The so-far fruitless search for a missing Malaysian airliner entered its fourth day on Tuesday, as sources in Europe, the United States and Asia voiced growing scepticism that the flight lost with 239 people on board was the target of an attack, Reuters reports.
The massive search has drawn in navies, military aircraft, coastguard and civilian vessels from 10 nations, but failed to turn up any trace of the Boeing 777-200ER that vanished about an hour into a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing early on Saturday.
“Until now, with all of our efforts, there is very little hope for any good news about this plane,” said the head of Vietnam’s search and rescue effort, Pham Quy Tieu.
The search was widened on Tuesday to a larger swathe of the Gulf of Thailand and the South China Sea, around where the plane lost radio contact and vanished from radar screens.
But searches were also being conducted on the western coast of Malaysia and up northwest towards the Andaman Sea – based on a theory that the plane may have flown on for some time after deviating from its flight path.
Even that information has not been clearly confirmed, and investigators and intelligence sources say the fate of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 is still shrouded in mystery.
Interpol said on Sunday at least two passengers on board had used stolen passports, raising suspicions of foul play. But Southeast Asia is known as a hub for false documents that are also used by smugglers, illegal migrants and asylum seekers.