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Asia Today ISSN 1861-4604 Monday, February 19, 2018

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Debris spotted by searchers not from missing plane

The FBI and other international law enforcement agencies have sent agents

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As the search for missing MH370 continued into its third day Monday, friends and family of those on board are coming to grips with the likelihood their loved ones have perished.

Little hope is held for the 239 passengers and crew who disappeared over the South China Sea early Saturday morning.

Vietnamese searchers who originally spotted oil slicks in the search said Sunday they had sighted debris that could have come from the aircraft. However on Monday it was established the debris did not come from the missing plane.

A low-flying aircraft in the Vietnamese contingent claimed to have spotted what seemed to be a door from the missing plane. The sighting took place in waters 90 kilometers south of Tho Chu Island, off Vietnam's southwestern coast.

Also Sunday, a Malaysian air force official said radar images indicated the missing plane may have turned back before disappearing. This has led to a widening of the search area. On Monday authorities said they could not rule out the plane had been hijacked.

Thai police are believed to be investigating the theft of the two passports used by an Italian and an Austrian man on the flight. Interpol confirmed Monday neither document was searched for in its register of stolen and lost travel documents.

The international agency said it was assisting Malaysian and other investigatory authorities to track the true identities of the men who used the passports to board the plane.

Both the passports were stolen in Phuket, one last year and the other in 2012. Authorities are looking at a number of possible reasons as to what happened with the aircraft, of which terrorism is one. The FBI and other international law enforcement agencies have sent agents and offered other resources to Malaysia.

Aviation officials have now confirmed the plane took off in perfect weather and maintained good conditions for the short time it was in the air, ruling out weather as a cause of the plane's disappearance.

On Monday the Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia said search and rescue teams involving forty ships and 32 aircraft from Australia, China, Thailand, Indonesia, Singapore, Vietnam, Philippines and the United States were now taking part in the search for the lost plane.

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