PHU QUOC ISLAND, Vietnam, March 11 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam is to further widen the search for the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner in cooperation with other countries involved, the chief coordinator of the country's search and rescue mission said Tuesday.
Although the chances are remote, Vietnam will not give up until the Boeing 777 aircraft is found, said Pham Quy Tieu, who is also deputy transport minister.
Flight MH 370 suddenly vanished from radar early Saturday morning while carrying 239 people from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing. A total of 10 planes sent by Vietnam are scouring the waters around the flight's last known location, but no solid clues have been found so far.
Do Minh Tuan, deputy commander of the Vietnam Air Force, told Xinhua that the field of view was affected by heavy foggy weather in the morning and sight will not be clear until the fog disperses, prolonging the search time. The sea waves are not heavy enough to affect the operation, he added.
Pham Quy Tieu said Vietnam has mobilized air and naval forces, maritime and aviation sectors and fishermen to engage in the search mission.
Staff at the coordination office on the front will be on duty 24 hours a day. Jets and vessels on the search mission have separate hotlines to the office, through which they can contact the office at any time if anything is found, as well as two regular contacts per day -- one in the morning and the other in the afternoon.
He said the focus of today's search will be in two major areas, with two planes sent to the southwest, off Phu Quoc Island, and three planes sent to the northeastern seas off the country's southmost Ca Mau Port.
Air and naval forces will work in cooperation on a rescue if any clues are unveiled. The search planes will also fly over the Malay Peninsula to enter the Strait of Malacca, where Vietnam is able to coordinate with Malaysia, Singapore and other involved countries.
Vietnam will do its utmost to mobilize all domestic search forces to extend the search scope, to answer questions from reporters around the world, and especially to satisfy the need of the passengers' families for more relevant information, Pham Quy Tieu said.
He noted Vietnam has a great responsibility to help Malaysia locate the missing flight. Vietnam hates to see an air crash, but something bad might already have happened, he said.
The head of Vietnam's National Committee for Search and Rescue, who was just dispatched from Hanoi to Phu Quoc Island, told Xinhua that no substantial obstacles have been encountered. He said although little has been found so far, Vietnam will continue with the search.
The committee also denied reports of several large fragments spotted in waters off southern Ba Ria Vung Tau province by China's Hong Kong Air Traffic Management Division, saying no fragments were found after a Vietnamese navy vessel was sent to the waters on search.
He said no progress has been made on the Vietnamese side, but a lot of reporters have gathered in Phu Quoc Island. Staff have been sent to local fishermen to inquire if they had witnessed any abnormal phenomenon on the sea on the day the plane went missing.
The staff have been asked to immediately report to the committee if any clues are picked up from the fishermen, he said.
Pham Quy Tieu also stressed that Kien Giang Province plays an important role in the mission and relevant departments, including medical services and security, must fully perform their respective duties if the wreckage is found. He required cranes and other specialized equipment to be prepared.
He also asked transport and security sectors to prepare for the reception of families of the passengers in case more arrive in Vietnam should any bodies of the passengers onboard be found.
Vo Van Tuan, deputy chief of staff of the Vietnamese People's Army, said the search and rescue team will carry out air, sea and land searches simultaneously. Vietnam will also expand the search scope on land, specifically to extend the search area in the southwest, southeast and central south, he said.