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HindustanTimes Thu,18 Sep 2014

World

Reports of MH370 sighting over Maldives untrue: Malaysia minister
AFP
New Delhi, March 19, 2014
First Published: 09:51 IST(19/3/2014)
Last Updated: 15:31 IST(19/3/2014)

Malaysia's acting transport minister on Wednesday dismissed as untrue reports that people in Maldives may have spotted the the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that vanished on March 8.

Earlier, in a statement released late on Tuesday, police said they were investigating a report on the Haveeru news website that local residents had spotted a large plane flying over the remote southern island of Kuda Huvadhoo on March 8.

"The police are looking into the reports in the media saying that a low-flying airplane was sighted above Kuda Huvadhoo," the statement said.

Several alleged sightings of the Boeing 777, which vanished en route from Kuala Lumpur with 239 people on board, have proved to be false alarms and reports of debris at sea have also turned up nothing.

Read:
US rules out MH370 landed at its Indian Ocean base 
Thai radar saw 'unknown aircraft' after MH370 vanished

Haveeru said witnesses on Kuda Huvadhoo had seen a white aircraft with red stripes flying towards the southern tip of the Maldives.

"I've never seen a jet flying so low over our island before. We've seen seaplanes, but I'm sure that this was not one of those. I could even make out the doors on the plane clearly," the website quoted one witness as saying.

Haveeru journalist Farah Ahmed said several witnesses had given similar accounts.

"These people first heard a very loud noise from a plane flying unusually low and they came out to see it," Ahmed told AFP by phone from the Maldives capital Male, whose international airport daily handles dozens of wide-body jets bringing in thousands of tourists.

Read:
Planning could hold key to disappearance of jet
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Search and rescue efforts on for the missing jet (AFP photo)

The hunt for the missing passenger jet now focuses on two vast search areas -- a northern one spanning south and central Asia, and a southern corridor stretching deep into the southern Indian Ocean towards Australia.

The Maldives, located far from both arcs, is not among the 26 countries currently involved in the massive international search operation.

Read:

Malaysia police probe flight engineer
India suspends search for missing Malaysian jet MH370, awaits new instructions

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