BEIJING – Conflicting information about the course of a missing Malaysia Airlines plane with 239 people on board was “pretty chaotic”, China’s foreign ministry spokesman said Wednesday.
Asked about reports that flight MH370 could have veered well off course, as far as the Malacca Strait, Qin Gang told reporters: “We noticed that the Malaysian side later denied this piece of information.
“So right now there is a lot of information, and it’s pretty chaotic, so up to this point we too have had difficulty confirming whether it is accurate or not,” Qin said.
A total of 153 of the passengers are Chinese citizens, and their friends and relatives have been waiting for news at a hotel in Beijing, the flight’s scheduled destination.
Qin was speaking after Malaysian authorities expanded the search zone northwest to the Andaman Sea Wednesday, after radar data indicated a possibility the plane may have changed course from its intended flight path.
A Malaysian media report on Tuesday had quoted Malaysia’s air force chief General Rodzali Daud as saying that radar had last detected the plane over the Malacca Strait off western Malaysia, far from its planned route.
On Wednesday, he denied the report but said that authorities have not ruled out the possibility the plane changed course before losing contact.
The country’s civil aviation chief Azharuddin Abdul Rahman confirmed the new Andaman Sea search area to AFP but not did not specify whether it was based on any firm sign the plane might be there.