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Search continues for missing MAS 777

The search and rescue operation to locate a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that went missing in the early hours of 8 March is now stretching into its second day with few clues as to what happened to the aircraft.

The 777, registered 9M-MRO and operating flight MH370, lost contact with the Subang Air Traffic Control centre around 02:40 yesterday. Its last reported position was over area of sea between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Malaysia’s director general of civil aviation Azharuddin Abdul Rahman said in a press conference on the morning of 9 March that the overnight sea search failed to locate any traces of the aircraft.

Aerial searches resumed at daybreak with three aircraft being used in a search area that has been widened to include a wider area along the western side of the Malaysian Peninsula, he adds.

Azharuddin was unable to provide any further details on a statement from the Vietnamese government yesterday that said that its navy had found two 10-15km long oil slicks off the southwest coast of the country.

“It is reported in the media, but it is not verified, not confirmed yet,” he said.

Asked about reports that two passengers were travelling on stolen passports, Azharuddin confirmed that authorities are “aware of the situation and doing an investigation on that issue at the moment.”

Shortly after the press conference, Malaysia Airlines issued a statement that said it is planning to establish a command centre either in Kota Bahru or Ho Chi Minh City as soon as the aircraft is located.

“The airline is continuously working with the authorities in providing assistance. In fearing for the worst, a disaster recovery management specialist from Atlanta, USA will be assisting Malaysia Airlines in this crucial time,” it adds.

As well as Malaysian and Vietnamese air and naval assets, Singapore has sent two naval vessels and one Sikorsky S-70B helicopter to assist with the search. Singapore has also provided a C-130 Hercules to help with the aerial search.

Further assistance has also been provided by the Philippines and USA.

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