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Lost jet: Criminal probe on as search continues

Posted on Apr 02 2014 | IANS

Perth/Kuala Lumpur, April 2 : The search for the lost Malaysia Airlines flight resumed Wednesday in the Indian Ocean, while a top Malaysian police official said a criminal investigation is under way over the missing jet.

"Up to 10 planes and nine ships will assist in today's (Wednesday's) search for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370," Australia's newly set up Joint Agency Coordination Centre (JACC) said in its latest update.

"The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) has determined a search area of about 221,000 sq km," it added.

"The weather forecast for today's (Wednesday) search is for marginal conditions, with areas of broken cloud, sea fog and isolated thunderstorms, reducing visibility," the JACC statement said.

In Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia's Inspector General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said Wednesday that a criminal investigation was under way into the case.

"You have to understand that there are things we cannot share as it is a criminal investigation but we are probing based on the four areas of focus (personal and psychological problems, sabotage and hijacking)," the New Straits Times quoted Abu Bakar as saying.

He said that about 170 statements had been recorded till now from family members of the passengers and the cabin crew.

He also mentioned that a large amount of mangosteen, a tropical tree used in traditional medicine, was loaded on the plane.

"For instance, when we found out there were four tonnes of mangosteen loaded on to the plane, we have to find out where it came from, who supplied them, who ordered them and even to the extent of who plucked it," Abu Bakar said.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur shortly after midnight March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was scheduled to land in Beijing the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

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