Cambodia still searching for missing Malaysian jet

Phnom Penh, March 21: Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen Friday said that the country is still conducting search operations for the missing Malaysia Airlines jet within its territory although Australian satellites had sighted suspicious debris in the southern Indian Ocean.

“Even though Australia has sighted suspicious objects in the Indian Ocean, we have not abandoned our search operations in Cambodia. Our search is still going on,” the prime minister said during the closing ceremony of an annual conference of the education ministry.

He also ordered local authorities in all provinces to search in any probable areas, Xinhua reported.

Hun Sen said Cambodia would welcome Chinese and Malaysian experts if they were willing to come to Cambodia for further search operations.

Meanwhile, the prime minister expressed his deep sympathy to the relatives of the passengers onboard the missing jetliner.

“We wish that the search and rescue teams from our friendly countries would find the missing plane soon so as to end the anxiety of the family members of the passengers,” he said.

Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 vanished mysteriously about an hour after taking off from Kuala Lumpur March 8.

The Boeing 777-200ER was initially presumed to have crashed off the Vietnamese coast in the South China Sea.

The plane was scheduled to land in Beijing at 6.30 a.m. the same day. The 227 passengers on board included five Indians, 154 Chinese and 38 Malaysians.

Contact with the plane was lost along with its radar signal at 1.40 a.m. when it was flying over the air traffic control area of Ho Chi Minh City.

On Tuesday, the Cambodian defence ministry sent four Z-9 utility helicopters and two naval vessels to conduct search operations for the missing jet at sea and on land within the country’s territory.

Malaysia’s acting Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein said earlier this week that the number of countries involved in the search and rescue operations had risen to 26.