Missing MH370: Bid to narrow two search corridors

SEPANG - Multinational search teams scouring two vast tracts of territories totalling 7.68 million square kilometres, stretching from the southern Indian Ocean to Kazakhstan in the north to find MH370, are narrowing their search areas.

Acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said this was being done by re-examining all civilian, military and satellite data gathered from various countries in areas where the Malaysia Airlines (MAS) Boeing 777-200 aircraft might have flown over.

Malaysia has also asked for help from all relevant countries with satellite capabilities to help look for the aircraft.

Ships and aircraft looking for MH370 are also helping to narrow the search area by eliminating locations that have yielded no results.

“Over the past 24 hours we have been working hard with other countries to narrow the search corridors,” Hishammuddin told the media yesterday.

To better organise the search, the northern and southern corridors have each been divided into seven quadrants or sections, each made up of an area 740.8km by 740.8km.

The northern corridor extends from northern Thailand to the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan while the southern corridor covers Indonesia to the southern part of the Indian Ocean.

Hishammuddin said Australia and Indonesia would take the lead in the search areas covering their respective territories in the southern corridor while China and Kazakhstan had agreed to take the lead for the northern corridor.

He said he had spoken to almost all ASEAN leaders to request for aircraft, surface assets and sea vessels with deep ocean surveillance capabilities to help in the search.

“We are also asking international partners who have assisted us before to take another look at their primary radar data,” he said.

Hishammuddin said the Royal Malaysian Navy had deployed two more ships to the southern corridor, bringing the total in the area to four while the Air Force had sent two C-130 military transport aircraft to the area.

Other countries which have provided their assets include the United States (a P-8 Poseidon aircraft and a P-3 Orion aircraft); Australia (three P-3 Orion and one C-130); New Zealand (a P-3 Orion); South Korea (a P-3 Orion and a C-130); Japan (two P-3 Orions, two C-130 and a Gulfstream jet); and the United Arab Emirates (a C-17 aircraft and a Bombardier Dash-8 aircraft).

China has also made arrangements with Australia to send an aircraft to the southern corridor.

Hishammuddin said he had spoken to US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel yesterday morning to get American satellites, radar and ships to assist in the search in the southern corridor as it had the best capabilities in the area.