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Malaysia Airlines Flight: Investigators Search for Clues

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More than 48 hours after a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 plane with 239 people on board disappeared from radar screens, a multinational search team consisting of dozens of ships and aircraft had failed to find any sign of the aircraft's ultimate fate. 


Malaysia's civil aviation chief, Azharuddin Abdul Rahman, said that investigators were pursuing "every angle," including the possibility of an attempted hijacking, in an effort to understand what happened that caused the plane to vanish early Saturday morning, local time. 


Searchers were dealt a double blow Monday, when a floating yellow object that was believed to be a life raft from the plane when it was spotted Sunday turned out to be the moss-covered cap of a cable reel, according to Vietnam's civil aviation authority. Earlier in the day, Vietnamese officials said that they had not been able to locate a rectangular object that appeared to be one of the plane's doors. 


Doan Huu Gia, the chief of Vietnam's search and rescue coordination center, said Monday that four planes and seven ships from Vietnam were searching for the rectangular object but nothing had been found.


Malaysian maritime officials have found some oil slicks in the South China Sea and sent a sample to a lab to see if it came from the plane, the Department of Civil Aviation chief, Rahman, told a news conference.


Hundreds of distraught relatives were gathered in a hotel in Beijing, waiting to be flown to Malaysia. Of the 227 passengers, two-thirds were Chinese. There were also 38 passengers and 12 crew members from Malaysia, and others from elsewhere in Asia, Europe and North America, including three Americans.


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