Rel­a­tives un­moved by new jet search

Hunt for MH370 to fo­cus on pri­or­ity area far­ther south of pre­vi­ous ef­fort

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By XU WEI and ZHAO LEI

News on Thurs­day of a fresh search zone for the Malaysia Air­lines plane that dis­ap­peared more than three months ago failed to lift the spir­its of rel­a­tives of the 154 Chi­nese pas­sen­gers on board.

Aus­tralian Deputy Prime Min­is­ter War­ren Truss said in Can­berra the new phase of the search will fo­cus on a pri­or­ity area of about 60,000 sq km far­ther south of the pre­vi­ous search area.

Aus­tralia is leading a multi­na­tional search for the Boe­ing 777-200 that had 239 people aboard when it dis­ap­peared on March 8 on a flight from Kuala Lumpur to Bei­jing.

Many coun­tries, in­clud­ing China, Malaysia and Aus­tralia, have joined the search but have failed to find the air­craft.

Liu Kun, of Jin­ing, Shan­dong prov­ince, whose brother was on the flight, said, “I feel numb even though they say the search is en­ter­ing a new phase.”

Liu said he be­lieves that people on the flight are still alive and that au­thor­i­ties should re­fo­cus their search ef­forts on land.

Jiang Hui, whose mother was on the flight, urged the search teams to pub­lish more de­tails.

“I’ve lost count of the num­ber of times the search area has been moved, and I ex­pect it will soon be moved yet again,” he said.

“If they do not pub­lish all the de­tails of how they have reached their con­clu­sions, they are hid­ing some­thing and I would never trust such con­clu­sions,” Jiang said.

On Tues­day, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping again urged Malaysia to draw up a plan to search for the plane and to cope with the aftermath of its dis­ap­pear­ance.

Xi made the ap­peal dur­ing a meet­ing in Bei­jing with Pandikar Amin Mu­lia, speaker of the Malaysian House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

He said China hopes that Malaysia will con­tinue to co­or­di­nate with other coun­tries on the search ef­forts.

Truss said the search in the new area could take place in two stages and in­clude an un­der­wa­ter sur­vey that will pro­vide a map of the new zone. This could take up to three months and be fol­lowed by a deep-wa­ter search that could take up to a year.

He said the new pri­or­ity zone will still fo­cus on the area where the air­craft last made con­tact with com­mu­ni­ca­tions sys­tems. “We are now shift­ing our at­ten­tion to an area far­ther south,” Truss added.

He said

the

au­thor­i­ties be­lieve it is “highly, highly likely” that the air­craft was on au­topi­lot when it dis­ap­peared.

The Chi­nese People’s Lib­er­a­tion Army navy ship Zhu Kezhen has been tasked by the Aus­tralian Trans­port Safety Bureau to un­der­take the sur­vey of the new search area along with a commercial ves­sel un­der con­tract from the Aus­tralian govern­ment.

Wang Ya’nan, deputy ed­i­torin- chief of Aero­space Knowl­edge mag­a­zine, said that pro­duc­ing a map of the seabed in the search area is the only op­tion for the search teams.

He added that the plane’s black box flight recorders had “died” more than two months ago. Con­tact the writ­ers at xuwei@ chi­nadaily.com.cn and zhaolei@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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