Liow: New equipment will boost search for MH370

Liow: New equipment will boost search for MH370
A woman writes a message on a board for family members of passengers onboard the missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 at the Malaysian Chinese Association headquarters in Kuala Lumpur on April 6, 2014.

PETALING JAYA - Malaysia is seeking further expert assistance from the United States and the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) in the MH370 and MH17 disasters, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai.

"We are moving well, so we are seeking US support if they have any further equipment. Now we need more, to see if there is more technology and experts to find the plane," he said.

Liow, who is in the United States to meet Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx, was quoted in USA Today as saying that he wanted to convey Malaysia's gratitude for the US support in searching for Flight 370.

According to USA Today, the search for the missing aircraft covers "an area of the ocean floor the size of West Virginia".

"The US Navy stopped providing its contracted Bluefin-21 submersible months ago. Instead, one of the Malaysian search contractors has hired a Bluefin towed-sonar unit from Phoenix International of Maryland to help resume the search," the report said.

USA Today also reported that Liow would visit the ICAO in Montreal next week "to push for better flight tracking to prevent another Flight 370".

He is also expected to push for ICAO to adopt resolutions for better access to crash sites "because investigators are still unable to get to the part of Ukraine where Flight 17 was shot down July 17 with 298 people aboard".

Despite a ceasefire, the site is still inaccessible.

"Winter is coming," Liow was quoted as saying. "We remain concerned that this will hamper the investigation."

Liow said that while voice and data recorders were recovered from the plane, safety experts needed to examine the wreckage to determine what happened.

"We suspect definitely that it's a missile hitting the plane," he said.

According to USA Today, Liow would ask Foxx and ICAO to support stronger coordination between governments and airlines about conflict zones that represent potential threats to airlines.

Liow said the two disasters had hit Malaysia hard.

"We are very, very depressed and very sad over these two incidents," he said.

"We are very moved to see so many countries coming forward to help us."

Liow also noted that Malaysia Airlines was important to Malaysia because the economies of the airline and country grew together.

"It is iconic," he said of MAS. "There is a lot of emotion in it."

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