Malaysia’s government on Sunday asked for help from nearly a dozen Asian countries that the missing jetliner may have flown over, saying that finding the plane would be very difficult without additional data on its final movements.
Meanwhile, police were examining a flight simulator belonging to one of the pilots of the Malaysia Airlines plane, which went missing more than a week ago with 239 passengers aboard a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The government said police searched the homes of both of the plane’s pilots on Saturday, the first time they have done so since the plane went missing. Asked why it took them so long, police chief Inspector General Khalid Abu Bakar said authorities “didn’t see the necessity in the early stages.”
Bakar told reporters that he had requested countries with citizens on board the plane to investigate their background. He said that the intelligence agencies of some countries had already done this and found nothing suspicious, but that he was waiting for others to respond.
Satellite data has shown that after losing contact with air traffic controllers, the plane could have kept flying as far north as Kazakhstan in Central Asia or deep into the southern Indian Ocean, posing awesome challenges for efforts to recover the aircraft and flight data recorders vital to solving the mystery of what happened on board. That has left authorities desperate to narrow down a search area now stretching across 11 nations and one of the most remote oceans in the world.
“The search was already a highly complex, multinational effort. It has now become even more difficult,” Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a news conference Sunday.
“It is our hope with the new information, parties that can come forward and narrow the search to an area that is more feasible,” he said, adding that the search effort now includes 25 countries.
“The search area has been significantly expanded. And the nature of the search has changed. From focusing mainly on shallow seas, we are now looking at large tracts of land, crossing 11 countries, as well as deep and remote oceans,” Hishammuddin said.
He said the number of countries involved in the search and rescue operation had increased from 14 to 25, bringing “new challenges of co-ordination and diplomacy to the search effort.”
Australia said it was sending one of its two AP-3C Orion aircraft involved in the search to continued…