Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370: Oil slicks in South China Sea ‘not from missing jet’, officials say

More than two days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing, the final minutes before its disappearance remain a mystery

The oil slicks found off the coast of Malaysia during the search for Flight MH370 were not caused by the missing jet, authorities have said.

Laboratory analysis on the oil, which was first spotted on Saturday night, found that it had nothing to do with the Malaysia Airlines jet that disappeared almost three days ago, Malaysian officials have confirmed.

Earlier the crew from a Vietnamese jet reported seeing a “ possible life raft” floating in the sea around 250 miles off the country’s southern coast, only for search and rescue helicopters to later find it was no more than “a moss-covered cap of cable reel”.

Speaking at a press conference in Kuala Lumpur this morning, the director-general of Malaysia's Civil Aviation body, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said officials were still struggling with an “ unprecedented aviation mystery”.

“Unfortunately we have not found anything that appears to be objects from the aircraft, let alone the aircraft,” he said. “As far as we are concerned, we have to find the aircraft, we have to find a piece of the aircraft if possible.”

As authorities dismiss each potential clue to the whereabouts of the missing Boeing 777, attention has increasingly turned to the identities of the two passengers confirmed to be travelling on stolen European passports.

This afternoon Malaysian officials said both the men had “ non-Asian” features - contradicting previous suggestions otherwise from the country's interior minister.

Asked to explain what he meant, Mr Rahman said they looked like the Italian footballer Mario Balotelli, but refused to elaborate further.

Police chief Khalid Abu Bakar said that one has now been identified, but that he could not reveal his identity beyond confirming that he was not Malaysian.

Mr Rahman also said that five passengers who checked in for the flight but who did not board, had had their luggage removed and checked. Nothing untoward was found.

Almost three days after Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing, the final minutes before its disappearance remain a mystery. The plane lost contact with ground controllers somewhere between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Read more: Investigators focus on CCTV for clues
There are some slightly less nefarious reasons for flying on a stolen passport
Search for missing Boeing 777 reveals two oil slicks in the Gulf of Thailand

Malaysian military officials said on Sunday that the plane, a Boeing 777-200ER, may have turned back from its scheduled route shortly before vanishing from radar screens.

Mr Rahman said officials had set no time-frame for the search and referred to the search for Air France flight 447 which went missing in 2009 on route from Rio de Janeiro to Paris, killing all 228 aboard.

It took investigators two years to locate the black box recorders and three years to piece together what happened. A report eventually blamed a combination of technical failure and pilot error.

"The experts have said this is a very big area for us to cover," Mr Rahman said of the area currently being searched. "We all have to work together to find this aircraft... It will take as long as it takes to find the aircraft."

Family members comfort Chrisman Siregar (left) and his wife Herlina Panjaitan, the parents of Firman Siregar, one of the Indonesian citizens thought to have boarded the Malaysia Airlines jetliner Family members comfort Chrisman Siregar (left) and his wife Herlina Panjaitan, the parents of Firman Siregar, one of the Indonesian citizens thought to have boarded the Malaysia Airlines jetliner A total of 34 aircraft and 40 ships from Vietnam, Malaysia, Thailand, Australia, Singapore, Indonesia, China and the United States have been deployed to the area where ground controllers lost contact with the plane, the maritime border between Malaysia and Vietnam.

Of the 227 passengers and 12 crew members on board, two-thirds were Chinese, while the rest were from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America. Five Indians were among the passengers.

The thefts of the two passports - one belonging to Austrian Christian Kozel and the other to Luigi Maraldi of Italy - were entered into Interpol's database after they were stolen in Thailand in 2012 and last year, the police body said.

But no authorities in Malaysia or elsewhere checked the passports against the database of 40 million stolen or lost travel documents before the Malaysia Airlines plane took off.

Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines said it was working to provide relatives of those on board the flight visas and flights to enable them to travel to Kuala Lumpur, if they wished.

"Malaysia Airlines' primary focus at this point in time is to care for the families," it said in a statement. "This means providing them with timely information, travel facilities, accommodation, meals, medical and emotional support. The costs for these are all borne by Malaysia Airlines."

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Armstrong, left, and Bain's writing credits include Peep Show, Fresh Meat, and The Old Guys
TVThe pair have presented their view of 21st-century foibles in shows such as Peep Show and Fresh Meat
Arts and Entertainment
Keys to success: Andrew and Julian Lloyd Webber
arts + entsMrs Bach had too many kids to write the great man's music, says Julian Lloyd Webber
Sport
footballMan City manager would have loved to have signed Argentine
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
News
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Hand out press photograph/film still from the movie Mad Max Fury Road (Downloaded from the Warner Bro's media site/Jasin Boland/© 2014 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.)
films'You have to try everything and it’s all a process of elimination, but ultimately you find your path'
Arts and Entertainment
Imelda Staunton as Dolores Umbridge in the Harry Potter films
books

New essay by JK Rowling went live on Pottermore site on Friday

News
people

Top Gear presenter is no stranger to foot-in-mouth controversy

News
Russia Today’s new UK channel began broadcasting yesterday. Discussions so far have included why Britons see Russia as ‘the bad guy’
news

New UK station Russia Today gives a very bizarre view of Britain

Arts and Entertainment
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch at the premiere of The Imitation Game at the BFI London Film Festival
filmsKeira Knightley tried to miss The Imitation Game premiere to watch Bake Off
News
i100
Sport
Enner Valencia
footballStriker has enjoyed a rapid rise to fame via winning the title with ‘The Blue Ballet’ in Ecuador
Arts and Entertainment
A top literary agent has compared online giant Amazon to Isis
arts + entsAndrew Wylie has pulled no punches in criticism of Amazon
Arts and Entertainment
Charlie Sheen said he would
tv

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Mobile Developer (.NET / C# / Jason / Jquery / SOA)

£40000 - £65000 per annum + bonus + benefits + OT: Ampersand Consulting LLP: M...

Humanities Teacher - Greater Manchester

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: The JobAt ...

Design Technology Teacher

£22800 - £33600 per annum: Randstad Education Manchester Secondary: Calling al...

Foundation Teacher

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: EYFS Teachers - East Essex...

Day In a Page

Bryan Adams' heartstopping images of wounded British soldiers to go on show at Somerset House

Bryan Adams' images of wounded soldiers

Taken over the course of four years, Adams' portraits are an astonishing document of the aftermath of war
The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

The drugs revolution starts now as MPs agree its high time for change

Commons debate highlights growing cross-party consensus on softening UK drugs legislation, unchanged for 43 years
The camera is turned on tabloid editors in Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter'

Gotcha! The camera is turned on tabloid editors

Hugh Grant says Richard Peppiatt's 'One Rogue Reporter' documentary will highlight issues raised by Leveson
Fall of the Berlin Wall: It was thanks to Mikhail Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell

Fall of the Berlin Wall

It was thanks to Gorbachev that this symbol of division fell
Halloween 2014: What makes Ouija boards, demon dolls, and evil clowns so frightening?

What makes ouija boards and demon dolls scary?

Ouija boards, demon dolls, evil children and clowns are all classic tropes of horror, and this year’s Halloween releases feature them all. What makes them so frightening, decade after decade?
A safari in modern Britain: Rose Rouse reveals how her four-year tour of Harlesden taught her as much about the UK as it did about NW10

Rose Rouse's safari in modern Britain

Rouse decided to walk and talk with as many different people as possible in her neighbourhood of Harlesden and her experiences have been published in a new book
Welcome to my world of no smell and odd tastes: How a bike accident left one woman living with unwanted food mash-ups

'My world of no smell and odd tastes'

A head injury from a bicycle accident had the surprising effect of robbing Nell Frizzell of two of her senses

Matt Parker is proud of his square roots

The "stand-up mathematician" is using comedy nights to preach maths to big audiences
Paul Scholes column: Beating Manchester City is vital part of life at Manchester United. This is first major test for Luke Shaw, Angel Di Maria and Radamel Falcao – it’s not a game to lose

Paul Scholes column

Beating City is vital part of life at United. This is first major test for Shaw, Di Maria and Falcao – it’s not a game to lose
Frank Warren: Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing

Frank Warren column

Call me an old git, but I just can't see that there's a place for women’s boxing
Adrian Heath interview: Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room

Adrian Heath's American dream...

Former Everton striker prepares his Orlando City side for the MLS - and having Kaka in the dressing room
Simon Hart: Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manchester City will rise again but they need to change their attitude

Manuel Pellegrini’s side are too good to fail and derby allows them to start again, says Simon Hart
Isis in Syria: A general reveals the lack of communication with the US - and his country's awkward relationship with their allies-by-default

A Syrian general speaks

A senior officer of Bashar al-Assad’s regime talks to Robert Fisk about his army’s brutal struggle with Isis, in a dirty war whose challenges include widespread atrocities