Tuesday, August 9

Hisham: MH370 has not landed at Diego Garcia


SEPANG: Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Tun Hussein has refuted claims that the missing Malaysia Airlines (MAS) MH370 aircraft had landed at the United States military base Diego Garcia located in the Indian Ocean.

He told a press conference here on the development of the missing aircraft that there was also no ransom sought by any party, to date.

“No, there has not. And that makes it very difficult for us to verify whether it is hijacked or terrorist (act of terrorism). (We look into) all possibilities. We don’t take (anything) for granted,” he said.

The flight had gone missing with 227 passengers and 12 crew members enroute from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

Following confirmation that the aircraft had made an ‘air turn back’, there were reports it was re-directed to Diego Garcia.

Hishammuddin, who is also Defence Minister, confirmed that the aircraft communications addressing and reporting system was disabled before the last reported communication from the pilot, which was “Alright, good night”.

On whether the Malaysian authorities would tighten airport security after two of the MH370 passengers were found travelling on fake passport, he said: “My immediate focus right now is to look for MH370.

“I think it is not right to say that there is a breach of standard operating procedures (SOP) which was clarified by the chief of the airport earlier.

“Any new information we receive, of course, we will verify with the SOP that exists,” he said.

Hishammuddin also reiterated that the authorities involved in checking MH370 passengers were satisfied with the outcome which ruled out the possibility of the two Iran nationals being terrorists. — Bernama