PERTH, Australia, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese aircraft and vessels reached their target area in the southern Indian Ocean, some 1,100 nautical miles west of Perth, Wednesday to continue the search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
A Chinese IL-76 aircraft, the first plane taking off from Perth International airport on Wednesday, reached its target area in the morning.
As the route was covered by thick clouds and the meteorologic condition in the target area was unclear while approaching, the plane's captain Wang Quansheng communicated with Chinese icebreaker Xuelong, which had already been in the area, for meteorologic information, a Xinhua correspondent aboard the plane said.
The plane, hovering at about 300 meters above the sea, scoured about 7,000 square km after flying 660 km in the target area. After extending the search for about half an hour, the Chinese plane returned to the Perth airport at 12:50 p.m. (GMT 0650).
The crew told Xinhua that the gale wind condition of 12 m/sec and the 3 to 3.5 meters wave height made spotting any floating objects from the air more difficult.
China sent two IL-76 planes to Australia to join the search for missing Flight MH370. On Monday, the searching crew sighted two relatively big floating objects in the southern Indian Ocean. However, the mission was suspended Tuesday due to bad weather conditions and was resumed Wednesday.
A Chinese naval flotilla of supply ship Qiandaohu, missile destroyer Haikou and amphibious transport dock Kunlunshan, was searching the target area, which is about 29,000 square km near 96 degrees east longitude and 43 degrees south latitude, an onboard Xinhua reporter said.
Another amphibious docking vessel, Jinggangshan, which had been previously sent to scour waters southwest of Sumatra, was sailing toward the patch of the southern Indian Ocean, and was expected to move into position on Sunday.
If Wednesday's search found nothing suspicious, the flotilla would move into the next phase, in which the ships would comb the area back and forth five times to ensure that no clue had been overlooked.
Meanwhile, a Chinese merchant ship had reached waters where French satellites had detected some suspicious items.
In addition, more Chinese military and civilian vessels were en route to the southern Indian Ocean to join the search mission. As of Tuesday, Chinese navy had searched a total area of 80,000 square km.
The Australian Maritime Safety Authorities (AMSA) tasked a total of 12 aircraft Wednesday to search for possible objects in the search area.
A total of seven military aircraft would join search operations: One Ilyushin IL-76 aircraft from China, a P3 Orion from Japan, a P3 Orion from South Korea, two Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) P3 Orion, a United States Navy P8 Poseidon, and a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion.
AMSA also said HMAS Success, the second largest ship of the Royal Australian Navy, was on its way back to the search area.
Also on Wednesday, Chinese special envoy Zhang Yesui met with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in Kuala Lumpur for discussions over the matter of the missing plane.
The Chinese vice foreign minister was also expected to confer with Malaysia's acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, as well as senior executives of the airline.
Timeline: The search for missing jet MH370
Malaysia says 122 potential objects identified in new satellite imagery for MH370 search
KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Malaysia announced Wednesday that 122 potential objects have been identified in new satellite imagery that might be connected to the ongoing search for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370. Full story
Chinese aircraft, icebreaker reach target areas, multinational search resumes for missing jetliner
BEIJING/PERTH, March 26 (Xinhua) -- A Chinese IL-76 aircraft reached the target area in the southern Indian Ocean on Wednesday morning and has begun searching for missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
A Xinhua correspondent aboard the plane said the meteorologic conditions were complicated. Full story
Chinese special envoy meets Malaysian PM over MH370
KUALA LUMPUR, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese special envoy Zhang Yesui met here Wednesday with Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak for discussions over the matter of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370.
Zhang, a Chinese vice foreign minister, is also expected to confer with Malaysia's acting transport minister, Hishammuddin Hussein, as well as the top brass of the airline. Full story