China’s satellites spot possible debris from missing plane

PTI Beijing | Updated on March 13, 2018 Published on March 13, 2014

China today said it would not give up its efforts in searching for the missing Malaysia Airlines plane as long there is a “glimmer of hope” after its satellites spotted three floating pieces of possible debris in the South China Sea between Malaysia and Vietnam.

China will not give up its efforts in searching for the missing aircraft with 154 Chinese passengers aboard “as long as there is a glimmer of hope,” Chinese Premier Li Keqiang told the media at the end of the parliament 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,” he said.

His comments came after a Chinese satellite found three floating objects at a suspected crash site of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane.

He 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 jetliner as soon as possible.

China’s State Administration of Science, Technology and Industry for National Defence (SASTIND) said early today that the objects were monitored in the South China Sea at 6.7 degrees north latitude and 105.63 degrees east longitude, spreading across an area with a radius of 20 km.

The satellite images, which were captured around 11 am on Sunday, showed the objects measuring 13 by 18 meters, 14 by 19 meters and 24 by 22 meters respectively.

The images are being analysed, according to the SASTIND.

The plane has been missing for over five days since contact with it was lost early on Saturday. It was flying over the Ho Chi Minh air traffic control area in Vietnam and carrying 227 passengers, including 154 Chinese.

The international search for the missing plane, which has so far involved at least 40 ships and nearly 40 aircraft from 12 countries, entered its sixth day today, but the whereabouts of the Boeing 777-200 remain unknown.

China has employed 10 satellites to provide technological support in attempts to locate the aircraft, which was expected to land in Beijing at 6:30 am local time on Saturday.

China’s state-run Xinhua news agency quoted Malaysia’s Transport Minister Hishammuddin Hussein as saying that Malaysia has dispatched an aircraft to the site where Chinese satellites photographed the three “suspected floating objects” in the search for the missing jet.

China’s vice minister of transport He Jianzhong said Chinese merchant ships are travelling in the Straits of Malacca and will help provide assistance while Malaysian officials said the plane may have drifted to the Andaman Sea.

Chinese forces, including eight vessels and five helicopters, will cover 19,768 square km of waters today in search of the missing plane, he said.

Forces have searched 23,282 square km of waters so far suspected to be the crash site of the missing jet, China Maritime Search and Rescue Centre said.

He called for all information to be comprehensively analysed and flexibility in the search operation. He said that China will be in close contact with Malaysian search forces and inform Malaysia of its search plans.

He said the centre will work with relevant Chinese authorities in stepping up satellite surveillance work.

Contact with the aircraft was lost while it was over the Ho Chi Minh City air traffic control area in Vietnam.

Published on March 13, 2014

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