Missing MH370: More countries to join search

SEPANG - Countries the world over have continued to pledge their support to help Malaysian authorities locate missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.


Deputy Foreign Affairs Minister Datuk Hamzah Zainuddin, who engaged with representatives of 20 countries immediately after the prime minister's press conference yesterday, said the meeting discussed efforts to locate the missing aircraft.

He said the discovery of new technical information by various sources as announced by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak had led to the collaborative effort with the foreign missions.

"The meeting with all these foreign missions showed positive prospects and we believe we are heading in the correct direction."

He said the new satellite information had a significant impact on the nature and scope of the search mission.

Najib had earlier said they would be working with the relevant countries to request all information that could help in the search, including radar data.

"As the two new corridors involve many countries, the relevant foreign missions were invited for a briefing on this new information by our ministry and the technical experts."

Hamzah said he had instructed the ministry to give a full briefing to foreign governments which have passengers on the plane.

Indonesian embassy deputy chief of mission Hermono said in light of the latest information, his government was ready to extend its cooperation in the second part of the search-and-rescue mission along the south corridor, which passes through the Sumatran islands.

"We will share any data or information from our satellite or radar to assist in the investigation.

"We are now awaiting further information from the Malaysian authorities as they will re-strategise the search this evening."

Bernama reported that India had intensified efforts to locate the missing plane with the deployment of additional naval and air assets at an expanded area in central and east Bay of Bengal.

Entering its third day, the Indian search efforts saw the deployment of two recently-acquired P-8I Long Range Maritime Patrol aircraft of the Indian Navy and one C-130J aircraft of the Indian Air Force in the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea, the Indian Defence Ministry said yesterday.

The Short Range Maritime Reconnaissance Dornier aircraft of the Indian Navy and the Coast Guard had been extensively deployed for the search operations.

Six ships (three each from the Indian Navy and the Indian Coast Guard) have been deployed, with Indian Navy ships Kesari and Saryu continuing their search as part of a multinational group in the Andaman Sea.

In addition to Coast Guard ships Kanaklata Barua and Bhikaji Cama in the Andaman Sea, CGS Sagar has also been tasked to undertake the search in the Straits of Malacca.

Eastern Naval Command has also provided aircraft assets, including the P-8I aircraft, for search efforts in the Bay of Bengal. As the lead service, the Indian Navy has maintained continuous liaison with the operations centres of the Royal Malaysian Navy and the Royal Malaysian Air Force to coordinate the ongoing multinational efforts involving over 14 countries.

The Indian Navy has coordinated search over an area spanning more than 250,000 sq km in the Andaman Sea and the Bay of Bengal, thus far.

Meanwhile, Vietnam has decided to end the search mission for the missing jet after it was informed that Malaysia had decided to stop searching for the Boeing 777-200ER in the South China Sea, a senior military officer said at Vietnam's National Committee for Search and Rescue.

Quoting China's Xinhua news agency, Bernama reported that Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of the General Staff of Vietnam People's Army, said the decision was made after Vietnam received information from the Vietnamese ambassador to Malaysia yesterday that Malaysia has decided to end the search in the South China Sea.

Do Ba Ty, chief of the General Staff of Vietnam People's Army and deputy defence minister, announced the decision at a meeting held at the headquarters of the Defence Ministry upon consideration of the information.

Bernama also reported that Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong had assured that the republic was ready to provide further support in locating the missing aircraft.

In his letter to Najib, Lee said: "I am deeply saddened that Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 remains missing."

He said Singapore had deployed aircraft and ships to join the search for the missing aircraft.

"After we spoke on the phone on March 8, 2014, Singapore has deployed aircraft and ships to join in the search for the missing aircraft.

"We are cooperating closely with the Malaysian government in its search and locate operation, and hope that the missing plane will be located soon."

Malaysia Airlines hunts for missing plane