A team of National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) investigators left the U.S. for Asia on Saturday night, in order to assist with the investigation into the disappearance of the March 8 Malaysia Airlines Flight 370, which went missing on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
“Once the location of the airplane is determined, International Civil Aviation Organization protocols will determine which country will lead the investigation,” according to a statement by the NTSB, which said it wants its personnel in position in Asia in order to offer U.S. assistance.
Dozens of ships and aircraft from 10 countries have been searching the seas around Malaysia and south of Vietnam, looking for a debris field. An oil slick sighted by airborne observers was determined to have not been made by the plane.
The NTSB investigators were accompanied by technical advisers from Boeing and the Federal Aviation Administration.
The plane lost contact with controllers while over the South China Sea. Aviation experts are speculating that whatever happened was quick and left the pilots with no time to place a distress call.
Military radar indicates that the missing Boeing 777 jet may have turned back before vanishing,
Malaysia's air force chief said Sunday as authorities were investigating up to four passengers with suspicious identifications, including at least two who were passports stolen approximately a year ago – a circumstance which has fueled rumors about terrorism being the cause of the plane’s disappearance.