New information arose Wednesday about the possible direction that the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner took Saturday after taking off from Kuala Lumpur.
A Royal Malaysian Air Force base tracked what it termed an unidentified object over the Strait of Malacca early Saturday morning after the last known civilian contact with Flight 370. General Tan Sri Rodzali Daud said Wednesday that the object was flying westward. “We did not scramble fighters because we knew it came from civilian air space,” he said. “There is a lot of traffic there and the radar controllers knew it was coming from civilian airspace.”
The general took pains to make it clear that there was not yet any clear indication as to whether the object was related to the missing Boeing 777. “I’m not saying it’s MH370, we’re still corroborating the report with civilians and aviation officials,” he was quick to add.
In addition, two fishermen from different parts of the Malaysian state of Kelantan said Tuesday that they observed an aircraft “flying below the clouds,” according to a report in the New Straits Times. The sighting was in one of the current search areas.
The Times also reported on Wednesday that a different group of fishermen found a life raft with the word “Boarding” on it ten nautical miles from Port Dickson, although the life raft later sunk while the Kuala Linggi Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency attempted to bring the raft on board.
Malaysia Airlines released a statement Thursday saying it would retire the flight numbers 370 and 371 “as a mark of respect to the passengers and crew” of Flight 370. Starting March 14, 2014 the flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing will be designated Flight 318 and the return flight will be Flight 319.
(Photo: Laurent Errera)