Chinese aircraft offers hope to search for missing jet off Australia
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-22 17:05:05 | Editor: Zhu Ningzhu

AUSTRALIA-PERTH-CHINESE AIRCRAFTS-ARRIVAL
Chinese aircrafts land on a tarmac in Perth, Australia, on March 22, 2014. Two Ilyushin Il-76 aircraft from Chinese Air Force left Malaysia on Saturday for Australia to join the search for a missing Malaysian plane in the southern Indian Ocean. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)

PERTH, Australia, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Australia's acting Prime Minister Warren Truss said Saturday that the arrival of Chinese military aircraft has provided a glimmer of hope as the search continues across the southern Indian Ocean for any signs of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

Speaking from Pearce Airbase, 45 km south of Perth, Mr Truss told Xinhua that the two Chinese IL-76 cargo planes due to land at the RAAF airbase Saturday afternoon (AEDT) were the ideal tools to bring into the search.

"We welcome the additional assets.. they have a capability I'm told, they are a good platform for visual observations and it is more likely a pair of eyes will identify something floating in an ocean so those two Chinese aircraft will certainly improve our capacity."

The acting prime minister said that the Australian P3 Orions currently scouring an area 2,500 km off Australia's western coastline will be joined by two Chinese aircraft.

"They will join the search tomorrow (and a) Japanese plane will arrive and it will join the search Monday or Tuesday."

The Australian vessel HMAS Success is expected to arrive in the search area later Saturday and "significant vessels" were coming from China, including the Kunlunshan, Truss said.

Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) group captain Craig Heap said that Australia "very much appreciates the international effort associated with this task," adding that the Australian search area had so far covered some 500,000 square kilometers.

According to Heap, two Chinese IL-76 planes operating from this base will commence missions on Sunday.

"It is primarily a visual search so we need to be low, to be close to the water and to be there as long as we can," he said.

Heap, the RAAF pilot responsible for the search, said that he was "reasonably confident of finding something."

Analysis of satellite images identified Thursday two large objects that may have come from the missing jetliner. The objects were spotted about 2,500 km southwest of Perth.

Despite over 15 sorties flown by U.S. P8 Poseidon, Australian and New Zealand P3 Orions, no findings related to the suspicious debris have been reported as yet.

"We intend to continue the search until we are absolutely satisfied that further searching is futile -- and that day is not in sight at this stage. We are planning for it (the search) to continue indefinitely," Truss said.

Australia was committed to its international responsibilities, truss told reporters.

Truss added that even though the objects identified as possible remnants of flight MH370 were not a definite lead, they were "more substantial than any other."

"It's important (to continue the search) from the perspective of those who have families and indeed for the future of the aviation industry we do whatever we can. Firstly (we must) confirm the sightings are indeed connected in anyway with MH370 flight and if so what can be recovered... so we can learn more about this flight and any lessons to ensure if this happens again."

Related:

New satellite data guides hunt for missing Malaysian airline in Southern Indian Ocean

CANBERRA, March 22 (Xinhua) -- Search operations in the Southern Indian Ocean for a missing Malaysia Airlines aircraft resumed, the Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) announced on Saturday, saying that the current search area, about 2,500 kilometers southwest of Australia, was identified based on satellite data on Thursday.

The AMSA said so far no sightings have been reported, and the current search area was identified based on satellite images provided by the Australian Geospatial-Intelligence Organization ( AGO).  Full story

No trace but conditions improve in "Southern Search" for missing Malaysian flight

PERTH, Australia, March 21 (Xinhua) -- The lead Royal Australian Air force (RAAF) search plane has returned from the remote Southern Ocean on Friday with a squadron captain reporting no trace or possible sightings of the missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370.

Landing at Pearce Airbase, 50 km south of Perth, RAAF Flight Lieutenant Russell Adams stepped directly off the AP-3C Orion search and rescue aircraft at 7.30 p.m. AEST and told the gathering journalists that despite improved conditions, his squadron had made no progress in the withering search for signs of the Malaysia airlines flight that vanished without trace two weeks ago. Full story

China sets up working group to guide icebreaker's MH370 search

BEIJING, March 21 (Xinhua) -- China's oceanic administration on Friday set up a working group to manage icebreaker Xuelong's search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.

Xuelong(Snow Dragon) is set to head for the southern Indian Ocean before 6 p.m. Friday local time from the western Australian port of Fremantle, where it arrived to resupply on Friday morning.Full story

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