were possible that the plane kept flying for several hours, acting Malaysian Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said, “Of course, we can’t rule anything out. This is why we have extended the search. We are expanding our search into the Andaman Sea.”
The sea, part of the Indian Ocean, is northwest of the Malay Peninsula. The jet had enough fuel to reach deep into the Indian Ocean.
Meanwhile, U.S. Navy officials Thursday afternoon confirmed to Fox News that the U.S.S. Kidd is en route to the Indian Ocean via the Strait of Malacca to search for the jetliner. It was not immediately clear when the vessel was due to arrive in the area but it was expected in coming days.