Security guards stand in front of the main gate house of the area where captain Zahari Ahmad Shah lives, the pilot captain of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 plane, in Shah Alam on March 15, 2014. AFP PHOTO / MOHD RASFAN
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Malaysia said Sunday the number of countries searching for a missing airliner had nearly doubled to 25 as a full-scale criminal probe into its disappearance got under way, with particular scrutiny of the pilots.Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said the number of participating countries had jumped from 14 to 25 as the search for the aircraft focused on two vast, and vastly contrasting, land and ocean transport corridors.The Malaysian foreign ministry briefed representatives from 22 countries on Sunday, including the central Asian states of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan and Turkmenistan, and requested support in the form of satellite and radar data.For anguished relatives, the news the plane had been diverted was a double-edged sword -- holding out the slim hope that hijackers had landed the plane somewhere, while ushering in another agonising open-ended waiting period.The last satellite communication from the plane on March 8 came nearly eight hours after it took off -- around the time the airline has said it would have run out of fuel.Flying along the northern corridor would have required the plane to travel undetected through numerous national airspaces in a strategically sensitive region.
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