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Malaysia Military Tracked Missing Plane to West Coast: Source

Woman holds candle as she takes part in candlelight vigil held by Malaysian ethnic Chinese for the passengers of Malaysia Airlines MH370 near Independence Square in Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia’s military believes it tracked a missing jetliner by radar over the Strait of Malacca, far from where it last made contact with civilian air traffic control off the country’s east coast, a military source told Reuters. In one of the most baffling mysteries in recent aviation history, a massive search operation for the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777-200ER, now in its fourth day, has so far found no trace of the aircraft or the 239 passengers and crew.

“It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait,” the military official, who has been briefed on investigations, told Reuters. The Strait of Malacca, one of the world’s busiest shipping channels, runs along Malaysia’s west coast. The airline said on Saturday that radio and radar contact with Flight MH370 was lost off the east coast Malaysian town of Kota Bharu.

Police had earlier said they were investigating whether any passengers or crew on the plane had personal or psychological problems that might explain its disappearance, along with the possibility of a hijack, sabotage or mechanical failure. The plane left Kuala Lumpur for Beijing early on Saturday morning, vanishing from civilian radar screens about an hour after take-off over the sea separating eastern Malaysia from the southern tip of Vietnam.

There was no distress signal or radio contact indicating a problem and, in the absence of any wreckage or flight data, police have been left trawling through passenger and crew lists for potential leads.

“Maybe somebody on the flight has bought a huge sum of insurance, who wants family to gain from it or somebody who has owed somebody so much money, you know, we are looking at all possibilities,” Malaysian police chief Khalid Abu Bakar told a news conference. “We are looking very closely at the video footage taken at the KLIA (Kuala Lumpur International Airport), we are studying the behavioral pattern of all the passengers.” (Reuters)

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