Malaysia denies reported sighting of MH370 in Maldives

Farah Ahmed, Haveeru Online
Mar 19, 2014 - 04:15
  • A girl walks past a Malaysian Airlines logo (MAS) at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang, outside Kuala Lumpur on March 9, 2014. PHOTO / AFP

Malaysia on Wednesday dismissed reports of a possible sighting of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 by islanders in the Maldives.

The Malaysian acting transport minister Hishammuddin Hussein told reporters in Kuala Lumpur that the authorities in the Maldives have told Malaysia the reports are "not true".

"I can confirm that the Malaysian Chief of the Defence Force has contacted his counterpart in the Maldives, who has confirmed that these reports are not true," Hishammuddin said.

Whilst the disappearance of the Boeing 777 jet, carrying 239 passengers has left the whole world in bewilderment, several residents of Kuda Huvadhoo told Haveeru on Tuesday that they saw a "low flying jumbo jet" at around 6:15am on March 8.

They said that it was a white aircraft, with red stripes across it – which is what the Malaysia Airlines flights typically look like.

Eyewitnesses from the Kuda Huvadhoo concurred that the aeroplane was travelling North to South-East, towards the Southern tip of the Maldives – Addu. They also noted the incredibly loud noise that the flight made when it flew over the island.

A local aviation expert told Haveeru that it is "likely" for MH370 to have flown over the Maldives. The possibility of any aircraft flying over the island at the reported time is extremely low, the expert added.

The Maldives police have also launched an investigation into the reported sighting of the aircraft.

The Malaysia airlines jet disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board after taking off from Kuala Lumpur bound for Beijing. Investigators say it was deliberately diverted off course.

Twenty-six countries are now helping to hunt for the plane after satellite and military radar data projected two huge corridors through which it might have flown.

Satellite data suggests that the last "ping" was received by a satellite somewhere close to the Maldives and the US naval base on Diego Garcia.

But the Maldives is not amongst the countries that Malaysian authorities had sought help from in its search for the missing jet. Malaysia has listed the countries that it had appealed for assistance: Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia and France.

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