Transport Minister: Search and recovery teams to focus on bodies and black box

Above inset:Malaysia's Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai

KUALA LUMPUR - With the confirmation of QZ8501's crash, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai revealed that search and recovery (SAR) teams are focusing on retrieving the plane, the black box and the bodies.

Speaking at a press conference at Wisma MCA on Wednesday, Liow confirmed that debris and human bodies from the crashed flight were found 110 nautical miles southwest of Pangkalan Bun, Kalimantan Tengah.

"At the present, SAR operations and are still in progress and investigations of the debris found at the location are still on the way," he said.

Liow who is also the president of MCA told reporters that Malaysia offered its assistance to Indonesia when the news of the accident arrived.

"The Indonesian authorities accepted our help immediately," he said, adding that Malaysia sent three vessels and three aircraft to help with its search and rescue plans.

According to Liow, the Malaysian team was assigned to scour 11,400 on the first day and 32,400 on the second day in which bodies and debris from the plane were found.

"Now, there is more work to be done. We will continue to assist the Indonesian authorities," he said, adding that he along with the SAR coordination centre in Subang are in constant contact with the Indonesian Transport Ministry.

Asked whether the number of plan related disasters in 2014 will force the aviation industry to impose stricter air traffic rules, Liow clarified that the International Civil Aviation Organisation are reviewing such suggestions during a meeting in Montreal.

"We are also discussing on how to improve the safety standards of all aviation companies in the world," he said.

Liow gave examples of black boxes which can float and also be able to continue recording for the whole flight's duration. Noting the flight's fate was a tragic accident, Liow extended condolences to the victim's families.