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After three days of looking for the missing Malaysian Airlines flight which left the capital Kuala Lumpur for Beijing, authorities say they are now expanding their search-and-rescue operations beyond the northern region of the South China sea.
Malaysia Airlines said in a statement Tuesday that the joint search-and-rescue efforts with Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and the US, will now shift to include the West Peninsular of Malaysia at the Straits of Malacca.
Five Chinese rescue vessels arrived in the area on Tuesday.
The plane’s disappearance and the failure to locate the fuselage since it went off radar has been a mystery and inadvertently fueled conspiracy theories.
The MH370 Boeing B777-200 aircraft departed Kuala Lumpur at 00:41 am Saturday with 239 passengers including 153 Chinese citizens, 38 Malaysians, 12 Indonesians, 7 Australians, 4 Americans, 1 Russian and crew, and was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 am the same day.
“The authorities are looking at a possibility of an attempt made by MH370 to turn back to Subang. All angles are being looked at. We are not ruling out any possibilities,” Malaysia Airlines said in the statement on Tuesday.
An international team of investigators is currently studying whether pilot error, plane malfunction, or hijacking and terrorism caused the disappearance.
Complicating matters is the fact that no mayday messages or alerts came from the plane before it went off radar.
In recent days, the media focused on news that two of the passports used to get on the plane were reported stolen a few years prior. One of the stolen passports was used by a 19-year-old Iranian man who authorities believe was seeking asylum in Germany.