VIETNAMESE RESCUE PLANES searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 239 passengers have spotted two large oil slicks in the sea and have called for boats to be sent to the area.
“Two of our aircraft sighted two oil slicks around 15 to 20 kilometres long, running parallel, around 500 metres apart from each other,” Lieutenant General Vo Van Tuan told state-run VTV.
Several nations are searching waters off Southeast Asia after a Malaysia Airlines jet carrying 239 passengers disappeared and was presumed lost, leaving stunned relatives demanding answers.
Contact with Flight MH370 was lost somewhere between Malaysia’s east coast and southern Vietnam, but its fate remained a mystery more than 16 hours after it slipped off radar screens.
Air search operations were halted at nightfall, though ships continued searching, the airline said, adding that no trace of the passenger plane had been found as of late Saturday.
The flight was en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, with 227 passengers and 12 crew members from 14 nations, the airline said.
Frustrated officials and passengers’ families struggled to make sense of the disappearance of the Boeing 777-200 which, like the Malaysian national carrier, has a solid safety record.
The airline said the plane, on an overnight flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, relayed no distress signal, indications of rough weather, or other signs of trouble.
“We are looking at all possibilities but it is too soon to speculate,” Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak said, when asked whether terrorism could have been a factor.
The plane’s disappearance triggered a search effort involving vessels from several nations with rival maritime claims in the tense South China Sea.
First published 13.43pm