Strong cyclone hampers Chinese icebreaker's search mission for MH370
                 English.news.cn | 2014-03-24 23:41:14 | Editor: chengyang

ABOARD THE XUELONG, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese icebreaker the Xuelong reduced speed Monday to dodge a strong cyclone that would lash a sea area in the southern Indian Ocean, where possible debris from missing Malaysian jetliner MH370 was spotted by Chinese aircraft.

The weather condition at the target sea area would become worse Tuesday with a force 9 wind and wave height of 3.5 meters to 4.5 meters, which would greatly threaten the safety of the ship, said Wang Jianzhong, the Xuelong's captain.

Liu Shunlin, commander-in-chief for the search mission, said that as floating objects were usually drifting with ocean currents, the icebreaker had already entered a wide scope of suspicious sea area.

The ship would search the surrounding sea area first and cruise into the target location when the weather turned better, Liu said.

The helicopter-carrying Xuelong, or "Snow Dragon," left the Australian port of Fremantle for the southern Indian Ocean Friday after it received an order to join the hunt.

Earlier in the day, the crew of a Chinese IL-76 plane spotted some suspicious objects in the southern Indian Ocean while searching for the missing jetliner off Australia.

The crew reported the coordinates to the Australian command center and the Xuelong, which was en route to the sea area.

MH370, which carried 239 people en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, crashed in the middle of the Indian Ocean on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. Among the passengers, 154 are Chinese.

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