Maldives law enforcement authorities are to examine reports that a large low-flying aircraft was sighted over the Indian Ocean state hours after the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 disappearance.
The Maldives Police Service says it is “looking into the reports” cited by the country’s media regarding an apparent aircraft sighting over Kudahuvadhoo early on 8 March.
Kudahuvadhoo is located within an atoll some 180km south of the capital, Male, the main destination for large jet traffic to the Maldives.
The local Maldivian publication Haveeru said that eyewitnesses had reported a jet aircraft, with white and red markings, overflying the island from north to south-east, at low altitude, at 06:15.
But this timing, if accurate, would put the sighting some 8h after flight MH370 disappeared from secondary surveillance radar over the Gulf of Thailand, at 01:21 local Malaysian time, on 8 March.
It would also appear to conflict with satellite data which investigators believe fixes the aircraft on one of two arcs - both thousands of kilometres from the Maldives - at 08:11 Malaysia time, only about 1h before the Maldives sighting.
Malaysian authorities have been concentrating on these two arcs, over China and Central Asia to the north, and over the southern Indian Ocean off Australia, as primary search areas in the hunt.