KUALA LUMPUR, March 12 -- International search for a missing Malaysia Airlines plane has entered the fifth day, as Malaysia's air force chief Wednesday denied reports that radar had detected the plane over the Straits of Malacca.
"I wish to state that I did not make any such statements," Gen. Rodzali Daud said in a statement.
But he said the air force has not ruled out the possibility that the Beijing-bound aircraft had turned back before it vanished from the radar. The belief resulted in the search area being widened to the vicinity of the waters off the west coast of Malaysia, he said.
Meanwhile, Malaysia Airlines issued a statement Tuesday night, saying the company was shocked by pictures and videos showing that Fariq Ab Hamid, the first officer of the ill-fated flight, once invited two Australian girls into the cockpit and took photos with them, in a separate flight.
"We have not been able to confirm the validity ... We are in the midst of a crisis, and we do not want our attention to be diverted," the airlines said.
Passengers are not allowed to enter the cockpit during a flight.
An international terrorism probe triggered by two Iranians boarding the missing plane with stolen passports has not finished, as John Brennan, director of the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), said Tuesday the possibility of a terror link could not be ruled out.
Asked if the agency could rule out a terror link in the case, the CIA head said: "No, we're not ruling it out. Not at all."
Interpol Secretary General Ronald Noble said earlier Tuesday that it appeared increasingly certain the two Iranians, Seyed Mohammed Reza Delavar and Pouria Nourmohammadi, were probably not terrorists, but illegal migrants seeking a new life in Europe.
Echoing Noble's statement, Khalid Abu Bakar, Malaysia's national police chief, also said the authority believes that Nourmohammadi is not likely to be a member of any terrorist group, and that he is trying to migrate to Germany.
As over 10 countries are scouring the waters around Flight MH370's last known location, more countries like India, Japan and France have joined the search and rescue.
Indian naval vessels patrolling the Malacca Straits are joining the search and rescue operations, reported local daily Times Now online Tuesday.
French Foreign Ministry spokesperson Romain Nadal said Tuesday the country is "ready for an eventual assistance" in searching for the plane. There were four French nationals on board the plane.
Japan will also join the massive international hunt. Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Tuesday that an advance staff team of four Air Self-Defense Force transport aircraft would leave for Kuala Lumpur later in the day at the request of Malaysia.
The Boeing 777-200 aircraft suddenly vanished from radar early Saturday morning while carrying 227 passengers and 12 crew members from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Among the passengers, 154 were Chinese.