MH370: Search for plane debris narrows in southern corridor, says Hisham

KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia maintains that it is coordinating the 26-nation search for debris from the crashed Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, said acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein.

"We have always maintained, we are coordinating the search and rescue effort (SAR) from the start. There are 26 countries, and it involves many vessels and aircraft. We are very lucky that so many countries have been forthcoming and supporting our efforts," said Hishammuddin at the daily MH370 press conference at the Putra World Trade Centre on Tuesday.

He expressed Malaysia's gratitude for the assistance offered by Australia in searching for the Boeing 777, adding that the search area had now been narrowed to a point in the southern corridor in the Indian Ocean off Australian waters.

"Here and in Parliament earlier, I have stated our gratitude to Australia because the satellite images, whether from the French, Chinese or Australians were in the quadrant in which Australia was to lead," said Hishammudin.

He said that earlier on in the search, Indonesia was to have searched the areas of the southern corridor close to its waters, adding that Indonesia and Australia were the only two countries close to the southern corridor in the Indian Ocean.

"Yes, we are narrowing the search, that narrowing of the search involves the southern tip of the southern corridor and the closest country, Australia has taken a very major part," he added.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced on Monday night that based on new analysis by satellite company Inmarsat and the UK Air Accidents Investigation Branch (AAIB) on the satellite data provided, it was concluded that MH370 flew along the southern corridor to its last position in the middle of the Indian Ocean west of Perth.

The Beijing-bound MH370 disappeared after taking off from the Kuala Lumpur International Airport on March 8. It carried 239 passengers and crew.