Search for MH370 enters day 6, China pledges to grasp every glimmer of hope

From: Xinhua Updated: 2014-03-14 10:32
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BEIJING, March 13 (Xinhua) -- China has vowed not to give up its efforts in searching for a missing Malaysia Airlines flight with 154 Chinese aboard after six days of futile efforts.

Premier Li Keqiang said on Thursday that China will keep searching for the missing flight "as long as there is a glimmer of hope".

Li made the remarks at a press conference shortly after the conclusion of China's annual legislative session.

"We will not give up any suspected clue that is being found," he said. "We are also looking very closely at all suspected clues showing on satellite images."

Li said that the Chinese government has asked all relevant parties in the ongoing massive international search to enhance coordination to investigate the cause and to locate the missing plane as soon as possible.

The Chinese government has activated a comprehensive contingency response and search operation, according to the premier.

Currently there are eight Chinese vessels in the related waters and another one is on its way towards the respected waters, he said, adding that 10 satellites are now being used to provide information and technological support.

"The Chinese government and Chinese people are all deeply concerned about safety of the plane," he said. "We are all eagerly awaiting news about the plane, even a slightest piece of good news."

His remarks came after a Chinese satellite found three floating objects on South China Sea of the missing plane, which, however, has been denied by Malaysian officials.

Malaysian Acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said at a press conference that nothing has been found at the site where Chinese satellites spotted three floating objects in the hunt for the missing flight.

"A Malaysian Maritime Enforcement Agency surveillance plane was dispatched this morning to investigate potential debris shown on Chinese satellite images," the minister said, "we deployed our assets, but found nothing."

Chinese forces, including eight vessels and five helicopters, has covered 45,763 sq km as of 12 a.m. Thursday, after continuous searching for 100 hours, according to China Maritime Search and Rescue Center.

China's vice minister of transport He Jianzhong called for all information to be comprehensively analyzed and flexibility in the search operation. He said that China will be in close contact with Malaysia's search forces and inform Malaysia of its search plans.

Meanwhile, Chinese merchant ships are travelling in the Strait of Malacca and will help provide assistance, He said.

Also on Thursday, China's Civil Aviation Administration (CAAC) has proposed sending an expert team to help search for the missing plane, the administration's deputy director Xia Xinghua said.

This would help both keep the CAAC posted on developments and pacify relatives of the missing passengers, Xia said.

Meanwhile, at a press conference held in the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur, Guo Shaochun, head of a Chinese task force noted that the most urgent task now is to speed up the search and rescue operations.

He also urged the Malaysian side "to listen carefully to the next of kin of the Chinese passengers and take swift actions to respond to the needs of the families."

Malaysia Airlines said it has deployed a total of 112 care-givers to provide the family members of MH370 passengers and crew "with emotional support and ensure their basis needs are met to try and make this difficult time relatively bearable."

The Department of Civil Aviation Malaysia had also sent two of their officers to join the team in Beijing, Malaysia Airlines said, adding "this was to facilitate questions and provide information on the search and rescue mission."


The minister Hishammuddin said that "Under the circumstances, it is appropriate to conduct the search if the evidence suggests there is a possibility of finding even a minor evidence to suggest the aircraft would be there."

Touching on the radar signals, the official said it is suggested there was a possibility the aircraft has passed over the Strait of Malacca, adding "we have the duty to investigate any possibility."

He added the U.S. team is of the view that there were "reasonable grounds for Malaysian authorities to deploy resources to conduct search on the western side of peninsula Malaysia."

However, he said the main efforts of the search mission has " always been in the South China Sea."

The minister also said Malaysia has put the search effort above its national security, referring to the fact that it has shared data from military radars with international partners such as United States and China to help with the search efforts.

Malaysian authorities on Thursday denied news reports that the passenger jet may have continued flying for some time after last contact, and claimed that an unidentified object was plotted on military radar at 2:15 a.m. Saturday over the northern Malacca Strait, however they are still corrobarating it.

More than 80 ships and planes from at least 12 contributors are now combing the waters on both sides of the Malaysian peninsula to locate the missing plane.

Earlier in the day, Malaysia Airlines announced the flight codes of the missing jet, MH370 and MH371, will be scrapped and replaced by new ones, but its service frequency will remain unchanged.

"As a mark of respect to the passengers and crew of MH370 on March 8, the MH370 and MH371 flight codes will be retired from the Malaysia Airlines' Kuala Lumpur-Beijing-Kuala Lumpur route," the carrier said in a statement.

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