China goes all-out to search for missing flight

From: Xinhua Updated: 2014-03-11 08:47
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BEIJING, March 10 (Xinhua) -- China has been making all-out efforts to search for the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 with almost two-thirds of the passengers from China after more than 60 hours since it lost contact.

The search range of the six ships involved in the rescue efforts has been clarified, according to He Jianzhong, chief of China's Maritime Search and Rescue Center and vice minister of transport.

Chinese warship Mianyang and a marine police vessel with hull number 3411 have begun searching the sea where the Beijing-bound MH370 flight from Kuala Lumpur might have lost contact, he said.

He said that three more patrol and rescue vessels under the command of the transport ministry are expected to arrive in the area on Monday and Tuesday. Their hull numbers are 115, 31 and 101.

As of 10 p.m. Tuesday, the rescue forces from China will increase to a total of six vessels and three helicopters on the target area, said Zhuo Li, deputy director with the China Marine Search and Rescue Center (CMSRC) of the Ministry of Transport.

He said that China's maritime search and rescue forces will keep in close contact and cooperate with Malaysian and Vietnamese search forces. China will also mobilize merchant ships to assist with the search.

On Monday night, a working group with 13 members composed of officials with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation Administration of China (CAAC) has arrived at Malaysia for handling the aftermath of the missing Malaysian Airlines flight.

Guo Shaochun, deputy head of the Department of Consular Affairs with China's Foreign Ministry, said at the airport that the group will start working immediately.

"We will call on the Malaysian side and other foreign parties involved in the rescue work to work together with Chinese planes and ships, to intensify research and rescue efforts, strengthen coordination and not to give up only if there is any hope," Guo said earlier.

He also said the working group planned to coordinate with Malaysia and other countries to investigate the incident.

NO BREAKTHROUGH

Chinese marine police rescuers have found oil slicks in waters around the search site for a missing Malaysian plane and have sent samples to relevant authorities for analysis.

Samples were sent via proper channels on Monday at noon, according to a brief statement from China's marine police bureau.

However, the statement provided no detail on whether the samples will be sent back to China or to the nearest lab.

China called on Malaysia to accelerate the search for the flight.

"We hope Malaysia can fully understand China, especially the mood of the Chinese passengers' families and speed up investigation, search and rescue efforts," Foreign Ministry spokesman Qin Gang said at a daily news briefing.

"We hope Malaysia can make it clear as soon as possible," Qin said, while acknowledging the importance Malaysia attached to dealing with the incident and their sincerity to do all it could.

"The missing plane belongs to the Malaysian Airlines, so it is reasonable that the Malaysian side takes the major responsibility of the search and rescue work," Qin said.

So far, there's still no exact information about the location of the flight, according to Malaysian Airlines.

ANXIOUS RELATIVES

After waiting for three days in Hotel of Lido in Beijing, relatives of the passengers on broad the missing flight want nothing but more information about their missing family members.

Beijing has launched emergency rescue services, as well as a "green channel" for passport applications, said Liu Zhi, deputy secretary general of Beijing municipal government at a press conference.

However less and less relatives of the passengers are willing to travel to Malaysia for no purpose.

"What can we do there when they don't even know the location of the plane," said a relative, who decided to stay with his family in Beijing.

A middle-aged woman whose daughter was on the missing flight, believes her kid is fine.

"Her company asked me about compensation, but I don't want to think about it right now," said the mother, "It's too earlier to jump to any conclusion."

The Municipal government will also provide legal aid and psychological counselling for the relatives of the passengers.

The government has also ensured their accommodation and other services, he said.

As of 5 p.m. Monday, five reception sites have received a total of 357 relatives of passengers onboard the missing flight.

As of 7 p.m. Monday, the Civil Aviation Administration of China(CAAC) has not yet received any application from Malaysia Airlines for the chartered airplane for passengers' relatives, according to the CAAC.

As soon as they receive an application, the CAAC will offer convenience, said the CAAC.

On Monday night, Malaysian Airlines said they will offer a "special consolation payment" of 31,000 yuan (5049.9 U.S. dollars) for each family of the passengers on broad the missing flight. Family members of the passengers are expected to receive the money on Tuesday afternoon.

Contact with the Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 was lost along with its radar signal at 1:20 a.m. Beijing time on Saturday as it was flying over the Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control area in Vietnam.

The flight was carrying 12 crew members and 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese.

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