Malaysia says search corridor narrowed for missing aircraft

Kuala Lumpur, March 18: The search corridors for the Malaysian Airlines passenger plane that went missing March 8, have been narrowed, acting Transport Minister Datuk Seri Hishammuddin Hussein said Tuesday at a press briefing here.

Hussein said that China and Kazakhstan are leading the search in the northern corridor while Indonesia and Australia lead in the southern corridor, the Malaysian Star reported.

He also said that Malaysia is seeking help from the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) to contribute to the search and rescue operations to find the missing aircraft.

The total search area is now 2.24 million square nautical miles and nine countries that are not located along the corridors are also assisting the search.

Among these countries are the UAE, whose armed forces are taking part in the search operations.

A source at the armed forces headquarters said Monday two search and rescue aircraft were covering a zone stretching south over the Indian Ocean to Australia and north over an area extending to south and central Asia. There are 26 countries currently involved in the search operations.

Malaysia Airlines MH370 with 239 passengers and crew on board 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 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.

–Indo-Asian News Service

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IANS