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Malaysian Air Force Chief Denies Reports About Flight 370's Path

This picture taken aboard a Vietnamese Air Force Russian-made MI-171 helicopter shows a crew member checking a map during a search flight some 200 km over the southern Vietnamese waters off Vietnam's island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014 as part of continued efforts aimed at finding traces of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. Malaysian police said on March 11 one of two suspect passengers who boarded a missing passenger jet was an Iranian illegal immigrant, as relatives of some of the 239 people on board said they were losing hope for a miracle.
This picture taken aboard a Vietnamese Air Force Russian-made MI-171 helicopter shows a crew member checking a map during a search flight some 200 km over the southern Vietnamese waters off Vietnam's island Phu Quoc on March 11, 2014 as part of continued efforts aimed at finding traces of the missing Malaysia Airlines MH370. Malaysian police said on March 11 one of two suspect passengers who boarded a missing passenger jet was an Iranian illegal immigrant, as relatives of some of the 239 people on board said they were losing hope for a miracle. HOANG DINH NAM / AFP - Getty Images

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KUALA LUMPUR — Malaysia's air force chief has denied saying military radar tracked a missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner over the Strait of Malacca, adding to the mystery surrounding the fate of flight MH370, which vanished on Saturday with 239 people aboard.

A massive air and sea search now in its fifth day has failed to find any trace of the Boeing 777, and the last 24 hours have seen conflicting statements and reports over what may have happened after it lost contact with air traffic controllers.

Malaysia's Berita Harian newspaper on Tuesday quoted Air Force chief Rodzali Daud as saying the plane was last detected by military radar at the northern end of the Strait of Malacca at 2.40 a.m. on Saturday, hundreds of kilometers off course.

"I wish to state that I did not make any such statements," Rodzali said in a statement on Wednesday. The air force chief said he had merely repeated that military radar tracking suggested the plane might have turned back.

A senior military officer who had been briefed on the investigation told Reuters on Tuesday that the aircraft had made a detour to the west after communications with civilian authorities ended.

"It changed course after Kota Bharu and took a lower altitude. It made it into the Malacca Strait," the officer said.

— Reuters

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