|A staff member of the Search Command Center in Phu Quoc island displays the expanded search areas for the vanished Malaysian Airlines flight on a map in Phu Quoc island, Vietnam, on March 14, 2014. Vietnam extended their sea search to two new areas off the southern coast here on Friday as rescue efforts for the vanished Malaysian Airlines flight reached nearly a week, Xinhua learned from local officials. (Xinhua/Lui Siu Wai)
PHU QUOC, VIETNAM, March 14 (Xinhua) -- Vietnam extended their sea search to two new areas off the southern coast here on Friday as rescue efforts for the vanished Malaysian Airlines flight reached nearly a week, Xinhua learned from local officials.
Following futile efforts on Thursday to track three pieces of debris picked up by Chinese Satellites, Vietnamese officials at the Search Command Center in Phu Quoc island told a handful of reporters still staying there that the search areas have been expanded.
"Five aircraft and eight boats have been sent to search the new areas. there are also four helicopters on standby to provide reinforcements if necessary," officials told Xinhua but declined to be named as they are not authorized to speak to media.
The first new search area, which is shaped like a square, spans an area of 8 degrees north latitude and 104 degrees east longitude by 7 degrees north by 104 degrees east and 8 degrees north and 105 degrees east and 7 degrees north by 105 degrees east. This square area is only about 27 nautical miles away from the reported last known position of the MH370 flight.
The second search area is shaped like a triangle and is connected to the square at its southern point. It spans an area 8 degrees north and 107.30 degrees and 7 degrees north by 107.30 degrees east.
Despite Vietnam, Singapore and Malaysia sending flights to the reported location in South Vietnam where possible debris of the missing flight was spotted by Chinese satellites on Thursday the search proved to be futile.
Four aircraft and one helicopter were scrambled by the Vietnam government in the latest search efforts. These composed of two seaplanes, two AM 26 crafts and one Mi17 helicopter, all of whom had returned empty handed.
U.S. officials have an "indication" the missing Malaysia Airlines jetliner may have crashed in the Indian Ocean and is moving the USS Kidd to the area to begin searching, international reports said.
It will take another 24 hours to move the ship into position.
Pentagon officials said that the USS Kidd was being moved at the request of Malaysia and is heading towards an area where the Indian Ocean and the Andaman Sea meet. The ship has helicopters aboard that can scour the area.
The mystery of flight MH 370 that went missing about an hour after take off continues to deepen as search operations edge close to a week with no news of the 239 passengers and crew on board.