POLITICS

Obama Makes First Public Comments On Missing Plane

Mar 19, 2014

President Barack Obama made his first public comments on the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner Wednesday, telling a local television station the United States considers finding the plane "a top priority."

"We have put every resource we have available at the disposal of the search process," Obama said. "There's been close cooperation with the Malaysian government... anybody who typically deals with anything related to our aviation system is available."

After taking off from Kuala Lumpur on March 8, Flight MH370 vanished from air traffic control screens off Malaysia's east coast at 1:21 a.m. local time. Reuters reports:

The methodical shutdown of the communications systems, together with the fact that the plane appeared to be following a planned course after turning back, have been interpreted as suggesting strongly that foul play, rather than some kind of technical failure, was behind the disappearance.

Police have searched the homes of the 53-year-old pilot Zaharie Ahmad Shah and co-pilot Fariq Abdul Hamid, 27. Among the items taken were a flight simulator Zaharie had built in his home.

Malaysia's police chief, Khalid Abu Bakar, said an examination of the flight simulator showed its data log had been cleared on Feb. 3. "The experts are looking at what are the logs that have been cleared," he told the news conference.

U.S. government sources said intelligence agencies had extensively analysed people on the flight but came up with no connections to terrorism or possible criminal motives.

A senior U.S. official said he was "not aware of any stones left unturned". China has said there is no evidence that Chinese passengers, who made up over two-thirds of those on board, were involved in a hijack or act of sabotage.

Watch a video of Obama's remarks above, and see the latest updates on the missing plane below:

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