Home World Asia News Missing plane: Chinese ships search new area of Indian Ocean

Missing plane: Chinese ships search new area of Indian Ocean

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A new search area of the Indian Ocean is being scoured by Chinese ships in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet.

The two vessels are trying to find and retrieve a number of items spotted by planes on Friday.

Chinese aircraft are also flying over the area, north-east of the previous zone, and have spotted more objects, China’s Xinhua news agency says.


Chinese ships are scouring a new search area of the Indian Ocean in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet

Chinese ships are scouring a new search area of the Indian Ocean in the hunt for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet

The Beijing-bound airliner disappeared on March 8 with 239 people on board.

Chinese patrol ship Haixun 01, and a navy vessel, Jinggangshan, which carries two helicopters, reached the new search area in the past few hours.

Xinhua said the Jinggangshan was expected to focus on searching for debris, oil slicks and life jackets.

Eight aircraft are also taking part in the operation, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA), the authority confirmed in a statement.

Later on Saturday one of them, a Chinese reconnaissance aircraft, spotted three orange, white and red objects floating in the ocean. Some were very small, and officials have cautioned that they may be sea junk.

On Friday five search planes spotted multiple objects of various colors in the same area – about 700 miles north-east of the previous search zone.

Investigators will not know whether the objects are connected to the missing plane until they have been recovered by ships.

Bad weather has hampered the search efforts in recent days.

Saturday’s conditions are expected to be favorable initially but to deteriorate later in the day.

Meanwhile Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein says he has reassured the families of the missing passengers that the search for any survivors will continue.

Some relatives of the flight’s 153 Chinese passengers have refused to accept the Malaysian account of events and have accused officials of withholding information.

Hishammuddin Hussein: “If there is any lead or information that involves survivors, that has been our priority.”

“No matter how remote the search, I am always hoping against hope that we will find survivors,” Hishammuddin Hussein told the latest news conference following a meeting with the families on Saturday.

The Australian and Malaysian governments said on Friday the search area had been changed following further analysis of radar data that showed the plane had been travelling faster, thus burning more fuel.

This would reduce the possible distance the aircraft travelled south into the Indian Ocean, officials said.

Search efforts had until Friday morning focused on an area some 1,550 miles to the south-west of the Australian city of Perth.

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