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
Shoppers at Selfridges department store in central London
news

News
Jeremy Paxman has admitted he is a 'one-nation Tory' and complained that Newsnight is made by idealistic '13-year-olds' who foolishly think they can 'change the world'.
peopleFormer Newsnight presenter is being touted for a brand new role
News
Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
people
Voices
File: David Cameron offers a toast during a State Dinner in his honour March 14, 2012
voicesAnd nobody from Ukip said babies born to migrants should be classed as migrants, says Nigel Farage
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
Avatar grossed $2.8bn at the box office after its release in 2009
filmJames Cameron is excited
Arts and Entertainment
Stik on the crane as he completed the mural
art
News
Happy in his hat: Pharrell Williams
people
Arts and Entertainment
Stella Gibson is getting closer to catching her killer
tvReview: It's gripping edge-of-the-seat drama, so a curveball can be forgiven at such a late stage
News
Brazilian football legend Pele pictured in 2011
peopleFans had feared the worst when it was announced the Brazil legand was in a 'special care' unit
News
i100(More than you think)
Sport
Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
FOOTBALLI like Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
News
The Magna Carta
archaeologyContemporary account of historic signing discovered
News
Phyllis Dorothy James on stage during a reading of her book 'Death Comes to Pemberley' last year
peopleJohn Walsh pays tribute to PD James, who died today
Sport
Benjamin Stambouli celebrates his goal for Tottenham last night
FOOTBALL
Life and Style
Dishing it out: the head chef in ‘Ratatouille’
food + drinkShould UK restaurants follow suit?
News
peopleExclusive: Maryum and Hana Ali share their stories of the family man behind the boxing gloves
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

Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML, CSS, SQL

£39000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Senior PHP Developer - OOP, Javascript, HTML,...

Austen Lloyd: Commercial / Residential Property - Surrey

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: SURREY MARKET TOWN - SENIOR PROPERTY SOLICITOR...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Programme - Online Location Services Business

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: What do you want to do with your career? Do yo...

Recruitment Genius: Senior QC Scientist

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This company is a leading expert in immunoassa...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game