Maldives MH 370: Reports of Sighting of Missing Malayia Airlines Plane ‘Not True’

March 19, 2014 Updated: March 19, 2014

People in the Maldives said that they saw a low-flying jumbo jet on the same day that Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 vanished, but officials are saying that the reports aren’t true.

The military in the Maldives, a remote Indian Ocean island nation, confirmed to Malaysia that reports of a sighting of the plane by villagers there were “not true,” the Malaysian defense minister said.

There reported sightings are among the numerous theories over where the plane went after it disappeared from radar early March 8.

It took of from Kuala Lumpur and was slated to go to Beijing but instead turned left about an hour into the flight before making several other turns.

Other possibly landing places for the plane include Diego Garcia, a remote atoll that houses a U.S. Navy base, but none of the rumored places have been able to produce any concrete evidence as of yet.

Aircraft from Australia, the U.S. and New Zealand have been searching an area stretching across 305,000 square kilometers (117,000 square miles) of the Indian Ocean, about 2,600 kilometers (1,600 miles) southwest of Perth, on Australia’s west coast. Merchant ships were also asked to look for any trace of the plane.

Indonesian Defense Minister Purnomo Yusgiantoro said Indonesia military radar didn’t pick up any signs of Flight 370 on the day the plane went missing. He said Malaysia had asked Indonesia to intensify the search in its assigned zone in the Indian Ocean west of Sumatra, but said his air force was strained in the task.

“We will do our utmost. We will do our best. But you do have to understand our limitations,” Purnomo said.

Malaysian investigators say the plane departed 12:41 a.m. on March 8 and headed northeast toward Beijing over the Gulf of Thailand, but that it turned back after the final words were heard from the cockpit. Malaysian military radar data places the plane west of Malaysia in the Strait of Malacca at 2:14 a.m.

Thailand divulged new radar data Tuesday that appeared to corroborate Malaysian data showing the plane crossing back across Peninsular Malaysia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.



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