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Malaysia to send working team to China over missing jet as multinational search operation continues

English.news.cn   2014-03-20 00:22:04

BEIJING, March 19 (Xinhua) -- The multinational search operation for the missing flight MH370 continued Wednesday as Malaysia announced it would send a high-level working team to Beijing to deal with the issues related to the missing jet that carried 154 Chinese nationals out of 239 passengers.

Cambodia and Bangladesh said Wednesday that no sign of the missing Malaysian plane has been found in their sea waters.

"We have been using four helicopters and two naval vessels to search at islands and maritime zone near Vietnamese border since Tuesday, but have not found any trace of the missing flight MH370, " Vice Admiral Tea Sokha, commander of the Cambodian Maritime Space, told Xinhua over telephone.

"Search operations are still going on," said the leader of Cambodia's search team.

The Cambodian Ministry of Defense on Tuesday ordered the related units of Cambodia's Army, Navy and Air Force to be actively engaged with the fishermen in the search for any signs of the missing plane, a Boeing 777.

"The Ministry of Defense vows to actively join with other countries to search for the missing jetliner and is ready to help facilitate and support the China-Malaysia search and rescue team if they are willing to come to Cambodia for further search or investigation," the ministry said in a statement.

The Malaysia Airlines flight MH 370 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing, mysteriously disappeared in the early hours of March 8.

Malaysia on Saturday decided to shift the search to one of the two possible corridors -- a northern one from the border of Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan to northern Thailand, and a southern one stretching from Indonesia to the southern Indian Ocean.

Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said on Wednesday that Malaysia would send a high-level working team to Beijing to deal with issues related to the missing plane.

"The team will give briefings and updates to the next of kin on the latest situation, and on search and rescue plans," said Hishammuddin, who is also Malaysia's defence minister.

He told a press conference that the team would be comprised of representatives from the Prime Minister's Office, the Foreign Ministry, the Royal Air Force, the Department of Civil Aviation and Malaysia Airlines.

The team, led by Lt. Gen. Dato'Sri Ackbal bin Haji Abdul Samad, air operation commander of the Royal Air Force, would also include a senior Boeing 777 pilot.

Meanwhile, the minister urged related countries to share "any and all information that could help with the investigation and the search for MH 370."

"I can confirm that we have received some radar data, but we are not at liberty to release information from other countries," he said.

On the police investigation, the minister said some data had been deleted from the flight simulator found at the captain's home and experts were trying to retrieve them.

Reports said Captain Zaharie Ahmad Shah, 53, had more than 18,000 hours of flying experience, and is keen on cooking and flying. He is also a member of Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim's party.

Background checks have been conducted on passengers except those from Russia and Ukraine, he said, stressing that "no information of significance on any passengers has been found."

He also dismissed reports alleging that a low flying jumbo jet sighted in the Maldives on the morning of the plane's disappearance could be MH370.

Bangladesh said Wednesday that it has strengthened its efforts to search for the missing MH370.

Bangladesh Navy Tuesday deployed its largest and heaviest guided missile frigate BNS Somudro Joy to strength its search operation, Bangladesh Navy Spokesman Syed Moksudul Hakim told a press briefing Wednesday.

"We've already searched 8,709 square km area in the Bay of Bengal for Malaysia Airlines plane MH370," he said. "But no clue has been found so far."

"Bangladesh Navy will continue to search for the missing plane until it receives further order from the Bangladeshi government in this connection," Hakim told a press conference in Dhaka.

Following Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's order, Bangladesh Navy on March 14 launched the search with two frigates and two aircraft.

Also on Wednesday, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hong Lei said that so far, no trace of missing flight MH370 entering Chinese territory or airspace has been found.

"With a vast area of territory, search work is still in full swing," Hong told a press briefing. Radar and satellite data for parts of China covered by the "northern corridor" have been examined in meticulous detail at the request of the Malaysian side.

"China has shared satellite data with Malaysia at the request of the Malaysian side," Hong said, adding that China will give further information when data are completely verified.

"China has conveyed Malaysia's request to all countries related through diplomatic channels to express hope for their efforts to take part in the international search," Hong said, calling for further coordination with Malaysia in the search.

"China has repeatedly asked the Malaysian side to take care of relatives of passengers and respond to their reasonable concerns," Hong said.

Editor: yan
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