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More ships arrive in southern Indian Ocean as search for Malaysian airliner continues

English.news.cn   2014-03-29 20:16:30

CANBERRA, March 29 (Xinhua) -- Aircraft crews on Saturday reported further objects floating in the southern Indian Ocean during the second day searching a new area for missing Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 as further ships arrived in the hope of retrieving the materials.

The crew of a Chinese Ilyushin IL-76 spotted three floating objects colored white, red and orange from a height of 300 meters.

Also on Saturday, New Zealand Air Vice Marshal Kevin Short said a cluster of 11 white rectangular objects was sitting below surface of the ocean about 1,600 km west of Perth.

The objects, including a 1-meter rectangular piece of material, were within a radius of 5 meters, he said.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Saturday that the authorities were transporting a U.S.black box locator to the area to search for the aircraft's cockpit voice and flight data recorders.

"It will be taken to the most prospective search area and if there is good reason to deploy it, it will be deployed," he told reporters in Sydney. He also warned the difficulty of the task.

"These are inhospitable seas. We are trying to find small bits of wreckage in a vast ocean," he said.

The Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on Saturday confirmed it had issued protocols on how to deal with possible aircraft debris to countries involved in the southern Indian Ocean search for Malaysia Airlines flight MH370.

However, it remained tight-lipped on reports that the Australian authorities were seeking to persuade Malaysian officials to conduct their investigation into the presumed crash in Australia.

The Australian Maritime Safety Authority (AMSA) said Australian navy frigate HMAS Toowoomba was leaving Perth to join five Chinese vessels and another Australian ship in the search area, but the 1, 800-km trip would take about three days.

The Chinese Maritime Safety Administration ship Haixun 01 had been on scene for relocating objects from first light, it said.

A total of eight aircraft were tasked with searching the area on Saturday: three Royal Australian Air Force P3 Orions, a Japanese Coast Guard jet, a Japanese P3 Orion, a Royal New Zealand Air Force P3 Orion, a Chinese People's Liberation Army Air Force Ilyushin IL-76, and one civil jet acting as a communications relay.

The weather was expected to deteriorate later in the day, said an AMSA statement.

Despite numerous sightings of floating objects from satellites and aircraft, none of the objects have yet been retrieved, but searchers need to recover debris in order to better understand what happened to the Boeing 777 which disappeared with 239 passengers and crew en route from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing on March 8.

AMSA announced Friday that the search area was being shifted about 1,100 km to the northeast on what was said to be a credible new lead developed from a refined analysis of satellite and radar monitoring of the aircraft before it disappeared.

The new search area, at 319,000 square km, is about four times bigger than the previous search area in the southern Indian Ocean and is just 1,850 km due west of Perth.

Officials were hoping the more moderate conditions and calmer waters would improve the chances of finding and retrieving possible debris from the water.


Editor: Shen Qing
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