No signs missing Malaysia plane neared Australia

17 March 2014

SBS Australia reports – Stay up to date with the latest developments on missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370

  • Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak has confirmed that MH370’s communications systems were deliberately turned off.
  • Senior Malaysian military official has suggested a “skilled, competent” pilot took control
  • US analysts suggest plane disappearance could be “act of piracy”
  • Malaysia says no debris has been found despite China claiming it had found possible plane debris
  • Search area for missing Malaysian Airlines plane widened by hundreds of kilometres
  • Interpol says terrorism is unlikely to be the cause
  • Men on fake passports believed to be asylum seeker

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Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Monday said he had no information that missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 may have come close to Australia, but conceded the incident was “deeply mysterious”.

The Malaysian government has revealed the investigation into the missing jet indicates it was deliberately diverted and flew for several hours after leaving its scheduled flight path — either north towards Central Asia, or towards the southern Indian Ocean.

Asked whether Australian agencies had detected the plane close to Australia, given its western coast borders the Indian Ocean, Abbott said: “I don’t have any information to that effect.

“But all of our agencies that could possibly help in this area are scouring their data to see if there’s anything that they can add to the understanding of this mystery,” he told reporters. Two RAAF aircraft helping search for the missing Malaysian airliner will shift their focus to the Indian Ocean, Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said.

Mr Abbott says Australia is also prepared to provide any more assistance the Malaysian government might seek.

But he says reports that the aircraft may have been hijacked did not justify any change to security measures in Australia.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 departed Kuala Lumpur on a flight to Beijing on March 8 and vanished from radar screens.

alaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak announced on Saturday that satellite and radar data clearly indicated the plane’s automated communications had been disabled and the plane then turned awayfrom its intended path and flew over the Indian Ocean.

The flight path diversion raised speculation of a hijack.

Mr Abbott said there was strong security at Australian airports.

“I am certainly very satisfied with the security arrangements we currently have,” he said.

Mr Abbott said he spoke to Mr Razak last week and offered two RAAF AP-3C Orion maritime surveillance aircraft to assist in the search.

“They will be appropriately retasked given the changing search patterns,” he said.   Mr Abbott said Malaysia had not asked for more assistance.

“We want to be a good friend to Malaysia,” he said.

“If the Malaysians want additional help, we certainly stand ready to supply it,” he said.

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