SEPANG, March 9 — The Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) has confirmed spotting signs on military radar that flight MH370 may have attempted to make a turn-back , likely towards Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), adding to the mystery surrounding the aircraft’s disappearance.
RMAF chief General Tan Sri Datuk Sri Rodzali Daud told a press conference here that the air force was “baffled”, however, that the aircraft had not issued any emergency or distress signal from its position, despite possibly being forced to turn around in mid-flight.
“That’s a possibility. At this stage and juncture, we are trying to collaborate with other agencies to get a better picture,” he said.
He confirmed that this possible turn-back was recorded on military radar but stressed that investigations into the reason why were still underway.
MAS Group Chief Executive Officer Ahmad Jauhari Yahya said that such turn-backs would typically occur when the pilot of the aircraft was unable to proceed as planned.
He said, however, such decisions would be reported back to base.
“From what we know from the ATC (air traffic control) recording and our own, there was no such distress call or signal.
“So we are deeply puzzled as to why,” he said.
Malaysia has roped in neighbouring countries as well as China and the US in massive search-and-rescue operations involving 22 aircraft and 40 ships at two separate locations ― near Vietnam in the South China Sea and in the vicinity of Penang in the Straits of Malacca.
MH370 has now been missing for nearly 40 hours.