Vietnam scales back on search for missing 777

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Vietnamese authorities say they have suspended sea searches for the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Boeing 777-200, five days after the aircraft disappeared.

The Civil Aviation Authority of Vietnam (CAAV) says it has also contacted Malaysian authorities to no avail, to confirm reports that military radar has identified that MH370 had deviated from its flight path and turned towards Malaysia's west coast over the Strait of Malacca after it lost civilian radar contact.

“However, the CAAV has not received official confirmation from the relevant authorities in Malaysia,” it says.

CAAV adds that its Antonov An-26 and Airbus Military C212 aircraft continue to conduct searches in the southeast of Vietnam. The defence ministry has also licensed two aircraft from China to conduct searches in its territory.

Malaysia's defence minister and chief of Department of Civil Aviation have, meanwhile, postponed a media briefing scheduled for 15:00 local time.

Yesterday, MAS said that search and rescue teams have expanded its scope beyond the flight path to the western peninsula of Malaysia at the Strait of Malacca. This is because of a possibile attempt by the crew to make an air turn back to Kuala Lumpur International airport.