The United Arab Emirates and China have launched search operations for a Malaysia Airlines jet with 239 passengers and crew on board which went missing 10 days ago.
Both countries announced on their official state news agencies that they would take part in the search operation.
“The UAE Armed Forces are participating in search operations through two research and rescue planes, as part of 25 countries participating in the hunt for the missing plane in an area extended to the south of the Indian Ocean, towards Australia, and to the north in South and Central Asia,” an official source was quoted as saying by the Emirati WAM news agency.
Meanwhile, China has now become the 26th country involved in the international operation. Beijing’s search covers a northern corridor through which the aircraft could have flown, said state news agency Xinhua on Tuesday, quoting Chinese Ambassador to Malaysia Huang Huikang.
No evidence has been found linking the 153 Chinese passengers aboard the missing Malaysia Airlines flight to terror or hijacking, state media said Tuesday.
Huikang said background checks on all passengers from the Chinese mainland on board missing flight MH370 did not find any evidence that they were linked to a hijacking or terrorist attack on the jet.
The Boeing 777 went missing on Sunday’s early morning. International research operations in South East Asia and the Indian Ocean have yet to trace the missing plane.
Investigators are convinced that someone with deep knowledge of the Boeing 777-200ER and commercial navigation diverted the jet, carrying 12 crew and 227 mainly Chinese passengers, perhaps thousands of miles off course.
U.S. and European security sources said efforts by various governments to investigate the backgrounds of everyone on the flight had not, as of Monday, turned up links to militant groups or anything else that could explain the jet's disappearance.
Malaysian officials said on Monday that suicide by the pilot or co-pilot was a line of inquiry, although they stressed that it was only one of the possibilities under investigation.
Flight MH370 vanished from civilian air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast less than an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur on a scheduled flight to Beijing.
Investigators piecing together patchy data from military radar and satellites believe that someone turned off aircraft's identifying transponder and ACARS system, which transmits maintenance data, and turned west, crossing the Malay Peninsula and following a commercial aviation route towards India.
What happened next is less certain. The plane may have flown for another six hours or more after dropping off Malaysian military radar about 200 miles northwest of Penang Island.