Chal­lenges in search for MH370 ‘un­prece­dented’

Chi­nese team has scoured more than 200,000 sq km of In­dian Ocean

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By CHINA DAILY and AGENCIES

The chal­lenges faced by Chi­nese per­son­nel in­volved in the search for Malaysia Air­lines flight MH370 are “un­prece­dented”, said na­tional mar­itime search and res­cue cen­ter deputy di­rec­tor Zhuo Li on Thurs­day.

Chi­nese op­er­a­tions in the multi­na­tional ef­fort have cov­ered more than 200,000 square kilo­me­ters in the area 1,850 km west of Perth, Aus­tralia. The area cov­ered in the re­mote south­ern In­dian Ocean is about one-third the size of China, Zhuo said.

Up to eight air­craft and nine ships were in­volved on Thurs­day in the hunt for MH370, which dis­ap­peared on March 8 en route from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing. The plane was car­ry­ing 239 people, in­clud­ing 154 Chi­nese pas­sen­gers.

The search area, which Aus­tralia is co­or­di­nat­ing, will be ad­justed fur­ther north, said re­tired Aus­tralian air chief mar­shal An­gus Hous­ton.

In a brief­ing to Malaysian Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak, who ar­rived at the base of the op­er­a­tions in Perth on Wed­nes­day to meet those con­duct­ing the search, Hous­ton said that Aus­tralia is do­ing ev­ery­thing it can to as­sist Malaysia to find MH370.

“It is the most chal­leng­ing and de­mand­ing search and re­cov­ery op­er­a­tions I’ve seen and prob­a­bly one of the most com­plex op­er­a­tions of this na­ture the world has seen,” said Hous­ton, who heads the Joint Agency Co­or­di­na­tion Cen­ter co­or­di­nat­ing the oper­a­tion.

Na­jib also met his Aus­tralian coun­ter­part Tony Ab­bott at the base and spoke to the com­man­ders of the seven na­tions who were there as part of search ef­forts.

The eight planes and nine ships s cour ed about 223,000 square km, 1,680 km north­west of Perth on Thurs­day.

The Malaysian and Aus­tralian lead­ers pledged their com­mit­ment to find MH370.

Na­jib promised the fam­i­lies of the vic­tims that Malaysia would not give up the search.

“I know that un­til we find the plane, many fam­i­lies can­not start to grieve. I can­not imag­ine what they must be go­ing through. But I can prom­ise them that we will not give up,” he said.

Speak­ing at a joint news con­fer­ence, Ab­bott also promised that Aus­tralia will not rest un­til it has done ev­ery­thing it hu­manly can in the search for the plane.

He said they can­not be “cer­tain of ul­ti­mate suc­cess” in find­ing the plane but all coun­tries were do­ing their best un­der very dif­fi­cult con­di­tions.

Ab­bott also asked the fam­i­lies to be pa­tient and said Aus­tralia wel­comes them when the time comes for them to go to Perth. Malaysia Air­lines had promised to fly the fam­i­lies to Perth pend­ing ap­proval from au­thor­i­ties.


Aus­tralia’s Prime Min­is­ter Tony Ab­bott (left) and Malaysia’s Prime Min­is­ter Na­jib Razak tour Pearce Aus­tralian air force base near Perth on Thurs­day. A nu­clear-pow­ered sub­ma­rine has joined the near-four week hunt that has so far failed to find any sign of the miss­ing Malaysia Air­lines flight MH370 and the 239 people on­board.

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