Massive international search and still no sign of missing Malaysia plane

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There are 40 ships and 34 aircraft from nine different nations taking part in the search. AFP
Malaysian officials say there is still no sign of a missing passenger plane nearly three days after it disappeared with 239 people onboard.
Malaysia\’s civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said Monday that searchers have yet to find a single object from the Boeing 777, which disappeared from radar early Saturday morning about an hour after it took off from Kuala Lumpur for a flight to Beijing.
Officials say they are no closer to finding out what might have happened to the aircraft, and have not ruled out anything, including hijacking or a mid-air disaster.
China has urged Malaysia to "step up its efforts" in the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane that disappeared on Saturday.
Nearly three days after the jet went missing, an international effort has still not found the plane\’s wreckage.
The authorities are further expanding the search areas in the Malacca Strait and the South China Sea.
Earlier, China said the Malaysian authorities needed to "step up their efforts" to find the missing airliner, which had more than 150 Chinese nationals on board.
"We… have a responsibility to demand and urge the Malaysian side to step up [its] search efforts, start an investigation as soon as possible and provide relevant information to China correctly and in a timely manner," said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang.
A massive search that includes scores of planes and ships from eight countries continues.
On Sunday, officials investigating the disappearance of the Malaysia Airlines flight said radar images show the missing jet may have inexplicably turned back before vanishing.
Also Sunday, Thai police said they were investigating a "passport ring" as details emerged of bookings for the flight made in Thailand with stolen European passports.
Two Europeans (- Christian Kozel, an Austrian, and Luigi Maraldi of Italy -) were listed on the passenger manifest of flight MH370, but neither man boarded the plane. 
Both had their passports stolen in Thailand during the past two years. Malaysia has launched a terror probe investigating the suspect passengers and the United States has sent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation to assist. 
The Malaysia Airlines flight disappeared from radar screens after taking off from Kuala Lumpur in good weather. Most of the passengers were Chinese. Air traffic controllers say they never received a distress calls before the jet disappeared.
The Boeing 777 is a very popular plane with an excellent safety record. The most recent accident involving a Boeing 777 was the Asiana Airlines crash at San Francisco International Airport in July 2013. Three people were killed. Pilot error is suspected in that incident. 
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Source: VOA and agencies

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