A missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner may have turned back from its scheduled route before vanishing from radar screens, military officers said on Sunday, deepening the mystery surrounding the fate of the plane and the 239 people aboard.
More than 36 hours after the last contact with Flight MH370, officials said they were widening the search to cover vast swathes of sea around Malaysia and off Vietnam, and were investigating at least two passengers who may have been using false identity documents.
Despite dozens of military and civilians vessels and aircraft criss-crossing waters to the east and west of Malaysia, no wreckage has been found, although oil slicks have been reported in the sea south of Vietnam.
“What we have done is actually look into the recording on the radar that we have and we realized there is a possibility the aircraft did make a turnback,” Rodzali Daud, the Royal Malaysian Air Force chief, told reporters at a news conference.
There were no reports of bad weather and no sign of why the Boeing 777-200ER disappeared about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing early on Saturday.
European officials said it appeared two people on board were using stolen passports and Malaysian Transport Minister Hishamuddin Hussein said authorities were also checking the identities of two other passengers.