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U.S. sends destroyer to aid in search for missing plane

AP Photo/Andy Wong

Having found only a 12-mile long oil slick, search crews passed the 24-hour mark in their hunt for a missing Malaysia Airlines jet on Saturday night.

The United States dispatched a nearby destroyer to aid in the search, which should arrive in the Gulf of Thailand on Sunday. The State Department confirmed three passengers aboard the flight were U.S. citizens, although questions have emerged in regard to the full flight manifest.

Two individuals on the passenger list had actually reported their passports stolen in Thailand, and officials said they have not ruled out a terrorist attack as the cause of the plane’s disappearance. Captain J.F. Joseph, an aviation expert who spoke to TIME on Saturday, said the circumstances are certainly suspect:

The aircraft had not been at altitude long, and that strikes me as very, very odd. It’s too early to say if there was a bomb or terrorist activity, but it lost contact just as it began to level off at 35,000 feet. It would give some indication that what occurred was catastrophic or somewhat instantaneous. [TIME]