Malaysia Says All Areas Plane May Have Gone Down Being Searched

The search for Flight 370 is being conducted over all areas it may have gone down, Malaysian air force Chief Rodzali Daud said as he denied a report citing him as saying the plane was detected in the Strait of Malacca.

The Royal Malaysian Air Force is examining and analyzing all possibilities on the plane’s flight paths before its disappearance, Rodzali said in a statement dated yesterday. The air force has said it hasn’t ruled out the possibility the plane turned back before it vanished from radar, resulting in search operations being widened to the west coast of Malaysia.

“All ongoing search operations are at the moment being conducted to cover all possible areas where the aircraft could have gone down in order to ensure no possibility is overlooked,” Rodzali said. “For the time being, it would not be appropriate for the RMAF to issue any official conclusions as to the aircraft’s flight path until a high amount of certainty and verification is achieved.”

Malaysia widened its scrutiny yesterday to include the Malacca Strait, across the country from the intended course of the Beijing-bound Boeing Co. 777-200 over the Gulf of Thailand. The lack of wreckage kept alive theories of the Malaysian Airline System Bhd. plane’s disappearance, from an accident to possibilities of a hijacking or sabotage that the nation’s police said they are investigating.

Rodzali denied a report by a local paper which cited him as saying an airbase in Butterworth in the northern state of Penang had detected the location signal of the plane. That would indicate the flight turned back from its original destination and was believed to have passed through the airspace of the east coast and northern Peninsular Malaysia, Rodzali said the report cited him as saying.

He also denied the report that quoted him as saying the plane had been detected by the air control tower in the vicinity of Pulau Perak in the Strait of Malacca at 2:40 a.m. on March 8 before the signal disappeared.

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