Malaysia’s acting Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein was referring to reports that the Rolls Royce engines aboard the Boeing 777 automatically sent data to the manufacturer
Conflicting reports about the last known point of contact of the missing Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 and a false lead from Chinese satellite images underlined the confusion in, and continuing difficulty, of the search operations for the aircraft, which continued for the sixth day without turning up a trace of the jet.
Malaysian officials on Thursday evening said various leads they had followed had not found “anything positive.”
Earlier in the day, it emerged that U.S. investigators, citing engine data from the Boeing, were exploring the possibility that the aircraft, carrying 239 people on board, might have flown for about four hours past the time of its last contact with air traffic control, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The newspaper said the aircraft may have “stayed in the air for about four hours past the time it reached its last confirmed location, ... raising the possibility that the plane could have flown on for hundreds of additional miles under conditions that remain murky.”
But Malaysian Defence Minister Hishammuddin Hussein told a press conference that the report was inaccurate, and that Rolls Royce, the engine manufacturer, and Boeing both said the last transmission of data was shortly before the aircraft lost contact.
Mr. Hussein said Chinese satellite images, purporting to show “three floating objects” near a suspected crash site, had also ended up a fruitless lead as searches concluded without finding any trace of debris.
The release of the satellite images came as China’s Premier said his government would pursue all leads in the search for the aircraft, which carried on board 5 Indians, 154 Chinese, 38 Malaysians and nationals of Indonesia, the U.S., France and half-a-dozen other countries.
“We will not give up on any suspected clue,” Premier Li Keqiang told reporters at his annual press conference after the conclusion of the Chinese Parliament session.
“We are also looking very closely at all suspected clues shown on satellite images,” he said.