Malaysia appeals for more info to track down MH370

KUALA LUMPUR - As the hunt for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 moved into a wider area of coverage with 25 countries now involved in the search, Malaysia has appealed for all available information to help track down the missing aircraft.

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said with the broader area of coverage - which extends into two massive Northern and Southern corridors, stretching from Kazakhstan in the north to the southern Indian Ocean, and after corroborating satellite data from the United States and Britain - better multi-national support was needed to help narrow the search.

"From focusing mainly on shallow seas, we are now looking at large tracts of land, crossing 11 countries, as well as deep, remote oceans," he said at a media conference after the ninth day of the search for the missing Beijing-bound Boeing 777-200.

Hishammuddin, who is also Defence Minister, said the support needed included general satellite data, radar playback - both primary and secondary - provisions for ground, sea and aerial search and appropriate assets.

Stressing that both corridors were being treated with equal importance, he said Malaysia was discussing with all partners how best to deploy the assets within the two areas.

He said the Foreign Ministry had briefed representatives from 22 countries, including Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Turk­menistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, India, China, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Indonesia and Australia, and requested for cooperation and support.

In response to a question, Hishammuddin said Malaysia had not received any ransom demand from any group yet.

"No, there has not been any. And that makes it very difficult to verify whether it was hijacked or it was an act of terrorism," he said. "We are looking into all possibilities, and we are not taking anything for granted."

Investigators believe that the plane could have flown more than 3,000 miles from its last point of communication, stretching it to the limits of its fuel load.

Malaysia Airlines' chief executive officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said MH370 took off with the planned fuel, which included re­serves for diversions.

"We normally fuel up this aircraft for up to eight hours," he added.

Ahmad Jauhari also said based on images from the security scans, there was no hazardous cargo on board the flight.

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